In Summers 2018 I worked with Cure.fit as a product design intern. After four interviews and about a month-long procedure, I finally got the offer. I was more than happy to visit Bangalore and explore the work culture over there. I had already researched about people at cure.fit and knew that Ranganath Krishnamani works there, getting a chance to meet and work with him was more like a dream come true for me.
I joined Cure.fit HQ in HSR on 14th May 2018. Akshay Rajwade, my mentor for the next two months introduced me to the rest of the team and also walked me through the office on the first day. I attended a few meetings with him to get a better idea of how people collaborate and work here.
I also got to know about the overall work structure and other policies Cure.fit follow for a better work environment in the induction talk, how they believe in actions rather than hierarchical positions and how everyone is free to pick up any project they want to contribute to.
I was really surprised that I was not given any project on my second day as well and every time I asked Akshay about this, he had the same answer that I should explore, get to know people and that he’ll meet me soon. Feels like I was too young back then to realize it was for my own good and that a good understanding of the overall product would help me contribute better.
“People matter the most” is something I believe in for life and apparently, it’s true for startups as well.
Before joining Cure.fit I’d never imagined that I’d get to work with such amazing professionals. Everyone in the team has immense experience of work with many good companies, and for a bunch of them the experience was only a bit less than my age- it was intimidating. With the open desk culture and no hierarchy, I was open to approach anyone anytime. Ah! But me being an introvert, it still took me quite some time to mingle up.
In a few days only I had realized that I have got a chance to work with some of the best people in the field. But there was one question that was stuck in my mind — “Why are they all here after working with some of the best companies in the world?”.
Finally, after waiting for a week, I had a project kickoff meeting with Akshay where he walked me through the idea and the overall objective of the project. I started with all my process from the very next day, I did some qualitative as well as quantitative research around it and presented my insights to Askhay next week.
I was really enjoying my work, participating in those intense product discussions, working according to feedback. Working with a startup expanding at this pace was a completely new experience for me, I loved it so much that I started spending all my time in the office, sometimes on weekends and full nights as well and I was never alone, people used to stay at the office late at night. My project took me two whole months and after so many iterations and discussions, the result was really satisfying.
With all those iterations and discussion there was always something new that came across me, I learned not only about the design process and methods but also around the overall startup culture, the importance of micro text and information architecture, about cannibalization and the fact that every project is different and as a designer, it’s our job to find and evolve the best process to solve a problem.
The question was still unanswered “Why do people work at startups when they can actually go anywhere?”. Before joining Cure.fit I was quite sure what I had to target for the next internship namely the big corporates, but the culture and work here forced me to reconsider my plans. I spoke to a bunch of people about this and everyone had almost the same answer — they were not able to grow much or didn’t have any ownership of their work before so they moved to startups.
I went back to college still not sure what to do or what to target next, for the next few months I focused on building my website, structuring all my work, writing articles and talking to several people on social media, trying to find the answer or to get some direction. Meanwhile, I got freelance work from West Agile Labs a product studio based in SF, I worked with them for around 7 months and actually got a good taste of corporate work, I continued with it only for the good pay. Fortunately, I made several friends there who did connect me to other entrepreneurs in the UK, SF, and Stockholm. Those people and the way they approach problems really amused me.
February was already here, the internship period was on its peak, I made a list of places, applied there half-heartedly, got a few offers but was still not sure what to do or what was the best for ME.
Last year was a hunt and I did find out what’s best for me, at the end “People matter the most” and I joined Cure.fit as a Summer Intern for 2019.
I joined Cure.fit as a product design intern for summers 2019; this was the second time I was working with Cure.fit. After many thoughts and discussing with several people, I made up my mind to work again with Cure.fit. I joined the HQ on 10th May 2019 the same place, the same feel, and the same environment with some new people.
I got into the office, and I saw a few familiar faces I worked with last year. I got settled, had a meeting with Akshay where we discussed all the ideas I had been exploring past two months about Cure.fit and unlike last year, got my project on the very first day.
I was comfortable in the environment and already knew the overall work structure, policies, I talked to a couple of familiar faces, attended a few catchups with product manages and started working on my project and contributing from the first day.
On the first day itself, we had our kickoff meeting, where Akshay walked me through the problem statement and a rough idea of how he thinks it can be achieved. My project was “Fitclub V2 i.e. expansion of Fitclub from eat.fit to overall cure.fit”. Fitclub is the loyalty program of cure.fit, which rewards users for fitness activities, and I was more than happy with this project as gamification, concepts of using game mechanics and leveraging user motivations always fascinated me and I always wanted to work on it. This was the perfect opportunity for me; at the same time, I also felt nervous as soon as I realized it is going to be a high impact project.
I started my work, overwhelmed with numerous ideas. Sketching and creating flows on papers, using post-its, then identifying further scope in the application. Akshay helped me deem down here and again think of the users and problem statement before jumping to solutions. A deep understanding of the problem statement is essential to provide the right solution. I realized this and studied the problem statement and gamification in detail. Here I learned that gamification is not just about using game mechanics; it is more focused towards utilizing user motivations.
In the initial few meetings, I struggled with presentations and realized that feedback also depends on the way you present it to others. Neelam, Prateek and Ranga (Product Designers at Cure.fit) helped me here and taught me how to set an agenda for every discussion and how to create to story so that everyone can easily comprehend the slides. All these things helped me communicate well with other stakeholders. Here I learned that presenting insights and solutions is as important as designing solutions.
Soon I picked up the pace, and one more product manager Shivtosh Kumar started working with me who had joined Cure.fit recently. We tried to figure out how to deal with subjective feedbacks, clashing opinions and a lot more. I never had more fun working, knowing my project to be a part of Cure.fit’s September media campaign “Its stays to be fit” made me even more thrilled for my work.
“People matter the most” one of the most important lessons I learned last year. People around me were amazing, but me being an introvert I always felt that I was not able to gain knowledge from all those minds and restricted myself to my desk only. However, this time, I decided to change this and go out with full confidence, try to know people better and learn from their experiences.
Pretty Well Indeed, I not only learned a lot but also made friends and started enjoying my work more than anytime before. Chai-pe-charcha, gossips, discussions on products and services, fun dinners. I remember a day when we started talking about examples of gamification and companies trying to leverage it and then how we have experienced this in our lives, then another topic and lost track of time,\ ultimately decided to have dinner together and ended our day. Fun discussions like these not only helped me learn something but also to know people, how they landed here, what people seek in life and also learned some life lessons ;).
It was crucial for me as I’ll be jumping from college-life to job-life in a year, and such discussions helped me get an idea of what’s coming next.
Were we laughing at work? Were we talking about things other than work? Were we gossiping :p? Well, Yes, this was something I had never imagined. Last year as well, I considered workplaces to be boring and monotonous. However, now I understand that it was not the place but me restricting myself. You need to open your eyes to look at the beautiful world around you. Work-life takes 70% of your total time, so if you don’t enjoy being at your workplace, you’ll start feeling low all the time.
It took me a whole two months to complete my project. I got my internship extended to three months, and now I had a month to explore. I tried to utilize this time entirely and worked with a few more product managers and projects. With every project comes a new challenge, new learning, and by the end, I had worked from projects like gamification to payments, managing multiple projects at the same time. I explored things and methods that I couldn’t have even thought of in college. Last month went crazy from work to fun it was amazing.
Internship was over, and I was a completely changed person by the end. I realized how enjoying your work is as important as being passionate about it., how people around you also seek and desire the same things, how you can makeover your life by just changing the way you think about it and how your restrictions limit you. When I look back at those three months, I know that I had learned a lot not only on those life lessons but also some hard skills on design as well as soft skills. I loved those three months and believe that going back to Cure.fit for my second internship was one of the best decisions of mine.
Working at a place you enjoy working and where you grow is something everyone desires, and I am pleased that I’ve also got a chance to work again with Cure.fit as a full-time product designer.