Startups are like a family

Building a startup is like building a family. You bond with people in ways drastically different to a normal job. One of the thing that saddens me the most is when some of those early members of the family depart. It needs to happen, its part of the growing up process, people ‘graduate’ just like in school, but its one of the toughest things for a founder to watch. 

Today I had lunch with one of my first employees and the first Product Manager we had in PeoplePerHour, Rahul (aka the Rahulian as i called him:)) I was genuinely so enthused to see him again and catch up, and of course as an early employee with vested stock options, update him on the business as a shareholder 🙂   It’s funny how life evolves, one day they’re accountable to you as CEO, the next you’re accountable to them as shareholders (thankfully Rahulian thought im doing a good job and didn’t have an urge to fire me 🙂

Rahulian was (and still is) someone very dear to me as he was one of the first members of the more senior team to join and really helped us accelerate and improve the product development. He was with the company for over two years when earlier last year he had to move to New York for personal reasons and for a while was working from our New York office. Amidst a big product relaunch we completed in August, it turned out that it was a bit too early to internationalize so Rahul moved on to newer things now working for America Express. It was a departure that – whilst rational and sensible for both him and the company – was tough and saddening. Your early team members and peers are like your family, seeing them graduate is one of those tough moments for founders to stomach

Nonetheless, as I said in a memo to my team today, they may be gone but they’re not forgotten. Their spirit lives within the company and the contribution they made at such an early stage will forever be baked in the DNA of the company.  And that’s what makes working for a startup so special.

Below is a photo of me and the Rahulian in a snowy blizzard-ridden New York having Tapas 🙂


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