Letter to a young programmer considering a startup

Developer and writer Alex Payne:

A startup is just a means to an end. Consider the end, and don’t seek to revel in the means. What do you care about? Who do you want to help? Does a startup make meeting your goals easier or harder? Where will it leave you when your goal is met? Where will it leave you if it isn’t?

Startups are portrayed as an exciting…but a few interviews at later-stage startups will make clear just how quickly they ossify into structures that look very much like the organizations that came before them.

So true. I’ve both experienced touches of this here and there earlier in my career, and know so many other horror stories of fellow web developers that have sacrificed their personal lives at the alter of a “hot startup” that falls apart within a few months. I appreciate Alex isn’t anti-startups in his argument; he emphasizes balance, something sorely lacking from content we read every day on Hacker News and Techcrunch.