Every day at a startup, it’s a privilege to be working on a nimble, cohesive team. It just so happens that the team IS the company.

At every size of the company, there’s been certain moments I feel really damn proud to be on the team. These moments are special not for what we accomplished, but how we worked together to accomplish them. They’re not “flashy” milestones like a funding round. Rather, they’re micro-moments that build the foundation for us to reach those kinds of milestones. They represent the thousands of behind-the-scenes interactions that I see as the driving force behind success.

  • When we were 3 people, we stayed up late one night (most nights, really) to talk product strategy. I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. Earlier that day, we had gotten access to a new data vendor, an aggregator of individuals’ PII in the US. And this vendor forced us to have hard conversations about our key assumptions for the business. It was a clear pivot point — I went to bed in the early morning hours excited but terrified. It’s these conversations that supercharge our ability to peer into the future and stay ahead of the curve.
  • When we were 6 people, we obtained our first SOC 2 report, a comprehensive audit of our security and privacy practices. To get the coveted report, we stood up an entire information security and privacy program in two months. Besides the fact we knew next-to-nothing about security and compliance going in, we accomplished something that would take most companies a full-time team and half a year. Heck, we even tackled GDPR compliance while we were at it. It’s these kinds of challenges that teach us how to put one foot forward faster each time even when we don’t know exactly how to get there.
  • When we were 16 people, we re-launched our brand, including a new logo, website, and design system along with PR for our Series A funding. The night before the midnight launch, Slack was buzzing with last minute preparations. I distinctly remember the moment when I realized everyone was still up past 11 PM, and while I’m really not the kind of person for warm and fuzzies, there’s no better way to describe how I felt in that moment. It’s this level of dedication and care we put into our work that keeps the bar relentlessly high.
I even used a 💖!

And then there’s the countless times we’ve had to drop everything to fix an urgent customer problem or build a new feature to close a prospect.

One of my fondest memories was actually fixing a bug. I spent a day with the engineers troubleshooting an Android bug reported by a prospect who had trouble testing the product. We attacked that problem with unmatched vigor and enthusiasm for a Friday, and we squeezed in a lot of laughs amidst the frequent shouts of frustration. It turned out that this bug caused a significant percentage of older Android phones to crash, so what initially seemed like far too much time invested on a bug ended up increasing our pass rates by 50%.

It’s just another day at the office..

.. until our largest customer sends us an angry Slack message.

There’s too many of these examples to list in a post, and we don’t always solve it perfectly. But we always deliver as a team.

As the company continues to grow, I know it’ll get harder to share these micro-moments across the team. The definition of “team” rapidly changes from being the entire company, to being the immediate product team or the folks who share your functional role. So I simply try to appreciate all the micro-moments with as many people as I can.

Endlessly curious, always optimizing. Startup and product enthusiast. vincenttsao.com