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What are some non-obvious differences between very small start-up (less than 10 employees) and slightly larger start-up (30 to 50 employees)?

What are the specific pros and cons in working for either of them?

closed as primarily opinion-based by The Wandering Dev Manager, mhoran_psprep, alroc, gnat, Jane S Aug 5 '16 at 5:45

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    This is highly opinion based so off topic, voting to close – The Wandering Dev Manager Aug 5 '16 at 1:26
  • small startups that have very few employees will force early stage hires to create their own git repo that is filled with nothing and establish their own commit schedule and their own production and testing environments with their own IDEs and their own ideas as to how to implement whatever features that they or someone else thought of five minutes ago on a whim. In short, everything is the effect of an individual link in the chain. – easymoden00b Aug 5 '16 at 14:14
  • Size is not as important an indicator as things like, does senior management know what they are doing on the business side and how well funded is the start-up and how ultimately sellable is their idea. Don't be seduced by things that just look like interesting technical challenges (that's good of course) but by whether you think this start-up has a chance of making any actual money to pay you with. And don't go to work for a start-up without several months of living expenses in the bank because you can very suddenly stop getting paid. – HLGEM Aug 5 '16 at 14:21
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Startup less than 10 employees, usually is someone's idea hatch, without a good business plan. Hence very prone to failure.

More employees means, there is a business plan, so that a hiring process was established and people have more or less formal roles in the company. Hence the chances of success is higher, although almost equally prone to market forces and can fail at any time.

This is my personal view and a huge generalization. Exceptions to my views can be found very easily.

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In my experience unless it's manufacturing, in the computer related industries, a smaller startup is usually less organised, higher pressure, but has way less overheads.

Larger ones tend to be made by people with a background from larger businesses, they're usually better organised, top heavy and big overheads. Easier to work for usually with less pressure to perform. The drawback is they bring a bigger business mentality with them and a lot of money is used inefficiently when they don't yet have a solid product and client base. And they tend to have too many bosses who aren't really earning their keep.

Personally I think the smaller ones have the better chance of success. But I've seen so many fail that it's really only a few out of many that seem to make good.

The ones too really watch out for are the ones that are just living on funding to develop something. These are really just sales people who have a career based around getting grants and funding. They tend to chew through techs and discard them. Their primary reason for the business is to fund their lifestyles travelling around selling products before they're even made (the product itself is not so important, neither is success or failure of development).

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