Last time, way back in '96, I landed up in Boston just before spring to be part of a start-up. We were about 4 people in office sitting around and dreaming big. My role was to imagine, design, and architect our eCommerce product for sell side and buy side collaborations. Devdutt, our CEO, was surely ahead of time in ideas and he kept me on my toes to get the system done in 3 months (I had to come back to India end of 3 months!). Amazingly enough we were able to achieve all that including a sale to Rockport (Now part of Reebok).
Even with all the issues, I think start-up environment somehow inspires people to produce way beyond what is normally accomplished in large companies. Our office was not fancy at all and we barely had the luxury to indulge in expensive employee activities as large companies do. We had no typical frills such as gym or game room, but, we still ended up spending long hours at work. It was sheer excitement of creating something new from scratch believing in the ideas.
Now, I find myself again in very similar environment (except the fact that I have grown older!). Our office, a corner of an apartment, is where we come together for work, sitting around couple of makeshift tables, and going through intense discussions. Unlike last time around, we are better equipped in terms of laptops, broadband connection, and heavily collaborating electronically (thanks to free email, chat, and open source tools!). We are surely having fun and doing all that we can (even with lots of constraints) and trying to pull off an enormous task in a short period of time. I am getting a distinct sense of déjà vu!