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Why leave a FAANG company to work for yourself

About 2 min to read

Software

Leaving the Life at Google

Those who are periodically cruising the Teamblind community know how the members value a job at Google. It constantly tops various polls for the most desirable company to work for. And many do thrive in corporate environment.

But the captivating story of why Michael Lynch quit his job at Google uncovered other aspects of the game. The projects had tendencies not to be completed or unified properly leaving developers with nothing to show for. The seemingly neutral processes to secure and promote the best experts in fact hindered valuable work. Eventually the quality of his time took precedence opting him to leave.

Grass is greener

What fascinates me most about the story is Michael's motivation to reclaim his own time even in the abscense of a profitable project in sight. In his blog he describes a snapshot of a day that might reflect aspiration of many.

Every day, I come downstairs and enjoy a leisurely breakfast with my girlfriend. We live at the end of a dead-end street, so when she leaves for work, my house is perfectly quiet. After writing for 60-90 minutes, I map out the rest of my day. I don’t work after dinner or on the weekends. If I feel sleepy at 3pm, I take a nap and never worry about what my manager thinks.

The pure autonomy over his day and the freedom to control his business the way he sees fit is as satisfying as he dreamed.

Financial loss

Yet he's open about operating at a financial loss during the 2 years. By the second year he tripled the revenue ($7.2k), cut down expenses in half and still lost money overall. Only one of his products - an app allowing food apps to recognize the structure of recipe ingredients - has significant revenue and is in fact profitable at this point. Fortunately, his luck is about to change for the better moving forward.

Learnings

All in all the above looks like a fairly realistic outcome when starting your own project under certain prerequisites. Manage risks. You don't need to beat yourself up for loosing money, but you do need savings and investments (S&P 500 is good enough) to live off until it takes off. Cut down expenses as much as possible. Viral content helps. Most importantly, take time to enjoy your newly found independence.