The history of Silicon Valley is the history of digital technology. To become a part of that history, do you go to work for one of the giants — Apple, Google, Intel, HP, Oracle, Facebook? Or do you catch a wave that hasn't crested yet?
Longtime Silicon Valley venture capitalist turned Stanford faculty member and entrepreneur Andy Rachleff tells his students the best thing they can do is join a mid-size company that has proven its durability but is still growing rapidly. In a recent blog post on the website of his software-driven money management service Wealthfront, he writes:
You get more credit than you deserve for being part of a successful company, and less credit than you deserve for being part of an unsuccessful company. Success will help propel your career. At a fast-growing company, chances are good you’ll have a higher position two years after you join. At a slow-growth company, no matter how good a job you do, you won’t have the same opportunities to advance. When it comes time to leave the successful company, you’ll be able to write your own ticket.
Rachleff's advice is actually geared toward aspiring tech stars who are thinking about going to work at a startup. He says don't. But it sounds equally applicable to going to work for a giant company where you're in danger of becoming just another cog.
In our last post, we highlighted the 10 San Francisco tech companies you wish you worked for based on Rachleff's recommendations. They tended toward the fun and quirky. In Silicon Valley the geeks get serious. Rachleff says these 10 private companies, each with revenue between $20 million and $300 million, are among the best you could join to launch a successful career in tech. (Coming next: 10 tech companies you wish you worked for outside of California.)
Above: Arista Networks
Sun Microsystems' founding hardware engineer Andy Bechtolsheim started Arista in 2005 with partner David Cheriton to build networking switches to power the cloud. This year LinkedIn named Arista the top Bay Area startup for engineers.
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