Vyshaali Jagadeesan interned at my.Flow during the Summer of 2016, and is a member of the MEng Class of 2017 at UC Berkeley.
Working at my.Flow this summer gave me an insight into the dynamic startup environment and helped develop my technical and communication skills. I have interned and worked for small companies before but this was my first foray at a startup. I had an inkling this would be an excellent way to ease my transition from a regimented 40- hour work week to the pandemonium of a public, academic institution. I had quit my position in diagnostic device manufacturing to complete a Masters of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley to translate my background and interests to a career in medical device development. I met Jacob and Amanda over Skype as they were finishing up HAX, a hardware accelerator in China. I was enthusiastic about the groundbreaking product and their public reception but most importantly I was inspired by their mission to change the dialogue around menstruation.
I didn’t know what to expect when I hopped off the Caltrain for my.Flow’s orientation weekend less than 24 hours after I had returned from a six-week European adventure. I met the team in person for the first time, and I felt immediately comfortable. It’s hard to say if this was due to the sheer amount of time we spent together that weekend, working, planning, exploring the City or playing “would you rather” ceaselessly.
I had expected my first day at my.Flow would be similar to my first day at past jobs. I would read the company policies, get acquainted with their products, and learn their protocols and procedures. Within the first hour of meeting Amanda and Jacob, I was giving my feedback on my.Flow’s current product iteration and contributing to the company’s summer plan. I found this efficiency refreshing after 18 months of stifling adherence to protocols and rigid schedules.
At first, I struggled with the lack of structure coming out of a highly controlled manufacturing environment. As my.Flow only had two full-time employees there were no established procedures. After my initial hesitation, I was able to bring structure to my work, and I realized that I was able to finish tasks more efficiently when I created my own formats for documents rather than working within existing frameworks.
I didn’t just contribute to the design of the product, I also worked on various other projects as roles in a startup are fluid. I not only learned a lot about saturation sensor technology, but I also learned how to pitch to different audiences and conduct market research. I learned a lot observing Amanda pitch at the events, tactfully sidestep questions that could reveal proprietary information and remain composed even when her pitch was followed by snickers in male dominated environments.
In an atmosphere where everyone is vying for a finite amount of capital, competition is inevitable. But at many events, I was pleasantly surprised by the support the startup community provided. We were often given useful feedback, suggested potential user groups and provided fruitful leads.
Working at my.flow I not only learned about saturation sensors but I also got a glimpse into the inner workings of a young start up. Thank you for the immersive eye opening experience. I look forward to seeing my.Flow succeed and bring peace of mind, period.