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I keep hearing from Net and people around me that Startups are the place where you get to learn a lot, and Also, I come across term 'Startup Spirit' . What is the Difference between working culture of a startup and a corporate .

I would like for people to clarify in the programming context.

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Working really really long hours (100+ per week), sleeping on the company floor, surviving on pizzas and hot pockets while the company burns rapidly through seed and VC money. Fail to bring something viable to market before the deadline setup by the VC companies, who pull the plug on the project, leaving you full of worthless stock options. Oh, it's so sad to be a realist... :/ –  Vitor Sep 13 '11 at 9:41
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No time to answer! Must write product with one hand while doing server admin with other hand and on phone to bank to extend corporate overdraft! Haven't slept for three days. Don't have time to discuss spirits –  MarkJ Mar 17 '12 at 9:13

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The Startup Spirit is about taking risks, diving into new technologies, and unabashedly attempting to be the first and best in a particular segment/business. Startup Spirit never asks the question "what would be the return on investment". It doesn't get mired in "risk management" meetings, estimates, projections and budgets.

One could also say that the Startup Spirit is something that is viewed through rose-tinted hindsight glasses, a mythical creature that ignores the enormous body of high-risk startup failures in order to focus on a few huge high-profile high-risk successes.

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+1 for rose-tinted hindsight glasses. –  Vitor Sep 13 '11 at 9:42
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Just for Startup Spirit never asks the question "what would be the return on investment": you should try submitting a BP to a VC company. You can rest assured that the startup spirit will ask you about ROI, exit strategies, and a lot of other funny numbers with crazy names. –  Vitor Sep 13 '11 at 12:48

A startup is a new company. They tend to be less risk averse and more exciting to work for than a corporate as a new company can make or break in the first year.

From a programming perspective your more likely to use new things and have more influence over the technologies used in a startup.

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It comes down to this: in a startup people usually act based on the social norms that generally only apply to close relationships; friends, relatives, that kind of thing. In a corporation, people act based on social norms that generally apply in semi-anonymous scenarios.

So when a person has to make a decision: do I take the choice that's best for me at the expense of the group, or the choice that's best for the group at my own expense; in a startup they will often side with the group, while in a corporation they will often focus on their own personal benefit. In a startup people will often accept lower pay and work harder; in a corporation people are more likely to call in sick when they're not and make decisions that yield less work for themselves even though it may be worse for everyone else.

There's a very interesting book called The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior that talks about this phonomen, particularly in the context of startups, citing studies and figures and all that scientific stuff. Also there's an equally enlightening (albeit much shorter) interview with the author that discusses this principle.

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