Professionally, I still have spent more time in the corporate / enterprise world than I have as a full-time startup person. This will shift in a few years and I don’t regret my time in big business.
I learned a ton about all parts of the organization but perhaps most importantly I learned how important relationships and politics play in getting things done. I would have never known of this (important) dynamic through any other avenue.
But, eventually, I was given a choice to decide to between two different lifestyles and I opted to head down a more entrepreneurial one.
Financially, it’s kind of been break-even if you compare my corporate salary with my exit events. How does this work? Well, if you take the fact that I was an executive at a Fortune 50 at the age of 25 and then aggregate that earning over time compared with the ups and downs of starting your own company and the fact that you pay yourself mostly nothing for a long time and then way below market rate for the rest of the time… the paper-napkin math checks out.
But that’s not why I choose that particular lifestyle. I choose it because I was able to decide on the boulders that I wanted to push uphill; it was my choice on the challenges that I wanted to encounter and pursue.
Unlike corporate, though, where I was handed everything and told to “optimize” or to not break anything, essentially, I felt like I had very little say in anything significant. Show up, do X, negotiate Y, and hope for outcome Z. Get paid and go home. Yawn.
It was my choice. It’s still my choice. And you have the same one too.