I have mentioned several times that working in a startup is like a sine-curve, or a roller-coaster rider. Its multiple ups and downs every hour, day, week and month. It takes a special kind of maturity to handle them as they come and not lose focus of your goal or the near-time milestone. I have tried to share some of the things we did in my previous companies and would love to hear what you guys do to handle the ups and downs.
The thing is, the ups are easy to handle, (that was obvious wasn’t it?) but the lows are make or break. So here are some things that might work for you to handle the downs.
Funny story: Our office was on the top floor of a building, and the owner “lived” in the first floor. Mid-week after a particularly bad meeting we “synchronized” our laptops to play some music and pick our spirits up. Turns out it was too loud, so our owner’s 60+ year old father trudges up the stairs to find out what’s going on. He saw a bunch of us doing some kind of really bad jig (when were engineers ever good at dance?) and ended up “showing us” how to do it right. I cant remember when we laughed so much. We recorded him making some “good moves” and posted it on our servers as a pick-me-up every week.
2. When you are doing demos with a client, record them by using Skype. Then keep the recording of the best feedback and save them so you can listen to feedback that’s a positive reinforcement.
3. Create your own holiday in the middle of a bad day/week and take many photographs. Post these photos on the glass of a few windows where you can see them daily.
Funny story: Summer months are awful in terms of holidays. There are so few of them that its not even funny. Adding to the misery was the incessant heat and the fact that most kids were out playing while we were working. So we created a mid-week holiday, where everyone in the team had to identify the top 3 places to eat in their neighborhood. The company would pay for them and their significant other’s breakfast, lunch and snack. They could take the day off and spend it recharging themselves and eating at the places they love.
4. Take photos of your first customer order or all your positive customer emails. Then print the photographs or emails them and paste them up on your kitchen area or conference room
5. Pick a favorite restaurant that the team likes which is fairly close (could even be a Baskin Robbins or Subway) and celebrate those down moments by eating out with the team.
What do you do to manage the sine-curve?