An internship at a tech start-up: a fulfilling experience
Above: Yes, that's me, out and about while brainstorming new advertising avenues.
Hello fellow Nearones, and welcome back to NearOnes Stories! This week, we have our Business Development Intern, Felipe, (yours truly) describing what it's like to work at NearOnes. So, without further ado, here he is!
Hello everyone, and thanks for tuning in to my experiences so far. I'd first like to thank the rest of the NearOnes team for a) hiring me and b) inviting me to write about what it's been like so far.
The early days at NearOnes were chock-full of things to learn, much like any internship. Yet, the amount and diversity of new things to learn and get accustomed to both surprised me and kept me on my toes, as there was always some new research to do or tool (or toy) to try out. Of course, this learning process continues even today (and will for the extent that I work here, almost for sure) but to a much lesser degree than before. In the very beginning, I was thrown in off the deep end towards a variety of programs and online tools. While the phrase 'thrown in off the deep end' can seem daunting and negative, it is something that is common in the start-up world. At the beginning of a start-up's life, it is common for the members of the team to have little to no experience in the start-up world, and be unfamiliar with a lot of topics and areas of interest. So, many throw themselves off the deep end to learn as much as they can as fast as they can. This mindset prevails at NearOnes, and was something that was made clear to me from the beginning.
While many would prefer to have a bit more structure to their learning, I found it invigorating to just explore the available programs and software tools, and figure out their intricacies both by myself and with the help of the almighty YouTube. For a bit of context, the main tools I was tasked with learning were Google Ads, Wix, Figma, Branch, and many more.
Initially, it may seem puzzling as to why a start-up would toss a newly-hired intern into the fray in such a way. Yet, this is a combination of a few factors. The main reason why is that things are extremely fast-paced in a start-up. The aim is to continually grow, grow, and grow some more, and the members of any start-up team need to have their main focus on that. As such, in the case of NearOnes, the rest of the team is entirely focused on that, and can sparsely afford to go through the ropes with a new intern, especially if he/she/they are deemed competent enough to figure it out on their own. In addition, I preferred it this way too, as hand-holding isn't really my style anyway, to be perfectly honest.
As time has gone on, my expertise has grown in these programs, and I like to consider myself relatively proficient in my use of some of them. Of course, this has come with a fair share of trials and tribulations, but has nonetheless been a relatively rewarding experience as long as I've been determined to learn the relevant programs.
Another big facet of working at NearOnes is the amount of freedom and say I am given. The entire team is happy to hear any suggestions or improvements I might have, (from the wonky to the most grounded and considered) and truly contemplates and implements a few particularly good ones. In addition, my opinion is asked on a variety of topics, which I am of course happy to provide. However, this additional say comes with added expectation. In turn, the ideas and opinions I provide must be on par and as informed as the ones provided by my co-workers, which can prove to be a challenge. In the end, this sense of worth and weight can seldom be found at a starting job in most other companies, and is a facet of interning at NearOnes (but also at many start-ups) that I particularly treasure.
Socially, the work environment at NearOnes is that of an informal one, with a rather pleasurable lack of implied hierarchy. Of course, there are co-founders and there are interns, but there is no distinct difference in behaviour between and within these two groups. This is inevitably linked to the great amount of say I am given, as it can be said that I am considered an absolute equal in most relevant senses, at least superficially. As such, conversations range from a variety of things, and an equal amount of time and interest is devoted to my personal experiences as compared to the rest of the team. This is a rather small 'quality of life' thing, but I deem it important nonetheless.
In a similar vein, communication is very, very simple. We tend to use a productivity platform, Slack, meaning all of my team members are just a 'slack' away when working remotely, and a question away when working in person.
Of course, your mileage will vary. In other words, my experiences may be completely different from anyone else interning at a tech start-up. However, these facets of life working at a tech start-up seem to be common and relevant enough to be of note, which is something to keep in mind.
Thanks again for tuning in!
Keep completing and posting those tasks (safely, with Covid-19 measures in mind!)