Pros: Culture and team. I moved from San Francisco to join Morning Consult as a data scientist. I find the culture here refreshing, especially compared to the Bay. The vast majority of employees are hard working, talented, humble, and nice, which in my experience is highly unusual for a fast-growing technology startup. Work-life balance is honestly fantastic, and we have a flexible work environment. For example, I've spent a few weeks working remotely just because I wanted to be near family in a different state, and we have an unlimited vacation policy that people are encouraged to use (HR will ping your boss if you don't). People invite their teams over on weekends for BBQ, parties, etc.; we have informal beer tastings every so often, in addition to more organized company events. While we don't have as much racial/ethnic diversity as we'd like, I think that we have a very inclusive environment -- the opposite of Silicon Valley bro culture. Innovation and impact. In many ways, we're in uncharted territory. The sheer volume and ground-truth empirical value of the data we collect is staggering, and it comes with lots of opportunities. We're doing well as a company, but as a data scientist, it feels like we're just starting to scratch the surface of what's possible. Here are some examples: - A week ago, we released an economic data product that the Fed should probably be using heavily in its policy research. - We're able to work on public opinion data as it relates to the presidential elections at a scale that nobody else can. We're applying NLP at scale in ways that I've never seen done before -- and also in ways that answer real questions and solve real problems. - Because our product is data, data scientists are heavily involved in product discovery and prototyping. Public opinion data combined with news and social media data form a large, fun playground for experimentation and prototyping. And we have access to all of the resources we need to do our jobs well. - We have a full-fledged newsroom that publishes superb data journalism (which is another cool opportunity for the data team). It feels good to be working at a public opinion company in an age where the notion of empirical truth is under assault. Business prospects. We're growing fast and making a lot of money. That makes the work more exciting and fun, and it gives us resources to build teams and explore new ideas. Not for nothing, we're a bootstrapped company, which means that we couldn't afford to spend $5M of venture capital to blow on building a product nobody will use. That has meant that we have needed to actually make money as we grew, which has in turn caused us to only build products that people actually want to consume.
Cons: Any time an organization regularly doubles its headcount, there will be friction -- and we're no exception. If consistency and stability are a priority for you, then a startup probably isn't the best place to work. Having said that, I think that we're doing a better job of managing the growth than anywhere else I've worked.