Having been an entrepreneur, I can tell you that the ‘why’ and ‘what’ are the easiest parts to develop in a company’s mission statement. The ‘how’ is the stepsister that never gets centerstage in most workplaces. Unless something goes sideways, that is.
While interning at Crayon over the past 7 months, I’ve found that one of the best things here is that the spotlight is always on the how. Through the grounding and orienting Crayon Box of Values, of course. I’ll talk about two of my favorite Values.
This one is not just for Crayons, but for anyone aspiring to be productive. I see everyone across the company actively practice this. And the founders are no exception.
I once had to organize a meeting to present the findings of a study to approximately 40 Crayons spread across India, Singapore and UAE. We were unable to find a time suitable for our CEO Suresh Shankar’s schedule. There was no other time that worked for most of the team. “We all work for the mission,” said Suresh. And asked us to go ahead with the meeting; the product team would brief him later.
I’ve worked with enough bosses to know that only a handful of them are in service to the mission. Ours is one of them. To me, #MissionIsTheBoss teaches:
2. To take an impersonal, but not dispassionate, approach to work, and
3. To always put the product, platform, service – in essence, your duties – first.
When asked to reflect on the term ‘data’, most of us, including myself, will imagine the negative connotations associated with it. We’ve all seen the major data breach incidents perpetuated by different agencies around the globe.
At Crayon, I’ve been able to influence opinions with data and change outcomes. One of the studies I contributed to resulted in a very different outcome from what we had initially hypothesized. All the stakeholders participated by asking questions, in understanding what this new information meant to us, and how best we could utilize it.
Data holds the power to be impersonal and impactful at the same time. For, without data, the world will run on opinions. If I had to visualize my thought process before Crayon, it would look like a badly formatted Word document. But now, my thought process is in matrices, and relatively neat Miro boards (Thanks Chinmoy!)
Life lessons in humility
My first month was nothing short of a theatrical experience. Only, it all seemed Greek and Latin to me. The entire product management team of Deepti, Chinmoy, Priyanshu and Tejeswini put up with my curiosity and encouraged me to learn.
Not only the other product managers, even people from various teams such as the Business, Data Science and Engineering teams patiently explain when I’ve had questions. Be it the definition of GMR. Or how the data is connected to different studios in maya.ai. Or how the metrics are calculated. And a zillion other questions I’ve had! I’ve learned to think user-first, and I’ve learned to simplify and operationalize my previously abstract thought processes.
Through the course of my time at Crayon, I’ve learned to walk the paces instead jumping two steps ahead. Most importantly, Crayon enriched me with a diverse set of friends, all of whom bring very rich and diverse colors to the box!