Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Simple Rules for a Simple World

After reading ‘Simple Rules for a Complex World’, in this last blog, I want to reflect on strategies and rules specifically apt for start-up companies - an environment relatively less bureaucratic and less complex. Last summer, I spent three months interning in an early stage molecular diagnostics start-up in Palo Alto, California and based on my experiences at this small company, I wish to draw comparisons to this article which discusses rules used in larger and more stable corporations.

  • More Hands-On Approach

The company I was interning with had a sum total of three full-time employees and everyone one was doing everything. My immediate boss was taking care of office space logistics, recruiting R&D scientists, completing market analysis and working in tandem with the VC fund officials. It is an exhilarating experience and requires huge stamina, enthusiasm and patience. And, I feel this forms the culture of a start-up company wherein they involve partners and employees who are cohesive and risk-friendly. Herein, the strategy is to grow with people who believe in the ethos of the start-up very passionately because unlike larger organizations, upon recruitment, the employee is not entering a stable and clear environment. There is a lot of gray area and you have to figure your way around. People have to make their own rules and have to be much more independent.
  • Less bureaucracy, more flexibility

Since there are not many office rules and regulations to meet, approval and go-ahead is way easier to secure. I believe start-ups allow you more productive work time and flexibility as the work culture is being formed along the way. Also, because the group is smaller, data analysis is much more coherent and discussions can be held for a longer period of time.
  • Setting short-term objectives is the norm

As a start-up grows, the deadlines it sets forth for future funding are more short-term than long. During my internship, the founder of the start-up was in constant touch with their Managing Partner at the VC-Fund and they always had short-term goals which were to be discussed on a weekly basis. Unlike larger organizations which have 2, 5 and 10 year plans in place, the start-up’s approach is much more functional and practical.

I liked the work culture and atmosphere at this start-up and I hope to learn more with time and experience.

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