Ketan Bhatt

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Why Squad: Second Innings

August 09, 2017 personal

No, I don’t think the world at large is interested in what I am doing with my life. But I needed to write this because this question will get asked often internally and because DRY.

For the lazy, here is a tl;dr:

  1. I missed the team, and the hustle.
  2. Platform team was facing acute bandwidth crunch.
  3. It is the team that makes or breaks a company. And I am responsible for whatever happens to Squadrun.
  4. <ambition>Bring me a problem, I will solve it better than anyone else<ambition\>. Squad has only ever helped me move towards this, can’t wait to learn more by doing.

For others, you are too free, but here it goes:

I left SquadRun on 2nd July 2017. On 10th August 2017, I am going to be back.

In reality though, I never actually left. I was in constant touch with the team here, talking to at least 1-2 different people daily (no exaggeration). I got constant updates on the good and the bad of whatever was happening in the team. I was contributing a little by writing a few articles here and there talking about our engineering team and culture.

It is because of these conversations I was having with the team that I started realising how much was I missing the hustle. On top of that, we already had a shortage of engineers in the team, and me leaving only made it worse. The team was, thus, facing an acute bandwidth crunch. Sometimes VG had to get down to fix things himself, which I believe shouldn’t be needed now. And I felt responsible. I started toying with the idea of getting back for a small period just till the time we hire more people and the bandwidth crunch gets sorted.

Taking a step back, during my notice period, I read “The Shoe Dog”. It made me realise that it is the team that makes a company great. This would not hold true a lot for an MNC or a startup that has grown to a large people scale (Zomato, Urbanclap etc), where you will just be a cog in the wheel (the cog size might differ based on a number of parameters). But at the stage at which we are right now, each individual contributor has a high impact. And we, as early employees, can not just ignore the responsibility of carrying SquadRun to great heights. I was already feeling that maybe my decision to leave wasn’t right, but wheels were already in motion and I wanted to take this plunge anyway. This also came back to me while I was toying with the idea of temporarily joining.

Also, I have come to realise that we overthink growth. We are thinking about it every week (at least I did), did I learn something new this week, how much did I learn, is my growth curve as steep as it was before? Sometimes we just need to also not take the growth thing so seriously, and lie back and enjoy the work we are doing. Don’t stress about it, you are getting better with every passing day.

  1. growth isn’t exactly quantifiable, it is not a score you can just compare every week. Compare with where you were 6 months back, maybe?
  2. you grow as the company grows, the challenges that are thrown at you become different, and with each problem solved, you learn something.
  3. just learning a new framework or a language is not growth, it is also being able to solve problems more effectively, or being able to manage stress better, or multitask with more efficiency, or being able to be a better mentor. Growth comes in many different forms.

As Vikas told me when I was leaving, Squad has a lot of challenges for me still. But challenges or not, I am not letting anything happen to Squad. I have built a huge part of it, and I want to see, and not just see, but take, it to where it goes. Slowly, the idea of joining temporarily changed to an intense desire to be here long term. And here I am.

Now when I join back, I join back with the same vigour and passion I joined as an intern 2 years ago.

Let’s kick asses together, Game On!


Q. Did Squad ask you to be back, or did you approach them? I did, completely my decision. VG supported the decision though.

Q. Kahi aur job nahi mila? (Didn’t find a job or what?) :P While I am fine with these jokes, I thought I will just clarify once. No, I didn’t apply to any place. I was still figuring out stuff and enjoying my break.

Q. Temporarily joined or here for good? Here for good. Until VG kicks me out.

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