This article was published on April 8, 2015

Yo ho! Yo ho! A startup life for me

Yo ho! Yo ho! A startup life for me
Cecil Kleine
Story by

Cecil Kleine

Product Lead

Cecil is the Product Lead at The Next Web. He grew up on a tiny, sunny island called Curaçao and loves to keep up with the latest in tech, s Cecil is the Product Lead at The Next Web. He grew up on a tiny, sunny island called Curaçao and loves to keep up with the latest in tech, startups and design. Feel free to say hi on Twitter: @CecilKleine

Joining a startup is like joining a band of pirates. You become part of a crew, all working together to keep the ship afloat while sailing in search of treasure. You’re packed together with your shipmates, looking to the horizon, dreaming of fame, glory and riches.

The right mix of adventure, uncertainty and reward (and the necessary amount of grog) help breed a unified team spirit. In most cases, the small-scale environments within startups allow for more ‘natural’ collaboration between team members. Less office politics and bureaucracy, more freedom and responsibility.


Photo Credit: Malte Legaard

The power of the squad

Most of the time, getting started in a startup means working in a small team. We tend to work well in these small groups. It allows for more efficient management of individual talent, makes communication simple and encourages straightforwardness.

The team is a squad, with specialized members working closely together towards a common goal. It allows employees to learn from each other and aligns them in a way that helps them achieve their goals together.

A startup trying to build itself into a successful company often relies on employees from different disciplines working together to fill in the gaps. The result is a tightly knit team that has a sense of understanding and responsibility for the company as a whole. Not just a fixed set of tasks or deliverables.


Photo Credit: Eduardo Martin

Make a difference

Management structures in most companies tend to be rigid, slow-moving and bureaucratic. There are rules and protocols to adhere to, evaluations and reviews to consider. Elaborate human resource management schemes try to maximize productivity by creating behavioral incentives that might conflict with employee needs. This depends greatly on the type of company one works for, but the nature of startups seems to facilitate a more human approach.

There’s little reason to go for the complicated HRM solutions and the close proximity of team members makes things a bit more personal. This level of personal contact makes it easier and more accessible to introduce new ideas and concepts to decision makers. This becomes a bit harder when multiple levels of intermediaries and middle management get involved.


Photo Credit: Jorge Vidal

Grow big or go home

Fewer shoulders and more responsibility to place on them means that there’s less room for being idle. Given the limited amount of resources, startup employees try to make every move count. As a startup employee, you start off in the position of an underdog.

You don’t have access to a big war chest, you’re likely working on an unproven product and the future of your startup is in your hands. You get to tackle obstacles and challenges that might be considered ‘above your pay grade’ in more established businesses or take up multiple roles at the company simultaneously… But it’s all worth it.

Some people dream of being part of something big, others want to build the next big thing.


Are you happy with your current occupation or are you looking for more adventure?

If the latter is true, why not check out some of the exciting startup jobs available across Europe on TNW Jobs. And if you’re part of a startup looking to expand your crew, take advantage and post your vacancies here.

Header image credit: Shutterstock

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with