Shreyas Doshi+ Your Authors @shreyas early PM & first PM lead @stripe. formerly a PM lead @twitter @google @yahoo. I share offbeat ideas here—useful for some, useless for many, not for everyone ❤️ Jun. 04, 2020 3 min read + Your Authors

OK, an important note for talented mid-career folks, when making job changes:

Be extremely rigorous about your personal stack-rank between
1. Title
2. Money
3. Scope

You can lose a lot of potential Money if you aren’t crystal clear on what matters most to you between these 3

A very costly mistake I’ve seen countless times, especially made by top PMs who have multiple good job offers:

They often accept job offers with a bigger Title or Scope, rejecting that one job offer from an awesome company which won’t offer them the fancy Title or large Scope.

Fast forward a few years:

Quite often, their chosen company doesn’t go anywhere.

By contrast, the company whose offer they rejected has taken off like crazy.

They look back and think “Sigh... I would have been in a position to retire by now if I hadn’t rejected that offer.”

Why does this happen?

Conventional wisdom:

Title, Money, and Scope are highly correlated.

So, when faced with a choice, pick the bigger Title or greater Scope.

The Money will follow.


This is generally true when your sample size is one company.

But when you’re job hunting, your sample size is at least dozens of companies.

And at that sample size, the correlation between these 3 is less strong than you might think.

Now, this is fine if what you authentically want is a bigger Title.

Or if managing large Scope gets you really excited about your work.

Ultimately, it's about which among these 3 gives you the greatest fulfillment with your work.

But the key is this:

If Money is at the top of your stack-rank, don’t make the mistake of viewing Title/Scope as the best proxies for Money when you're choosing between multiple good job offers.

(important note: we are talking about the long-term outcome, not at time of offer)

That is all.

For brevity, I’ve left out many things here:
Why companies with fancy Titles are less likely to have a massive $ outcome?
Why do some people repeat these mistakes?
My own stack-rank of these factors.
What about People, Culture, Domain, Impact,..?

Questions welcome!

Thx for the questions. Will continue adding stuff here as patterns emerge from the questions or until I get bored.

First addition, how to choose between Title, Money, Scope?

Very personal choice, but here's something to consider:

Rank Title, Money, & Scope in terms of how enduring each is.

Scope is least enduring. You can't take it to your next company. You might even lose it at current company.

Title is next. Usually lasts at current company & can be displayed on LI for a while.

Money lasts longest!💵

With good choices, Money can even outlast your lifetime.

Money can also buy freedom. Scope & Title don't.

Money can also be used to do good for others. Only the highest Titles (CEO of a large co) can provide equivalent impact for others. Money more accessible than such Titles.

Not saying Money is better than the other two (again, choice is very personal), but in my experience, these are some factors that most people don't consider when making career choices.

Oh, a big caveat:

All of this only applies to modern tech companies. Think Silicon Valley companies started in the past 2 decades, and other companies that have adopted the Silicon Valley culture (flatter orgs, significant employee equity, product leverage, ...)

Check out this video if you're more interested in Title vs. Money, the role of prestige, the quest for fame & accolades, and how to think about career management in the midst of these temptations.

An observation, which I also make in the talk above:

Title inflation is a tell—this company isn't able to hire talented people at the right title, so they have to inflate the title.

So when you get that fancy CPO / VP title, know that the company will also do it for others.

But Titles are finite.

So soon enough, there are way more VPs at the startup than you would reasonably expect for a company of that size.

And a persistent inflation of Titles can prematurely allow egotism & politics to set in.

If a startup cannot convince talented people to join via the quality of its People, Culture, Founders, Core Values, Growth Prospects,... it can resort to Title inflation.

So know that such a company is also less likely to succeed than a similar one that doesn't play this game.

You can follow @shreyas.


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