“Fitting Internet culture”
I will be interviewing for a new Internet company soon. I have several years experience working in a more established, large company and worry I won’t be seen as fitting into this other culture. What can I do to make myself more appealing to the founder of this firm?
–Corporate But Not Old Fashioned
Get into the head of this person. He or she is facing the same issues of any of these Internet company executives: how to run and build a company at light speed with no road map before the opportunity slips away.
With that in mind, they are looking for someone with a tolerance for ambiguity and change. For instance, don’t expect a job description that pins down exactly what you do. In fact, you may be asked to rotate jobs.
In a conversation last fall with The New Times’ Judith Dobrzynski and four Internet executives from Silicon Alley (the Manhattan area populated by fledgling Internet companies), Kevin O’Connor of DoubleClick said rotation is a very strong policy at his company. Since things move so fast, stress is high, and sleep is limited, burnout can easily occur and rotation is one way to regenerate people.
When asked about the difference between how their companies and large ones are run, the executives said intuition goes a long way. “In large corporations, you need to spend a lot of time quantifying what the market’s going to look like and how you’re to going to go about it and what the expenses are going to beÖhere it’s very much speed, it’s intuition.”
When asked how managers who have worked at large companies fare in Internet companies, Mr. O’Connor said overall, pretty well. “You tend to get people who expect to have two assistants. But our first test is, we make them take a pay cut. If they won’t take a massive pay cut, you’ve petty much got them pegged.” They make it up with stock options.
Go to your interview armed with examples of how you think and take action quickly, trust your gut and are willing to do whatever it takes to build the company fast.