Arc Ranked #5 Best Startup to Work For in San Francisco in 2023
“We’re building the plane as we’re flying it”. I say this often. Daily actually. As a Head of Talent, part of my job is to tell prospective candidates about the amazing things happening here at Arc. And trust me, there is a lot going on and a lot to be proud of. I also think it’s important to point out that there is still so much left to do. So much left to build, accomplish, innovate, and win. So many lessons to learn the hard way and then not make again. The tuition in the school of a startup. I say this because startups are not for the weak. Anyone looking for a job where the playbook is written and you clock-in and clock-out, need not apply. For the right people, the “so much left to do” should be the best part, it means opportunity for real impact.
Startups take grit. And optimism. The right people not only know it, they embody it.
Best Places to Work
Yesterday Arc was named in the top 5 of the 50 Best Startups to work for in San Francisco by Built In. When I found out, I was filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the hard work of our founders, fellow Arc-itects, product, customers, and the company we’re building—especially during this difficult macro environment. For a long time, it was common to assume that big tech was safer than startups. But seeing companies like Meta and Amazon double their already enormous workforces in the last two years, it’s becoming clear that being small (and mighty) is actually a good thing right now. No more “growth at all costs”, now it’s mindful and prudent headcount growth focused on quality over quality.
Joining a startup with less than 50 people right now is one of the greatest opportunities for impact, agency, scope, and growth. The other day, I overheard an Arc Engineer say they shipped more code in 2 months at Arc than in two years at their previous publicly traded company. That same engineer works directly with our Co-Founders daily and is a major culture add, not only to the engineering team but the company overall. At his last company, he was 1 out of 8,000, at Arc, he makes a serious and meaningful impact daily and we couldn’t be happier he’s on the team.
It’s why I’m such a big believer in going early. The earlier the better in fact. Don’t get me wrong, working for a well-established and celebrated tech company is 100% on my career goals list. But joining a company during Seed - Series B provides such an incredible opportunity for growth and impact. The last company I joined at Series C and stayed through Series D, I thought that was early. Joining Arc at Seed, I realize what early truly is. And it’s the absolute best. I still have so much left to build and accomplish. Keeping my eye on the long-term goals and big picture, helps me stay rooted in a mindset of determination and positivity.
Everyday we move the needle. Some days we move it a lot more than other days. In fact, I think it’s common for startup employees to have days, even weeks, where you feel like you are failing at your job. This is because there are usually twelve different hats to wear, too much to get done in a day, and oftentimes you are tackling projects/initiatives that are new to you, so you are learning as you go. But every day, you move the needle. The ability to thrive in ambiguity and ride the roller coaster is why startups take serious grit. If you let the hard days compound, you lose sight of the big picture. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and it requires you to expand your limits of mental toughness.
Mindset is everything. Garry Tan, the President of Y Combinator, once said that “true founders need to be pessimistic in the short term and optimistic in the long term”. Because Arc is built for founders, we spend a lot of time thinking about the founder mindset and frameworks for scaling companies. To say we are obsessed with founders is an understatement. Everyone at Arc embodies an ownership mentality. And part of that mentality, as Tan points out above, is optimism. It’s ok to have short-term pessimism, it’s what ensures you aren’t cutting corners in the areas where being stringent is super important. But overall, embodying long-term optimism is the key to success at a startup. Negativity kills startup culture. One bad apple can take down the whole bunch. When interviewing at a startup, make sure to check for optimism. Ask people what is the hardest part of their job, the company, the product, etc. How they respond (with or without optimism, even in the face of difficulty) will tell you everything.