While being away (and completely offline) I finally found the time and space to read a couple of books which have been on my list for a while. Having plowed through a few books on leadership made me realize how much we overemphasize the role of the founder/leader in comparison to the team. Specifically the early members of a venture.
Companies are built by people — that is the plural, not the singular. Having had the opportunity to observe many companies from idea to successful (and probably more often unsuccessful) exit, I can tell you that all companies are truly built by the unsung heroes: The second, third, fourth and all the other early employees are truly the ones who are making a company.
If you want to make a difference — consider being an early employee at a startup you care about. It’s incredibly rewarding, the payoff is typically good and you can rest knowing that your work is incredibly important.
Derek Sivers explained this incredibly well in his video about the Dancing Guy.