Five months into my new job as a Software Engineer at Social Nature, an online sampling platform for natural brands, and I already have a few anecdotes to tell, lots of learning, and a couple of mistakes. But that’s what happens when you come on board with a scaling startup — new challenges and emotions all day long.
When I was still new to the Engineering Team at Social Nature, I had bold ideas about how we could better organize and improve our processes based on DevOps and agile practices I developed in my previous positions and I was ready to share in my next one-on-one with our VP of Engineering, Rei Colina.
“How long do you need to implement all these changes?” he asked. “Yes, this should be a team effort, everybody should come aboard and we should probably need a few weeks while implementing everything step by step.”
What he said next has been floating around in my head for months. “This is a million-dollar rocket we are driving,” Rei said. “It has its problems but it drives fast, and we are in charge of making sure it doesn’t stop or slow down by any reason, and on top of that we should improve, redesign and try to go even faster. Any initiative should be developed on top of that mindset.” And I knew I had never worked in an environment like this before.
A couple of months later I was thinking about this million-dollar rocket analogy: that’s it! Every startup is a million-dollar rocket designed to be launched and hopefully reach orbit, the most wanted “product-market fit.” As with any rocket, once launched, it should push hard with all the thrust it can create, and sometimes the most incredible and advanced rocket engines are not enough and they can fall from the sky while everyone watches.
But there are some rockets that do reach orbit, often with the support of happy, returning clients, and that’s when the fun part begins: scaling.
Scaling requires every management and engineering discipline to be at its best, creating even more thrust from every available resource, and for a scaling startup, sometimes there aren’t many.
“Next step the moon,” they say from mission control. “Wait, this rocket was not designed to go to the moon, that’s an entirely different mission.”
Now we are driving a rocket that has proved its worth, but not in space where a million things can go wrong and most of the path is unknown to our crew. Uncertainty and chaos may overwhelm the team unless leadership keeps everyone on track, our heads aligned, and our mission clear.
“One problem at the time,” they say.
That’s what I have been enjoying at Social Nature, where every team works together, one problem at a time, finding thrust sources everywhere, making sure we never stop, never slow down, rebuilding and redesigning all systems mid-flight. And when mistakes are made, your crew jumps in to solve it with you.
Right now we need help from new engineers and marketers inspired by our mission to bring natural products to everyone on the way to building a better planet. Mission control can have you on-boarded to support our mission in no time. Take a look at our open roles at socialnature.com/careers.
Yeah sure, there are people flying Star Trek’s Discovery kind of ship, and that’s pretty cool too, but at Social Nature you get to act as not just an engineer, but as the pilot and mission leader, and how awesome is that? Having the whole crew backing you up while you fly. In the end, this is the rocket we all drive.