We have a flat hierarchy
True flat hierarchies do not exist. Think about your small group of close friends, don’t nights hanging out go smoother when there’s a leader? Someone who breaks the ice, who nudges the group.
In the more serious case of work, there always has to be someone responsible, someone making trade-offs, someone at the helm. Things fall apart when everyone or no one is responsible. Also, the same person doesn’t have to be the leader over and over again.
Structure isn’t a bad thing just know flat doesn’t actually mean flat. Flat ideally means fair, flat ideally ends up being a very well executed democratic system. Discern for mutual respect from strong leadership.
Open seating makes a maker more productive
In short, no, no it doesn’t always. What about constant interruption via extreme accessibility makes things more productive?
Most spaces have embraced open seating, so look for a place that has carved out ample areas for those times you need to do heads down work, including flexible work from home arrangements.
That being said, open seating is phenonmenal for making communication more productive. Discern for a balance of the two.
“We are a start-up”
Most, if not all, organization are using start-up as a buzzword to try to attract you. There is nothing wrong with medium-sized or large-sized organizations. There is a bowl of porridge right for everyone, but for some reason, the valley currently believes otherwise. Know that when you are told with a straight-face that the 1,000 person company is a “start-up,” it’s likely a means to win the favours of your heart.
When another popular term gets coined, let’s say ‘beehives,’ both the 100 person and 1,000 person company will tell you they have a ‘beehive environment.’ You’d know it! Discern for buzzwords and do the due diligence of evaluating numbers.
For the record
I don’t forsake any of these things. I’m spelling out dreamlike expectations which my past self found to differ vastly from the reality.