Indian Nights?

A tech friend of mine has spent the last four months in Chennai doing the ground work for his first VC backed start-up. He’s got a years funding (at Chennai costs), he’s just got the building (including decent aircon and a generator - which were apparently harder to get than you’d think) and now he needs to grow his tech team from five to about thirty over the next couple of months. Having been at startups that have tried this before… it’s going to be a challenge for him.

Joe loves India, he spent a couple of years living out there after the dot com crash (savings go a lot further that way ;)), as far back as I’ve known him he’s only dated Indian girls (wonder why he set up near the big dance unis?) and amusingly he has almost no tolerance of spicy food. For the last year he’s been consulting on different outsourced projects as their “cultural advisor”; guess all those techy pub crawls paid off in the end!

He was in London at the weekend catching up with people and tidying up before he fully moved over so I met up with him (and his lead DBA, Ayesha) for what was probably our last drink together for a good while. We chatted about what we’ve been up to for the last six months, places we used to work, start ups we’ve done (and where they went off the tracks) and where the industries going. Oh, and he offered me a job.

The product he’s working on (which is actually very cool and I can see myself using it in a couple of years) falls inside a couple of my skills and he’s looking for someone to run the infrastructure team and flatteringly he thought of me. He wants the old deal, you eat, sleep and breath the company for a year or two; anything less than that’s seen as part time. The work sounds very interesting, the job comes with a paid for apartment, and pretty much anything else that’s cheap and gets you in the office more. It’s a promotion for me (although I’ve never really wanted to manage) and a chance to make some real money.

So why ain’t I blogging my acceptance? Their are some drawbacks. Firstly moving to Chennai, I’m in the middle of a big estate dispute and I need to be here for that. Secondly I’d be paid at (damn well for) local (India) rates - which means my legal fees in the UK would kill me financially. I also know what working hours are expected of me and there’d be no weeks back in the UK until we either make it or shut the shop down which means no seeing my family for a year or two.

He’s given me a week to think about it and I’m giving it decent consideration. A couple of years ago I’d have said yes on the spot and he knows it but my life’s changed a lot and things are annoyingly more complex now. I’m not sure this is change for the better.