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Vishy shares on Differences in Engineering Approaches of Enterprises vs Startups

By September 2, 2022No Comments
Vishy Ranganath | The Tech Factor | Startups vs Enterprises

Vishy shares,

There are various ways in which engineering differs between large companies and Startups. In large companies, there are numerous mature product lines. And then there are engineering teams working in these large organisations, products and projects. To a large extent in silo from each other. This also tends to happen even though the founders don’t want it. I have worked on products like BigBooks online and workspace products on Google. These are mature and have been around for many years. There are millions of customers using these products. Given the maturity of the product, you are essentially making incremental changes to the product. Then you fix the issues, you respond to customer pain and you build new features. But not at the same rate at which you would build features at a smaller company. So that is one main difference.

Mature projects are a different ball game altogether

Of course, big companies also come up with innovations, and new lines of business and they launch new products. I am not talking about that. I am talking about my experience of working on large and mature projects. These projects have been around for multiple years, so this is a different ball game altogether. At the same time every now and then, every few years changes happen in the industry. These changes force you to rethink how you have built your product and how you want to run it.

For example, when machine learning became a big thing, everyone started thinking about how could they use it. Large companies and startups had to do that, so Intuit did the same thing, and Google did the same thing. Those kinds of opportunities do arise but for the large part, you have mature products with minimal changes. The engineering process maturity is usually very high at these companies because the cost of mistakes is also very high. You don’t want to break a product when you have a billion users. For instance, if Gmail is down the whole world comes down.

Product-market fit is a must

With things like these what happens is that your engineering project maturity is at its highest. I haven’t seen this elsewhere than Google, it has set the standard for engineering excellence and maintains the quality and develops at scale, these are the things you get to learn out of that. In smaller companies or startups, product-market fit itself is the question, so as long as you have not achieved product-market fit you have to hustle, be agile and you’ve got to try many things while being true to the mission or vision of the company or the space you want to operate in. 

It is a very interesting experience, you learn that a lot of things that are taken for granted in a large company cannot be taken for granted in startups. Clari achieved its product-market fit a few years ago before I got here. So there is a little bit more stability now but nothing compared to what was at Google or at Intuit. We are still defining the rules of this space, that is what makes it exciting.

A leader is the one who ends up defining the game

And if you are a leader, you end up defining the game and others play the game but you are the one who sets the rules for it. As of today, Clari is a leader in the revenue operations intelligence space and what’s exciting about working for a company like this is that you get to participate with the founders. You get to think about – what is the right way to give out this product, what to build, and which customers to go after.

What problems to solve becomes important because you will have 10 different problems that will look interesting but we have to pick our problems so that we are true to our strategy and continue to refine our identity. This right here is the most challenging and interesting part that every startup deals with which I get to experience at Clari today.      

Watch the entire podcast here

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