Starter League Prepared Me Well

I will never look at joining a new team the same way again.

Starter League’s culture, when I first joined, was very much a meme culture. We used animated GIFs a lot to really express how we felt about things. And that was really big for me. It was the first time I’d been part of a team that communicated so differently. It’s also one huge benefit to having real-time communication thanks to tools like Campfire and Slack.

On a deeper level, it set the mood early for the company, and how we ultimatley interacted with one another. Now that I’ve experienced working with multiple teams both at Techstars, and now independently as a contractor, I’ve seen the variations between team relationships.

But here’s what I’ve learned —

Have a personality

Be clear

Words aren’t always the best way to be clear either. Especially when working with product. The best way is to show what you mean. This could be a screenshot with Skitch arrows pointing to it, or minor edits using Web Inspector, or better yet, recording a screencast walking through and explaining out loud what you mean.

Repeat that

Question all the things

Maybe you have familiarity with a tool or process, the rest aren’t. And maybe it’s just the right fit for the right time.

Document it

So long as you’re focusing on being clear, being you, being open, and being confident enough to ask why when you join a new team — you should have the ability to not just assimilate into a new culture, but influence it.

Got it? 👍 Cool.

Written by

Interaction Designer working in Chicago.

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