What it's like to leave Google for a startup -- as told by three people who did just that

Working at Google may sound like a dream job for most engineers, software developers, designers, and business executives. But the truth is that tons of employees leave the company to pursue their own ideas or to work at small startups.

Often times, people discover that they may be able to solve a particular problem better or differently than Google, or they leave to work at newer companies that are more specialised in their areas of focus.

We chatted with three former Google employees that worked in different parts of the company to learn about what it was like to leave such a massive company for startups.

IrinaBlokIrina BlokIrina Blok

Irina Blok, a former senior designer at Google who created the logo for Android, said things happen a lot faster when you’re working for a startup. “We don’t have a discussion, we just get things done,” she said in a phone interview with Business Insider. Blok is now the creative director at Curbside, a company that lets you order goods through a mobile app and pick them up in person without having to leave your car. “I think it’s a very easy transition because Google is so unstructured,” Blok said. Even though the transition was easy, the workflow is much different, says Blok, who has also previously worked at Adobe and Yahoo too. “You’re not really responsible for the whole thing, you’re part of something,” she said. “At a startup, you have to wear many different hats.”

KamakshiCourtesy of DrawbridgeKamakshi Sivaramakrishnan

Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, who worked at Google for six months after the company acquired AdMob in 2010, is now the founder and CEO of adtech company Drawbridge. The biggest challenge for her when starting her own company from scratch was the fact that most of her experience came from technology, not business, so she had to learn about all of the aspects involved in creating a company such as team building, financing, and more. “There are new experiences that many of us first-time entrepreneurs go through,” she told Business Insider in an interview. “The fact that I didn’t have entrepreneurial experience didn’t deter me from doing this. So the lack of entrepreneurial experience per say shouldn’t deter you as long as there’s merit to what you’re doing.”

Paul Adams, who worked at Google as a senior user experience researcher for three years before leaving to work as a product manager at Facebook, is now the Vice President of Product at Intercom. Adams also said it’s a lot easier to get things done in a smaller company. “You just have more autonomy,” Adams said in an interview with Business Insider. At Intercom, Adams says his team can release new features to customers every single week, whereas that would be considered a huge project at Facebook or Google. “We can just be more flexible and adaptive,” he said. “It’s very, very hard and takes a long time, whereas with us it’s very fast.”

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