Stoa Digest #19: Risk It Small
Take a chance, make a change.
Mahesh is one of those humans that doesn't say much, but when he does, you just listen.
If you know much about Mahesh - it's probably not a lot, anyway.😝
Personally, we haven't heard a lot from him either, but you can bet we were excited when he wanted to write another one of our Guest Features as a note to our freshly onboarded Cohort 4 fellows.
By now I think most of you at Cohort 4 have discovered what it is like to have your weekends hijacked by a force that’s hard to explain. It’s not the classes that you’re really waking up for, neither are you sitting for hours on end in front of your screens because someone is deducting 43 points from your scorecard, no, you’re putting in the hours because you feel like you belong here and you don’t want to let your teammates down in the next case weekend.
When I clicked on Raj’s rant on twitter last year, if someone told me that I would learn, make new friends, be vulnerable, learn new things about myself and can summon help on something called ‘discord’ and all within a virtual environment during the bloody pandemic, I would have asked them if they were living in a different dimension.
What I write next is a commentary of what I’ve observed and experienced during my last 6 months at Stoa and if it helps someone manage their energy over the next couple months here, I will be really happy with myself.
Be vulnerable and you will transform:
Be it coaching sessions or speed meetings, I was put in a spot so many times and couldn't help but be vulnerable (something I hated doing till then) and share things that I've not shared with anyone. The lack of any judgement from the person in the room with you, and in turn also knowing their own vulnerabilities, made me realize everyone is human and we are all cut from the same cloth. Since then I've been less critical of myself.
You don’t have to know everything:
Like the african proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”. Stoa is a tribe where you can lean on people when you need to rise to any occasion whether professional or personal.You will be surprised how many people turn up if you seek help on the ‘help-me-out’ channel on Discord or if you simply reach out to a cohort mate who you’ve never interacted with. I have to mention Gobind and Siddish here for lucidly explaining certain concepts of technology to me when I wanted to learn something. So, don’t worry about how much you know or if you’ll look like a fool asking about or for something, just speak your mind and you’ll be thankful for it. To paraphrase the great J.K. Rowling “Help will alway be given at Stoa to those who ask for it”
No point being overwhelmed:
Our Stoa discord is like that annoying younger sibling following you everywhere while on a constant sugar rush while Circle is like the sagely elder sibling who you constantly want to impress. Build your boundaries with both these tools early on, and you will sail through without a glitch. Pick a few channels that speak to you and stick to them on Discord. As far as Circle is concerned, be on top of all the prompts and you won’t have to look anywhere else. The learning team picks up gems from all over the universe and curates them for us here. Just trust the process!
The most striking thing at Stoa:
For me, the most striking thing from the last 6 months at Stoa was this - we were in the eye of the storm of a fast growing startup. All the guest sessions and external founder interactions were great, but there was so much more to learn from watching Aditya, Raj, Manoj & the team build their mission out, all with a dollop of intellectual honesty and rigour. They kept making incremental changes to our experience, constantly giving us a look into their playbook, while selling their mission to the world without seeming like they are and most importantly giving us feedback in a way that feedback should be dispensed & can be acted on. While I kickback and think about all of this now, it was a great thing to witness and experience.
While I keep going back to the session recordings and the prompts, and the way Shelton and team are envisaging engagement for the long term, I am glad I joined this ride and experienced a collegial setting again.
Till next time!
P.S.: I live in central Bangalore, and always up for a good conversation. So hit me up whoever you are for whatever it is!
Switched it up this time to introduce to our newest member of the Community Team, Sonali Pahuja.
Sonali’s going to be helping us handle a lot of the Community Events we run - so if you come up with ideas for events you’d like to run.
Or even have ideas - she’s your person to ideate with.
You’ll find Sonali here: On LinkedIn / On Twitter
Birthday Parttaaayy! 🥳 🎂
19th - Puneet Kumar
21st - Parth Aggarwal
23rd - Hemangi Padhiar
24th - Naman Bhalla
From The Team:
Recently we've been seeing a fairly large surge in lots of content being put onto the #Lounge, which can get a bit too overwhelming, especially when there are dedicated channels for certain types of content.
So, we're going to leave you a breakdown of how we segment content on our Discord & would like you to as well - to make it easier on those who can be easily overwhelmed by it & whose Discord is the truest form of the word itself.
Each cohort has it's own Lounge & Cafe - both being pretty self-explanatory. One is like walking into your classroom when the teacher's missing, and only allowed to text, and the other's where you can move around and talk to your friends.
Then we have the "Chill" channels,
which are what we think might be the most confusing. We're going to help explain how we go about slotting what goes where:
🦁 Lounge - every single fellow from all the cohorts is on this channel, so it's like an all-campus party. It's the most susceptible to a massive contextual rager that's targeted towards only one cohort - while all the rest sit around confused. Don't be exclusionary here - it's 0 fun, and it's not what we think we want our fellows to do in any way.
🤡 Memes - The memes that end up affecting more than one cohort, end up being the ones that win 'Meme of the Week' which is apparently a fairly coveted title. Humour does best here - especially if you're targeting the masses, and not an exclusive group. You're also allowed to share memes from social media on this channel as well.
📚 Good-Reads - We have a community of over 300 fellows right now. This means there's a lot of content that gets looked at & read between us all. Good-reads is where you can share:
Topics you think will benefit other fellows (your own & other cohorts)
Something interesting that has broadened your perspective in some way
At its simplest, it is something that will require reading, but it is named such, so that it is fairly easy to tell that it is a good read, and worth spending some time to go through some words with.
🎸 Music-Discovery - I think this might be one of our most self-explanatory channels. Feel free to share Youtube, Spotify links, etc.
🏟 Sports - We're a country of competitive folks, so it only makes sense that we get extremely loud cheering for the teams we support. The server lights up for the NBA, Football, F1, Cricket among many others. Feel free to dabble in, when there's a sporting event going on. Just spare us a tad, though, and if you're just having banterous conversation - 👺 do it in a thread! 👺
📺 TV-Movies-YT - When we're not busy consuming our learning content, there's a fair few of us also making considerable pockets of time to binge watch our favourite shows. This is where you can drop in to send us your suggestions of a good show watched, where your cheerleading for one can come to rest, or even where you can ask for recommendations for you to watch. Bingeing is in no way restricted to only OTT platforms(Netflix, Hotter, Prime, etc)
🍔 Food-brew - We've had multiple home brewers/farmers in our cohorts by now, with a lot more who share the interest. All you need to ask in this channel to ever get a response is ask for something food related.
🙏🏼 Gratitude - This is in no way restricted only to Stoa happenings, but if you want to feel like some validation or are just having a beautiful day & want to share it with people - here's where to go. Also if you just had a 1-1 with a fellow, and are so mindblown you need to shout them out: you can also use this channel.
The "Grow" channels
🚀 Boost-posts - This is where all our fellows come to tell us of content they've put out. Whether this is a tweet, LinkedIn post, Blog, Podcast, Website - you name it, you can put it here, and we'll come to be your hypemen(no genders were suggested when saying this - hypemen applies to everyone).
🪓 Life-Pro Tips - Sometimes you come across some very useful thing and dont know how to share it with a large group of people. Well, you're in luck!
🚨 Help-me-out - Again rather self-explanatory - you need help with something, you can come to this channel to ask for help with it.
💼 Opportunities - Almost like an internal Stoa job board with vacancies from any fellow who knows someone who's looking for a job, or if their own company is hiring.
👯♀️ Meetups - Pretty self-explanatory, we think. If you're from a city, we probably have another fellow nearby enough for you to have a meet-up. So feel free to hit 'em up here, and find your tribe across cohorts, cities, states & the country here.
If you find yourself struggling to categorize what goes where - please think of the core purpose of whatever it is you're posting, and use that as a way to gauge where would be suitable to post it. Try and slot it into one of these buckets, because if we start polluting the lounge now, there's no hope for us in the future.
Community Buzz 🐝
Best Discord messages this week:
TG wrote an extremely feelsy Digest edition last week - if you haven't yet, we strongly recommend you go check it out!
We got to witness one of our fellows' big wins, when Reshamandi scored a Series A raise last week.
If there's one way 'Adah by Leesha' scales, it's if you do your Diwali shopping from them!
We can now all flex that we know someone who went twitter famous on Instagram!!
Fellows Rocket🚀Shipping🚢 Content
One of the coolest Uber experiences you've heard of? Pranav's had it.
Sneha writes some pretty cool threads on things she finds interest in - this past week it was the future of the AR/VR world in ours.
For Stoans by Stoans
To be recognized & famous or hide from it - which might be right?
TechCrunch has some of the best news in the startup world recorded, they have free yearly subscriptions running
Why the best startup founders have an Original Thesis, and how to get it.
Meme Wars 🥲
This week’s shiny new winner of Best Meme goes to …………
Been a while since a Cohort 2 fellow won MOTW, but this week we haaaveee.....