Always nice when someone tells you:
Even if your startup does tank, you won't harm your prospects with employers. To make sure I asked some friends who work for big companies. I asked managers at Yahoo, Google, Amazon, Cisco and Microsoft how they'd feel about two candidates, both 24, withequal ability, one who'd tried to start a startup that tanked, and another who'd spent the two years since college working as a developer at a big company. Every one responded that they'd prefer the guy who'd tried to start his own company. Zod Nazem, who's in charge of engineering at Yahoo, said:
"I actually put more value on the guy with the failed startup. And you can quote me!"
Not that Redgum "tanked", but we always knew that it was going to be good for our resumes.
On a slightly more serious note, I must say that starting a company really gave me a big headstart into the industry. It would've taken me 10 years or more to even get to the point that I got to in the 5 years or so that I was at Redgum. Admittedly, it was getting thrown in the deep end, but thats sometimes the best way to learn.