Seven months ago, I left my Product Management job at Google to work on starting a company. My co-founder and I have been working on Kapwing, an online video editor, for the last four months. In this post, I’ll compare life before and after so other big-company product managers know what they’re getting themselves into if they’re thinking about jumping ship.
CommuteGoogle: Google shuttle, 1 hour++. Startup: The time it takes you to move from your bed to your desk. And occasionally Muni.
Career ProgressionGoogle: You spend a lot of time going through the motions of performance review and pleasing your manager, both of which are annoying. Startup: You spend equally as much time on growth hacks and pleasing upvoters on product hunt, which is more fun but equally as obnoxious and random as Perf.
LunchGoogle: Everyday for free. Startup: You still eat at Google a few times a month because the VC you’re squatting in is so close to the SF office and Googler blood runs deep.
Taco Tuesday at the Google SF office
Conversations with co-workersGoogle: “Oh, how was your weekend?” Startup: I already know everything about your weekend because we chatted every hour on Hangouts.
MonetizationGoogle: If your product makes money, it’s probably not fun to work in your org. Startup: If your product makes money, everyone wants to work with you.
How search worksGoogle: Even though you work on Search, you barely know about how SEO ranking works, because you’re not a ranking engineer, and does anyone really understand ranking anyway? Startup: SEO IS LYFE
SpeedGoogle: Text changes go through eng review, product review, design review, and Ariane approvals. Startup: In the time it took to write this sentence, the text has already been changed in production.
StockGoogle: Multiply by 1000 and liquify whenever you want Startup: Monopoly money that might be worth millions of dollars in a decade.
PressGoogle: I get multiple unsolicited emails from journalists every week and redirect them to the Comms team because that’s someone else’s job. Eye roll. Startup: I send hundreds of unsolicited emails every week begging journalists to care about my product.
TravelGoogle: Business trips to Zurich, Delhi, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv on the corporate card because you have partner engineering teams in remote offices. Startup: It’s exciting to walk to the food truck park for lunch.
1 million usersGoogle: Probably noise. Did you flip the launch bit yet? Startup: An unbridled future fantasy.
EngineeringGoogle: Why are the engineers taking so long? They’re so sllloooww. Startup: Why am I taking so long? I’m so sllloooww.
Mission statementGoogle: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Startup: WIP, but I think it’s written on the first slide of the pitch deck.
PerksGoogle: Makes six figures but still annoyed when they don’t give you a holiday gift. Startup: You make less in a week than you used to make in a single peer bonus.
Offices with climbing walls vs lucky to have an office at all
SuccessGoogle: Level 8 Startup: 30 under 30
GrowthGoogle: All you need to do is ship a great product. If it’s a great product, people will use it, and monetization doesn’t matter. Startup: You have to build a great product AND get people to use it AND make money from it. You can have a great product that people don’t use and a great product that people use and doesn’t make money. Either way, your product will die despite its greatness.
Day-to-dayGoogle: Build awesome software, work with amazing people, dream about the future, and have a lot of fun on the way. Startup: Same :)
Sun setting on the Googleplex
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts about what it’s like to leave the Man for a tech startup. If you enjoyed the post, let me know by checking out our video editing website, or following our startup journey on the Kapwing blog.
Originally published on hackernoon.com