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Ask HN: How to get a leadership position in a startup

Hi HN, writing from a throw away account.

I'm currently struggling to understand the dynamics to get hired in a leadership position in a tech startup. In the last few weeks I have been talking with startups at different stages of their growth and funding (A, pre B, post B..., some of them in the ballpark of 20 employees, some other in ~100).

All the companies I spoke to shown a strong interest given my, kinda nichy, technical background and experience, and I got some good offers as principal.

However I'd like to be exposed to upper management/leadership kind of role, when inquiring about the possibilities I usually get something like: - we are too small to think about that, maybe in the future (can work it out or can end up in the company growing and then hiring someone from the outside rather than growing leadership from the inside, which I find quite frustrating) - there are no openings for the leadership right now but we'd really love to have you onboard and you'd be quite autonomous Best I can get has been join as IC, as the company grows we might have the headcount to let you grow your team.

To give some context about myself, I'm currently in a directorship position (being promoted from within the company) managing a department ~100ppl, but leaving because of the toxic environment. I won't disklike being involved in a pure technical role but the impact usually is limited and I'd like to be more involved company wide.

Nothing wrong with that, but I just realized I do not understand how you end up in something like a director or VP position. Is it like a direct hire? Is it a networking thing?

If it sounds like a rant, take this as a rant againt my lack of understanding. I'm trying to figure it out if there is something different I'm supposed to do, something I'm lacking or what.


  • 4 points
  • 13 days ago

  • @rodentflamingo
  • Created a post

Ask HN: How to get a leadership position in a startup

@neximo64 13 days

Replying to @rodentflamingo 🎙

If you're thinking that way thats not how you get in. You usually have to start actually doing the work then you kind of earn your place if you're better at it than others as the team grows. Typically across tech startups its pretty much the same, unless you come from a sales background.

There isn't room typically in a startup to start senior and then build the team out, it usually starts the other way with a team thats building something, achieves PM-fit & then grows/expands that out to scale.


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