The Early Years

28 May


This title reminds me of a show I used to watch (as a kid) called the “Wonder Years”. Real cheesy stuff, but I was addicted in middle-school, along with Doogie Howser and Small Wonder *yeech*. Back to our main program.

A new business or start-up (as they say in the Technology Sector) has quite a few stages before it actually fits into the conventional definition of a business. The gestation stage comes first when all the basic requirements to run the business are put in place. This includes your people, equipment, vendor and banking relationships and lots of other infrastructural stuff. This is generally followed by the business building phase, were you try to build your brand/presence and get your cashflow in the positive.

In my limited experience of running a business, I have found that the second phase is more of a trial than the first and this is especially true with respect people. When we first stared recruitment we went through multiple rounds of selection and hand-picked what we planned would be our core team. About 75% of our choices were great and really delivered during the gestation period, they were excited to be part of a dynamic team and motivated by the vision. This good feeling didn’t last long.

Once we hit stage two, the pressures of being part of a start-up started manifesting. People saw the team growing, their responsibilities increasing and their access to the founders reducing. We grew 6 times in size in a year (our footprint not our inflow, we were still making a loss) and this was reflected in all areas. The supposed core team split into two camps. The ones who took ownership of their areas, expressed a desire for more face time with a willingness to wait while things settled down and motivated their teams. The second set where the ones who saw their importance dwindling without everyday guidance, voiced their opinion in a public forum (however not to the relevant people) that this was not their idea of a start-up and smiled hesitantly while searching for new jobs. Today our core team is half of the original recruits along with a few new recruits (who have worked with us in different capacities before we got into this business). It seems like these people will be the ones to reap the rewards, if and when they come, just because they understood the importance of their role without being told and had the strength to stick it out.

Looking back I feel the same applies to children. Everyone always told me that children make a marriage stronger, however, I beg to differ. When we had our daughter, the pregnancy was the best period. We were excited, hopeful and full of plans. In contrast, the first one year was hell. We were struggling to master this skill called parenting (we still haven’t), had absolutely no couple time and lived in different cities. Throw two sets of competing grandparents and various well-meaning family members into the mix and most of the time we were so miserable, I am sure given a chance we would have run away. Now that the first few years are behind us I can say that the experience has made us much stronger as a couple and also helped us handle the occasional stress of working together in a mature fashion. Here’s what I mean to say, having a child doesn’t make a marriage stronger, getting through it does.

Your Thoughts:

Are the baby years really this tough for everyone?

Have you dealt with employees/ team members who are unable to motivate themselves? If yes, how do you deal with them?

P.S. We love our daughter to bits, just in case you had any doubts on that. We just didn’t like ourselves much in the first year.


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6 responses to “The Early Years

  1. tracey

    June 5, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Children are romance killers. And that never changes. In fact, it gets WORSE as they get older (in some ways). So, if a couple isn’t committed to communicating honestly about how they feel, what they need, etc. then the romance dies and then? Then you are roommates. Heh. Yay.

    I can’t imagine starting up a new company AND a new family at the same time. That’s like having twins but one of them is a super-special needs child. The stress from it all must be crazy for you guys!

    I hope the core group you now have works out and sticks it out.

    • nmaha

      June 9, 2011 at 1:59 am

      Omg! that was a classic comment………..I’m going to use the “romance-killers”, so true, phase.

      I was just thinking about the room mates thing a few days ago. You are absolutely right on that.

      Thanks for the empathy, thinking of it will get me through a few more rough weeks.

  2. Sanjana

    May 29, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Interesting insight on a start-up, I need to talk to you more about this when you next visit. (when issss that btw?! I still have a drink pending! :P)

    About raising kids, I don’t know for sure, cos I’m single. But when I look at my friends, I see that it is necessary for the couple to take equal responsibility in raising the child, which is the only way the couple will have a stronger relationship. I’ve seen cases where the husband plays no part in the raising of the child other than playing with the child and financial help, and that doesn’t help with strengthening anything between the couples.

    But V is a darling, and you two are clearly doing a great job with her! 🙂 Kudos to both of you!

    • nmaha

      June 2, 2011 at 1:57 am

      I can’t wait for that drink 🙂 and you can pick my brains anytime in exchange for your worldly wise company. I live voraciously through you.

      I agree on the sharing responsibility part, it makes a huge difference both to the child and your relationship.

      Thanks for the kind words, they made my day.

  3. Elisa

    May 29, 2011 at 1:35 am

    I think the experience varies depending on so many factors: money, what else you haw goon on, what the marriage is based on… I don’t think there’s just one answer.

    I think kids CAN make a marriage stronger, but before that happens their arrival and all the pressure connected to it (money, time, sleep, other people’s involvement, etc) can put a bit of a strain on anyone’s patience, and often you’ll have to remind yourself that you are blessed, and that things will get better. If you stick it out, then yes by then end you’ll no doubt be stronger!

    • nmaha

      June 2, 2011 at 1:54 am

      I actually think you’re right Elisa, it’s not the kids, but stuff that tends to come with them that’s difficult to handle.

      I have to remind myself about the blessed part every single day 🙂


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