Filtered: Why we like being part of a startup

Working for a start-up can be a bit of a marmite decision; some people love the idea while others wouldn’t be seen dead doing it. At Filtered we are all hands raised in favour of doing so. In fact everyone in the office absolutely loves it here and believes that being part of a start-up is definitely something that everyone should do at some point in their career, whether it’s for the short or long-term.

There’s currently a lot of press about start-ups being the latest “trendy place to work”. To give you a bit of context, we’re an education technology (Ed-Tech) company that offers e-learning courses in a range of subjects. We’re based near Old Street in East London which has been dubbed silicon roundabout due to the amount of tech start-ups that currently populate the surrounding area.

But rather than give you a synopsis of what journalists think, we thought you’d like to hear what our staff think about working for a company like Filtered.

First and foremost is the opportunity to be involved in a great idea with huge potential. The service we provide reduces the amount of time people spend learning, making the whole experience more fun and productive. We do this by using a filter to establish the elements of our courses that our users already know. It then tailors the courses to only provide information they need and haven’t learned before. It’s bespoke training on an individual level, and being able to be involved in the development of the company, and an idea like this, is something you just don’t get to do in a large corporation.

The next thing that immediately springs to mind are the people we work with. Everyone in the company has their own unique specialism and the freedom to express their views and offer their expertise when making decisions. It’s a collaborative environment where everyone has a voice and is willing to pitch in, even if it’s not necessarily their area of expertise. You get exposure to a much broader range of skills and are able to share these with likeminded people.

Then we have the decision making. Filtered has a really practical and logical approach to business and the founders (like most small businesses) are involved in all of the choices made. There isn’t the bureaucracy of working in a larger organisation (anyone who’s worked in the public sector in particular will know what I’m talking about here) so decisions are made quickly, as a team, and by drawing on the knowledge of our colleagues.

Another thing we love is the freedom to try new things. We’re always looking for new ways to streamline the business and make our processes more efficient. You don’t know if you don’t try and as a personal example, I’ve recently tested three or four software packages in the last two weeks. We decided to sign up for two of them and I am now in the process of syncing the two products so that they talk to one another, allowing us to automate emails to individuals that register an interest in our courses.

Ambition and hunger for the business to succeed are also key factors. In a working environment where every decision, and penny, counts, you need to have the desire to go the extra mile. Being a relatively team, you’re able to see the result of your actions first hand and all of our staff share this trait. This might lead to you be exposed to some high-pressure situations, but is there any better learning curve? I don’t think so!

On the flipside of this is the relaxed atmosphere here. This is the first start-up that I’ve worked for and it really does get the work environment spot on. I can wear whatever I want to the office, move to the sofa with my laptop if I’m feeling like I need a change of scenery and we regularly go out on social occasions after work as a team. The comradery is brilliant, it really is a tight knit family.

I’m not saying that there aren’t any drawbacks to working for a start-up - that would be ridiculous. Especially in the early days of any company, for example, there are a lot of risks and situations that you don’t have much control over.

What I can solemnly swear to you, though, is that everyone in this office has both grown personally and helped the company develop as a result of working here. At the end of the day that is probably the biggest reason we all enjoy working at Filtered so much.


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