Here are my Top 3 priorities:
Here are the options I'm thinking of:
+1 on Big Tech being a really good default choice to start your career: the brand name, learning opps, and compensation will set you up for success later.
The other dimension is people. If you have a lot of conviction in a manager or CEO (e.g. someone who has had multiple prior exits), it may be worth "following the people" to your first job at a startup.
@Alex what do you think of the thesis of https://www.breakoutlist.com/why-join-a-breakout , which says: high company employee growth /fast growing company -> lots of problems to be solved -> more opportunities to solve them -> faster career growth? It has a list of series B/A companies (Airtable was on the list when I joined Airtable a few years ago) that fit the criteria
I didn't know about that breakout companies list - Thanks for sharing!
I more or less agree with that hypothesis: Company growth solves all problems (including SWE growth) when you're working at a startup environment. The fastest growth trajectories I have seen were people who joined rocket ship companies early (which looks like what you accomplished with Airtable, so congrats!). I think if you have buffer (i.e. you'll be okay if the company isn't around after 1-2 years like Fast), it makes a lot of sense to join one of these companies earlier in career.
I'm more on the risk-averse side though, which is why I lean towards Big Tech as the first job, especially in this economy. If I were to start my career "fresh" right now, I would still go to a Big Tech company for 1-2 years to set the floor/"foundation" for my career and probably go to a company like 100-person Airtable afterwards.