What I Learned During My Internship With Startup2Life

Hello everyone! My name is Chee Sheng, and I am currently studying history at Nanyang Technological University. I have also recently completed an internship with Startup2Life. Below are some of the things I have gleaned from this interesting journey!

Firstly, entrepreneurship in real life is not exactly a bed of roses

Admittedly, working in a startup environment has its own merits where people are able to work remotely, and ideas are easily communicated from one end to another. Everything seems perfectly fine until the human factor comes into play. For example, an internal conflict could arise due to the cultural differences, poor team dynamics, or lack of a common objective. And this usually boils down to two things – assumptions and expectations. A assumes that B knows what he or she wants despite it being their first time working together. On the other hand, C expects himself or herself to be kept in the loop and continues to micromanage the project which proves to be disruptive at its best.

Ultimately, it would just lead to anguish and disappointment on both sides. A good solution to this would definitely be empathy – listen to your team members just as how you would normally listen to your customers. What are their pain points? What are their gain points? What are their jobs and responsibilities? Having a harmonious environment is definitely possible – it requires that extra effort where everyone is willing to listen and compromise with one another!

Nuggets of wisdom: Challenging the rosy assumptions

Along the way, I have also picked up some words of wisdom while sitting in workshops and client meetings. These are some concepts related to entrepreneurship and business in reality. What caught my attention the most was these two things – the concept of accelerating to failure and striving for an evenly matched platform for both the corporations and startups.

Firstly, we would normally just assume that startups should accelerate to success and avoid failures at all costs. However, this apparently is not the case. Accelerating to failure should also be encouraged as it helps in validating ideas and concepts, whether should we continue devoting resources and manpower into an operation or is it just not feasible in the long term. By doing so, the startup is still progressing forward as compared to a “zombie” which is neither thriving nor declining due to the fear of trying out new things.

Secondly, it requires two hands to clap – the corporations need the startups as much as the startups need them. Everyone knows that the founders are seeking fundings, networking opportunities, and other resources necessary for its company development. But, what about the corporations? They too are facing disruptions and becoming obsolete in this day and age from other competitors (i.e. two men who are wearing shorts and working in a garage). The startups are equally significant in the sense that they could provide an innovative approach for the existing operations to be better, faster, and cheaper. Instead of framing it as a matter of “you need me more than I need you”, the big companies should consider partnering with a startups genuinely for this synergy to work wonder for them!

Deriving a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment from my job scope

My daily job scope mostly involves researching, be it about company profiles or different ecosystems in Asia. In my opinion, every intern will find it rewarding to see a continuity in the tasks given to them. It did not just stop at the step of researching as some of them went on to benefit the existing clients. This could include reading up on the latest news related to their industries and see if we could provide any fresh perspectives or solutions for them. Therefore, these small blocks of work came together to form part of a larger process in action.

“Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life. You didn’t settle for it.”

Last but not the least, I would like to end with one of my favourite quotes. Be it being an entrepreneur or working for the other people, make sure that you do not ever settle for anything lesser. Because you deserve the very best out of this thing known as life. Thank you!

Written by

Yap Chee Sheng
Startup2Life Intern


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