My advice to a friend thinking about joining a startup – you better love it

The other day a friend of mine asked me for some advice. This person is thinking about leaving her job and joining a startup.

She’s an american citizen who is now living in Spain.

I didn’t know much about the specific company in question but I said the two most important things are: a) do you believe in the founders and b) do you love the vision & product

I think it’s pretty obvious why the first point is critical.

But I know plenty of folks that join companies by ignoring the latter point. They tell themselves that the new gig is challenging or they could see the startup becoming successful one day. Or it’s a good place to get their feet wet in startup land.

I don’t like any of those answers frankly.

Here’s the thing. Startups are amazing. They can be unbelievably rewarding and they are addictive. This is the absolute best time to join or create a startup. But you better love the idea because startups are hard too. You are constantly understaffed and under resourced. And that isn’t easy when you are trying to change the world but it’s a fact.

I heard on NPR the other day the reason why the Boston Globe sport’s column was so successful back in the day was because they had the young reporters that were completely in love with the sports, teams and athletes they covered. They were passionate and it showed in their work.

That’s exactly right. Passion. Obsession to giving it your all. Not settling for medicroity.

And you gotta love it.