Startups Are for the Young?
2008-06-09 08:19PM PDT/Home
I think Aaron Swartz does a pretty good job highlighting the challenges for a lot of people, particularly those who have children who would like to found a start up. How to Promote Startups:
Anyone with children is also straight out. Startup founders tend to be quite young, in no small part because no one can afford to support a family on a startup founder's salary. But if we had universal child care, that would be much less of an issue. Parents would be free to pursue their dreams, knowing that their children were taken care of. And universal higher education could let parents spend their savings on getting a business started, instead of their children's tuition. Plus, it'd give many more kids the training and confidence they needed to start a company.
I'd add, starting a company requires a certain amount of focus that can be very hard on families. Especially families with young children.
And the challenges apply to more than just start ups, it speaks to the tech industry in general. Engineers are paid to execute on what they know. But there's a premium paid for skills in the latest technologies. The two are somewhat mutually exclusive. The skills you know well with very few exceptions literally become less valuable with each passing year. A practicing software engineer could use 4 or 5 months "off" building up their skills every few years.
I took nine months off about three years ago and retooled. I was so burnt out from a start up that I needed a couple months just to let the coding itch come back. And it did. Thankfully we had health insurance through my wife's job, and we had made conscious choices with our lifestyle so that we didn't need to both be working in order to support it.