So… today is my last day officially working for Keewi - a very cool startup in Saigon. It’s almost 1 year since the first time I knew about this awesome team and its famous event Start Me Up - the only monthly entrepreneurship event in Saigon. Looking back, it was an amazing journey that brought me to the technology world and expose to a new way of thinking about this world, which is totally different from what I’ve believed before. Listening to the song Humanity in Motion inspires me to write a short post for youngsters who want to tip a toe in a startup world. These are all the awesome experiences I want to share with you.

Diversity of skills

Usually, a job in a corporate will need a specific skill-set and the skill you acquired will be very focused. At a startup, one skill is never enough, start-ups never have enough people to do the work. As a business student, I knew nothing about design & coding. When people talked about landing page, UX design, Google analytics, CSS, HTML5, JavaScript, object-oriented, etc. I felt like it was in some alien language. But don’t be afraid, take time and dig deeper into technical skills, it will make your communication much easier. Looking back, I believe I’ve learned a lot from programmers and designers in Keewi. Thanks to them I now know how to do basic Java programming and acquired some basic Photoshop skills.

Involve in strategic level decision:

tech-startups nowadays apply lean methodology to search for the right business model. This decision is based on an endless loop of customer discovery and hypothesis testing. Therefore, there are higher chances you can propose the idea to the CEO & have discussions about the company’s future. The decisions you’re involved in range from adding product features, changing the user experience, finding new revenue models, go/kill decision for certain projects,

Cool & hip culture:

There is no red-tape, no formal paper, no hierarchy, whatever you want to propose, tell it to the whole team. Startup teams drink beers, eat out or play basketball/football together.

Self-learning attitude:

Corporations always pay a lot of attention on their people. They have formal training programs & career tracking for employees. Employees always know how to do certain jobs properly and professionally with guidance from management. Startups rarely have to time to teach you how certain jobs are done, as they are too busy surviving and getting punches from customers/suppliers/ the economy everyday. Start-up is more about on-the-go learning where you have to grab books, online courses, tips from your networks, observe what other companies are doing to understand deeply about specific skills. However, that is a good condition since startup is a lonely road, there is no similar path for two different companies. Beside, startup is a lifestyle, how can someone teach you how to live a life?

Resilience:

You try, you fail and you try again. Sometimes you win, sometimes you screw things up, and that’s normal. Get used to being punched many times in a day will make you stronger and more resilient to things out of your control. Remember, it’s not about the things that happen to you, it’s how you response. There’s nothing wrong with failure, but it’s never right to give up.

For me, at the end of the day, it’s all about what value we are adding to the society and people around you. With a startup, I have a sense of belonging, the feeling of being part of a team, a part of something bigger than myself and create products that solve society’s problems. And that’s made all the differences.


Tommy Ly