My recently graduated niece informed me that she, and many of her Oxford classmates, chose to go to work for a startup over more a more established company.
The reasons that she, and much of her cohort, chose to work with iffy companies, while more established ones offered far more consistency and stability and opportunities for growth?
A preference for the flexibility, flat organization, and a chance to help influence the evolution of the ‘next big thing’. It is also a great place to intern and to gain needed real-world experience without first committing to a longer career with a larger, more established company.
Startups that these young grads are gravitating to are primarily in the tech sector.
While this focus on new startups is absorbing the attention of grads, I wonder how much thought is given to the ‘old startups’?
Tech companies that spawned in the era of Windows apps or even DOS served a real purpose in the 80s and 90s. These apps are clearly not compatible with today’s cloud-driven focus. However, the solutions they provided then, are to problems that still exist in today’s intensely connected business world.
Many of these small companies have taken the needed steps to build newer user experiences to accommodate the current, app-savvy user base. Plus, the maturity of these products’ data infrastructure, the critical foundation of a flexible and reliable solution, ensure that they are inherently more resilient than newly configured data structures that are still evolving.
Despite sounding like an oxymoron, old startups have many of the same advantages as new startups, and possibly fewer downsides. Often small (they are startup-sized), flat organization, flexible – including support for telecommuting. Their business models have stood the test of time and that is a huge advantage over newer, untested models.
So what help do old startups need?
Modern social media-based marketing, user experience (UX) design and development, image enhancement to attract a newer, client base – the same things that draw grads to new startups.
So, they can get the same level of excitement, along with the added advantage of an amazing opportunity to learn from experienced mentors.