Disclaimer: this post is purely my own personal thoughts and does not represent any YCombinator company nor Caviar’s stance on the issues below.
Michael Halligan posted pretty much the Silicon’s Manifesto “Fuck you, pay me” blog post the other day about why YCombinator founders are behind the curve in competitive salaries. He notes:
YCombinator founders do very well, so I don’t blame them for drinking the kool-aid and being put-off by somebody who doesn’t want to work 60-80 hours per week to make them wealthy. They’re too blinded by their peers success to understand why anybody wouldn’t want to work for them. Most of them are children fresh out of college, so they wouldn’t understand why anybody would care about benefits and time-off. They’re working 100 hours a week and want you to as well.
I’m a co-founder of a YC company, and I sympathize with his points. But two things drew red flags:
Their product means nothing to me, it’s not going to change the world, but that’s OK…All start-ups today are about supporting advertising in one way or another.
Michael mentions also:
I’m a senior engineer with 20 years of experience and can command a pretty good salary…I would like to buy a house in the next two years, which means I need a good salary.
To boot, he has a lovely daughter to support.
The reason why startups is a “young man’s game” is because they have everything to give. No kids, no mortgage, no dream of buying a house in two years. We live on ramen. What I’m trying to get at here is that it’s not for everyone.
We put 100 hour weeks into our startups because we believe. Time is our enemy, and we must show the world how amazing of a product this is. This unfortunately is something Michael doesn’t have as noted above, which is why he came off a little “mercenary” to me. Michael seems like an extraordinary candidate that MVP/medium-sized startups simply cannot afford. I’m sure all the YC companies would love to have his skill set, but the culture fit seems out of place.
This part is written to Michael directly. 20 years of experience sounds like you’re around what? Close shave under 40? It’s not too late to work for outstanding tech companies like Google and Facebook who can compensate you appropriately. The former was recently rated the “Best Place to Work in America,” so you can’t be THAT worse off.
There was no reason to be condescending and categorizing us as “children fresh out of college” (I’m 28, for what it’s worth). Most of us are trying to make a positive impact in the world, and I hope you can see that we’re trying.
And as for the “worthless stock options,” I suppose you can always start your own company. But your financial planning for the house takes precedence, so why would you ever do something so insane and stupid as startups?