Before Devengers, i was working with some very amazing people ( or talent, or as they call them "resources" ) at QuadNode. I graduated last year and immediately joined a team of 5 there. I have learnt a hell lot of things and i would like to share a few of them here in a very concise manner. ( i dont want you to doze off ) :-
1. Be a good team player
You have got to be a part of a team. In a startup, there are only as many people and you being a part of them means that you are among a group of guys who actually trust in you to be have the same thought process as others. The team decides to pull an all nighter, then go be a part of it. I'm not saying that you gotta do everything that the team does. No, not at all. Like for example, just because everyone in the team smokes, you are going to smoke too. Hell no !
I believe that its important that you question things you don't understand. Why? When? What for ? very important. A startup lives by a mission, its important you know it too. This will get your facts right. Trust me, others would be happy that you are doing this too.
3. Don't be afraid
Its kinda funny that some people are just too scared of the founders. You shouldn't be. Just because they call themselves CEO and CTO doesn't really mean that they are not humans, you know. Its not like they are gonna bite you or something. Be cool (not too cool) and talk to them about everything that you want to. They want to help you, not eat you alive (or dead). They will be your friends. Avoid calling them sir and asking permissions for everything. You are not in school.
4. You own the product too
A startup is nothing without its team. I think there exists no other way to look at it. Indulge yourself into the product. If you are working on a product that does not mean that you cannot contribute to it by more than just building it. Take up an initiative, come up with a feature and share them, take your team mates opinion about it. Be it silly or not, you won't know it unless you demand for an honest opinion and believe me, they will all give their opinions about it. If silly, trust me you will come up with something better the next time. Sometimes, it's a process.
At QuadNode and Devengers, we all carry out tasks more than our regular jobs that we get paid for. Just because there are few people does not mean there are not gonna be daily chores. Go help your founders out. You can take up one or the other task. I organise all the events in the office, there is this other guy who looks after the kitchen related work and so on 'nd so forth.
6. Learn, learn quick.
Thats right. You don't expect that you will be spoon fed in a startup. Learn by yourself. Try, fail, rise and the cycle continues. But atleast try. Sometimes, there is no point in sharing your thoughts and not be in a state to implement it, right ?!
7. Jump high
If you do all the things i mentioned above then you are gonna be doing this when your product tastes the slightest hint of success. Like for example, somebody writes a blog about you or the time when you got your first user. And when you jump, you know you are in the right place among the right people. You know, you belong there.
Also, whenever you are bored you can draw some stuff on your white board, if you dont have one, please get one.