Last Sunday we went to see the new movie The Internship with a bunch of Startuplifers. It’s a comedy about two older, non-technical guys doing an internship at Google. The movie itself was pretty entertaining, and it also provides nice contrast to my experiences at Startup Life.
Here’s the trailer of the Internship, in case you’ve not seen it yet.
In the movie, all interns were divided into teams, who then competed against each other, as only the best team would be offered permanent positions. Their summer consisted of various artificial challenges, ranging from developing an app to sales and even sports.
Probably in reality internships at Google are very different, but the point still holds: in bigger companies problems you as an intern or junior employee get to work on tend to be those of less importance, or even completely made up ones. For companies with decades of runway this probably makes sense, as it lets them invest in people in long term. You know, “If we have these kids here this summer, maybe some of them will turn out to be great and productive employees in five years”
In startups, units of time tend to be different. Instead of years or months, we mostly talk about weeks, days or even hours. I’m not saying we don’t do long term planning (quite the opposite, we have a grand vision what the web and Backlift will be like in five years), but if we don’t deliver in the short term, there won’t be future to worry about.
This means, that in a startup everyone ranging from founders to the newly joined intern has to work on whatever seems to be the most pressing issue. Instead of getting an arbitrary score from some task and maybe knowing you “won”, you can see how that new feature results to big bunch of new users. Or as it sometimes happens, screwing up actually means that things have to be fixed.
That’s why startups are so rewarding. Instead of just checking out The Internship (or The Social Network), apply to Startup Life and see it yourself.
Lauri joined Backlift a couple of months ago. With Backlift, you can build a modern website with knowing just some basic HTML. You can edit files from Dropbox, and whenever you change them, the live website is updated automatically. Check out www.backlift.com and airfoil.backlift.com