Timing of joining a start up company

I was on the phone with the CEO of one of the companies I have an investment in last week. We were talking about the timing of hiring a new VP of Sales. We had talked to this candidate 2 years ago and for a number of reasons it wasn't the right time for him to join the company.  At that time, the company had a lot of organizational, management and business development that it needed to do -- in some respects, the candidate was more mature than the company was at that time. Well, now may be different. We've re-engaged the hiring conversation with him (we never really lost touch) and are actively discussing him joining the company. I think we'll offer and I think (hope) he'll accept. It's interesting to think about all that he's missed at the company in terms of maturation.
Everyone tends to think it's best to join a company at the beginning. And personally, I prefer it -- I've got a passion for those birthing days. But as I think about the situation with this candidate, I gotta say, there's a lot to be said to coming in when the birth is over and the business is early and clear. I'd recommend anyone who is considering joining an early stage company to give thought to what age and level a company is at prior to joining. Some of this analysis is economic -- revenue and profit and some of this analysis is management and founder maturity.