Every VC talks about backing missionary founders and playing the long term game. But when there is a risk to their outcome [that is returning 3X of the fund to their LPs and making their carry], they are happy to throw the same founders under the bus.
In the bull market every VC and their founder counterpart are best friends on Twitter. When the market turns, not so much. Non standard clauses on term sheets become common. Founders get asked to get an exit somehow.
Every founder wants their employee to be a missionary. Sacrifice work life balance. Give everything. Don’t worry about titles. Or money. While founders take secondaries by series C and secure the bag.
When companies grow, committees get formed to formalise org structure and comp plan. Who forms the committees? The VPs and CXOs. Then they determine what an employee should get: salary, equity grant, refreshers, based on the title they hold. But they say titles don’t matter. And when the eventual bear market comes, 20-30% employees get culled to increase runway and the whole “hum saath saath hain family drama” stops running.
Remember: Everything you read on social media is content marketing. Know what people are selling you. And why.
There are literally like 10 people I know in life who are actual missionaries, don’t care about titles or money and are happy to just work on their craft. Everyone else is just doing content marketing on Twitter.
No one grows up wishing to optimise the checkout flow of an ecom site/ increase conversion by 100 basis points. Instead of drinking kool-aid on Twitter, just work hard, show proof of work, become hard to replace, and secure the bag for yourself.
Caveat: I am not saying don’t care about your company or its mission and just optimise on salary and title. Know what you are optimising for and why. Don’t read content marketing on Twitter and decide to emulate people who have already made it. You operate in a marketplace. You bring your skills. You get something for it. As simple as that. Either as a founder. Or an employee.
Secure the bag for yourself. Don’t let people gaslight you into thinking otherwise.