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One Degree of Separation

Startups are exciting!


Everyone believes so. But what is that’s so exciting about a Startup? You can almost use this question as a Rorschach Test to find out what is lacking in their career now.

Everyone has something they feel/think is great about startups: the transparency, lack of bureaucracy, connect with client, knowledge about vital stats of an org, flat hierarchy, ability to control your own fate within org, see effects of your contribution, struggle to find answers for basic questions like how will the org make money, fact that we own the problem and not blame others, so on and so forth.

The Other Side!


While we tend to get enamoured by the opportunities startups throws at us, the other side is hardly discussed. Something that all entrepreneurs surrender to, live through and ultimately succumb to. But that is a conversation for another day.

The One Degree Separation  


One thing that startups offer (and is root cause of many things exciting about it) is that founders and early employees are just one degree away from the consequences of their work/decision.

They know revenue generated, cost incurred, potential and compromises, success first hand and what product/decision caused that.

There is no alienation from the consequences of the product they produce.

So What?


This is one thing large Enterprises and Software Services company specially can adopt/imbibe from startups world:

One Degree of Separation from the consequences of our work.

Once we are aware of the consequences of our work, finding, owning and solving problems will be self-motivated. If we are are not aware, we will continue to be a cog in the wheel that is unaware of its importance.

Also, Software Services companies work with a clients on a product/project. They are inherently always few degree away from the consequences of their work. At times the department they work with (example Engineering), itself is few degrees away from the department which faces the final consequences of the work (example Support).

So This Means?


With each degree of separateness, the context, sense-of-ownership, the awareness for value delivered decreases exponentially.

So, What Next?

In order to adopt/imbibe this key lesson, the challenge is how to be one degree separate from the consequences of the work. That can be best answered by the organisation itself.


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Dinker Charak

Dinker has over a decade of experience in building products across diverse domains such as Industrial Automation, Home Automation, Operating Systems, High Energy Particle Physics, Embedded Systems, Online Video Advertising, Messaging, K-12 education and Private Banking. He also founded Gungroo Software. He books '#ProMa: Product Management Tools, Methods & Some Off-the-wall Ideas' and 'The Neutrinos Are Coming and Other Stories' are available globally. He also manages, an Indian Sci-fi portal.

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