No matter what stage you are in your studies, career or life, you have already gathered plenty of knowledge and insight on a bunch of different things. What if you could put everything you know into practice by working on an exciting new project? In a fast-growing company shaping the course of innovation? While taking in the sunshine and overlooking the Golden Gates? This is what life in an early-stage startup in San Francisco is all about.
If you like solving problems then this post is for you. We asked entrepreneurs and first employees what they thought were the main benefits of working for a startup in San Francisco. Here is what they said.
Endless opportunities to apply your knowledge
Working on a new project is challenging, regardless if it is a product feature, a design concept or a pilot of a new business model. You constantly have to make decisions even when you’re not comfortable with the information you have. However, this is exactly where you need to be if you want to maximize learning. Startups have the ideal work environments to apply the knowledge you have gathered, develop a hypothesis and start testing it. In fact, it is expected, recommended and encouraged.
“Building a SaaS product for demanding clients in a fast-moving market at Chartio was a great experience in testing the limits of my skills and a force that encouraged me to expand my knowledge.”
– Juha-Matti Santala, Full-stack Developer, Startuplifers Alumnus
Learn new things through experimenting
It’s all well and good to brainstorm ideas, contemplate theories and create hypotheses. At startups, you get the possibility to try them out. You can implement different ideas and gain vital insights. It’s not about knowing everything or making 100%-accurate decisions every time. In fact, we know this is impossible. It’s about creative problem-solving and treating every outcome as constructive feedback.
The good news is you have a chance to continuously develop yourself. You will also have total accountability and ownership of the challenge you are trying to solve, making it easier and faster to get things done. Fewer hoops to jump through. More, top-class talent to be inspired by. Of course, this all depends on what kind of person you are. The process might swing your mood at times, but you’ll come out a better version of yourself, every time.
“The best part about working in an early-stage company in the Bay Area is the freedom to take on responsibilities while the team is supporting and challenging new ideas and embracing learnings.
When faced with a new problem, there are many ways to resolve it: eg. ask the team if this has happened in the past and what was done, benchmark other companies and how they solve it and/or brainstorm with colleagues/advisors who have expertise in that area. In the end, new solutions are always welcome. Weighing out the risks and budget is important in part of the process. In the end, we are all pulling on the same string and all of our ideas and solutions should support that direction.”
– Vilma Viiala, Business and Operations Manager, Startuplifers Alumnus
Flexibility to decide how you work
Being a front-end, back-end or full-stack developer, a designer or a marketer, no matter what the position is, in a small fast-growing company everyone is a problem solver. There’s no one person that could give you answers to all your questions. No manuals to read unless you write them yourself. No bureaucracy to stand in your way and slow you down. You are the head of your own work.
Once you figure out what the solution is to the problem you are presented with, you can also decide how to get there. When and for how long will you work, what methods will you use, what type of environments inspires you – once you establish these then it’s about living up to these standards.
“At Curology I share the design director role with an amazing designer (and good friend) and together we’ve helped build out an amazing creative team that now functions as an internal agency in the company. Moving towards a managerial role has helped satisfy my hunger for personal development, and it helps me stay challenged on a daily basis.”
– Michelle Vandy, Design Director for Product, Startuplifers Alumnus
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