Last year I took a big leap in my career

Sethu Sathyan
5 min readFeb 25, 2020

I visited 91springboard back in 2016 when I was working with Anita I loved it more than any other coworking spaces I’ve been to. What I felt different was the energy of the people who were present there. I am not lying, but I had this thought coming to my mind after talking to Mithun Shetty from the Mumbai hub for hours that day — “I want to work here”

And In December 2018, after 8 rounds of interviews with different teams, I decided to join 91springboard in Goa with the central team.

91springboard is a vibrant community of startups, developers, and freelancers in India. A year back on this day, I joined 91s.

It was a big career switch for me from Software Engineering to Program Management. Before joining 91s, I used to think a lot if I was doing the right thing by doing a career switch. After reading reviews on glassdoor that everyone here is an extrovert, I was a bit skeptical initially being an introvert to join 91s. But things changed once I joined.

I bid goodbye to 2 years of my corporate career and shifted to Goa! Yes! That’s an exciting place to be.

Panjim’s heritage quarter of Fontainhas near 91springboard Goa office

The culture at 91springboard is impressive. I am surrounded by amazing people and opportunities. Not only do you get to work with the best people, but you would also get to learn a lot from them. They talk about ideas to help startups, design programs around it, and go above and beyond to support the community.

I was super stoked to be working with Pranay Gupta, Co-Founder of 91springboard in his team for startup programs. My job is to help startups succeed by designing and implementing programs to support them. Another highlight of this team is that you get to work with high potential tech startups in India. You will also get to see how your job and the team are actually helping startups in their product, investments, and growth. Isn’t that exciting?

The Change

Two months into the job, I was assigned to run two projects — Startup Advisors Program & Superwomen in Business, two programs in partnership with Google for Startups. I was initially dubious about taking that up. But one advice that Pranay gave me was to try out things, fail fast and learn. He also mentioned that “you are not alone; we all here to help you.” And that was true; Pranay, Abhishek Kakkar, Mihir Sinha, and Harsh Bahrey always ensured that I got all the help I needed. No matter how busy they were, they always cleared every single doubt of mine. Thanks for that!

It is really an honor to be part of such a fantastic team that directly has a positive impact on the startup ecosystem in India.

Since then, In the last 12 months, I have worked with 100+ founders, ran a startup mentorship program, worked with a fantastic bunch of Googlers, worked on an entrepreneurship program for women founders, launched a new product, built an online community for 100+ women in tech, received a Linux Scholarship, became a Country Ambassador for the world’s largest startup competition for women in technology and volunteered for Anita

From the Startup Advisors program
From the Startup Advisors Program

The gradual shift from 1 among the 2 lakh+ employees writing code for Fortune 500 companies to 1 among the 300+ employees helping the Indian startup ecosystem was more than incredible for me. I recall that at my previous workplace I have seen the CEO just once, here the CEO and founders interact with the team every day. The sense of belonging and the culture that encourages you to pursue your interests and implement ideas matter here at 91s.

Did I stop coding?

Sometimes I used to think, will I stop coding because I switched to another role. But during one of my weekly meetings with Pranay, he told me you should never stop coding or contributing to the projects you like.

I attended the Write/Speak/Code conference held in San Francisco and the Linux Open Source Summit in San Diego last year with a scholarship. I also traveled to Singapore to be part of the Google for Startups APAC Partner summit.

That was the motivation for me to work on something and give back to the community that helped me grow. I did this by building Leapcode with a few friends on weekends. I spent about 5–6 months thinking about the idea, creating wireframes, learning React and product management, coding the platform, and finally launching it. But all the hard work paid off with an active community of technologists sharing their stories and learning on the platform. The platform was also featured in The Hindu as “A leap for womankind”

I continued contributing to Anita as a scholarship reviewer. Since last October, I have been volunteering with Anita global team as a committee member for the mentorship platform. The role involves developing strategies and activities to spur increased adoption of and value for Mentoring platform, including mentor/mentee recruitment, engagement ideas and thought leadership for women in tech. Each month the committee meets once to discuss ideas and features for the mentorship platform. Working with a diverse remote team from different time zones is altogether a different positive experience :)

I feel proud and happy looking back at the year that passed. I did a few things that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do. I learned a lot. I went out of my comfort zone to pursue my interests and work on different projects. You can still do great things and overcome your self-doubt. Being an introvert won’t stop you from doing great things for people around you.

Don’t stop learning! Follow your passion.