- Sameer Syed
When investment banker Sameer Syed left JPMorgan for the world of tech startups in 2012, he didn’t quite know what to expect.
Today, he works in strategic partnerships at Google and runs Wall Street to Silicon Alley, an organization that aims to help other financiers transition into the world of tech.
Speaking with Business Insider, Syed broke down some of the major changes he experienced when switching industries.
Here, according to him, are the two biggest differences between the fields of tech and finance:
1. Tech startups can be more flexible about face time
While working in investment banking, Syed would sometimes see his coworkers sitting around in the office waiting for more work, even after they completed their tasks for the day.
“People sometimes sit there because they’ve got to be there in case something comes up,” he said. “At tech startups, you don’t really have that because there’s a trust factor at a smaller company. I trust you to get something done. I don’t need you to sit in the office with us. I don’t need you always to be there.”
Syed said working in tech therefore tended to encourage more of a work-life balance, allowing for flexible work and less time in the office. That said, he added that he often took his work home with him nowadays because he tends to enjoy it.
2. The work environment is more casual in tech
When Syed joined his first tech startup in 2012, he was immediately struck by one thing: the way his coworkers wrote emails.
“It was so casual and so relaxed,” he said. “As a financial analyst, you wrote out these thoughtful emails and your attention to detail had to be really good. You didn’t want to make a mistake in an email and have someone senior read it. They might be like, ‘This guy doesn’t really care about his work.'”
But things were quite different at the tech startup he joined.
“People were just shooting out emails left and right, as they’re thinking things through,” he said. “There’d be mistakes in the emails, but no one cared. People were not really measuring others on the way they wrote an email to somebody.”
Syed said those differences in email habits reflected a generally more relaxed work environment in tech.
“If you want to be able to move around and do different projects, that’s great at a startup,” he says. “At a bank, it’s much more structured. You pick a lane and you stick with it.”