Saturday, April 14, 2012

Life in a Start-Up

One year back, I was working in a well established Software firm which was as old as me and most known name in the domain. As most in the industry, I wanted a switch after working for almost 3 years due to xyz reason. After long pursuit, I cleared an interview and soon a second one – both Start-ups. Now it was time to make the big decision - whether to join a Start-up. Positives like best time to take risk as a still a bachelor , would be great chance to learn things and obviously better financial benefits while the risk factor and delay in higher studies made the decision hard. Its funny when you ask others about opinion – “You might not get salary for some months”, “It will be great experience”,  “Be ready for everything” and so on. My best motivator was brother who gave his verdict - “You go and join. But if something goes wrong everyone including me will blame you alone”. So that’s it, go for your gut-feel and I joined a START-UP!!

First day
I reached by 9:30 at office and I was the only one over there. But my first day memory is mostly about the lunch. As a senior-pro recommended we went in search of a restaurant “Unde ka funda”. We had to walk around the streets to find it and after taking 2-3 wrong roads we reached there. It was a “thattu-kada” – which can’t accommodate more than 2 tables and you were actually in the kitchen. Luckily for me, someone decided to move to another Chinese hotel. And there is something special about my date of joining – it was my birth day too. So I had my cake cutting ceremony also.

But in long run terms, office was a house and in I sat in all men’s room, 4 bachelors and CTO- who was crazier than us. It looked like a room of friends rather than a bunch of professionals sitting around. I was the only one in the team who worked on my domain and there was a guy to help me who wont be in office more than 4 hours in office a week. For a person who had set up Php just once in my life, it was a difficult days.

Funny Days
Soon I too was part of the “family” and family was growing fast. It turned out like when we plan for a release - it was discussions, lunch and table tennis at office and coding from home at night. Usually my days were from 6:30am to 11-12pm had soon changed 8am to 1-2am. Best part was, every discussions always had an objective and will achieve it unless a lady cries. In an office of 12 people, you can see people reaching from 9am to 12am and leaving from 5:30pm to 9:30pm on a normal day. But will have lunch always together. Partying was so frequent that you can expect 4 in every month.  My roommate had asked me couple of times even, “So when to you guys actually work, you have party every other day”. It doesn't matter how much you are drunk or what time you reach home, everyone will be online for next hour. There are times I reached home after 2am on consecutive days - first after party and second after release(not the other way).

But when you come to work, there is no compromise either. Sometimes a requirement comes to you and will have to be delivered overnight. You can expect a call at anytime of the day or night and have to be available. I was luckiest one the engineering team to get the least of those calls at midnight. One of the guys had to resolve an issue at midnight just 2 days after his marriage!!

Each one of us had learnt a lot during the period. As there is zero-politics, everyone one is ready to help and co-ordinate. You can pass your work to someone also very easily but will have to accept when someone passes to you too. 

Professionally you can trust anyone, but as in any friendship if someone calls you and say there is a serious issue when you are busy, you can be sure that a false call because he would have solved the issue earlier.

Tough Days
If you ask me about the tough days in last one year, I dont remember a single one. During last release done on a Saturday night, I decided to do it from office and was the only one left at office. But when CTO has sms-ed and called me multiple times asking for the status in the night even when he was in for a movie his wife. And after movie he came to office just to drop me home. He had to wait for another 1hour before getting everything stable. There was also a lady  to test everything throughout the night from home. On worst of releases, when you are backed-up so much, you will never feel the pressure or being cornered.

There is another phase which most Start-ups usually have. When a serious issue comes, employees saying - we are in trouble and we made a wrong decision joining here. Very next day, when looks good the same guy could be saying we are going to be Millionaires soon. But for us, it was smoother compared what many of friends had - there are moments of anxiety but always looked like, we could fix it.

Its all fun to work with people who care for each other and is ready to complement each other. I always believe, I am quite often granted more than even what I wished for and after one year in the start-up, I am its is top on that list.


  1. njoi every minute of ur work...... as u do now...

  2. Awesome George, Do write more often, I enjoyed reading every word, you echoed many of my thoughts, welcome to the world of blogging!

  3. hey george...good one...i loved the line "Best part was, every discussions always had an objective and will achieve it unless a lady cries."

  4. Really good news for you .... its gr8 to hear that no politics was there .....