Things I learned firsthand as an intern…at Firsthand
April 28, 2016
Stakes are high when you’re working in a small team. Whether it’s a missed deadline or a disappointed customer, one mistake can set the whole team behind. With a group of twelve working closely on projects, your mistakes are always out in the open. But on the flipside, the upshot is incredible. As my internship at Firsthand comes to a close, I can think of a lot of ways our office culture helped me grow.
At Firsthand, every action can pay off in many folds—from going the extra mile on project to discovering a clever solution to a client’s concerns. If you put yourself out there like I did, amazing opportunities can present themselves. After volunteering on projects for our sales team, I earned myself a spot at an industry conference alongside the Director of Sales. It’s been equally daunting and exhilarating to have my work count for so much.
Pretty much every day on the job helped me develop a toolkit of analytical and interpersonal skills.
With fewer people involved on projects than typical workplaces, the learning experiences at Firsthand are highly concentrated and very diverse. Just one project could have you learning new Excel functions to analyze user engagement data and communicating new details of a product release to clients. Pretty much every day on the job helped me develop a toolkit of analytical and interpersonal skills. That’s just part of the learning experience the company offers. .
A small team and a young product means it’s all hands on deck when a deadline is looming. It’s not rare to see the whole team working late into the night to stay on schedule for a project. What’s even more common though is to see the whole team celebrate its wins, big and small. When the company launches a new feature or lands a new client, there’s no question in whether you share in that success. You just do.
Everyone here has a nickname or a funny story that they will always attribute to working at Firsthand.
Deadlines and late nights are some common themes at Firsthand, but so are camaraderie and teamwork. The team shares a quirky bond that can feel a lot like family. Everyone here has a nickname or a funny story that they will always attribute to working at Firsthand. This dynamic is thoughtfully protected every time a new person joins the team. Candidates in the past have been asked about their preferred office snack, their dream super power, and their favorite movie. This is all in attempt to defend a workplace culture that is just as much about fostering a fun atmosphere as it is about getting work done.
There was a real pay-off for being proactive during my internship. If I was the first person to recognize a problem or an opportunity, I would present it to the team and get credit accordingly. On the other hand, it was also my responsibility to defend my ideas, and be mature enough to take feedback. Firsthand fosters a community where we are all accountable to each other. This experience is perhaps one of the biggest growth opportunities the company has given me. I’m incredibly happy for this experience so early in my career – gaining a firsthand feel of a startup culture.