Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
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5 Reasons You Should Work For A Startup At Least Once

5 Reasons You Should Work For A Startup At Least Once | Competitive Edge |

They say in business you should think big. But when it comes to your career, have you considered thinking “small”? In my experience, a startup is a roller-coaster ride that can offer you incredible career experiences and teach you some invaluable life lessons.

Startups can make you more efficient than you’ve ever been, and they can help you expand your responsibility and knowledge and learn how any business, despite challenges, can effectively get off the ground.

  1. Start Doing Real Work

The feeling you get when you work for a startup is rather hard to describe. In some respects, it’s a little like taking the red pill and getting ejected from the Matrix. Everything you do in a startup makes a difference. No longer are you surrounded by a safety blanket world where you’re a small cog in a large machine. In a startup, everything you do will contribute to the ultimate success or failure of the business.

In my experience, leaving a large organization and heading to a startup felt liberating. In the early days, it felt like every piece of code I wrote was making a difference. In fact, startups actually push you to identify and focus on what’s absolutely critical, forcing you to think more creatively about how you approach projects and create value. And best of all, you’ll often get to see results first-hand and share in the rewards and glory.

  1. Learning and Responsibility   

I unequivocally say I learned more in my first two months in a startup than I did in the previous five years of my professional career. The reason for this is that everyone in a startup is expected to wear multiple hats. A startup forces you to adopt new skills and responsibilities to make up for the small-sized taking on the huge challenges of building an empire.

In startups, fast learning can also lead to increased responsibility and multiple opportunities to both utilize and accelerate talents and knowledge. All of this can translate into powerful position in the business world and means you’ll have much more to offer as an individual, particularly when it comes time to move on or even start your own business.

  1. Shape the Culture Around You

One of the areas that I’m most proud of at DesignCrowd is that we have built a culture where talented people come together and make work fun (work doesn’t feel like work). There’s nothing more rewarding than feeling excited to come into the office in the morning to tackle the next challenge the world has thrown at us.

You will also find that in startups, you get to shape the culture around you. Entering a larger organization usually means that you’ll be stepping into a predetermined culture, set with existing practices, customs and values. Joining a startup, on the other hand, often means that you can directly contribute to the creation and growth of the business culture, offering ideas and practices that can help shape the working philosophy of the company.

  1. An Environment of Innovation

One of the most rewarding things about startups is that you can find yourself working with a team that is highly passionate and enthusiastic. This can spark inspiration on every level, leading to truly innovative ideas and developments that can help the business stand out against competitors in the greater industry.

Being part of an entrepreneurial team is also a wonderful way to learn how to innovate. Entrepreneurs are great people to learn from — they identify a problem and need to find a new efficient way to solve it.

  1. Starting Your Own Venture

Joining a startup gives you the opportunity to start learning what it takes to be your own boss. While they take personal and financial sacrifice, startups pay you back in opportunities and knowledge on how to take charge of your own venture.

If you’re toying with the idea of one day being your own boss, working in a startup is the ideal place to educate yourself on how to set goals, execute strategies, take your product to market and implement strong business operations. You can also be required to take on other, more administrative business tasks, which can actually equip you with great business know-how.

“You learn that there are lots of details in any enterprise,” says CEO Richard A. Moran. “You might have to name the company, design a logo, find office space, figure out the legal entity, find an insurance carrier and all the thousands of mundane activities that one takes for granted in a larger company.”

The key startup lesson in all of this is to never underestimate the power of working for a startup organisation. Startups can equip you with invaluable hands-on tools and experience, growing your skills, knowledge and even responsibilities rapidly – and that’s something that’s difficult to come by in a medium or larger-sized organization.

Editor’s note: Adam Arbolino is co-founder and CTO of, a logo, web and graphic design marketplace.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Haha, "Start doing real work"! I like this article.

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Habits You Need To Boost Your Emotional Intelligence |

Habits You Need To Boost Your Emotional Intelligence | | Competitive Edge |
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups.  Our emotional intelligence — the way we manage emotions, both our own and those of others — can play a critical role in determining our happiness and success (Daniel Goleman). Habits of emotionally intelligent people 1. Emotionally intelligent people tend to notice more. They have a candid and realistic understanding of themselves. It’s not just about knowing what to say and when to say it. Anybody can learn social skills, which are centered around acting and don’t require the actor to mean what they say. It takes more effort, bravery, and personal development to become emotionally intelligent. 2. They keep the end goal in mind. Those who succeed in life and business keep an eye on the big picture. This means letting go of petty perceived slights and road bumps that present themselves each and every day...

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

We all have different kinds of intelligence. What we learn in school is not the only kind. This article describes 'emotional intelligence'. Great read. Recommended.

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How One Man Launched Over 45,000 Entrepreneurs to Fight Unemployment

How One Man Launched Over 45,000 Entrepreneurs to Fight Unemployment | Competitive Edge |
Ugandan entrepreneur takes education into his own hands by creating local self-employment opportunities through pragmatic training programs.

The idea that schools overemphasize theoretical learning at the expense of practical skills is an old one. Maalik Fahd Kayondo thinks Telesat International could be a new solution.

Telesat is a nonprofit trade school in Kampala, Uganda, that prepares students for self-employment in Kampala, Uganda, where for up to 95 percent of the population, self-employment is sometimes the only option. “Five percent of the working population have job security,” says Kayondo, “For others, you work today, and tomorrow you don’t know what is going to happen.” So Telesat focuses on teaching skills relevant to Ugandan market demands, so that students can earn at least a modest income as soon as they finish—skills like farming, bookkeeping, engine repair, candle-making, and book binding.

Kayondo knows about developing practical skills. After leaving Uganda to practice screenwriting in Oxford, he traveled to India to pursue a masters in manufacturing engineering technology at Anna University. Upon arriving back in Uganda in 2004, he was faced with the harsh realities of the nation’s labor scene. “We have over 50,000 youth graduating every year,” he says. “But it is estimated that only 8,000 make it into a productive job.”

I said I had no opportunities anywhere for scholarships but that I could teach his son the skills necessary to live a very good life.

Kayondo felt that part of the problem was that few of those 50,000 graduates each year were learning skills that they could immediately put to use in the workforce. So when a friend asked in 2005 if he could help his son find a university scholarship, Kayondo said that for $100, he could offer a different path. “I said I had no opportunities anywhere for scholarships but that I could teach his son the skills necessary to live a very good life,” he says.

In three weeks, the young man had learned how to repair printers and refill ink cartridges. About two years later, he started his own business doing just that, a business that is still supporting his family seven years later. He ended up being the first of more than 45,000 people Kayondo has helped become financially independent workers through Telesat.

Kayondo formalized his educational service in 2006 as Telesat International. In keeping with Kayondo’s emphasis on immediate, on-the-ground skills, Telesat constantly changes and adapts its course offerings to reflect market demand “We look at the local market demand because we want the people we train to be able to sell within their local communities,” he explains. For example, for $12, students can take a two-day course in making notebooks, which they can sell to secondary schools to the tune of about $15 per day, says Kayondo. That’s roughly five times the average income in Uganda.

Telesat currently has six full-time and two part-time employees and has generated about $500,000 in total revenue. Kayondo is now looking to build a small campus where Telesat can offer machine training and host exhibitions of student products.

Kayondo’s pursuit to empower his Ugandan sisters and brothers is seen through his international efforts as well as his local involvement. He is currently garnering the interest of the United Nations global accelerator committee as a delegate and American nonprofits, such as Bead for Life. Kayondo remains optimistic as he looks to reach 74,450 Ugandans by expanding Telesat International’s curriculum within the next five years.

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Via Samuel Pavin
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Wow, what a story. Sure stimulates the creative juices.

Jan Moore's curator insight, September 11, 2014 2:42 PM

This is a brilliant example for all of us. We can create our own work - if we have the will to do so.