Good thoughts from Sam Altman on how to retain your employees (especially in the VC backed Bay Area world). The biggest lesson I’ve learned after having worked at several companies is the importance of a mission and vision of a founder:

The first is a sense of mission–if employees work at your company because they believe in the importance of the mission, they are unlikely to be tempted by more money elsewhere, and they are likely to be willing to delay starting their own company.

Having a community of people that buy into a particular vision can do amazing things. People are willing to take less money, stick around longer, and be happier if they feel like they work on something meaningful. The impact is amazing. This is where a charismatic CEO is important. They must stand for what’s right (i.e., charisma can’t cover up bad morals), but be able to “rally the troops” at the same time.

In a larger company, this role falls to middle management. Your cohesion gets built among smaller teams, hence the common mantra of “getting smaller as you get bigger” you often hear as small companies grow.