Before being an intern at uxebu, I was not familiar with the startup environment. For me startups were just new and small businesses with innovative ideas. Nothing too exciting.
I began to realize that I had to deal with something new and unknown since the first Skype interview: it was scheduled at 3 p.m., and from 2 p.m. I started looking at my closet in a very concentrated way, searching for my best clothes and the most well-chosen accessories. I mean, I was applying for my first job in a foreign country and I’m Italian, so “probably they expect me to be a fashion addict”… I just didn’t want to disappoint these hypothetical (and senseless) expectations.
At the end I was simply perfect: lovely blu dress, earrings fully in line with the necklace, makeup designed for this occasion (I’m a mess at make-up, therefore I had carefully studied a youtube tutorial before the interview).
When the interview started, in front of me there were two guys in white t-shirts.
One of them, which seemed to be just a little older than me, was the CEO.
My first day of work (15th of November, I’ll never forget it) was enlightening: in WERK1, our co-working space, the usual “Friday breakfast” was taking place (though not usual at all to me). All the people working there stopped doing whatever they were doing and came to join all the others in the main hall: bread, jam, nutella (!!!), biscuits, coffee… and, according to the Fridays (pleasant later discovery), also pretzels, cheese, beers (I love Bavaria!). This place had gained my total respect.
What really surprised me? That all the people there were:
• dressed up in a very informal way;
• all friends;
• mostly working in the programming/coding field;
• switching from German to English language just according to my presence;
• helping each other with suggestions regarding whatever matter;
• very interested in who I was;
• basically all males;
• not eating nutella (come on guys, are you serious?).
But working at a startup is much more than this.
What’s really different from the normal companies (yes, to my eyes they are not ordinary at all… and, I have to say, their abnormality is awesome) is the mindset. The keyword for startups is “sharing”: whenever they discover something new, they share it. Whenever they create something new, they share it. Whenever they don’t know something, they look to what others shared.
They always work with an open source mentality.
This was something totally new to me. In my University environment, if you had something that others didn’t have, better for you. If you had notes that others didn’t have, worse for them. If the others wanted something that you had, it was a good and right thing to get paid for sharing it.
This really was a huge business: the most sophisticated students used paypal.
Today is exactly two months that I am in Munich (happy month anniversary to me!), and I feel that I’m changing, changing for the better. Anything new I’m discovering I’m now like “oh great! I want to share this…”, which is a totally different attitude from what I was used to. I learned a lot staying here, especially with regard to the computers and the sharing websites.
This is a great mindset: internet means open source above all, why not contribute to this great modern revolution?
But, I have to say, there is also the other side of the coin. Whenever I share something on the main socials, where all my friends are too, they just don’t care. If I ask them to help me answering to some questions, they are largely uninterested. I perfectly understand them, I mean, until a short time ago I would have done the same. But I think it is a great pity.
I feel that people just don’t understand what an enrichment sharing is, and how helping others, albeit only in a virtual way, could increase a lot the consideration that people have of them (and, let’s face it, if I help you today, tomorrow you will help me… we can both take advantage of this, without spending a penny!).
I really hope that this modern and rewarding mindset will catch on: it’s not yet a widespread practice, and I wish that people will understand the importance of all this as time goes by.