This is an excerpt from the Venturi-group podcast on Innovative Approach to Leadership and Management with Tom Magnifico – VP of Engineering and Professional Services, CrossCap.
More and more millennials and young professionals turn to startups. To some of them being at a startup means having a pool in the middle of the office and other perks, to others – it’s the growth aspect, a way to jump-start their career and really expand the professional knowledge base.
Startups vs Big Companies
Tom Magnifico: The way the larger corporate businesses operate is very siloed, and you as an employee basically get to work on one thing. Big organizations move slowly; startups are running fast, and there’s a lot glamor in startups, just take a look at Facebook and SnapChap. There’s a lot of glamor in them, but also it’s a lot of work and responsibilities. It takes a certain type of individual to take on this type of role, and money isn’t always a motivating factor.
When you work at a startup, the managerial structure is very flat: you are an individual contributor but you are also a manager. And that is fulfilling: I don’t want to sit in the office and be a manager of engineers; I’m there on frontlines working as well.
My work is interesting because I work with both clients and engineers on our side. Working with clients and building solutions for Fortune 500 organizations and having clients utilize the tools that you create – and they are multi-billion dollar companies – is very gratifying.
SaaS business: Managing remote teams
When you are a startup, you outsource and go for the top talent which isn’t always located in your office. Managing teams across times zones can be challenging but if you hire the right people, a daily stand up meeting with all the teams can be enough to keep everybody on track. But you have to do it the right way by making sure everybody in the company has a voice, and everybody understands what is it that we are trying to achieve.
From the work-perspective, bringing people together, being in constant contact and allowing people to share information, is what I see as being valued. That’s why messaging, and Slack and other collaboration apps (we have one too – CrossCap Connect) become so popular because they are changing the way people work. There are a lot of areas that can cause disruption in an organization, and you have to allow for collaboration to not miss on the growth opportunity.
What Type of Person is the Right Fit for a Startup?
Willingness to learn and change your skill set is something that’s really hard to quantify on a resume. What I usually look at is how you handle a difficult problem. You might not know how to answer it, but this should be your thought process: I don’t know how to do this right now, but I will go read about it, and I will find this information somewhere. This is just as important as being able to solve the problem right away.
Another important factor is you have to be able to work on both sides: you have to understand what we are trying to achieve, as well as understand what the clients are looking for.
It comes down to these three questions:
● Are you someone who is going to be able to do 80% of the job and then learn the last 20% on the job?
● Are you someone who is going to grow in the position and think on his own? I don’t want to sit down and be giving you directions all day. I want to empower you to have the tools you need to succeed in a job.
● Are you someone who is going to just do the job or you are someone who is going to help your organization grow? Learn the business size, understand what you are doing, and effect that it has on your organization and the clients who are using our product. Because if you know that, you are just going to be a lot more valuable to the organizations, and the demand for you will always be there.