I have always been a Steve Jobs fan. The man, his vision, and commitment towards perfection at all costs is awe inspiring and legendary. When I began my professional career as a developer, I wanted to follow Steve Jobs philosophy of customer service. Jobs said, “Get closer than ever your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”
While this is a great philosophy to follow, it is quite hard to execute if you are not working with an organization which echoes the same mindset. I realized, quite early in my career, that these path-breaking philosophies just as easily get lost in the vicious labyrinth of organizational hierarchy and processes…That was until I found my fit at Clarion Technologies, where it is the love for programming that drives business.
When we are at the cusp of our careers, we want to work with large organizations so that we have some fancy names and achievements on our resume. While these achievements do look good on paper, I realized that nothing teaches you more than working with a client which is a startup. Yes, the challenges are many but, at the same time, so are the opportunities. While startups don’t yet have the brand recognition, what they do have is an innate desire to challenge status quo and a zeal to do more. I find it thrilling to be a part of an environment where I could be a valuable contributor to the success of a company. It is an opportunity to challenge myself and grow continuously…it is Continuous Development everywhere, at work and at the personal front.
When I started working with startup clients I learned to master the art of requirement analysis. Every startup has a vision of their own. Instead of going through many people and processes to get to the crux of the requirement, here I can directly interact with the founders of the company and ideate with them to see how best we could translate their idea into reality. I see, that most startups are very receptive to suggestions and are willing to acknowledge the inputs of the technology experts. While we definitely have to back up our suggestions with concrete evidence, I experience that the startups are far more accepting of suggestions and opinions, if these benefited the product vision. Startups, I realized, are more willing to accept the fact that they have come to you since ‘you’ are the technology expert and hence are more respectful towards your opinions and suggestions. If you say that a particular technology is not the best fit for their product, offer compounded reasons as to why you think so and propose an alternate technology that you think is the best fit and why, a startup client, is more likely to accept it and approve it in far less a time than a large organization. Clearly, the kind of red tape that you experience when working with a large organization is eliminated when working with startup client.
Another thing I realized when I work with my startup clients is that I become more invested in my work because I can see a direct and almost immediate impact of the work that I am doing. This has made me more driven and interested in my work. I find myself researching more, discussing more, learning more and as a result, growing more as a professional. I see how much my knowledge increased as my interactions with my startup clients has grown. Instead of being content with the technologies that I was comfortable with, I now find myself exploring new technologies, learning them and experimenting with them and becoming more erudite with them. The best thing is that I never get bored of my work. Nothing is dreary about my existence. I am not going to work and mechanically just write lines and lines of code. Instead, I am learning something new every single day…whether it is navigating challenges that startups face or scaling hurdles that a technology presented. The kind of personal growth that I saw in myself when I started working with startup clients was far more that I had ever achieved before.
However, the one reason why I love working with startup clients is because it gives me a chance to work with people who are in a different league. Entrepreneurs have a different professional and mental makeup. They have the unique capability to see a problem, approach it in many different ways until they come up with a solution. It’s working with these bunch of people that makes me realize that innovation is more than creativity…it’s an action and a reaction to solving problems in new ways…and mostly because it gives me the satisfaction of being a contributor to someone’s success. That bring me as close to Steve Jobs as I can at this point in my life…and for me, that’s more than great!