When we started, we decided on one point as paramount than any other — that we’d tell the startup community, the world and our peers about us and the way we do almost every little thing, come hell or high water.
I joined Jobspire knowing next to nothing. A nanodegree in social psychology, some basic HTML/CSS notes, a laptop and an empty book was all I carried to my first meeting. As Varun articulates here, “[…] a CS Engineer like us, he had no clue how Ruby worked.”
It’s easy to motivate people verbally. Try finding people who motivate you through their work.
Kartik was one of the first few to get me started on putting my best in. But he didn’t (and never has, till date) utter a word that resembled motivation. What got me was how good he was at getting stuff done.
S: “Kartik, I’m not able to get this. It’s saying some gibberish, and I looked it up but none of those solutions worked.”
S: “Kartik, another one. pgsql something something.”
S: “Kartik, I want to send some parameters to another function elsewhere. But what I wrote not’s working. Help, please?”
It’s easy to read stories and watch videos of successful entrepreneurs and doers, and dreaming of a future like theirs will get you pretty pumped. But being inspired to work your ass off by watching your colleagues? Hard to come by.
These are the best kind of people to start a new venture with. They are your yardstick to measure your performance. And they become the reason you want to cement your position of success.
We do have pep talks often — they are important, and maintain a place in keeping the vision in check down the hierarchy. But being inspired by your peers and employees through no-bs work — it’ll make you feel like you’re ready to walk through the Titantron ready to tear this world a new one.
“Culture is everything.”
Tier two of Jobspire, and perhaps the most important set of people in 2016.
As the company matures, founders become an overaching burden of deadlines, questions and taunts. There’s nothing wrong with this — after setting the stage, the two things founders can do is watch the action and prepare endlessly for crises.
Your first set of employees are just as important as the founders. Over time, they outshine you as the definition of what the company really is.
What’s essential to scaleable growth is finding a set of like-minded people who understand your goals, your vision, believe that the world works in the exact same way you do, can agree to disagree (almost impossible to come by these days), are ready to drop whatever it is they’re doing to help you move mountains and want to be by your side every step of the way.
Notice I haven’t made a mention of their skill sets — the definition we’ve decided upon as founders is one of culture. If you’ve found this person I’ve defined and they are indeed as motivated as you, building them into the role you want filled is easy. Turning someone, who is highly skilled and experienced but is in disagreement with you most of the times, into your right-hand man/woman is, in my opinion, harder.
Of course, if it’s a role you don’t have the slightest clue of, you’ll need to do the research, prepare for questions they might have and connect with some industry experts to get them moving. But who they end up becoming will make all of this worth it. They’ll take the lead, guide you through a path you didn’t think of and ultimately become the most poweful catalysts in building your vision.
I think Varun’s words capture it best — “When I hire, the last question I ask myself is — if the tables were turned and it was them asking the questions, would I want to work for them?”
We didn’t take a lot of pictures or videos when we started. We were too caught up in making sure we survived the final year of college — classes from 8 AM to 5 PM, and then building Jobspire till 4 AM left no time to think about clicking pictures or goofing around.
Things changed a bit when we landed in Delhi. Couple of pictures now and then, since we’d never been there. But that too quickly died out when we got to (what was then) the Herculean tasks of wrapping up work on the first MVP, getting our first few customers, raising funds, and growing beyond the five of us.
Capture as many moments as you can. Mental snapshots don’t survive tiresome routines. Pictures, notes and videos do.
But now, not only do we capture moments, we create them too. Lately, we haven’t gone a week without doing something new and completely different from what we typically do — office parties, bring-your-pet-to-work days, secret santa and late evening beers on the rooftop. And us founders make sure we’re taking as many pictures/videos as we can. Some leave it in their gallery, others make sure it goes on every social sharing platform they can get their hands on. Belittle it if you want to, but it’s a way of making sure our moments follow us no matter where we end up.
There is no secret agenda, but two secret advantages — 1) it instantly creates a family, and 2) days/months/years down the road, you’ll have these (and whatever’s left of those memories in your head) to look back to and remind yourself of how far you’ve reached.
Props to Mohak and Varun for these moments. I can’t count the number of times they’ve told me that we need to slow down a bit and that I should stop being a lunatic about getting work done.