The decision to join a startup may feel daunting. I stumbled into the realm of technology by chance and have never looked back. I completed a few internships at big corporations in Singapore and after a few stints, I felt like I wasn’t fully realising my potential. I had serious doubts about whether joining a startup would be a good decision for me, especially early on in my career. When the opportunity arose, I jumped at the chance to join Technicorum, a blockchain startup. It was without a doubt one of the greatest moves I'd ever made.
Within the next few months, my exposure to new projects and responsibilities grew exponentially. Over the next year, the business developed new technologies, expanded into new countries, obtained funding from renowned investors, increased its staff base across Asia, and was recognized by the Singapore FinTech Association for its mission to bring blockchain solutions to enterprises and founders.
As the company expanded, so did my job and scope of work. During my time here, I had the opportunity to try out different roles with the guidance of a close team of highly motivated and experienced leaders. It’s without a doubt that the leaders of the organisation, Malcolm Tan and Daniel Daboczy, had made an impact on my career growth.
For anyone looking to make the jump into working in a startup, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned.
1. Develop the ability to make decisions with limited information.
This is an ability that will be useful in both your career and personal life. The concept of complete knowledge is fiction. It's important to remember that not making a choice is also a decision. It frequently comes at a considerable expense.
2. You probably will feel like you’re inadequate - and that’s okay as long as you ask questions.
The majority of people don't know most things. Simply because they are not asking questions does not imply that they understand.
Discipline yourself to speak up, even if the questions you ask appear to be foolish. Having a solid understanding of the subject at hand will allow you to apply your knowledge and offer value to the organisation in the long haul. You can't offer substance to things you don't completely comprehend.
3. Invest in developing deep relationships; when people respect you, they want to collaborate with you.
People both within and outside the organisation respected me as a person, which contributed to my success in my work. People respecting you isn't enough in and of itself, but it makes everything so much simpler.
4. Mentorships are highly valued both within and outside of the organisation.
For those just starting out in their careers, it would be wise to focus on finding exceptional mentors who are engaged in their development. While managers in your organisation are a wonderful place to start, you should constantly explore possibilities outside of your firm.
5. Always be open to taking up new opportunities and prioritise your learning.
This is one of the most important lessons I learned. As one of the company's youngest employees, reporting directly to the CEO, my skills progressed by leaps and bounds under his supervision and leadership.
I was frequently pushed out of my comfort zone and I had to learn how to cope. Because of this, not only did I learn to become more resourceful, but I also gained technical skills like crafting the best tokenomics model and pitching to clients. On top of this, I attained a diverse set of business talents like go-to-market strategies, how to make important decisions under duress and so on.
If I had chosen to limit myself to the customary scope of employment, I would have missed out on innumerable prospects for advancement.
Finally, accept the ups and downs and don't be afraid of unpredictability. If the recent years have taught us anything, it is that nothing is guaranteed. It all comes down to the adventure. Embrace it and enjoy the ride.