Question was inspired by Alex's masterclass on side projects. In it, he talked about how he was able to get his role at Course Hero because it was a scrappy startup when he joined, and was willing to take bets.
Do you have advice on how to find similar startups? And also connect with startup founders (and not get ghosted)?
Some consequent questions:
Thanks for any advice or help!
In Alex's case, many companies showed inbound interest, which is extremely powerful. If you build something cool, you'll get people and companies reaching out to you, which already gives you a huge advantage in the job search.
Of course, this is not always possible. A few ways to connect with startups:
In terms of reaching out, the best thing you can do is to actually care about their problem space. Many startups are starved for attention and they want people to pay attention to their efforts. So if you make clear that you understand their problem domain and attempted solution, there's a good chance a small startup will chat with you.
BTW, we do have a few founders in the Taro community as well -- I'd post in Slack to see if you can connect with them :)
I used AngelList, now WellFound and interviewed with several startups in 2019 to find my current company. https://wellfound.com
Some companies were in the pre seed and had exponentially more risk than others. With that comes a bigger risk reward possibility, but I decided to join a company where they had found product market and were profiting millions per year, but only had 3 engineers.
I would recommend it to others for their first start up because you get big impact even as a new grad, without taking huge risk. 4 years later we have 30 engineers.
The most important thing at your small startup is who are the other people at the company esp engineers and would you like to work with them.
The company finances are also important so here are some questions for that:
How do you know if a startup is scrappy or if it is shady/dysfunctional?
It's hard as smaller companies won't have much press around them. You need to use a mix of the following:
We talk more about this here: "How to evaluate a startup?"
Are there any resources on Taro to connect with founders?
We don't have one on connecting with founders specifically, but I highly recommend this as a general guide on how to connect with people and make them like you quickly: [Masterclass] How To Build Deep Relationships Quickly In Tech
Another thing I highly recommend is to just use their product. Scrappy startups care deeply about their product and its users, because they're so small and absolutely have to in order to survive and achieve product-market fit. So become a very active user of their product by:
IIRC, Taro community champion Steven Zhang got into Airtable by being a super early user of their product (i.e. within the first 500) and submitting tons of feedback. This got their attention, so they gave him an interview! You can watch the video about his amazing job searching journey here: [Case Study] How To Land 18 FAANG+ Offers With Steven Zhang (Airtable, USDR, Tableau)