Are you a beginner marketer wondering:

  • How should I choose the right startup for myself
  • How my learning curve will vary in different startups
  • Which one is right for me?
  • How will I make an impact on a big vs. small startup’s growth as a beginner

If yes, this blog is for you. It's inspired by Amanda Goetz twitter thread on working as a marketer at a big vs. small startup.

According to Amanda, "You need to know yourself and what drives you before you can figure out what size is right for you."

Let's dive into differences as per Amanda:

  1. Generalist vs. Specialist

Big cos: Specialist - less time playing in other channels. Usually split up by social / PR / SEO / growth, etc

Small: Generalist - less people = more time dabbling in different channels

2. Management experience

Big cos: Likely learn to "influence without authority" since you'll be more specialised and need others to do stuff for you.

Small: Less people = flatter organisation in the beginning but once the company grows, you will be seen as the function leader.

3. Autonomy

Big cos: More process oriented and layers of approval, may not be able to move as quickly but less room for error.

Small cos: blurrier instructions but more autonomy - must like to operate in the grey.

4. Attention

Big cos: functional leads get to have the "seat at the table" and seen as owner of the outcomes, report to the board.

Small cos: You are responsible for helping pull #s for board slides, and celebrated for successes - held responsible for failures.

5. Risk tolerance

Big cos: feels more secure/stable, larger HR department, more room for lateral moves.

Startups: focused on getting to major milestones, exciting but also risky - salary may be combo of cash + equity - possibly less liquid but higher potential upside.

6. Culture / Camaraderie

Big cos: more established: might have affinity groups, onboarding experience, intentional mentorship, etc.

Small cos: you are part of shaping the culture, but that could lead to absence of many things if not seen as a priority.

7. Results oriented

Big cos: More structured reporting but depending on how far away from the reporting you are, might not know how your direct work impacts business.

Small cos: May be closer to the numbers but may not know larger strategy and if you are measuring the right thing


Here is a tweet thread by Allison Barr Allen, Co-Founder & COO @Fast on working for a big company vs. startup which can help you in weighing the pros and cons.

Hope that helps you. Please do comment with points we are missing.