Kim Taylor

Kim dishes on her big decision.

on Nov 27, 2012

New beginnings and sudden endings! Episode 4 we cover me FINALLY quitting my job to do my first start-up Shonova. Many of you saw this coming. We also cover the less glamorous side of start-up life, which happens to include emotional breakdowns (which we all have). Hang in there, Hermione!
 
Quitting
 
Moving to San Francisco was purely a career move for me. My original plan was to join an education start-up in New York. Like many people who move for work in the beginning, I had no friends, worked insane hours, and was terribly homesick. Most of my friends in Chicago I had known for 10+ years.
 
Quitting was a huge and very personal decision for me, since I felt I sacrificed so much of personal life the past two years for Ampush.
 
My boss Jesse is the best (and last) person I’ll ever work for. Needless to say I was nervous about giving my notice. When you are at an early stage start-up, you become a family.
 
Understanding the risk, I give up half of my equity to leave. A typical vesting schedule at a start-up is 4 years. This means if you own 4% of a company you will vest 1% each year. Equity a big incentive to join a very early stage start-up. You usually take a large pay cut but are also compensated with equity or stock options. If you leave before you are vested you lose the equity.
 
Sometimes you have to give up good for great. I don’t think everyone should quit their job and join a start-up, but in my case it was something I had been planning on doing for 3 years. I want to build a great product (and company) that delights users. I prepared for not being able to pay myself for a year or longer (not uncommon for a start-up founder).
 
Calling Mom: I'm So Gen Y
 
I didn’t tell my parents when I was quitting my job in Chicago to move to SF. Most people told me it was a dumb/terrible decision. It was high risk at the time. However no one understands your situation as well as you do. I'm 30 and it was important for me to make the decision myself. This case was similar.
 
Why leave without a concrete idea? Ideas matter but aren’t as important as you think. It’s more important to solve a problem in a big emerging market. For me it’s luxury fashion. Equally important is building the team and execution.
 
Oh and then I cry over my cabernet. It was an incredibly overwhelming day for me to share on camera. My job was a huge part of my identity and it was strange to be leaving it behind for the unknown. But this place does something to you and you become a product of the environment.