Perception vs. Reality of Startup Life

The digital media industry has a startup fetish.  We are obsessed with startups: We idealize them, sing their praises and envision them to be cool places where young people hang out in posh digs and come up with innovative ideas while playing ping pong or practicing yoga in the serenity room. But it’s time to get real. Most startups aren’t these modern, tricked out, luxurious office environments that we imagine them to be — unless they’ve gotten some serious funding. For the most part, startups aren’t so glamorous. Hey, I mean, I remember when Digiday was me sitting in a one-desk office in a shared office space.

Here are some pictures that illustrate the perception versus the reality of startup conditions. If your office looks like the “perception” images, then good for you! Living the dream. For the rest, yeah, we feel you.

 1. Office creatures: furry four-legged friend vs. kind of furry, six-legged invader (that one was caught in the Digiday editorial room)

2. Floor plans: spacious, open floor plan vs. cramped quarters in a shared office space (Digiday remembers its WeWork days…)

3. Neighbors: other cool startups and chic companies vs. sweatshop on the same floor of your Chinatown office
Photos via Flickr, left by vlauria, right by paularps

4. Decor: cool office art vs. interesting signage  
Photo on right via Flickr by Harald Grovan

5. Bathroom situation: beautiful, clean, modern design vs. dingy, always clogged, worse than a rest stop
Photo on left via Flickr by andrewarchy