Live your startup myth in Greece | cretin diet.
A few days ago I wrote about the end of the capital drought for Greek startups, and how our public discourse must shift from founding to building companies. Today, I’d like to talk about an issue that’s been bugging me for a while, and will be a problem for most founders unless we put some effort to deal with it.
The issue is this: despite the enormous unemployment in Greece, few people are looking for startup jobs. Here’s a few, randomly ordered, observations and thoughts about what’s up and what needs to be done.
Too many chiefs, too few indians. Much was said about starting your own company. Being a founder has been (unduly) idolized. What about working for a fresh company with great potential? The startup ecosystem consists of prospective founders – it should expand and embrace those who would rather seek a great career in young companies.
For too long, the name of the game was that if you want to work in a startup you got to make your own. Young, ambitious people looking for a workplace like the fancy startups they read about in Europe or America, have not been given the option to live this experience by joining another startup. The options were few before, now there will be plenty. And it might be a better option for many. Not everybody wants, needs or can be a founder. And sometimes, it’s best to start at the slight comfort of an established startup. Hell, that’s what I did 7 years ago when I joined Upstream (a company of 10-20 people back then). Believe me it was a truly amazing ride and, without the things I learned there, I doubt I’d have a chance to build Workable today.
Excellent professionals, employees, freelancers or small service businesses need to see the opportunity and engage more closely with the startup community. Designers, markteres, client service people, salespeople, developers, scientific experts of all sorts, administrative staff, accountants, copywriters, lawyers, you name it, the list is endless. Startups will open up positions for every single function a company has, because they’re building entire companies from scratch. It’s not just about techies. We need to reach outside the narrow web/mobile/dev triangle. Their skills are needed, our projects are more interesting, they are likely to have international exposure and we have the funds to pay well on contracts or offer full time engagements.
There’s plenty of unemployed people, but how many have the skills and mentality that tech startups need? Not nearly as many as we need. Recently, I spent some time sourcing and interviewing people for my own business and I see a disturbing trend: I don’t receive as many applications as I would expect given the state of the job market, and few of our applicants seemed to be able to distinguish the features (good and bad) that a tech startup has versus a more traditional employment option. Worse, few of them were in touch with what’s out there, what international competition looks like, or even knew how to research it. The good news? Most of the people shifting employment in post-crisis Greece are not too far in skills from what we need – they just need to freshen up a bit and adopt a slightly different career-building mentality. It’s our job to help them.
People need to be retrained and re-oriented. The appeal of good employment is strong enough to get this process going in such difficult times, but we need to articulate this appeal and start reaching people outside our startup echo-chamber. I’ve met with university professors, recruiters and entrepreneurs who are fighting this battle on their own. Hat tip to them, let’s all help this effort more consciously and join forces. A better talent pool is a benefit to all.
Startup jobs don’t get enough exposure. Many are advertised on a budget on the founder’s facebook pages or on twitter. Others mostly by word of mouth. Now we’ll have a ton more startup jobs with the sudden influx of freshly-founded companies. We need to build our own efficient channels to put these jobs in front of the talented people that exist in our market (they do exist).
There will be a ton of new jobs from tech startups. Most people don’t know about the coming wave of new startups of haven’t done the math. I’ll do it for you. At least 100 companies need to be funded to abosb the Jeremie-supported VC money in the next 3-4 years. Even the majority who will fail, will hire 5-10 people in the process. Some will be successful and end up employing 50-100 people a few years from now. This could mean over 1,000 new jobs. Add the increased demand in contractor services (e.g. part-time designers) or corporate services (e.g. lawyers, accountants) and the potential is even higher.
Talented people need to find out about these opportunities, and we, the founders, need to reach those talented people so we can hire them quickly and effciently.
Talk is cheap, so here’s what I’m going to do about this, and I need your help:
1. I created a Facebook group called “Startup Jobs in Greece” for the sole purpose of posting job adverts. Sure, we all advertise on our websites and on traditional job boards but we have a lot of collective exposure on social media and a free space to tout our openings would serve us well. Please join. Post your jobs there, share jobs with your friends and get talented people to keep an eye of the opportunities that will be posted there
2. An offer you can’t refuse. Our company makes an online recruiting and applicant tracking system. It helps you manage your hiring, it’s neat it’s gorgeous and made in Greece. We will give it for free to all Greek startups for a year. Yes, totally free, simple as that. To all startups. What makes you a startup? We’re not going to set complex rules for it – if you’re a small company in or around the tech ecosystem we’ll just not charge you for it. Go ahead, join Workable and send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning your company name, and we will automatically enroll you on a special free plan.
3. I will use this blog and all other exposure I have, plus all the friends I have who can reach an audience, to tell people about working in startups and where to look for such employment. We need to spread the word and reach the best people in Greece, make the case to them, that this is a great career option and a chance to contribute to a new, better economy for the country. Help me do this, please, in any way you can. Start by joining our facebook group and spread the word.
By Nikos Moraitakis