This post is part of a series written by Abhishek “Bobo” Bose-Kolanu on his Summer 2013 Duke SIP experience. Read more on the author’s personal blog, SomethingWorthReading.
There are two emotions. A sensation of loss and a sense of opening up.
I can feel pieces of me being left behind. My entrails spool out behind me as I move forward, but with each step they fray, the tie that attaches them to me weakens, and they shudder, convulsing into their own tightly packaged, hermetic containers of yesterday.
My now is becoming memory. This hurts.
Each moment of pain is also a point of pleasure. Each part that hurts reminds me that it mattered, that it will continue to matter. That what transpired was both significant and enriching.
The sensation of stepping through a door and feeling the enormity of the space I am entering. A desire to turn my face sunwards, to grow forward with the future. A powerful, pleasant sense of becoming.
There is a sense of lift. There is a gentle and reassuring strength pushing me upwards. This is support. This is the value of my experiences at Reverb.
How did this happen?
The above is a valuable emotional reaction to elicit, both for myself as worker and for the company. Someone who feels the way I do will work harder and better than someone who does not, and they will get more out of their time. How did Reverb produce such an acute response in me?
People who care
From bottom to top, people here care. This is not just a company, and it’s not just a job. This is a group of intelligent, hard-working creators pooling their talents to build something greater than themselves.
Along with the dramatic there is still the mundane. The tasks I didn’t feel like doing, the work I had to prioritize but wasn’t as excited about, the miscommunication that comes along with being a speaking, thinking, feeling creature.
The difference here is that these frustrations are minor. They are not the bigger picture. At Reverb the big picture is inside each and every one of us – and we all know it.
A commitment to truth
Reverb has a unique culture. It is committed to “finding the right way, not my way” as one of my co-workers put it. We all have ideas we believe in, but everyone here is devoted to finding the right ideas. It’s not about pushing my thoughts above someone else’s. It’s about allowing the two to interact to produce the best product for our customers.
Ego is checked at the door
I remember my in-person interview with Jed Carlson, co-founder and COO. It was exhilarating. I was able to speak and think with him at full speed – no brakes. This might sound like a story about intellect, but it’s not. It’s a story about culture.
Jed was willing to engage what I had to say based on its merits. I’m 24, still in school, and interviewing for a summer internship. He’s older than me, has successfully founded companies before, and is a co-founder and COO of the company I am interviewing for.
Despite these differences, he did not look down on me. He did not create obstacles to hearing what I had to say. This doesn’t mean he agreed with everything I said (which is really just another way of not listening). He took the time to listen to the words and evaluate the ideas, instead of looking at the speaker and pre-judging the person.
I have had this same experience with every single person – both new and old employees – that I have worked with at Reverb. This is an astounding accomplishment.
For now I return to school. In the future I hope to run an organization like Reverb. I want to lead a place where people feel welcome, where they enjoy coming in each day, where they leave feeling satisfied, where they can work with each other to build something great.
The world needs these places, and I won’t be happy anywhere else.
Abhishek “Bobo” Bose-Kolanu is a researcher at Duke University, where he is pursuing a Master’s in Computer Science and a PhD in the Philosophy of Computer Science. He interned in Product at ReverbNation in the Summer of 2013.