We have all heard the story of the woodcutter, who went to the forest, cut ten trees on his first day of work. He then cut seven trees on his second day and as the days went on his productivity decreased to just one tree a day. The story of the woodcutter resonates throughout the tech and the corporate world. We techies are so busy with our regular work that we don’t find the time to sharpen our axes. We seldom brainstorm or collaborate because no one has the time or the drive after a long day to sit down for a brainstorming session. We are like the Avengers, except we never assemble. We are like individual superheroes, who have amazing powers and united we could do so much more but divided we are like molecules of scattered idea, no platform to coerce and collaborate.
That was the idea behind Hackathon@Shuttl, a platform to bring together our developers, architects, designers and PMs to showcase their abilities, ideate, create and innovate. Divided into teams, these hackers competed to create innovative products and develop coding hacks that can make a difference in the greater scheme of things. The platform meant those participating could showcase their talent and ideas and collaborate on code in an intense 24-hour showdown.
The event took place on the 26th of August’16 and by the end of the day, we saw a lot of potential innovations being built and some even caught our eyes. One of them was Wiz, an app that connects people with similar interests along with one more called Step Up, which is basically an app that helps complete your resolution and goals by making you focus. Amongst the other honorable mentions were the Lane Switching Alarm with video processing, Energy Consumption Monitor and the Carbon Footprint Monitor. However, the app that stole the show was an idea that involved an app, which will act as an assistant to other apps.
It’s heartening to see that many Hackathon projects these days, are making it to the application stores and giving techies a brilliant platform to showcase their skills.
This, intense, caffeine & Pizzas-fueled day, brought us together to brainstorm and ideate on innovative solutions to real problems that threaten to disrupt our day-to-day lives. Shuttl Hackathon was a brilliant success and we hope they conduct some more of these sessions that seeks to make a change for the greater good.
Meet Gupta, Sr. Architect, Mobile Apps @Shuttl
With so much caution around startups these days accentuated by the Flipkart-IIT fiasco and winding-up of a few food-tech ones there is still hope and lots that startups have to offer (and much that they don’t). Having worked with both, startups and established MNCs with their People function let me expound what works in your favor early in your career if you do decide to head the startup way.
- Courage: With the entire DNA of a startup built around entrepreneurship there is no better place to witness courage, first-hand. Our traditional jobs, schools, colleges make us highly risk-averse. We are scared to experiment, averse to new possibilities, comfortably giving-in to status quo. But, nothing great was ever achieved from one’s comfort-zone, sipping a Pina Colada on a beach! Working with a startup gives you access to co-founders, entrepreneurs, and mavericks who inspire you to create, nurture and sustain an idea. An idea, that they chase religiously, against all odds even at the expense of being labelled as deranged at times.
- Knowledge: With most of the startups hiring brilliant individuals from pedigreed institutes, you get to work with the best brains in the industry. (Having said that, I’d like to mention that I do not attribute intelligence to pedigree. It’s only a qualifier and not a guarantor of exceptional future performance). The quality of discussions, access to leadership and the mentor-ship that you get is truly enriching. Fresh graduates, this is for you, you will cherish this exposure forever. Who knows you might not even require that PG degree that you’re gunning for!
- Lateral Exposure: One key advantage of working with an early stage startup is that you are not labelled to a particular function. Irrespective of what your degree states, if you believe you can add value better elsewhere and show promise, then why not? This is a restrictive attribute in larger organizations (with very few exceptions), once your blinkers are on, you are expected to tread that one single path that you see. I personally know many individuals who feel ‘stuck’ with their jobs and see no hope whatsoever of a lateral movement. However, they are equally responsible as they are not willing to risk (refer #1).
- Learning Curve:I’ve seen many Graduate Trainees at startups function and scale up that would put most Management Trainees from celebrated colleges to shame. I always wondered why some of them were able to perform at such superlative levels with no so-called, traditional management skills? The simple answer to this is, self-belief. You are offered shoes a couple of sizes bigger to fit-in. What do you do? You ‘grow’ fast, faster than others and prove your mettle. Unknowingly, shooting beyond the traditional performance curve because you never know that your baseline itself was set way higher than average.
- Passion: You will come across individuals so maniacally obsessed with the product/service that their startup offers that the craziness is sure to rub-on. It’s this selfless passion, commitment and energy that makes startups stand out. You own the idea as much as a founder, right down to the last guy. There’s no greater feeling than watching that idea grow, bigger and better everyday. Having said that, it would take blood, sweat and toil but the journey is worth it. A personal suggestion, never join a startup whose idea you do not identify with. You will never feel connected and without passion you are bound to fail.
Despite the above, there will definitely be certain drawbacks (if one may call them) that one might find against a traditional job – work that expands to fill your time, lesser job security, not the swankiest of offices, no frequent corporate lunches, and lots of ambiguity at work. But, trust me, the journey is worth it IF you are willing to dare.
Vishal Naithani, HR Lead, Shuttl