Startup Starter

FRAMINGHAM (07/24/2000) - Leaving job security behind and answering the siren call of a dot-com has certainly been the career story of the year. But for real excitement, forget working at a startup. Start your own instead.

As Greg Cassileth learned, you can expect long hours and little compensation.

But if you do it right, for a true sense of mission and accomplishment, the experience can't be beat.

Greg Cassileth

Vice president of content development and co-founderHelios Health Inc.


Helios provides consumers with access to health information and services through Internet portals in physicians' waiting rooms and on the Web.

What he does: Cassileth is helping Helios deploy thousands of Linux-based multimedia "e.Stations" in physicians' offices in 20 major cities.

Skills and experience he brings to the job: Cassileth calls on his broad background in Web languages (Perl, HTML and PHP3), database and operating systems (Linux, Windows, Mac OS and Unix) and multimedia design. He also relies on his project management, communication and recruiting skills.

His impact: He's responsible for the development, implementation and administration of technical operations. "As a founder, I am also responsible for helping to shape the future path of the company."

What he enjoys: A sense of mission. "When patients are well-informed through using our e.Stations in the waiting room and our Web site at home, the little time they have to spend with their physicians is much more effective."

Salary, bonuses, perks: In the first year or two, "expect to be paid little, work long, hard hours and play hard" for an equity stake. The biggest perk is the environment and the cutting-edge work, he says.

Toughest challenges: "Building something from nothing, trying to decide on the right path, pulling together a well-running crew focused on a common goal" and facing the possibility of failure.

Greatest reward: Aside from the satisfaction of the work and the experience of an early-stage startup, the promise of "great liquid financial status" later on, he says.

Future opportunities: Cassileth says he would like to found another startup.

"Startup experience is well respected in the business world. It means you've been through the worst and best of experiences and learned tough lessons the hard way."

Advice: "Get involved with something you believe in and work with people whom you trust, whose vision you share."

Fryer is a freelance writer in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Just the Facts

Who: Gregory Cassileth, vice president of content development and co-founderCompany: Helios Health Inc., AtlantaNature of work: The development, implementation and administration of Web operations and the Linux-based e.Station network in doctors' officesHow he got the job: He's one of the original founders of the firm. "We started the company while tossing around ideas at the kitchen table."

Skills required: Computer programming, multimedia, and people and project managementTraining needed: A bachelor's or graduate degree in computer scienceAdvice: "Go for it!"

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