Things startups do and don’t need

Things startups do need

Sunny office

Windows that open

Democratically controlled music system

Two forms of internet access

Beer on fridays

EVDO cards

Video game system

Good coffee maker

Proximity to public transportation

Proximity to park

Heating that goes all night

Health care plans for everyone

Mac laptops with second monitors


Lots of in-person interaction

Gmail and Google docs

Soft lighting

Things startups don’t need

Fancy (Aeron) chairs

Expensive art on the walls

Vacation policy

PR firm

Dress code

Private offices

COO’s and GMs

Business cards

Microsoft products

Dental plans

Free lunches

Central air conditioning


Phone system

Set time you need to arrive in morning




10 thoughts on “Things startups do and don’t need

  1. Zachary Fine says:

    Why are dental plans considered to be a more unnecessary expense than health plans? Even if you only hire healthy young people, any of them could drink a little too much on Beer Friday and accidentally faceplant while playing Wii bowling on the office gaming system.

  2. dustin curtis says:
  3. chris dixon says:

    LOL. true. maybe you have special dental plans that cover wii related injuries.

  4. Zachary Fine says:

    My comment should include the disclaimer: my SO is a dentist 🙂 I think I’d make these comments regardless, but one never knows. I’ve known plenty of people under 40 who’ve needed some pretty amazingly expensive dental work, and when running a startup it’s probably worth some amount of cost to ensure that your relatively low-paid employees aren’t spending too many cycles stressing about how to deal with their root canals or bridges and can instead concentrate on work and on the Wii. One of my friends considered traveling to Hungary to get his dental work done without heading towards bankruptcy, that’s probably the sort of timeout a ‘lack of vacation plan’ is designed to circumvent.Having never tried to run a startup, I of course have no idea what a dental plan costs, maybe they’re a ridiculously high cost. My few stints at startups and more established tech companies have all included such plans, I think.

  5. chris dixon says:

    what’s up with all the dental love on posterous? on tumblr they all gave me flak about the aeron chair.ok i give up. startups should have dental.

  6. Zachary Fine says:

    I brush my teeth with an Aeron chair.

  7. Sachin Agarwal says:

    I definitely vote no on dental. I did the research, it didn’t make sense. I found that for the good PPO plans:1. The premium for the plan was higher than 2 checkups/cleanings. So it would be better to just pay out of pocket for these2. Services beyond cleanings generally had had high copays3. The plans had maximums of around $1500 to $2000Health insurance is different because something catastrophic can happen that easily costs you tens of thousands of dollars. I wouldn’t feel comfortable being without health care for even a day.But since dental plans are capped anyway, this isn’t true for them.

  8. chris dixon says:

    sachin – thanks for the support. i did the research too. as with everything on this list 🙂 had to learn this all the hard way.

  9. Zachary Fine says:

    Interesting about the high copays and maximums. Here’s to hoping all that flossing pays off.

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