An interesting comment on my previous post prompted me to blog the response. First of all, Anon, thanks for your wishes on my wedding. Am a punjabi, so it was days and nights of Bhangra and eating :)
VC has always been a niche industry, but there was still something in it for the smaller firms, and now I do not think this is true anymore. I think the opportunity has shrunk dramatically. Its hard to sit here and make generalizations on the demise of a whole industry, and so I will stay out of that. I just think it is way way harder to become a partner these days. Who wants to join a VC firm to stay an associate?
Now comes the fun part of the question which deals with the wisest of all thought processes, Hindsight. In hindsight, would I have taken those not-so-sexy VC offers and then traded up to better VC firms now?
Here hindsight and my present sense of where I am come together to respond with a resounding NO. Here is why it would be a bad idea to take those not-so-sexy opportunities (I do not think there were sexy or unsexy by any means, they were just not right for me):
- Two years in a job you don't like is a very high price to pay for anything. Period.
- Two years of your life doing anything that you don't like is a high price to pay in general with some exceptions
- I did not fit there, then I would have probably been not good at it
- The industry is reputation based, whatever you do, create a brand for yourselves. Taking those jobs would have been counter-productive (if I didnt fit)
- Very few people get VC jobs. Even fewer trade UP from a Tier II firm to Tier I. There is a lot of horizontal shifting but very little vertical
And then some more reasons..but I think you get the drift.
Now the second part of the question: Is it better than being one of 300-400 PMs at Google?
Are you kidding me :)? You know how amazing it is to be a PM in Google? Yes, even with the crazy matrix organization. And no, I have not drunk the Kool Aid. But think about it for a moment. Google is probably one of the most influential companies in the world. Lets say there are 5 companies in the world which are comparable in terms of impact (Tech or otherwise). Lets say each of them has on average 300 PMs (unlikely but lets take this for now).
I am one of 5x300 = 1500 folks in this world (atleast in the field of technology) who have a shot at impacting millions of life. And this is not hyperbole (or arrogance). I can't even begin to tell you how much impact each PM (in Google, you are basically the visionary on your product area) can have through their products. Even a failed product in Google is used by thousands nay... millions.
I get this chance because I work for Google. So I have to give this opportunity the respect it deserves. I am very happy that I made the choices I made. That was for most part, luck and sound advice.
Finally, I am not saying we should all become PMs in Google, there are sexier jobs in top VC firms, PE or whatever floats your boat. But for me, the sexiest job is to do what my friend A does. He bootstraps his way around, he is passionate, he works hard in a room somewhere in Menlo Park, and is slowly but inexorably building a team around him. He is building his own startup.
Damn, thats cool. I wish I had the balls to do what he is doing.
Definitely one day.