Why do people go to work at startups? is it the excitement of being a part of something new or is it the chance of being compensated unproportionally if the company blows up? Sam Altman of Ycombinator did a nice a write-up about employee equity compensation - and while I don't necessarily agree with everything (context is important), he makes some good points about how to think about employee equity.
This sparked a debate on HackerNews on whether getting minor equity is worth working at a startup for. The consensus seems to be that working at startups is risky and unprofitable, on both points I completely agree. Some choice quotes:
Even well-funded startups give me pause. I'm not interested in putting in founder-like work for entry-level employee-like compensation plus a lottery ticket.
Getting sweet $170k salary with some bonus, massage, free food and shuttle is good enough for me.
"Startup-bucks are even worse than a lottery ticket...." -
Also because if they are worth something, it's a motivation for the company to fire you before you can cash out.
All of those sentiments make perfect sense. However, if you're looking to work in startups to get paid, you're doing it wrong.