While chasing the startup dream

I started as an Intern in Data Science and Product Management. Following my passion, I started working fulltime for RIB Software AG in Stuttgart Germany as a Product Manager using data to make better decisions and solve everyday business problems. In Early 2018, I moved to the United States to pursue the Silicon Valley startup dream. I was desperate to find a job. After a few unsuccessful interviews, I ended up with a couple of offers and chose one that I found to be exciting. I trusted the CEO’s vision and joined the company along with 3 other employees.

Within a week of joining, I started to sense unrest among my peers. Since this was a remote job, a few of them approached me through Slack and expressed concerns that they would not be paid their salary. At first, I gave the benefit of the doubt to my CEO. But after numerous people approached me, I realized that something was not right. Whenever I brought up these concerns to my CEO, I would be reassured that everything was good and that the employees were simply underperforming.

Here I was, working tirelessly to pursue my dreams, all the while fighting these negative thoughts at the back of my mind. I kept my hopes up, focusing all my energy on the product.

Payday came. And went. I was not paid and protested to the CEO. I was promised that I would be paid next week. Every week. Slowly the old folks started whittling away. Newcomers, naive like me, would get hired and show excitement for a few days. I expect their average lifespan in the company to be 1–2 months. Needless to say, I got tired of this churning scam machine.

When I started down this path, I knew that there would be many hurdles along the way. But nothing had prepared me for the harsh realities of a scummy leader. I thought with a fresh start that my journey could take a turn for the better.

With that in mind, I decided to start working on my own product with another co-worker who I had a great working relationship with. We spent days ideating about unmet needs in the world, products that would provide the corresponding solutions, and developing business models for each. We evaluated our ideas, planned how to approach investors with a catchy pitch deck, and developed insight to attract customers with a lasting brand. Eventually, we settled on a product that excited the passions of our team.

For the first time in months, I felt like I was actually in a startup with all the fears of failure and the excitement of success. I have been learning how to channel my negative energies into positive directions. I still have an immense amount of energy and the drive to chase my startup dream with Juqebox.

“Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.”

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Connect with Amrita Sukumar, Chief Product and Technical Officer of Juqebox, on LinkedIn

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/amrita_sukumar