Startup clichés

There are many clichés about the everyday working life in a startup. From a fridge full of beer, to the office dog, to adiletten as a business outfit - everyone seems to know. But what does the reality really look like? Becci did an internship at SUSHI Bikes over the summer and took a look behind the scenes for you. 🔍

Here's the text from Becci, who was much more than just a business development intern. Thank you for your time, your ambition, your criticism - and your laugh, which always put everyone in a good mood!

Do you really work that much? Is there an office dog? - 4 clichés about a startup like SUSHI Bikes explained.

After 2 months at SUSHI Bikes, I'm still a total startup freshman. Before that, I only worked in bigger companies a la corporations and had a very concrete idea of all the prejudices people tend to say about startups. After my two months, I am now taking stock and clearing up the jungle of prejudices and questions.

Tools like Daily Stand-up, TGIM or 1on1 (yes, I'll get to that in a moment...) were foreign to me before my SUSHI time and reminded me more of sports programs than business meetings. But what is really behind these startup abbreviations? And how are they lived at SUSHI? A journey through 4 widespread startup clichés and (perhaps) misconceptions.

1: Are you really "always on"?

Probably the most common "cliché" about startups is that you work day and night, work extra overtime and are always online. Vacation or flextime days? A foreign word!

I don't want to create a false impression here either: There is an incredible amount of work behind founding a company and building a brand. SUSHI founder Andy never runs out of work at the moment; flexible availability is expected of him at all times.
However, our daily work routine at SUSHI doesn't have to directly mean stress and all-nighters. Rather, our daily routine means a particularly high degree of freedom in scheduling tasks. Each employee is self-organized and responsible for completing the tasks assigned to him or her, thus creating added value for SUSHI and especially for all our SUSHI customers out there.

Of course, a set structure with core hours like larger companies can provide can give an employee security and structure. On the other hand, the flexibility On the other hand, the flexibility given to me at SUSHI gives me the freedom to decide for myself when I need a break, allowing me to make the most of my productive periods.

Cliché fulfilled at SUSHI?

Flexible Arbeitszeiten

2: Does everyone walk around with the typical startup hipster look?

Briefly to classify what startup hipster means to me: I describe a hipster look as a person who primarily combines t-shirts or shirts, jeans and sneakers. As an alternative to jeans, sometimes a cozy cut suit pants is also considered approved (the main thing is ankle-free or fancy socks). Hat, cap and / or glasses can also be part of the game; when it gets cooler, then comes partly still the cardigan, denim jacket or a parka over the top. Stylish girls and boys just. 😉

Ok, let's be honest: While writing this blog entry, I looked around the office space and spotted four lumberjack shirts and two cozy suit pants - I think that's sign enough.

Still, wearing the hipster look is not a hiring criterion to be met. Rather, every employee has the freedom to come to work as he or she feels comfortable - in new German "come as you are". A business or rather hipster dress code is not prescribed! Nevertheless, it is sometimes - unintentionally - extremely pronounced in our company.

Cliché fulfilled at SUSHI?

Hipster Look im Startup

3: Is there any time at all to work during all the fancy startup meeting techniques? Does SUSHI Bikes use them as well?

So first of all, yes, there is time to work during meetings. And we also have classic afternoons where it's very quiet in the office space and everyone is focused on their tasks - without any short sprint meetings. Nevertheless: Sure, we use "fancy startup meeting techniques"! A concrete example is the "Daily Stand-up", which takes place daily from 12 to 12:30 before lunch. However, here immediately the objection and a loud call to all skeptics: the stand-up does not stop anyone from working. Quite the opposite: We in the team have noticed that stand-up makes it easier to coordinate among ourselves and thus helps the entire team to work more efficiently and in a more goal-oriented manner. Why is this so? Based on the Scrum technique and agile organization, the Daily Stand-up has a clearly formulated agenda from which there is no deviation: Everyone prepares for the stand-up with 4 questions, which are then shared with the entire team during the stand-up:

  1. What am I grateful for?
  2. What am I currently holding on to / What is weighing me down?
  3. What did you work on yesterday? What was your sense of achievement?
  4. What are your top 3 to-dos for today?

During the stand-up, topics can then be addressed briefly and crisply and clarified directly so that everyone can continue to work on the topics in a goal-oriented manner afterwards. In addition, the format offers the opportunity to get to know colleagues better and to build a familiar basis among each other.

Cliché fulfilled at SUSHI?

Startup Meeting Techniken

And briefly to explain the terms above: TGIM stands for "Thanks God, it's Monday" and describes our bi-weekly afterwork event where we plan shared, rotating activities and spend private time together as a team. The whole thing is optional for everyone and gives a chance to just hang out with colleagues in a different setting. The 1on1 is analogous to a small staff meeting with your "supervisor" at SUSHI, where you can share any concerns or personal issues with your contact person. The whole thing takes place on a scheduled basis every two weeks and otherwise on call at any time - fancy terms that, once explained, don't actually hide sports programs - unless you want the next 1on1 to take place during a run or a bike tour. Then it comes close to the sports program. 🥵

4: Is there an office dog?

To steal the hope of dog lovers directly: No, we unfortunately don't have an Office Dog (yet). Even though Andy and Jan would like to have a dog and have directly claimed ownership of my private dog, we at SUSHI do not currently own an office dog to accompany us in the office on a daily basis and provide emotional cuddle support when needed.*

*Update 2022: In the meantime we have two office doggos: Sam and Nelly. :)

Why an Office Dog? An office dog is generally supposed to promote the health and team spirit of employees and create a more pleasant office atmosphere overall. All positive effects that can definitely enrich an average office day. Nevertheless, an office dog also needs quite a lot of time, love, a consistent team as well as a sophisticated concept of who takes care of the dear one after work and on weekends. Unfortunately, we cannot (yet) offer all of this to a dog at SUSHI and, for the good of the animal, we always come to the conclusion that a dog does not (yet) fit into our environment.

Our tip to all those who are also still missing an office dog: dog videos can provide quick, and also in the home office achievable, if unfortunately only virtual remedy.

Cliché fulfilled at SUSHI?

Office-Dog

In this sense: Yes, we are a startup - perhaps even a classic startup in some respects - but this does not have all its disadvantages. For my part (and with corporate experience), I can say that I really appreciate the direct communication at SUSHI and feel that issues can be moved forward more quickly through shorter channels than in other forms of organization. Nevertheless, it is a way of working that must suit you - in the end, the decision for or against a startup is analogous to the decision for or against a large company - because: Everything has its pros and cons. Find out for yourself what suits you best - e.g. with an internship or a working student position and use the time you are given during your studies to get to know the different formats.

Here's a bit of advertising on the side: Take a look right now to see if there's something suitable for you among the currently advertised positions at SUSHI Bikes! 🙃