If you have ever encountered Statistics in your life, you might have come across this anecdote, “Life is never deterministic, it is always probabilistic.”
Perhaps, the most intense embodiment of this quote is in a startup.
Imagine skydiving, when you are jumping off from a plane at 30,000 ft, immersed in the thrill and totally oblivious to the future ahead. And guess what, startups are very similar, where you work your ass off in the thrill of changing the world, equally nonchalant to the risks ahead. But, both are equally enriching.
Startups are full-fledged schools in themselves. Startups offer you some unforgettable life lessons, unparalleled to any school you have been to:
- Uncertainty is temporary – Almost everyone can excel in a structured environment, the true test of a person’s abilities is how well he/she converts uncertainty into certainty. And startups can’t bloom if they don’t do that. You are forced to think hard, to find the pattern in the chaos and finally achieve something tangible by pushing your limits.
- Money matters – Until this age, I have never been conscious of how important money is. You have left your job for a nearly whimsical idea you had and now you have the huge onus of financial constraints on your head and it can start influencing each and every decision. In a start-up, it definitely should. A very important parameter that start-ups base their decision on is ROI (Return On Investment) and it is equally important in life.
- Be inclusive – A CEO of a real estate portal recently said that the density of smart people outside IIT was very less compared to inside. While that may/may not be true and depends on the the vague term “smart”, it really is irrelevant. When you are at a start-up, you have to think as your consumer does and he is more likely to be a common man, travelling in the local train for a 10-6 job. Ultimately, you have to be inclusive in your approach and your success depends entirely on how well you can communicate with the masses.
- Programming is inevitable – Programming skills always add value, especially when the world is moving towards more automation and innovating at a cheetah’s pace. In startups also, there will always be some component which can be made more efficient through coding, however, ‘non-tech’ the startup might be.
- Growth is organic – Perhaps, the most ubiquitous word in a startup is organic. A good startup has to grow by itself. Just as every human has to, in career and life.
- Ultimately, everything in career life boils down to software and management. Everything.
- There is no such thing as a menial job in the world. Every employee at a startup is replaceable and often, people have to don many hats simultaneously, not necessarily of the same material.
This quote from Rocky perfectly sums up startup environment: Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and still keep moving forward. And that’s how winning is done!