This was originally going to be a comment on Hacker News on this thread, but there’s too much cognitive dissidence to overcome so I’m posting it here.
It seems to me there are three basic “startup salary ranges”:
- Very Good.
- Less than market rate, but with equity
- No pay, but with equity.
The Very Good is an interesting market force right now. You expect the best people to jump ship into your company, then stay there for a while. Now, when your strategy for hiring talent is “poach from Twitter - their office is right down the block!” I can see how Very Good salaries can happen. (Or, “We have to pay them well so they don’t go back down the block to Twitter”). Especially when you have to hire rock stars, and they have to be in SF.
In this situation, sure you’ll have plenty saved up no matter which way the startup goes: you don’t have time to spend money on anything more than the monthly bills you have to pay. ESPECIALLY if your monthly bills don’t include rent (or, I’m guessing, a car).
A sidebar here: the comment I was going to reply to talked about living on someone’s couch while spending 6 months working on a startup.
In the “less than market rate” strategy, hopefully that amount’s enough to live carefully and also slowly build up your savings account a little, again for “no matter which way the startup goes”.
Sure, you can still make really good money in this strategy if you’re couch surfing.
In the “no pay, but with equity” situation… well, I hope you started with a good savings.
But wow, I guess you’re just paying for food and (student loans?) if you’re staying on someone’s couch. Brilliant!
And, of course, the couch surfing bit is unrealistic for a huge chunk of even the programmer population…