[Chapter 2] Walkin’ with Joaquin: Startup Talk with Natalie Koay

Startups seem to be the fashion nowadays. With technological advancements and the easy access to information, no wonder there is an abundance of go-getters who want to bring their ideas to life. It’s a breather from the traditional employment where one is part of a machine or the missing piece of an ongoing revenue puzzle.

After all, who could not resist ping-pong tables, wearing hoodies to work, open concept, and beers on fridges in the middle of a working day? It sounds too good to be true, right? I am guilty of luring myself to this appeal, too.

On this new chapter of “Walkin’ with Joaquin”, I’ve had the pleasure to share coffee and conversation with Natalie Koay who works at the Account Development team at PostBeyond. Fun fact about Natalie, she used to don laboratory coats and identified herself as a “lab rat”. Thanks to the power of social media tools — LinkedIn and Shapr — I had the chance to learn her breakthrough in the startup community, the “day-in-the-life”, and her advice to professionals who are interested in the startup culture. Here are three take-away points:

Startup is much the same as all other employment — only younger
There is a lot of young blood in most startup communities.”It’s a big deal when someone in the team has a baby”, recounts Natalie. She also recounts the tight-knit community of a startup. “In PostBeyond, we are about 40 people. I get to interact with everyone compared to corporations that have hierarchies”.

It’s all surface level
Nine times out of ten, a startup sells its appeal through its activities and commodities — casual Fridays, ping-pong tournaments, and beer fridges, among others. After all, most people spend their day working — why not make it fun? I had to ask this question to Natalie to which she bluntly responds, “It’s all surface level. At the end of the day, we are all working and we want to get the job done.” She even motioned her index finger up and down to describe how most of her days looked like. These “luxuries” act as incentives or breathers rather than an escape to the actual work.

“Hit the ground running”
Before we concluded our conversation, I asked her for advice on how to get my feet on the startup doorI shared with her my frustrations of falling short in startup interviews. Her advice was simple, “I look for someone who hits the ground running”. Being a self-starter, enthusiastic, resilient, and always eager to pound the pavement — those would definitely come a long way.

Thanks again, Natalie, for the time. I hope you enjoyed the cookies!

On y va!

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