Lessons From a Year at a Startup 0

(Note: reposted with permission from Part-Time Perfectionist.)

A year ago I had my first day at Klout. There were five of us, we were sharing a space with four other companies, and we were just about to launch Klout 2.0. Today, there are about 35 of us, we have our own gigantic space, and we just beta launched Klout 3.0. It’s been a crazy, busy, amazing ride and I have never been happier that I decided to join (plus I’m pretty sure this means some of my stock is now vested, so, woot!). So while I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I have so much more to learn (cheesy, I know), I thought I’d share a few others things I’ve learned along the way.

Everyone Has Klout

1. Culture matters. At a startup it’s not just work, it ends up taking up a lot of your life. If you’re not happy going into the office on Monday (or at least once you’ve had that first cup of coffee), you’re in for trouble. And, as much as this is about loving what you DO, it’s about liking the people you work with, wanting to make awesome things, and this weird thing that develops out of that that is work “culture.” Once upon a time I thought people who worried about work culture were crazy. Now I totally get it. No wonder all those consultants make so much money.

2. Learn from the people around you. I’ve always been a big believer in learning by doing, but, it turns out, it is much less effective and — let me just say it — lamer than learning from smart people who have already gone through this. Or at least smart people who can help you break new ground together. Luckily Klout is filled with smart people. I’m always happiest when I’m learning and Klout has been amazing for that.

Klout3. Influence is hot. I probably didn’t have to tell you that and who knows if it’ll last, but Klout is hot right now because EVERYONE is trying to understand and measure influence. It’s a space I personally find intellectually fascinating and, clearly, I’m not alone. Please hit me up for debates about influence, reputation, trust, and, although I hate the term, personal branding any day of the week.

4. The social media community is amazing. I can’t even begin to count the number of awesome  people I’ve met through Klout and the social media community. Seriously, what a bunch of talented, kind, and funny people. Yes, there are haters out there too, but I try not to waste thought on them.

5. It’s good to be challenged. We’ve had our fair share of debates at Klout and my coworkers will be the first to tell you I don’t shy away from heated discussions. Although I like being right, I’ve discovered that there’s also a lot to be said for being wrong and learning from your mistakes. Perfection is overrated anyway.

There’s actually a lot more I could add in here about the perils of trolls, personal vs. work life, and many other lessons learned, but five is a good number (being the youngest of five kids, I’m quite partial to it) so I’ll stop there. Have you had similar experiences/lessons in your job?

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