Side Note: Something I’ve been struggling with over the last few weeks! Keep writing and throwing away, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s best not to read what you write way too many times .. and too less is too scary.

Do MBA’s love what they’re doing?

I’ve always wondered about this.

Why do people go into management? Is it because they love what they’re doing? How do you even grow to love management?

According to Wikipedia, “business administration” teaches you to become good at various areas of running a business organizing, planning, staffing, directing, controlling and budgeting.

How do you grow to love any of this?

I [extremely] rarely heard in the short time I spent in business school about people loving what they do.

I did meet students curious to learn about business, but very few really passionate people about leading a business in the first place.

It’s hard to find people who totally love what they do. But in the business school it’s way more harder to find those people.

Note – I’m mentally comparing the scenarios from my time at engineering school to the business one, and there would be students who loved building and optimizing stuff in the industrial engineering department but never really found that kind of passion in the students in the business school.

Is the prerequisite for studying management of 2 years of experience in the workforce even help to love management?

I’m coming to the realization that experience is it’s far from a valid assumption.

This post has a lot of unanswered questions.

There are two things I’m curious to understand –

1. What motivates people to go into MBA and 2. How do you make people passionate about management in the first place especially when viewed independent from the domain.

More to come later.

Defining Startup Operations

I’m trying a new thing on this blog, writing short posts periodically about operations. Especially related to early stage startups.

A disclaimer: I’m no expert but write about my observations and what I learn.

Why write about startup operations? Primarily for a couple of reasons a)I haven’t found much written on operations from a startup perspective especially in early stage ones b)It’s part of what I do – I love operations and processes. c) For myself, writing brings me clarity.

Small startups rarely have COO’s and often rightly so – it’s hard to justify the need of a manager who’s job is to solely make sure things are going operationally well. Heck, it’s hard to justify managers as employees in an early stage startup.

At the same time it’s really hard to sustain a company without an operational mindset. Even a really small one.

Nearly all companies starting out follow the same formula – 1. Do 2. Don’t think too much 3. Whenever things don’t work try another route (usually called pivoting to make it sound better).

Which is totally fine if the risks associated are really low – the company is a side project, already have a day job, in college etc. Lack of operations is a big reason on why companies fail and some don’t.

In this first post I would like to define operations and answer the basic question – what are operations especially in a startup context?

Operations are understanding what mission the company is working towards and making sure everyone in the company is maniacally focused on the mission. Then providing an environment so all the people can best do so in an optimized way.

Let’s tease this out a bit in what this means as a startup.

The first part is understanding what mission a company is working towards and helping people work towards it, which may translate to: helping chalk out what the mission and vision as it grows. I don’t think all companies start out with world changing missions, they may be just trying to solve a problem the founders have. Understanding the direction you’re going is key,  doesn’t matter how fast you go if you’re going in the wrong one.

The next part “providing an environment where people can best do so” usually involves gradual introduction of processes and structure as a company grows.That’s how fluid an operations role in a startup can be. It has to match the need of the company while it evolves. You can’t introduce too much structure too early on but still have to define the critical basic structure.

And the last part “in an optimized way” – is even more critical in startups since they work with limited resources.

More in the next post!

Side Note: Writing is so much harder than drawing graphs!