You can read the first part of this series here – part 1.
I was wondering how often I should write and publish each post in this series. I figured once in three weeks would make sense because I’ll have something significant to say in that period. Anyway, I wanted to talk about one thing in particular in this post, and that will be the sole emphasis of this writing.
This is something I have witnessed at most startups, and will probably keep seeing this happen throughout the ages –
I figured the first month would be light on me, and I would have time to figure out the job I was assigned to do, and I’d do that really well. However, since it is a startup, all the roles that must be filled – finance, marketing, sales, product management, the tech, etc., must all be carried out by a handful of us. I was one of them. I had one role on paper, but a whole lot more than that to do.
I’ll give you an example. Last week, we were discussing the new strategies to tap into the market and how to acquire this market by tweaking the app and website that we have. Product management and business development, basically. This involved a lot of thinking and a lot of strategizing, which we all love to do. So we did that. We took two days to figure it all out and we arrived at a plan. It was simple – Meet, brainstorm, strategize, iterate, draft the plan. What came next was where we had to diversify.
Executing that plan required man power, and a lot of traveling and meeting other people. Granted that huge companies pass these tasks on to people below them, but we couldn’t waste monetary resources on hiring more people. Our goal was to maximize revenue, and hiring more people would be contradictory. Yes, the job would be done quickly, but we had estimated that the returns would take time. That’s why hiring more talent would be contradictory.
So, we were left to do those jobs as well. And it wasn’t anything mundane. It just involved us switching roles for a while, too often to get the job done.
The founders sometimes became the labor force in the company. We even devised ways to get free meals to all the folks who worked here. We initiated a partnership with a food delivery company who would promote us in their campaign in exchange for major perks and discounts from our side ( which also included free lunches to our folks here ). Heading out there into other corporate offices and telling them WHY we are better and HOW we could assist them with our product; all these were jobs left to the marketer, but we did it anyway because we knew that an official designation is just for papers.
Right now, we’re brainstorming about how to market the product that we have. We’re coming with an entire campaign that revolves around making gifs. Gifs that our target market would relate to and then check out our product. This isn’t even in the description of my job, but I have to be part of doing this because I helped come up with this idea and there’s no one else to execute them.
You can find this culture at SpaceX, Tesla, GoPro and a lot of other companies too, where people actually wouldn’t mind if their job went beyond what their role is described to be.
Moreover, I honestly think that having this kind of diversification makes your job seem less like a job and more like you’re part of something bigger than yourself, than the job you’re told to do, than the company itself because you become invaluable to them. And that’s when you know you’re doing the right thing.
I am probably not there yet. However, it looks like this path will eventually lead to that place I just described.