A sound footing in a one-shot SaaS environment

What it feels like to be at the center of attention and chaos; concurrently.

The worldwide start-up culture is booming with brilliant new ideas and technology that has the potential to completely re-engineer the way we thrive as a species.

One idea leads to another and Boom! You now have a game-changing, brand spanking new business model!

This model, however, takes time, patience, dedication, and hours of reiterating to become the next best thing. Not to mention the sleepless nights wondering whether your start-up will make it or break it.


Starting a company is easy, but can it make the cut?

Last year, I was invited to be part of this start-up that aimed to reinvent the way companies looked at customer feedback. I was taken in as their second software engineer, but soon became their Chief AI Researcher.

With a dollop of Artificial Intelligence, and tireless hours of fidgeting with the back-end, we wanted to completely and totally automate and redefine the whole feedback management and customer engagement sector.

This in itself was a plausible idea and seemed worthy a cause to achieve. As in any start-up, you go through living hell in the first few months, and severe anxiety in the next. Was the work we did sufficient enough to make this product fully consumer-ready? What if it crashes? What if they don’t like it? What if this, what if that…

Naturally, this is the worst part of indulging in this whole start-up career thing. However, with the right people, this seems too good to be true. People all around the world are going to be using your technology and software. Will it be able to make a place for itself in this fast-paced technological renaissance?


C for Credibility

The first thing I learned after joining the start-up was that credibility is key in making you an invaluable asset to the start-up.

This is easier said than done. Clearly. How do you appease a huge mass of consumers, while preventing your team members from going into chronic corporate depression?

At the end of the day, what exactly is credibility? A social standing? A position of relative power? Reliability and trustworthiness? Street cred? This question hounds the mind of every entrepreneur, day and night. But hey! You’ve got to start somewhere right?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Credibility cannot be derived from the amount of hours you put in (maybe it does) or the number of times you’ve contributed, but from the number of smart moves you make that has resulted in ultimate corporate success.

Tell me. Would you rather spend quality time with a man who has clocked in 10 hours a day for the past 15 years, or a man who has brought you $1B in just an year of hiring? The former clearly has experience and loves his job and boss (*cough*). The latter has a creative mind that he regularly “exercises” by staying steadfast in his approach towards making a niche for himself in the system. That’s the kind of people you should really start looking for.

They have the credibility and capability to make decisions that may seem ridiculous, but ultimately gets the job done in the least amount of time, with the least possibility of error.

So, lesson number 1: stay focused on establishing your credibility before you do something dilirious.


Shatter expectations

Joining a start-up is one side of the story. Being able to deliver is something else all together. No one (this includes you) knows your fullest potential.

Being able to regularly submit assignments, and being able to document your progress to your boss, are two things that you should always keep in mind when working on a project at a start-up.

This way, you’ll be able to decently manage growth around you, both personally and your companys’.


Listening to the elders

You’ve always heard this statement, growing up. It’s makes a lot of sense; but only a few people do it.

They’ve seen more to life than you have. They know the difference between right and wrong. Your seniors exist for a reason.

Follow in their footsteps. Treat them with respect in every decision they take, even if it’s to your disadvantage, or wrong in general.

They can guide you when you are lost, or when you lack some inspiration. Grab a coffee and get down to business. Listen to their case studies and see if you had a better approach or if you have any improvements.

Create the best working environment with the right people around you. Surround yourself with experienced professionals and see if that makes an impact on you!


Knowing when to call quits

You can’t possibly run all day everyday in hopes of losing 10 pounds in a week. If that’s your goal. Stop. You are completely over-exerting yourself.

Funny thing is, it’s the same at work. Burnout can happen and will happen. You just need to know when. If it doesn’t you aren’t working hard enough. If you’ve had it before you are expecting too much from yourself.

But how much is too much and how much is too little?

You know yourself better than I do. You know your limits. Don’t cross them. Especially when you are helming this “boat” in the stormy water at night.

Get up and stretch every 2 hours, grab a bite every 1 hour, go for short walks. Do whatever makes you work at your best. This way, you’ll avoid burnout and your start-up will survive! You’ll feel more inclined towards work and you’ll be able focus better.


Experience gets you to the top. Knowledge sets you apart

Knowledge is infinite. You can’t possibly know everything about anything. What’s the next best thing to do?

Keep updating yourself about current events. Update your skills. Let’s take into consideration the young engineers of the yesteryears. When machine learning became more prominent, those who turned a dead year turned out to be the losers of today.

One can never be perfect. However, one can achieve brilliance. Know your surroundings at the back of your hand. Situational awareness is key in setting you apart from the rest.

There are many online resources to get better at something. Malcolm’s 10000 hour rule is for learning something entirely new. You don’t have that kind of time in this competitive, slit-throat environment.

You already have a skill. Improve on that. Read more. Become perfect in something you already know. Really keen on learning something new? That’s even better! Rise above!


The person they want, not need

Be that person. Your coworkers and colleagues will not only respect you, they’ll genuinely like you. Display the qualities of a leader. Listen to everyone’s opinion. Keep meeting short and snappy (you have no idea how much employees like that).

Be your very best. Stay true to your start-up culture. Gain expertise from people around you. Remember:

there is nothing called a bad idea. It’s just one that lacks substance. Build on it instead of cold-heartedly rejecting it.

In a nutshell

Make your start-up the best. You know the drill! The conducive environment produces conducive results. Keep that in mind at all times.

Your start-up is like a gun. Treat it right so that it doesn’t backfire on you. Cut straight into the corporate world and see if the start-up can make a niche for itself.

Why stop there? Expand and grow! Socialize and spread. Nothing is stopping you from achieving corporate success.

Hopefully you have taken away certain points from this article, that have the potential to change the way you work.

There are countless self-improvement tips online. This article contains my favorite. Perhaps, a few of yours too! Till then, I’ll see you the next one!

Original article by Rishabh Anand

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