One of the ways you gauge how good a company is how much you miss it after you leave. Somehow everything comes together in an amazing work place - the work, the people and the vibe. This in a nutshell summarizes my time at Lightbox.
Work: I came with several years of experience looking to see whether I liked VC and thus was a bit circumspect at first about the work I would be asked to do. But as soon as I began, I found my assignments to be intellectually engaging and fitting directly in to some crucial projects. In addition, I had complete autonomy in deciding my schedule and how I wanted to go about a certain task. This made the entire experience very enriching since I learnt both by doing and by osmosis while having a clear sense of how I was contributing to the team.
People: The team is what makes Lightbox an excellent place to work. I can't stress that enough. There is a sense of alignment, of purpose. A consummate dedication to the portfolio companies. The thing I liked most was that every team member was very sharp yet very approachable and incredibly passionate about building and growing companies. Having worked with other VCs in my startup, I had not witnessed such passion before.
Vibe: Challenging work and good people often creates a productive atmosphere. However, it is one thing to have it by default, quite another to develop it intentionally. I made several pages of notes on how the team actively encouraged each other to create and build upon this atmosphere. The office itself deserves mention - the cafe upstairs a perennial space for high productivity and many-an-interesting event in the evenings. Result - every morning, I looked forward to come to work.
In short, I had a great experience working at Lightbox and miss it often. It taught me a lot both about investing in and building a company - things I will embed in my next startup. If you get a chance to work here, grab it with both hands - its amazing.
However - don't steal Sid's thunder in his AMAs or Krishna's chair. You have been warned!
The advice to entrepreneurs is to experiment, fail, learn and repeat. Try things at a small scale and at a low cost, and quickly assess if they work or not and then take a call on what is worth scaling up. The experiments should either stop or continue based on consumer feedback.