Start early.

by Anjali Gupta

“We all live under the same sky, but we don’t have the same horizon.”

As my mom shared this quote with my sister on the last day at her earlier company, I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous.

Santosh and I often wish we could trade places with the young stars who work with us. We have a bunch of ambitous and enthusiastic folks who joined us very early in their careers, most straight out of college. As I observe them interact with us, a part of me wishes I had done the same seven years ago. Here they are, sitting in the cockpit watching a new pilot fly, and thinking to themselves, “Hey, it can be done. I can fly a plane someday. ”

As my younger sibling, Neha, gets ready to take the plunge into BookEazy I wonder how my life would have turned out had I known the difference between being employee No. 5 and employee No. 100. It’s not about the stock rewards. It’s about the experience of piecing a puzzle right from the very first piece, when you don’t even know how you’re going to find the second piece. As we make projections and later face reality, as we come up with yet another technique for guerrilla marketing, and of course as we battle the onerous task of raising funds, our young stars share it all with us. For many, this experience is the deeper reward better than any MBA, and this one is guaranteed at a startup unlike the stock option rewards which may or may not come.

Those who are aware of the deeper reward, don’t miss out on it early in life. The rest probably don’t need it.