Since he wrote his popular blog post, Letter to a Young Programmer Considering a Startup, Alex Payne responded to numerous questions from readers who were deciding whether to join startups, take jobs with larger more established companies, or stay in school. Alex responds to these questions by asking why the person wants to join a startup or start their own company. More often, the responses frequently come back with phrases like, “entrepreneurship is in my blood.”
In other words, more and more, people are choosing to start companies or join startups seemingly just for the sake of it or because it is a sexy career move. Payne is uneasy about these reasons for joining startups. “People are fulfilled by their work when they operate with a sense of purpose,” says Payne in his blog post.
A Sense of Purpose
When you begin to watch this talk, you're expecting Payne to talk you out of joining a startup. But this is really not the case. It’s not that Payne is trying to convince young programmers to join a startup or not join a startup. In fact, he just wants these young programmers to make this career decision with their eyes wide open and with a sense of purpose.
In other words, the goal is not “to join a startup.” The goal should be to “develop software that solves a particular problem,” and starting one’s own company would be a means to accomplish that goal. It may be that joining a large company or a non-profit could be way to accomplish that goal for some people. The point is to focus on a purpose, goals, or mission when making career decisions.