Here is the compensation equation, as I see it:
In my experience, whether they realize it or not, this is the equation that determines if an employee (or founder, for that matter) thinks working for the start-up is "worth it" - and determines when the employee decides to leave.
For example, a founder might look like this:
It's not really about the details - it's more about how this equation is balanced.
So my questions are:
In your experience, how does this equation change over time as a start-up grows from early stage (beta customers) to later stage (flirting with profitability, hundreds of customers)?and
How does one know when this equation is 'broken' for the current start-up, and should begin looking for a new start-up to join which gives a better equation?
This is an interesting way of attempting to address the life - balance debate that we all in the pursuit of finding in the world of entrepreneurship.
Answering your questions directly first:
As a startup reaches a more mature stage the equation outlined by you changes in the following manner in my opinion.
The second part of your question which deals with the imbalance is a little tricky. A disequilibrium in any of the variables outlined can ultimately through the whole equation out of whack.
1 & 2: If you don't think you are getting compensated enough for the work you are doing, one is going to lose steam quickly.
3: If you are not learning something new at work, side projects will tend to take up a lot more of your time and you will realize that it is time to leave.
4: If you are sacrificing a lot and not really getting anything in return it is bound to frustrate you and you will be finding ways of getting our of your situation.
5: This one is an immediate deal breaker. If you can't work effectively or optimally with your co-workers this will kill productivity and your drive to continue working at the startup.
6: Work itself: If you lose interest or don't have the passion to keep working on what you do. Chances are you will leave sooner rather than later.