A hard disk full of 1080p videos, high-end games, riveting music collection, a cozy room, a garam garam cup of tea and all that you could possibly find on your college’s Intranet is what most people look forward to when winter vacations come close.
But, what if you could finish the stuff on your winter vacations’ bucket list along with an internship that matters and get to learn new stuff you always wanted to? And, what if you could experience all those things at your workplace itself?
That perfectly describes my journey at SocialCops. This vacation was my first, after beginning my college crusade and a long awaited homecoming was in order. Still I chose to take up an internship and put up whatever little skills I had acquired to a practical use. Immense hours of internet surfing Quora, Hacker News, YourStory, Techcrunch and many other websites aided me to finally arrive at a conclusion.
SocialCops or nothing. Period.
The work that they were up to in the field of Data analytics had my attention since long and the I couldn’t lose an opportunity to work for them.
If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.
After almost a week powered solely by caffeine (Disclaimer: If any of my family member is reading this, It was my end-sem exams’ time) and two interviews with kick-ass people, I ended up in “Business Development and Market Research”. Believe me, your role is not the only thing you would be restricted to.
Random Aunty: “Weren’t you in an engineering college?”
Oh Yeah! I still am. So what?
Being an entrepreneurial enthusiast, I know how one has to play most of the roles you can think of in a company by yourself. You are the HR, Salesman, Partner Manager, Marketing Lead, Designer, Programmer, Blogger — all for one and one for all. At least, in a startup still in its nascent stages. So why follow the crowd when I could avail an opportunity now, to hone my skills if I actually have to work for a startup or get going with one of my own sometime? You have more chances of winning the race if you have a head start.
As Steve Jobs rightly said,
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
So,“Yes! The engineering part will also come into action soon. Wait for it!”
The major reason for getting an internship is not to put it up on your CV or to have a background when you apply someplace else later. It is to learn.
I failed on the first day in a startup.
SocialCops was the very first organization I was about to work for and even before officially joining, I failed. Big Time. I entered the wrong room (a small meeting room called “The silencio room”) and stayed there for almost an hour thinking that there will be some sort of official HR briefing before I actually get in the office. Got on the Fail board where everyone’s fails are put up on a post-it. Unlike in a corporate setting, you would go up on the board and still not receive that horrible mail from your boss.
I still remember what Varun (the co-founder) said while putting up that post-it on the board.
“There are no mistakes. It’s just about the things we do sometimes don’t turn out the way we want them too”
A new perspective to an existing problem. That’s what I believed in by the end of my internship and that is what my task was. Leveraging the technology to monitor India’s population required a peak into the real India with the help of partners and NGOs. I profiled NGOs and channel partners to be collaborated with for our target of 1.3 billion. Not just this, I also learnt significant details of pitching a product to a VC vs. pitching a product to a client. Validating an idea into a prototype and later to a MVP are things about which I always heard but getting personal assistance from people who have already experienced and been through the same couldn’t be achieved elsewhere.
There are GSoCers, column editors, serial entrepreneurs, UN representatives, and marketing gurus all under the same roof. Just shout out for help!
The Yellow Workplace.
People with a common mission, trying every bit to make things go the right way, coming to the office every (not really) morning (or afternoon) to change the way we want the change to happen. Each member of that small and growing team has something new and unique to preach and talk about.
High-end technology from around the globe with things like Google Glass, Chromecast, Slate, Raspberry Pi, Drone, X-Box Kinect is a common spectacle and I am pretty sure that when I am writing this, someone in that office is ordering some kick-ass stuff to add to the charm. Not to forget, even the plates, spoons and white board markers are ordered online. That’s what a “Tech Startup” is.
I personally worked more closely with Vikas (Mean Old Man) and Prukalpa (Santa) and am in awe of their expertise and got to learn a variety of things from them ranging from client handling to a typical VC Pitch. It was really ingratiating to have their trust and guidance.
Which office would include a reference to the Game of Thrones in your Introductory Task Presentation briefing? Well, mine did!
Almost every lunch session includes a high-spirited discussion on cricket or an intriguing TED talk and you don’t want to miss that.
If you are the smartest person in the room then you are in the wrong room.
Learning from your colleagues is one where SocialCops excels. Regular team sessions like Teach on Tuesdays (ToT) are amazing activities where you get to know something or someone better. Be it on knowing how to design a poster, giving a perfect pitch presentation, a quiz or a mime performance, It is always a fun-learning experience. Being a mafia for a whole week or perhaps even more at Secret Santa during Christmas is even more cool.
You will be enthralled to learn from them in various team sessions and sometimes at some random chai-pe-charcha post lunch session.
Even though one might not be a technology geek, You would still wait for the Friday demo sessions and will be able to appreciate and give your feedback on the product which took the techies thousands of lines of code just for a single feature. No coding experience? Worry not. You still get to test Android apps and visualization tools before launch and report the bugs.
Forget Cubicles and Cabins
There is absolutely no “my spot” culture at SocialCops. You like a place, it’s yours. One day you are working in the chilling room on a bean-bag, the following night you may be working comfortably on a mattress and the next week probably in the basement Brainstorming Room. (The office itself is in a basement, so the Brainstorming Room is a basement in a basement). #Nolan \m/.
And Nolan reminds me of No LAN. So yeah! No wires, no hassles, You get super fast wi-fi, I had to figure out the encryption password from a witty puzzle. Music playing on the speakers, “n” Chai cups (here n>no. of hours you are in the office) delivered to your table, great food and a full house for snacks.
After an hour of brainstorming and procrastination with the deadline of this blogpost to figure out the one not-so-good thing about the internship, I could only think about my mom complaining that I was consuming too much chai. The office literally runs on chai.
During the course of my internship, I met some great people who gave me an entirely different perspective for handling situations. Even on the way back to my college, I could not help but smile, reminiscing all the great moments I had.
A winter well spent.
Thank you SocialCops.