One more concern of developers at startup

Concerns for developers at startups

No no it’s nothing technical … you geek! Let’s talk something ethical once in a while.

The success model is out today. Build a successful product, develop a meaningful user base and hit the conference room to pressurize that big giant to shell out an inflated amount to adopt you before other fishes start hunting for you.

However, this is heartening news for any employee at this startup, and why not?

But is it the time to get acquired?

This is one big consideration startups should definitely share with their employees, especially developers, who rub their ass with that cushion, however uncomfortable it was. As startups usually have more developers than non-developers or probably all developers, thus, it definitely should make sense.

Why?

Founders, cofounders or stock holders will take the amount to easily find another bigger or better deal, left are these developers to face the axe with the bigger organization processes.

These developers may have many reasons to be happy as the deal would come to them with several bonuses. But how can everything be so positive about the deal? What comes along is the Process-Oriented model with the acquiring entity. Sooner or later these developers will find them involved in many other tasks than demystifying their favorite algorithm or advanced encryption security hole.

Few of the activities that hurt any geeky intellect are:

  1. Emails – Yes formatting in mails suddenly becomes more important than the beauty of the code.
  2. Several Time Reporting sheets – Now the rule of 8 hours may become stricter you know.
  3. Performance assessment – Why the hell do I have to ask Peter for my assessment? We sit in different countries and just talk over emails or phone calls. What evaluation will he be able to do?
  4. More meetings – Well it definitely gives you the time to write your next blog entry while intending to be taking serious notes out of meeting.
  5. Higher number of conferences – Oh yes! Speaking will matter now, doesn’t matter how bad you do!
  6. Cost cutting initiatives etc etc. – Shucks!!!

To cut the long story short.

Usually every developer is unique & all they want is the respect for that uniqueness but after the acquisition, they lose their say in any decision about them which they were commanding so far, processes come to hurt them even more.

It doesn’t matter even if they identify some process is not gonna work with their work dynamics, they have to be at the receiving end almost every time. Most of them are so obsessed with the prior culture that they pack up to find another small home for themselves very soon. Rest are just left to scream at dinner with their spouses or in office but after the working hours.

I do not know how it goes while signing the MoU for the acquisition deal but it definitely makes sense to talk about retaining few work ethics of the existing teams. I know it’s not quite practical but this is where developer employees should play the role rather than just murmuring about the deal during lunches, puffing those cigarettes or the darts game. Else get ready to develop the habit of cribbing a bit more!

This also hints that before joining a startup, one should be aware about the intention of the founders and co-founders if comes a situation for a premature acquisition.

I do not find myself permitted to write more on this openly currently but can discuss more with personal experiences non-publicly.

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One response to “One more concern of developers at startup

  1. Hey Piyush,
    A nice article which does not take into account the top guys in the company since when a merger or an acquisition happens,it effects the lower band of people as well(Means developers)

    One thing what should be done/followed in a marriage is that “The exchange of the best policies shared across the companies and removal of all the “NON FUNCTIONAL management from the company”

    Guess it has to be Stake Holders and not stock holders…right?

    Also,can you add a feedreader to your blog so that I can subscribe to it as well?

    -Himanshu

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