Coming from Chicago, I wasn’t quite sure what a start up company really even was. The concept seemed simple enough – a new, small business that has a lot of potential. I’d say that for the majority of the Midwest, that’s the extent of knowledge when it comes to startups. I didn’t know a whole lot more than that before I moved to San Francisco to intern at UpOut. And boy, was I in for a surprise!
Silicon Valley is like entering another universe. Everyone I meet is brilliant, motivated, hard working and innovative. It seems that most are fluent in programming and coding lingo, which never ceases to amaze me. The conversations between our programmers were completely foreign to me, so one of my goals for the summer was to “crack the code” and keep up with the latest tech terms. Here I am, 3 months later, still trying to figure out how to use “API” and “Mechanical Turk” correctly in a sentence. Needless to say, computer engineering is not my forte (at least not yet).
The great thing about working at a startup is that you gain tons of personal experience in a variety of areas. In my two months here at UpOut, I’ve been able to train in content curation, marketing analytics, social media, copywriting, public relations, event planning and even some html coding. The pace of work is much faster and more intense than the average internship but that’s what is expected at a startup. It was easy to get flustered and sometimes overwhelmed.
Fortunately for me, my coworkers at UpOut have an endless supply of patience. Their ability to create and develop is matched by their desire for teaching and sharing technology with others. I found that to be the best part of working on the UpOut team. It’s rare to find such a great group of helpful people, that are each such a pleasure to work with.
The Summer 2012 UpOut Team:
Sam, my boss (the Chief Product Officer at UpOut) continues to astound me every day at work. He is a positive force for the company, a forward thinker, insanely skilled in multi-tasking and always loves a challenge; all of which make him the perfect candidate for working at a startup.
The founder and solo programer of the team, WIll, is a total phenomena! He barely sleeps for weeks at a time, attends tons of meetings and works through all hours of the night. Never in my life have I met someone so dedicated and hard working as Will.
Martin manages the design and layout of the site. Every day he meets with various investors and partners to promote the company. He is very talented and accomplished, especially for such a young age.
Then there’s Sydney, the other summer intern who joined the team soon after I did. Her contagious laugh and pure amusement for every event make working at UpOut that much more exciting.
All in all, I’d say that my time at UpOut has impacted and inspired me in more ways than I can even express. Being surrounded by this outstanding group of people has assured me that I can make anything happen as long as I set my mind to it. It may take lots of time, effort, rejection, trials and hardships, but with the right amount of discipline and determination each of us are capable of accomplishing and contributing great things to the world. That’s a pretty powerful lesson that I don’t think I’d be able to learn anywhere else.
Join the fun by…
Viewing Upout’s website
Liking them on Facebook
And following them on Twitter