When I first found out about Dost in Feb 2019, I was intrigued by what they were doing, their team and the support they had gained. My previous boss who is a friend of Dost’s founding team suggested it might be a great place for me to gain the product experience I was looking for, but I was wary of applying because Dost was a non-profit. After a few months I joined another company and forgot about Dost.
Later in December, I connected with Dost’s co-founder Sindhuja, not for a job, but for a casual chat to feed my curiosity about early childhood education. That first conversation showed me how decisions at Dost were made based on impact for the end user and not based on what looks good for the organization. I immediately knew it would be a great place for me to get product experience in the education sector. I realized that users, data and a disciplined process were more important for me to gain experience and not whether the company was for-profit/non-profit. I soon joined Dost in a product role.
Working remotely with a new team
After working closely with founders in my earlier jobs, I was nervous to work with my Manager who was remote. To top it off, we had the first 3 Covid cases in Delhi on my first day at the office and we began working from home indefinitely. The little nervousness of working remotely with my manager turned into major anxiety of having to work remotely with an entire new team. However I realized I had no reason to worry.
My remote on-boarding couldn't have been better. All my teammates completely owned their work, were able to give me a complete picture of the organization and I was ready to kickstart a big project in just 2 weeks.
I started with redesigning an important product piece - creating product specs, designing experiments, collaborating with multiple people and running its operations. Meeting users in-person was not possible, but I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and did user research over the phone and added creative product features to get insights. Honestly being new, I was a little nervous to handle different pieces at once but with a little guidance I did just fine!
Coming together during the crisis
As April moved along, the pandemic became much more serious and changed everyone’s life, including Dost’s. Almost all areas at Dost got affected by it as we found how to help parents best and improve ourselves at the same time. It was a period where the entire team showed amazing dynamism, collaboration, and empathy for parents and each other. It gave me an amazing first hand experience of the Dost culture Sneha had told me about during the interview process.
The team is amazing and I am very grateful that I made great friends with everyone in spite of having spent just one day at the physical office.
The pandemic has reinforced the need to create stronger infrastructure for parents to access resources to take charge of their child’s development. I am very excited to work on how we can make that happen through the appropriate technologies they have access to. I had a list of things I want to learn or get experience through my work at Dost, and I am exhilarated to say that it has been more than satisfying on that front. It has just been 3 months, and I am excited to be here for many more!