Expectation vs. Reality, Startup Edition

Fri Sep 16 2022

Emma Dahl

PLG AE, Statsig

I joined a startup expecting sweatpants and free food galore—but do startups live up to the hype, or does the reality flop?

I’ve just wrapped my first year at Statsig, so it’s a fitting time for a retrospective on expectations versus reality.

Expectation: unlimited free food

Reality: more time in the kitchen meant making friends with fellow snack-lover, Pierre. Our manager of the Console team, Pierre shared his secret Chocolate Milk Coffee recipe with me (sounds silly, tastes amazing). I also now have a dedicated eng buddy who I can ask stupid technical questions.

My work wife Sami rightly pointed out that one of the best parts of startups is the people. When I joined Statsig, I was employee 17, and the only salesperson- so there wasn’t a dedicated team I belonged to. We all eat lunches together- and it’s a catalyst to making friends with everyone from eng and design to product.

always sunny in philadelphia meme,

Expectation: sweatpants everywhere

Reality: no dress code- because people have more important stuff to worry about. “Results over Effort” is one of our culture values. If wearing Loubotins and a power suit makes you more effective at your job, go for it! Having said that, I’ve closed all my deals wearing my lucky Taco Bell t-shirt.

People bring their authentic selves to work when they don’t have to be performative. We also don’t have dedicated working hours- some folks work 7–3, some work 10–10. Leadership at Statsig trusts people to get their stuff done (whether that’s in cargo shorts or suits)- and this is part of why we’ve been such a productive team.

casual fridays are cancelled meme

Expectation: sweat equity, crazy hours, and 24/7 chaos, a-la Theranos

Reality: people join startups because they want to be there- equity is a nice perk, and huge increases in equity value aren’t guaranteed. Especially for early-stage and private companies, equity is a bet.

A lot of my coworkers joined Statsig specifically because they wanted to get out of the Big Tech rat race. Everyone has a life outside of work and takes vacation- including the CEO.

Having a fantastic product and senior leadership are big factors in Statsig’s relative calm- if you have a great team and your product works, people shouldn’t have to average 80 hour weeks.

parks and recreation meme

Every company is different- but the startup stereotypes I expected (free snacks, weird hours, allbirds) are just happy side effects of a workplace where people are supported and trusted. I give “joining a startup” 5 stars.

Try Statsig Today

Get started for free. Add your whole team!
We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
Privacy Policy