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Alright folks, time to gather around the fire as we continue my story. I'll admit, the past two years have not been kind to me career-wise. Sure, I have been rejected by jobs, but the bigger issue is the jobs I did take were miserable. Honestly, I blame myself for that, I should have seen the red flags and never should have let it get so bad.

I was eager to get out of the fashion company, I would have taken any job really. One in particular involved the games industry here in Finland, which I leapt at. I took a job working for an early-stage start-up as their full-stack developer, working for less than what I was making for the fashion company. I was given equity and the promise that in three months, we would have found further investors. I was naive and an idiot, and thinking about my mistake fills me with no joy.

The company had an initial funding of 240,000€, with a team of 5 people. We had a couple of big name individuals directly involved with the company, along with sponsorships from a few other game companies. The positive here was that I got to make some really good connections for the future. Unfortunately, the negatives were way too high.

* Low wages
* The other developer could only do HTML/CSS (didn't even know Flexbox or Grid)
* Team members had no idea what they should be doing most of the time.
* The Founders could not do a public speaking pitch to save their lives nor take criticism.
* The Founders put all of their eggs in one basket on a partnership, which fell through.
* One Founder kept wanting to do side projects unrelated to the main product, such as electronic interactive window displays and live streamed web shows about the industry.
* The MVP was a mess of features that we had no proof people were actually going to use.
* Same Founder kept justifying having a feature because someone from some event said it would be cool.
* Same Founder kept spending money on more office space, which we never used, and camera / recording equipment, which we used twice with no ROI.
* Same Founder kept hiring people (after running out of money) and not paying them.
* 240,000€ disappeared after three months.
* Investors weren't responding and building a community platform is near impossible without a community.
* After 7 months, the Founders decided to scrap everything worked on and build a new product with a different focus with no funding and expected us to stick around and work on it.

There's probably some more stuff to add, but honestly, this was only last year and still pisses me off.

During my time working there, I committed an absolute sin. I worked for free. They kept issuing payslips, but no payments were made. The Founders kept telling me they would pay me as soon as they had the money. For four months, I watched my bank account slowly drain and lived a frugal life. I let my emotions get the best of me and kept up hope that we'd find some magical investor who would see the value in the company.

Everything went downhill pretty fast. Nobody was being paid and the Founders couldn't look past their own egos. Thanks to the advice of a new friend and a drug induced week in Denmark, I was able to snap out of it and reclaim my sanity. As always, I'll continue once more after I've gathered my thoughts.

Comments
  • 3
    👍 for drug induced week in Danmark
  • 2
    Thats the reasons I never even considered startups when I was looking around for a new position.

    If you are ew to the business and have few responsibilities or saved enough to be more or less independent sure, but with family and all I ruled out startups as a viable option.
  • 0
    @Voxera After 4 years of working with various start-ups, I'm stepping out of it. I owned and sold my own tech start-up in the past, so I understand the risks. I have no problem working for a start-up as long as they're well-funded and managed by a competent human being.

    I'm in my late-twenties now, though. I have a number of responsibilities more, not just to myself. I'm not seeking start-up work anymore and I'm shooting for jobs that are far more stable.
  • 0
    As someone entering the industry a bit late and also with responsibilities, I was shit scared of having to accept an offer at a startup - you hear so much shit about them I wonder sometimes how people even dare...
  • 0
    > The Founders put all of their eggs in one basket on a partnership, which fell through.

    BigFish Games demands exclusive partnership from developing companies, in every contract it is prohibited to have relations to other publishers
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