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Corporate career to working in a startup: 5 things nobody told me

Source | LinkedIn : By Shachi Prakash

All incidents and characters mentioned in this post are real and none of it  fictional. Any resemblance to any person or organization is purely intentional.

Having spent my post grad and corporate  days surrounded by people who were either running a start-up or working in one, I thought I had a fairly good idea of what it is like to work in one. Long hours, no weekends, tight deadlines, unstructured work with little guidance and a highly uncertain environment – this ought to cover it right?  However  jumping on the band wagon after working in a corporate for close to three years, here are some things I wish I knew earlier:

  1. Being a perfectionist will NOT help you, getting things done will

For my first assignment in my start up job, I wanted to be very thorough and well prepared. So I made a plan, noted down the key points, did some research and made some more plans for implementation.  Only to be asked later in the day why nothing had moved yet. Lesson Learnt…

In contrast to a corporate setting where every proposal would be tweaked, perfected & made to look pretty even before a preliminary review, startups move fast. I guess when you are burning the candle from both ends, there isn’t much time for such niceties.

In a typical day, we would discuss and brainstorm ideas in the morning, implement it in the evening and get it up and running by night.

 So when it comes to getting things done, it’s always GO time and an average working solution is preferred to a brilliant one which is still in conceptualization phase.

2. Experimenting and trying is everything

During the initial few launches that I was part of, I remember wasting hours trying to figure out statistics, trends or anything which could give me some direction. I soon learnt there were none.  So how do you know if your product/idea will work? By trying it out.

When you have no statistics, data insights or even a gut feeling to rely on – which is the case 90% of the time in startups, trying and seeing is most often the only option. If it works well and good, if not you move on.

This is especially true when you are working in a very niche market where data insights start kicking in much later. I can safely say that the initial few weeks are just about shooting in the dark and trying every trick in the book. And ever so often just crossing your fingers and hoping that things works.

Read On…

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