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What I learnt working for a young boss

Source |Linkedin .com  |  BY:Hari T.N, Passionate about Solving Problems…and Start-ups

It was sometime in December 2013, after Moody’s acquisition of AMBA – the start-up I worked for – was a done deal, that I began evaluating options. I was 48 years old at that point of time. Working for a large company wasn’t a choice – I was too much in love with startups. While I was contemplating my next move, I was introduced to Raghu, the 32 year old founder of TFS – a taxi aggregator much like Uber – by Sanjeev Aggarwal, the Managing Partner at Helion ventures (and investors at TFS).

While I had always loved working with youngsters, working for a much younger manager would have been a first time experience. Though I had heard very good things about TFS, and Raghu, I did have some concerns working for someone who was 16 years younger! I went for the meeting with an open mind. The meeting was interesting. He told me everything that TFS was trying to do. After a short game of brain tennis about the industry and the startup ecosystem, he told me, “I have heard of you and I don’t know if I am competent to interview you. We would be delighted if you join us and help us accelerate our journey”. Obviously, the short conversation WAS the interview, but nevertheless I liked the way he put it. I was there in the TFS office at 8 am the next morning. For the next 12 months, until TFS’s merger with Olacabs, I was there in the office every day at 8 am!

Here are some of the lessons I learnt during the 12 most exciting months of my professional life:

  • Age equips you with knowledge of the common failure points, but it also numbs you to the fact that each situation is unique and the exact mode of failure is usually never the same. Therefore, while experience can help you with better judgment, do not take this advantage too seriously especially if the prevailing mood is to experiment and take risks.
  • You need to adapt to the culture very quickly. If responding to mails at 1 am is important, start doing it. Don’t start with being critical. If Monday morning TED talk videos is the norm, be a part of it. If beer parties, after review meetings, are a way of bonding, don’t find reasons to skip them. You may have a family to go back to, but find a way of achieving a balance without making your younger colleagues feel that you don’t see yourself as a part of this culture.

     Readon….

 

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