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awesome discussion!


Don’t remember the tweet, but it went along the lines of “Startups need generalists, but tend to hire specialists, whereas enterprises need specialists, but tend to hire generalists”.

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Which might give you an indication of what size company you’d want to work for.


Yeah, I’m starting to come up to that conclusion. Which is weird, given everyone bangs on about how startups give you an opportunity to develop.


Why do you think that trend exists?


I was able to grow greatly by working at a consultancy for some years. Starting a new project every 6-12 months is a very fast feedback loop.


Even better, find a company where software isn’t the main thing but supports other endeavors. My domain was museum installations that also needed backend support.

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could be startups getting ahead of themselves and building more than they need to get the job done.


ive made that mistake myself


An observation I've had about the startups vs enterprises & generalists vs specialists is that startups almost always suffer from myopia. So many needs, so complicated to work through them, so overcommitted from an energy perspective. So specialists are appealing because there is a silver bullet aspect to the hire. "If we just have this..." And often that hire is suboptimal because it becomes an expensive hammer/nail experiment.


With enterprises, there are different dimensions of specialist. Enterprises have slots that are specialist from a tech skill perspective, and specialist from a domain and biz process perspective. Very rarely can you find people with both- when you do, you are inclined to pay a premium for it, which is why that particular kind of job hopping is seen as a fast way to raise one's salary. But when they can't find both, they will hire someone who has some relevant demonstrated speciality, but as they come in they are essentially a generalist who has to get up to speed with the specialist aspects of the particular role in the particular enterprise.


There is a related aphorism about consulting- startups often are most in need of consulting, but (think that they) can't afford it, while enterprises can afford it but often would be better off trusting their staff.


Would it be easier to get up to speed on the domain and biz side than the tech skill side?