I've never worked for a startup. I've worked for small businesses (which is what they used to be called) and enjoyed the small team environment. I haven't enjoyed chasing my money and missing rent payments because of bad management.
I don't think I'd work for a startup unless I had enough money to cover a few months' rent - which is also the main reason I wouldn't be a contractor. There's stability in corporation.
In terms of lifestyle, a small team in a big company can be pretty much the same as a small team that is the company, but in terms of, I don't know, personal development maybe? it can be wildly different.
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