How Much Does Passion Matter When Founding vs. Joining Something?

When you’re starting a company you have to be passionate about the problem you’re solving. That’s a truism of entrepreneurship. You’ve got no customers, no employees, no activity: You better hope that the vision you hold in your heart is one that keeps you excited through all the days (and years?) of little progress.

When you’re joining a company as an employee, by contrast, passion for the problem the company is solving is less important — assuming the company already has some traction, which is a fair assumption given the company has the cash to hire you. Why? Because anything at scale is interesting. You can take the most boring, back office piece of enterprise software and if you tell me, “Millions of people use this every day” or “50 companies are paying millions a year to use this” etc. then I’ll become interested. Heck, if you pitched me on joining a trash pickup business like 1-800 Got Junk and you said they’ve got 200 different locations and are doing tens of millions a year in revenue — I’m potentially interested. Ideally, the business mission also aligns with something you’re personally passionate about, but it’s not necessary.

Bottom Line: When you’re founding a company (or joining a super early stage company), passion for the problem the company is solving is critical. When joining ventures that already have velocity, other factors — like the quality of your co-workers and the culture of work that’s been established — matter more, because anything at scale becomes interesting.

26 Responses to How Much Does Passion Matter When Founding vs. Joining Something?

  1. Michael says:

    I used a similar mental framework when evaluating a startup trying to recruit me a few months ago. The startup is tackling a problem in an industry that I’m not too familiar with and because they didn’t have too many customers I passed on the opportunity. I just can’t get excited about a startup if potential customers don’t find value to pay for the service.

    Reply
  2. Dave Carlson says:

    My first thought was that when joining, culture and quality of co-workers is more important than the “interestingness” of scale.

    Then I realized that scale itself correlates with interesting things, and a stronger culture. The work feels more valuable because you know the impact it has. Coworkers may have higher morale because they feel more secure knowing that there’s an already-established market and revenues are more certain than in an early startup.

    There’s almost a “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” benefit from joining a company already doing things at scale. Your lower-level stuff (paycheck, security) is a bit more established and secure, so there’s less insecurity, and that boosts morale. The mid-level stuff (relationships, etc.) may be helped by the idea that the company’s making big moves and already has a market. The “self-actualization” stuff comes from feeling like the work you’re doing is impacting a lot of people.

    As a “joiner,” there’s probably a lot of inertia already that is making things flow more smoothly. As a “starter,” the impetus is on the person in charge to keep that thrust going. That’s where the vision becomes so important.

    Reply
  3. Starting a company is more difficult than joining a company because starting a company means you have duty to make it successful and you just play a small role when joining a company.

    Reply
  4. happy wheels says:

    I enjoyed over read your blog post. Your blog have nice information, I got good ideas from this amazing blog. I am always searching like this type blog post. I hope I will see again..

    Reply
  5. The idea behind this article is excellent. That is very helpful for increasing my knowledge in this field.

    Reply
  6. Gmail is one of the most popular free email services currently provided by Google. Gmail support number of language interface and you can easily switch to display language of your choice. You can change display language of Gmail email account from your Gmail account settings.
    Sign in to Gmail to access to all Gooogle services. Log in to your account or sign up to create a new account
    gmail sign in

    gmail log in
    what’s gmail?

    Reply
  7. a10 says:

    Thank you for benefiting from time to focus on this kind of, I feel firmly about it and also really like comprehending far more with this particular subject matter.

    Reply
  8. color switch says:

    Excellent read, Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?

    Reply
  9. Gmail is one of the most popular free email services currently provided by Google. Gmail support number of

    language interface and you can easily switch to display language of your choice. You can change display

    language of Gmail email account from your Gmail account settings.
    Sign in to Gmail to access to all Gooogle services. Log in to your account or sign up to create a new

    account
    gmail sign in

    gmail log in
    what’s gmail?

    Reply
  10. wingsio says:

    The best space for your child to relax!: wingsio | slither io | abc

    Reply
  11. I must appreciate the way you have expressed your feelings through your blog!

    Reply
  12. slither io says:

    Let’s keep are safe place to play the very best free games for kids! Please click: wings.io | slither.io | abcya

    Reply
  13. Davish says:

    I am very glad to be here.It is so amazing and interesting.I wanna tell you that it is very helpful for us.Thanks for sharing such an awesome blog with us.I want to visit again.
    Justhost-promo code

    Reply
  14. Facebook has become a part of my life, not only helped me to connect with you but also where I can share every moment in life. I really like the convenience that it brings

    Reply
  15. The article gives me a lot of interesting information. I still often share life experiences with friends. And I enjoyed the convenience and attractiveness of free messaging app

    Reply
  16. square quick says:

    Life becomes more interesting and wonderful when you share your memorable moments with friends and family through unique photographs. You can create your own unique style impressed with image editing

    Reply
  17. aolmail says:

    I was looking for something like this…I found it quiet interesting, hopefully you will keep posting such blogs….Keep sharing.

    Reply
  18. elon musk says:

    Wow this is amazing. I hope such things happen in my place as well.

    Reply
  19. wings.io says:

    if you like click to play this games wings.io

    Reply
  20. slither.io says:

    click to play this games slither.io

    Reply
  21. you can find games for kids in here

    Reply
  22. This is one of the cult game now, a lot of people enjoy playing them .

    Reply
  23. bottle flip says:

    I loved the game

    Reply
  24. This is one of the cult game now, a lot of people enjoy playing them .

    Reply
  25. The article you have shared here very good. This is really interesting information for me. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  26. bloxorz says:

    Thank you for sharing this article with us! I believe there will be more people like me, they can find many interesting things in this article of you! I hope you have many similar posts to share with everyone!
    usps tracking

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *