After spending over a decade working for corporations with more than hundred thousand employees, I joined a startup in February. While I’d anticipated a hugely different experience and some initial adjustment pains, the quick and smooth transition caught me by surprise. Before I knew it, I was riding the startup train and loving every minute of it!
I attribute it to our inherent capability as humans to swiftly adapt to changes thereby making it the new norm. What’s a better example than the current, unprecedented times we are in?
My experience so far:-
- Passion and Agility are the common themes!
Sustained progress is impossible without the contributors believing in a laser-focused vision and rooting for it. The team has a single view about what Esper stands for and where we are headed. All debates and decisions are centred around this, thus enabling large strides forward. Every day presents itself with new problems - deal with it head-on & move forward rather than shy away from it. This quote from my favourite series pretty much sums it up.
❝There’s no such thing as a typical day. There’s a schedule and a structure to be sure. And to a certain extent it starts off as a 9–5 job, but you can pretty much count on it being blown to hell by 9:30.❞
2. It doesn’t get any flatter than this!
Flat hierarchy. Period.
All are equally approachable and open to questions and constructive discussions. Anyone can bring up new ideas, present arguments, throw in challenges — end result is always a sound strategy considering diverse perspectives.
We do Hack-days once-a-month, where each engineer gets to work on a cool project and showcase a demo or learnings. You know the leaders at Esper takes it seriously when the CEO makes it a point to present his hack!
We switched to working-remote nearly five weeks ago and ever since, the CEO & COO co-host a weekly session where we just “hang out” and talk about anything. Makes a world of difference when it comes to nurturing a sense of bonding.
3. Own the product.
Doing the right thing & Customer obsession remains the mantra. If that means donning multiple hats, so be it. Since day 1, I’ve seen everyone including my boss take up varied roles as the situation demands. There is a sense of ownership that comes from following a collaborative rather than an approval-centric approach.
4. Learn, learn, learn.
Each day has taught me something new and I continue to learn about the world of Android and IoT. Learning is not restricted to new technologies alone; it’s also about unearthing each aspect of execution and defining solutions along the way, which would usually be assumed done in an established setup.
It feels like yesterday. But it also feels like I’ve been a part of this happy family for a long time. Every turn in your career arrives as a beautifully wrapped package of unique promises and surprises. It’s upto us to get the best out of it. And I hope to do exactly that.