Everyday I get a few emails from (ex) employees of Ecommerce companies blaming the founder for the state of the company. Given the current state of layoffs and shutdowns in Indian ecommerce space, it’s quite natural to have these emotions against your employer or the ‘immediate boss’.
But, here is a picture that they are missing. And before I share that, let me walk you through early days of my career.
I worked for a company called Aztec – one of the most high profile technology companies in India in 1999/2000 timeframe and while we had great fun building some technology pieces, the company was also growing massively. As somebody who got ESOP for INR 3, which soared to ~INR 240 after the company went public, you can imagine the highs company went through.
And it all ended.
Of course, the company went through its own cycle of survival/discovery and finally ended up getting acquired (and delisted) by Mindtree.
The entire start->finish saga took almost 8 years. And very few (not more than 5%) early employees stayed on during the entire cycle.
Ecommerce in India was happening in a big way. The starting valuation for anything ecommerce was close to $5mn.
Ofcourse, founders of ecommerce companies came up with crazy (*kart) ideas and managed to raise funding as well.
As part of the initial team, you probably had some great learning – right from setting up the vendor partnership to building the team to creating the infrastructure piece/backend. In a time span of 1 – 1.5 years, the company probably grew by 4-5X (in terms of volume of business as well as employees).
And it all ended.
Series A crunch, Investor’s focus on profitability led to a crisis and if you go by the numbers, only 3-4% ecommerce companies will survive 2014.
Yes – you probably got the wrong end of the stick, got laid-off, the company was shutdown etc; but frankly, you should know that you are one of the very few individuals in the country who got to see the entire start->boom->bust cycle – all in just 2-3 years of timeframe.
In fact, the emotional part about creating and letting go is a lifetime experience and you must thank your founder/team for the opportunity! An experience like this will create a long term impact in your mindset, in your maturity to understand startup/business space. In fact, this experience will open new doors for you – because we have very few experts in India who have attempted to solve a local technology/commerce problem.
The good news is that you are seen as a risk taker and there is enough demand for more of you in the current ecosystem (for instance, investors and big businesses are looking for niche skills to help them evaluate companies). Even corporates are looking for EIR/intra-preneurial roles and they are looking outside to bring people who bring fresh experience.
You may not appreciate it today. You may not have got the instant gratification of $$s, but you will reap the benefits a few years down the line.