Most pre-traction startups fail. And stagnant companies may be a long way away from an exit.
Breakout companies have a reasonably assured financial outcome - the question is more ‘how big’ and less ‘will there be an exit’.
Having a stock option payday can shift your trajectory for the rest of your life.
Startups that fail don’t look great on your record.
Having a breakout company on your resume instantly gives you a permanent source of credibility.
This reputational effect turns out to be beneficial in access to opportunities, funding and networks.
When companies are very early stage, or very late stage, or otherwise not growing, the opportunities are limited.
At a breakout company, there’s lots of stuff that needs doing and lots of opportunities for promotion.
Build lucrative skills, and take a shortcut to valuable experience.
At late stage companies, the core founding team is buried under layers of employees. And at pre-traction startups, the odds of failure limit your ability to build a good network. At larger public companies, the team members will be more risk averse and unambitious.
At a breakout company, the founding team will be accessible and can become part of your permanent tribe. Plus, once there’s an exit, there’ll be a large group of wealthy, smart, ambitious, skilled people that want to work with you.
So you’ll have great peers that will be with you for life, making it easier to join or found successful companies in the future and get access to hidden opportunities.