The Internship Affair

If someone had mentioned to me in my final year of engineering that my first job would be at a startup, I would have snubbed at them and continued thinking about life in Bangalore with a tech giant who gave me an offer on campus.

Fast forward 12 months and I have completed 1 year with Cube26. I could use overly abused words #startups #wanderlust #stevejobs and paint a beautiful picture. The reality though is much less flamboyant but exciting nonetheless.

For my last semester I was supposed to do a 6 months internship in Mumbai with the tech giant, then shift to Bangalore for the full-time job. However, the idea of staying in Mumbai didn’t interest me much at the time time in spite of my reoccurring love for the city, which I try to visit as often as possible.

The next best option was Delhi and luckily a friend of mine introduced me to Cube26 which was bootstrapped at the moment. A quick search and I was instantly intrigued by gesture tech, IoT & a suit of amazing mobile products.

A quick application, interview and then I moved to Delhi.

From the first day of my internship up until now, one thing has been established — I’m doing something that creates value and that for me have been an almost addictive feeling. Wherein a corporate environment you would be involved in one department, one project, one feature etc, in a fast moving startup your impact value increases multifold and so do the opportunities to which you expose yourself.

Although I was touted to be a software developer in college, I have contributed to business, product, design and investment teams here. You basically fill in whatever role you can, wherever there is a need — and that is when the magic happens. I discovered skills I’m good at, things I did better than coding a computer (not too brilliant there, honestly).

Most importantly though you get a front row seat to “how to run a company 101” right from raising money from big name investors (shout out to Tiger Global and Flipkart) to releasing products in the leanest timeframes possible.

There is that tiny bit downside though and any one of my (ex?) friends will tell you that about me — startup jobs consume your life. We work 6 days a week, mostly till late in the night. There is simply too much to cover, even with comfortably funded like startups like us, team sizes are limited. Product managers manage multiple products, developers contribute more commits than in traditional environment, marketing team fills in multiple positions.

On the upside, you don’t ever feel like you’re “on the job”, that is the single most brilliant upside from working for a corporate. Your work peers become good friends. Thirsty Thursdays and Fifa Fridays are a thing.

I remember sometime in my first week expressing to my CEO that I’d like to see this product release before I leave since we were working hard on it.

“What do you mean? You’ll be here for this release and the one after and so on. You’re not going anywhere.”

I initially planned on ending the internship in July and heading back home, I didn’t up until 30th August. I joined full time from September 1st.

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