Houjun Liu


Smol companies


  • A well-run startup should have 18 month of cash planned, and have a runway of 6 months to ensure you can always get acq-hired and “bail out”

Myths of Startups

  • “Joining Big Tech” vs. “Starting a Startup” are not binary options
  • In between these poles: joining an existing startup

Myth: “90% of startups of fail”

True statement: 90% of SMALL BUSINESSES fail. Venture backed tech startups are very different world: only 1% of small businesses are venture backed.

Roughly: 1/3 of VC backed startups “fail”

  • 1/3 fail
  • 1/2 return the money (nothing happens)
  • 1/6 exits + drive returns

Myth (kinda): “you are under paid”

If you JOIN a startup, the small amount of compensation corresponds to betting on yourself in a similar way.

If you are negotiating your compensation, you should try to get MORE EQUITY and less cash.

Anatomy of a Startup “Fail”

Most startup failures looks like an acqui-hire. Acq-hiring results in investors

  • Investors loose money
  • Employees get a minor payoff