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Coming into Phytl Signs, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I’d seen startups in TV shows, such as Silicon Valley, and read about the brilliant success stories which dominate the headlines, but I had never actually envisioned the reality of a startup. I had never quite thought about the fact that actual, tangible people are behind these companies. Each possessing their own daily routines, consisting of hard work intertwined with playing keepaway with the dog and family lunches.

Initially, I believe my time here would be spent mainly shadowing Nigel and Carrol, learning the inner workings of a startup, and understanding what the work consisted of and demanded. Of course mixed in with a healthy dose of an intern’s mundane work. I wasn’t sure if there would be any way that I would actually contribute to the company itself, but I was hoping I would have the opportunity.

On the first day I was sat down and given a list of possible key projects and activities that I would be able to take part in. This consisted from cleaning up email databases, to investigating and setting up of fulfillment software for the upcoming Kickstarter launch. I was quite pleased with the wide array of options to choose from, as well as the apparent relevance they would pose to the company.

I began with the first project on the list, which involved setting up a live feed of a plant’s signals onto an online graph using a raspberry pi and a service called plot.ly. While the E.T.A of the project, was only supposed to take up a day and a half of my 5 day stay, it ended up consuming a large amount of my time. This was due to utilising unfamiliar software, and running into several issues with installing libraries and other technical nonsense. While difficult, it appealed to my technological intrigue and gave me a worthy challenge. As an aspiring tech entrepreneur, it gave me a glimpse into the kinds things I may devote my entire adult working life to. It was a great introduction, and allowed for me to feel as if I was contributing to the company as a whole.

In addition, I witnessed the growth process of a company. I attended a marketing meeting, where interviews, social media promotion and Kickstarter campaigns were all discussed with vigorous enthusiasm. I got to understand all the careful and busy steps these startups take before they can grow out to be the large companies we are so used to seeing.

Finally, I got to take part in the assembly process of the Phytl Signs boxes. This was a relatively fun process. It quickly became a social activity, as we conversed and listened to music while putting boxes together piece by piece. It was great fun to get to understand the basic concepts behind the product, and I felt that my contribution to the process held merit.

My entire time at Phtyl Signs was a great experience. It allowed for me to understand the requirements necessary to launch a successful business; resourcefulness, determination, and a good idea. It also showed me what the process of growing an idea into a product is like. This is probably the most valuable thing I learned here, since it’s a very rare experience. Finally, I walked away with from this venture with a sense of contribution. I feel like I not only learned from them, but that I gave back to them in return. I really appreciated my time here at Phytl Signs, and I can’t wait to see how their groundbreaking advances provide stable roots for a greater future.

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