The term 'sexy' being applied to start-ups seems a bit... unfitting. As far as I'm concerned sexy is a relative term, plenty of things I find sexy, that others find boring, ugly, or otherwise not desirable.
So really, what does it mean? Advertised "sexy startups" are typically those that relate to a broad audience, meaning people who work there don't have to explain themselves when asked where they work. Is that really what makes a job worth having? Being able to feel cool when telling people where you work?
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." -Confucius
I feel as though you should work for a company that you can personally be passionate about; a company that solves a problem you believe in, not one that deems itself sexy. When looking for a new job I would suggest avoiding
- Cool technologies, for the sake of being cool. Is it being used in a way that makes any sense, or just because someone went off on a tangent one afternoon following a HN post?
- A focus on gimmicks. If a companies pitch to you is about the perks, and only the perks, what assumptions can be made about the work environment and their focus?
- Growth statistics. Wouldn't it make sense that a company would be knowledgable of their potential, and plan for these things? Hiring because they are growing sounds like a job that you would walk into and receive zero direction, and be expected to bring a hose and/or bucket. Find a fire, put it out.
EDIT: Just read a comment from Steve Cheney (@stevecheney) which brought to light another hot topic in start ups -- engineer retention. I think this is something that you see far more often in sexy start ups, because the company spent more time making the job posting sound cool, and not enough time building a company people want to work for. If you accept a job at a sexy job, just prepared to look for something else going to work gives you an empty feeling. Thanks Steve!
As I look for technical talent to hire at Science Exchange I've avoided using the term sexy on purpose. I don't feel like it's a good way to measure anything in life.
That being said -- Science Exchange is looking for passionate engineers to join our team. We are built almost entirely on Ruby on Rails (3.2.13). We use asset pipeline, icon fonts, Imgix, Solr, Memcached, and Amazon RDS, S3, Route53. We're currently on Heroku (have a good number of complaints and are looking to switch). We use Asana for task management, Github for version control, and Hipchat for.. chat. We just moved into a rad new office on High St. in Palo Alto (91 Walk Score).
Access to Research
We're helping democratize access to research facilities. This allows researchers from smaller less-well-funded universities, independent researchers, and even citizen scientists to access cutting-edge research technologies at the leading US research universities.
Cost of Research
By using experts who can achieve economies of scale to conduct specific experiments very efficiently, researchers save time and money.
Quality of Research
We provide an independent rating system which makes it possible to evaluate the quality of potential partners and allows independent validation of key experimental results at multiple sites to ensure reproducibility.
Sound like something you'd be interested in? We have a cool form that uses the Asana API to provide us your answers to a few questions and your resume. Give it a read, and consider applying: https://www.scienceexchange.com/jobs/software-engineer