Which type of PM experience makes a better entrepreneur—big tech or early-stage company?

Both have advantages and disadvantages, but overall, I’m curious to know which you believe would give an entrepreneur the upper hand: the more specialized, quantitative, process-oriented experience of FAANG/MAMAA, or the more generalist, PMF-oriented, chaotic experience of early-stage.


Neither. If being an entrepreneur is what you want to do, do it. You can learn all the PM skills along the road with a mentor or counselor. If becoming an entrepreneur is your objective, launch an enterprise right now. When attempting to raise money, an FAANG name provides more credibility. In the end, your choice should be consistent with your long-term professional goals and personal values. However, it is important to remember that success as an entrepreneur ultimately comes from hard work, determination, and innovation. It is not solely dependent on making the “right” choice.


@RohitKumar, there’s some wisdom in this. At age 33, I founded my business before product management as we know it today. I placed a lot of reliance on mentors, programs, and hiring experts in their fields. When it’s your idea, your team, and you’re the one writing their checks, everything is different. It’s a whole new level of responsibility and pressure. You have to make tough decisions and face the consequences, but it’s all part of the journey towards success. It’s all part of the journey towards success and personal growth, and it helps shape you into a stronger and more resilient individual, ultimately leading to a fulfilling and meaningful life. This is the reward for embracing the challenges and obstacles that come your way.


For that specific objective, a typical early-stage company probably has a long way to go. The way PM work is conducted in big tech differs greatly from that of startups. Here are a few notable distinctions:

  • Rate of change: Iterations and time to release are considerably faster or shorter with startups; if you are establishing your own business, you need to be able to work at a faster pace.

  • Extending your responsibilities: As an entrepreneur, you may find yourself in a scenario where you need to wear several hats in order to fill whatever gap has arisen. This is due to limited human resources, budgets, and power dynamics. You will also be performing this at a startup.

  • Risk tolerance: As an entrepreneur or in a startup, you will feel the effects of poor decisions somewhat promptly. In the major IT industry, tasks are frequently deferred and shared. This is a huge issue since there are so many amazing people in big tech who are afraid to take chances.


@BobbyDuncan, Additionally, just developing a basic understanding of how companies operate and how far you can go with a limited amount of resources.

I observe the frequent error made by corporate businesses in hiring management with corporate credentials but no startup expertise. The management then thinks that in order to launch a product, you need several departments. using the most expensive phrase you can utter in a startup environment—“we are not just four people in a garage”—as a guideline.

Before you know it, the corporate startup is striving to launch a product with the help of 50–70 employees. burning through $5 million annually while making very little money.

Never before has Steve Blank’s statement—“a startup is not a smaller version of a large company”—been more accurate.


That hurts. I got my start as a PM moving from Customer Success because the 16 person start up did a seed round, spent it on a management team that decided we needed to formalize with 3 PMs, 2 designers, a bunch of sales reps, etc., and here we are now, 2 years later, having laid off most of the company and gone down to 20 people. I’m somehow the only PM left standing. It’s “good to know this wasn’t just my failure as a PM, but it’s a story repeated throughout the tech world. Many PMs have faced similar challenges and setbacks. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone in this experience. There is a community of support and understanding among PMs who have gone through similar struggles. They can offer valuable advice and guidance, making the journey less daunting. They can also provide encouragement and reassurance during challenging times.


This is a perfect approach. I’ve done all of these, and a large tech company doesn’t encourage much entrepreneurship. It is not rewarded or encouraged. Go be the first PM at a startup if that is what you desire. Be the one to create the change you want to see. Take the leap and follow your passion. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. Believe in yourself, and trust that your hard work and determination will pay off in the end.


Another one that I’d want to add is lack of agency as the PM to drive the product, which I see as a major issue at my firm that turns motivated individuals into dust.

Consider that you are only a PM2 or Senior PM. Once you and your group have made a decision, if you’re in a really strong group, your GPM or PM director has the power to successfully bulldoze a road to success for you and your group. That is uncommon and necessitates a unique organizational structure that isn’t very prevalent at these major tech firms.

In a typical organization, you’re trapped between a variety of webs of different stakeholders who are all trained to reject any request that isn’t in line with an OKR and who have little desire to take chances at the leadership level (and everything that is an x-dependency is a risk). However, it’s not just you; the same dynamics also apply to your GPM and director. Sure, they can observe your PRs, operations, and steering and gently suggest what they’d like to see. They can also inform you that you have the go-ahead to take a certain action (yay, a choice! ), but GTM in our country necessitates so much irksome red tape.

If there are any relationship dependencies, you must involve BD, and their availability is always one year out. Your director asks their VP to escalate, and they return with a personnel sheet to tell you to buzz off. Account managers are necessary. GBO? Other crucial operations for your GTM have the same absurdity. You get your leads to gripe about the bureaucracy, and then all of a sudden, a P0 bureaucracy-busting initiative entirely allocates the next 6 months, leaving them with no bandwidth to answer any incoming requests. Because you have to spend the entire salary on therapy to get through the days, I’m pleased the money is excellent.

Every program effectively turns into a game of “do you think the operations side will be able to execute if our designers and engineers finish this in six months?” Should we hold off for another year? I am aware that this is my role, yet this is so Kafkaesque. I’ve lost so many wonderful product partners because of this issue, and it always settles into a situation where you exhaust the dedicated individuals and are left with those that simply don’t care.


I agree. Currently, the series is in its early stages. A company, and the learning is more than I could have ever imagined, particularly the touch points I get to understand investor fundraising expectations and strategies. The learning is ultimately about how to make sure our product is evolving to meet our revenue and operational goals as we scale. Even though everything is still in its infancy, I have learned a lot about how to best use my resources to ensure our product is evolving to meet our revenue and operational goals as we scale.

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Is this a genuine question? Navigating bureaucracy and operating within the constraints of the current culture are critical competencies for FAANGM PMs. Real agility and ‘get shit done’ muscles can be developed in the early stages. However, long-term success in this role also requires a deep understanding of the industry and a strategic mindset. It is important for FAANGM PMs to stay updated with industry trends and continually adapt their strategies accordingly. In order to stay ahead of the competition and drive innovation, they must possess strong analytical skills and be able to effectively analyze market data.