This spring I drove around Silicone Valley and San Francisco talking to entrepreneurs and VCs. I looked for a summer internship, and advice on how to choose an internship. I met with some really smart people, who gave me some really great advice.
"Find the smartest person who takes you seriously. And do whatever they ask."
"The product doesn't matter, find founders that you love." & "You have to love the product, or you'll hate the job." etc.
Most everyone said something like: working in startups is not glamorous - It's not like the social network. You spend tons of time on boring things. Most things you try wont work. You will be told "no" quite often.
Working for a startup is less glamorous than they said. But I still love it. I love the fact that if I don't go to work, things grind to a halt. And if I work my ass off, the needle moves.
That said, I wish I was told this:
"If you work for a startup, you will have to sit in a chair for 12 or 13 hours a day."
Perhaps people didn't mention this because it was so obvious. Or because it's not unique to startups. But to me, after four summers of climbing mountains for work, this is the hardest part of the job.
For the first two weeks of work, my chair was my biggest enemy. I worked out of the founders house and the parking was free, but limited to two hours. So every one hour 55 minutes, I would get up, walk to my car and move it around the block. Then walk back. I looked forward to moving my car, more than anything in the world.
Fast forward two months. I have a system. Sometimes I sit on a bouncy ball, other times I stand or kneel. Some days I go for walks every few hours. But a lot of the times, I just sit still in my chair. The problems I am solving become more complex and interesting each day. The responsibility I have is real. And I forget about everything except for what I'm working on. I don't even notice the chair I sit in.
I've also begun walking to work and home. The hour walk certainly isn't Rainier or Denali. But it does get out some fidgets.