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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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March 18, 2008 2:22 PM

Ex-Microsoft architect riffs on startups vs. big companies

Posted by Brier Dudley

Blist Chief Executive Kevin Merritt is calling bull on people who say they're working for a "startup inside" a big company.

"What they mean is that their team is working on a new project and maybe at the outset has decided to try to be less bureaucratic than other teams at BigCo,'' he said, then listed some of the differences between startups and big companies.

A sample:

-- At a startup, you decide if you want a Mac or a PC.

-- At a startup, when you call IT, the line is always busy. Finally you realize you're dialing your own desk.

-- At a startup, the crappy legacy code you have to fix is your own.

The rest is on the blist blog.

Merritt has some perspective here -- before founding blist, a Pioneer Square startup that calls its product "the world's easiest database" -- he worked as an architect and operations director at Microsoft. He arrived there after starting another company, which was sold to Frontbridge Technologies, which was bought by Microsoft in 2005.

Apparently, he preferred the small-company culture. He's also recruiting engineers.

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