Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

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Secretive to a fault

May 20th, 2010 · No Comments

I recently talked to a start-up. This company has been around for a while, but it’s super secretive.

It has a bare bone web site. You can find very little useful information about the company.

Its address is list as a PO BOX number. Their physical address is not available anywhere online.

When I discussed a job offer with them, I asked questions such as "total number of shares outstanding, current valuation of the company, company burn rate, etc.". The answer I got is that "we don’t reveal those information. They’re confidential."

I talked to a few people who are familiar with this company. They told me that this company is secretive to a fault. For any employee to make an external presentation, it has to go through much internal scrutiny. Nobody is allowed to say anything to outside world without permission from the senior management team.

I asked why this company was so secretive — the answer was that they feel that they don’t need to let the whole world to know what they’re doing. They operate in a niche market. They’re the only known player in the niche.

Still, I felt uncomfortable about the super secrecy. It’s not like they’re making a nuclear bomb during World War II.

Are you working for one of those "stealthy mode" start-ups? I haven’t known too many stealthy-mode start-ups become hugely successful.

Ideas is a dime a dozen; execution makes or break a start-up. I like openness.

Tags: Start-up Success

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