* When To Quit Your Startup

17 Seconds #94. Useful Info Quickly.

No job lasts forever. So if you are an employee of a startup – and are hoping for that startup to have a successful exit – then how long should you stick it out?

Most of the successful startups that we have worked with had their exits 5-8 years after founding. IMHO, if you’ve been at a startup longer than eight years, then it’s probably best to assume that there will be no happy ending.

There are other warning signs that a startup is foundering. (Interestingly, I never noticed that “foundering” contains “founder” until now. I’m not quite sure what to make of that.)

First, are the founders still running the company? If so, then consider sticking around.

Second, have board members assumed management roles in the company? If so, then they are likely in CYA mode, and maybe you should consider looking for your next gig.

Third, have your options vested? That’s another consideration. Or have enough vested to get you into the “good enough” category?

Finally, are the founders, investors, and board members – according the the teachings of Adam Grant from his seminal “Give And Take” book – givers or takers? If the team is comprised of givers, then consider sticking around. If takers, then head for the exit.


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