Revealing my 10-point mantra as I complete day 90 at Pine Labs: Tanya Naik

And just like that, its day 90 at work! You’re inclined to get things done faster, be more responsive; The beauty of building a business from scratch is a clean slate. Constant re-examination and figuring out how its supposed to work, almost on a daily basis.

From getting to know your job, to you better know your job, no pressure.

How’s it been, if you ask? This is my account, a 10-point progress:

1. Nailing your north star It could be anything really, getting your immediate team in order, nailing product market fit, having a team who can deliver it cent by cent and of course a business goal to achieve 3–6–12 months from here. For me, it was a combination of it all, running on continuous loop.

2. Captain Navigator — One knows what’s messy at work by now, the operational processes that almost always need a clean-up; but who should one go to correct it? Chances are if you don’t know, its likely your job. Teams which work, employees who will get your job done at any cost, that invaluable breed, you need them, more so on your team. Spend time winning them over.

3. Make friends, find your go to person — Now this is particularly challenging especially when we are all working via screens. But by Day 90, you’ve probably spoken to 50+ plus folks spanning 700+ conversations. You’ve definitely understood how a few operate and execute. And its likely at least 10 of these 700 conversations could cover a non-work topic (Kids, vacations, books, movies). And that’s your cue really to know more or know less. If not, make that attempt. For people living in the same city, a catch up at work or outside is really warranted.

4. Comfort zone, what’s that? Pushing your limits, whether its talking on a topic you don’t really understand (Read: research), speaking in a large group or learning code, you know what you don’t like or don’t get, and by now, your goal should be to do more of it every week. Mine for instance, was to learn more about design, code, and research on crypto.

5. Reflect, everyday — More like an end of day ritual, but a day-on-day notebook entry shows you how far you’ve come on Day 90. Day 1 for me for example was — Hire team — Product, Partnership, Biz Ops, finalize PMF, biz plan FY 21–22. Day 90 was …

6. …New goals, pivot old — Here’s a back story to explain this. So, I thought it would be revenue accretive to go after segment X and I realized with research that the market is too niche with immense investment. Deciding to pivot and focus on another goal, fast and quick was needed. And its more than ok to do that, than waste another 90 days pursuing a niche dream.

7. Measure early wins or losses — Now’s a good time to see if the path you’ve set out for the year is shaping up ok. If the numbers are piling up as they should be, if not, refer pt. 6, or your manager likely will.

8. Don’t throw out the old — Keep in touch with your old co-workers (I mean the ones you really like). There’s nothing better than to read how your old friends at work are doing, your old bosses (they stay the same don’t they) and your old problems (they’re the best to read). At the end of a long day, I find it highly stress busting.

9. Build your own culture — This is a good time to create and reflect on how you want your team to think of the business. As Brian Chesky (Airbnb) said, “a company’s culture is the foundation for future innovation.” Taking time out to find out how the team is feeling, and what your values are, is a great start towards building a company culture that will last as your team expands and your business gets bigger. Even today, you are creating a culture, whether consciously or not, so set aside time now to nurture it the way you want it to grow. I don’t just mean this like Fantastic Fridays or Tipsy Tuesdays post work. As long as we reiterate (both to us and the people we work with) that we are here to solve a business problem, a common goal, that’s a starting point to me.

10. Call it quits? Likely too soon — Unless there’s a broader ethical dilemma, personal issue, company’s own downsizing efforts or a serious culture misfit, its too soon to give up. More than the flakiness of the decision, it’s a personal disservice to quit on an upward trajectory of learning. Its ok to be unsure of yourself and your contributions, but its not ok to give up. Find other ways to operate, speak to your comfort group, at home or a mentor. Simply, find another way.

Like most people, we are all working in multi-faceted teams in an imperfect world, and likely feeling out of depth in many ways than one. But remember- in another 3 months, you would ask yourself the same question, and see that compared to 3 months ago, you’ve grown leaps and bounds!

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