Many years ago, when the internet was very much Web 1.0, somebody asked a friend who "worked in web design" to create us a web site. It was pretty awful. It looked bad and really didn't portray us very well. When challenged as to the poor quality, the response was along the lines of, "tell me what's wrong and I will fix it".

The answer to that? "If I need to tell you what's wrong, why am I paying for your expertise"?

Sadly, this culture still exists and it is mainly in the corporate world. The corporate world is largely about power and control. Managers who's value is vague at best and who are nervous that unless they boss some people around and make their team large, they will be exposed and will disappear in the next round of restructures. People therefore, are not encouraged to be motivated, enterprising etc. in their roles, they are implicitly and sometimes explicitly told to do what they are told and nothing more. I even read about someone who was paid $5000 for a single web page because the customer was so controlling that they couldn't sign off his work and needed him to go to meetings etc. to meet all of these "stake holders".

Flip over to the world of the Startup - historically a small company trying to grow big but now more of a culture than a size. In the startup world I absolutely cannot have people sitting down waiting to be told what to do - I need them to own their role, to be hungry for the bigger picture, to take the barest of priorities and make something amazing to solve the problem. Compare the following types of person:

person 1: Do you need a database? What type of database do you want? How should I lay out the tables? Do you need failover and clustering? etc.

person 2: I know you need a database. I've looked at a few options and think that Cassandra is the best fit. You get clustering out of the box and can pay for support if needed. Here are some examples of how it works and a small demo for our app.

Guess which person fits best in which culture?

The thing is, the sound of the startup is appealling: Freedom! You mean I can have a say over what I do? I can choose tooling and bring in new ideas? Sounds amazing but surprisingly, many people struggle at a startup for the simple reason that they don't know how to think! They do not ponder the next best things while sitting on a train. They don't wonder why React is better than Angular (or vice-versa). They don't think about what tools are available to performance test a web app or whether Azure beats AWS on compatability but AWS wins on price.

George Orwell once said that the greatest tyranny is freedom - the tyranny of making choices and being responsible for them. Not having someone to spoon feed me, to tell me what to do in the morning when I get to work. The ability to put everything down at 5pm and go home to my normal life.

Even at the recruitment stage, we see the first signs of the lazy enterprise attitude and the motivation of those people who are a little better. We get sent a CV. It's terrible. Not terrible because they don't have the right skills but we have examples where someone's 10 year job position somehow only makes 4 bullet points. Another example where the description was "worked on innovative application..". Cover letters that just read plain weird and don't have any sense of motivation or self-starting.

Now that remote working is more common and information is more widely available than before, recruiters are going to start losing business as they add little value and we start recruiting directly and start weeding out those who really care about what they are doing and spend time writing good CVs and impressive covering letters.