Saturday, 2 July 2016

The One with the Intern!

This is a version by Garima Gupta from BITS Pilani who interned at Outbox for 2 months.


1. It's never too late to begin - Five months ago I was planning to avail my DAAD research scholarship to intern in Germany, and today, I am writing this blog sitting at the Outbox office at Park Circus, Kolkata. From grappling with a serious internal injury  to struggling to start afresh in the non-core sector, I learnt in roughly half a year that it's all about your willpower and one can start from scratch, anytime in their lives. Giving up on research and the hard-earned scholarship was like a dream shattered right in front of my eyes. Having toiled for it since ages, the heart-ache following the refusal from the doctor on not being fit enough to go to Germany was indescribable. But life just goes on. And it's about finding the silver lining among the dark clouds. Listening to a career advice from a close friend, I decided to try my luck in the non-core sector where I had a natural forte and it all seemed to click from then as I got the internship at a startup in Kolkata called Outbox. I remember, once a friend of mine told me that I should take up surprise planning as a career and here I am trying my hands at it  at Outbox.

2. Googling the right way can take you far - I always used to feel that I'm technically handicapped, even though I hail from one of the best engineering colleges in India. I used to crazily admire people who could learn hard skills on their own over the internet, I felt that I always needed help with such things. But with no wingies/friends around to ask around, when faced with such situations at work, I realized that effective googling and resources on the internet can take you really far. Internet is the most fascinating thing of the 21st century. With tons of resources up there, it has become easy to learn and polish your skill set. All that is required is patience and perseverance in finding your way through the multitude of stuff that's available to get to the right thing.
PS: Try the course on effective ways of Googling

3. Negotiation is like doing waltz together - Having heard this phrase from a friend who's obsessed with startups, I realized this truly while negotiating for a salary raise at my internship. With the assurance of what I can deliver, I decided to negotiate for a higher pay while prioritizing work and experience above money on my list. A lot of times, we take it to our egos while negotiating with someone, and the same happened with me when I debated over salary raise with one of the co-founders of the company. We often forget that a negotiation is successful only when both the parties get mutually satisfied. It's like doing a waltz together wherein it requires coordination from both sides, unlike a clash. I mended my stance while taking the discussion to the other co-founder and that's when the discussion became fruitful.

4. Appreciation can get a lot of jobs done - The prime precedent for this is none other than Outbox's co-founder, Ms. Sukriti Agarwal. I have myself headed various departments and associations in my college years and have gotten the work done in time on most occasions. I was considered to be really strict when it comes to work by most of my juniors and co-workers. Though I believe in appreciating work which has been done well, but Sukriti took it to another level for me. I was astound to see what appreciation can achieve and mean to people. I have seen her getting work done at the last moments by just using a few magical words in Sukriti style. It has amazed me throughout my stay how any design changes or marketing work can be made to done in the nick of time. She has this ability to rightly incentivize people and is great with HR. She is just 'crazy' at selling services to the clients, I mean give her a watermelon, she can even sell that for a 'bomb'! Her skill is worth a fortune for her company!

5. It's all about going forward and not being perfect at every stage - Being a perfectionist, I have this nag to do thing perfectly even if means delayed work. Over time I realized that to achieve bigger things in life, one has to surely strive for perfection but more important than that is to keep moving. Perfection doesn't mean a thing if you're not progressing. It's important to do things imperfectly and then learn from it, 'cause nothing in this world can be ever described as perfect. It's all about personal satisfaction and hence truly all in the mind.

6. It is not just about profit and loss - Running a company is much more than handling a balance sheet. One has to take several initiatives in the early days in accordance with the future goals. Building a reputable brand takes years of hard work and investments that might look unworthy in the initial period, but still capable of turning the table at the right time. I am fortunate to be able to contribute to the process of building a brand out of Outbox in its early stage. The credit undoubtedly goes to Kaushal, co-founder at Outbox, who realizes the importance of long-term investment in making a niche for his company. His knack for money management is not only his 'IT' element  in being a successful entrepreneur but also justifies his marwari origin and a degree in Economics Honors.

7. A team is what makes an idea successful - The heart and soul of every company is its core team. The lines, "Every idea is a good idea, it's the team which makes or breaks it", now have a live example for me in the form of the Outbox team.  The co-founders make a fantastic couple in being complete package. They complement each other by covering up for each other's shortcomings wonderfully! To supplement them is the super-efficient operations head Ikram. Ikram handles everything so incredibly well while staying behind the scenes throughout. Such a calm, composed, practical and proficient guy! Way to go, Outbox!  A little more organization and I can totally see you in the Big Shot list.

- Garima Gupta

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