Author Name: Yashank Dasrapuria
I am a Product Research Intern for TrackIQ at Locus, and it’s been almost three months since I embarked upon this rollercoaster journey. My experience until now has been quite enriching as I was able to work on some amazing projects, pick up some essential life lessons, and make amazing memories along the way.
So I request everyone to buckle up tight as I take you through my whirlwind journey and show you why you should grab any opportunities to intern or work at this amazing organization!
Locus holds a set of strong values that plays a crucial role in the way it operates as a company-supporting its vision and shaping its culture. I have anchored my narration with these strong pillars as they are the driving force behind our inspiration, innovation, accomplishment, and work ethic.
Commitment: How creating a sense of belonging sets off a virtuous cycle
From day one, the team at Locus makes sure each of its new recruits feels a sense of belonging and develops an affinity for the people and the culture this organization values. I still remember a couple of days before my onboarding day when I received a huge box filled with goodies and my first work laptop. Although it seems like a small gesture to some, it definitely developed my love for this company from the get-go.
Right from my interview with Jyoti to having my HR and IT onboarding sessions with Shweta and Shyam, my one-to-one session with Bindhu, and my first ever off-site (more on this later), everyone made me feel like I belonged. And this instilled a passion for contributing to the best of my abilities to this organization.
My life pre-Locus, like for many engineering students, was quite chaotic, and I was eager for a more clear direction. After joining Locus, I was fascinated by how a lot of puzzle pieces fit together in a professional setting. It motivated me to be more focused and dedicated to the tasks and stories at hand. Moreover, it gave me a meaningful direction to channel my energies. Simply put, all these thoughtful gestures developed a sense of commitment to this organization.
Integrity: How persistence makes all the difference
I still remember how during our global catch up during Value Awards, Piyush explained how integrity means giving one’s best to the task at hand irrespective of the expectations set by any rewards and recognition. He added that It’s by sheer will that one can, irrespective of the number of hours it takes, deliver the best possible solution without any compromise to the given use case.
During my first month at Locus, I was a part of the NodeIQ team where I had to write a Visual Basic (VB) code that would perform data cleaning and data validation operations on a client’s master spreadsheet before getting uploaded onto the platform. The challenge here was to make this code work for millions of data points that are being fed to the platform. Even after numerous iterations, the spreadsheet I was working on would crash for certain operations beyond 10,000 rows. I am still very thankful that my first manager at Locus, Robin, was very patient with me. He always kept encouraging me in the process; trying his best to figure out where I was getting stuck. He always appreciated me for the efforts I was putting in and gave me ample time to work on this project since VB was something I had never worked on before.
Nonetheless, I did not make much headway before I was assigned to the TrackIQ team. During my last week with the NodeIQ team, I attended the global catchup where Piyush spoke on integrity. After getting inspired by his rousing speech, I decided to give it all in the two-three days I had before I made the transition. I was able to crack the problem with an algorithm literally five minutes before my last meeting with Robin where I had to hand over the project. The solution I came up with was able to perform all the required data cleaning and validation on more than a million rows in less than four minutes without compromising the use case.
I feel this to be one of the biggest achievements of my life so far. By working on the problem statement, I understood the importance of not giving up and giving your best shot until the last minute. Parallely, this is what TrackIQ means by focusing on quality i.e. it’s okay to take a day or two extra, but no compromises should be made on its quality. I made sure to follow this practice on all future stories, irrespective of whether they had to be dropped or I had to hand it over to someone else.
Making meaningful changes by being ambitious and proud of it!
On my first day at TrackIQ, I remember Vivek asking me right away as to what I want to work on for the rest of my internship. It took me by surprise as I have often heard that companies hire interns to work on those tasks that their heads do not find worthy of their time. Here at Locus, both Vivek and Robin made sure my preference was taken into account and I got to choose what I really want to work on. In reply, I said I wanted to do what a Product Manager actually does. Vivek then assigned me to write a specifications document (spec doc) right away. Apart from the spec doc side of things, Apurv, my current manager, also made sure that I shadow team mates on calls and discussions with other stakeholders like Engineering, Quality Assurance (QA) folks so that I get a holistic end-to-end understanding of various processes involved.
Even though I was an intern, I was invited to be a part of Product-Finance-Solutions off-site in Goa, which was a major highlight of my Locus journey. I got to meet so many talented folks that have such exceptional qualifications and varied interests that it truly inspired me and made me realize that there is a long way to go. The value-rich discussions I got to have with folks from different departments, the vision setting and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) sessions we had helped me understand this organization a lot better.
Many of the questions that I had about pods apart from TrackIQ and NodeIQ got answered. I understood what the company envisions for the upcoming quarters, and familiarized myself with so many complex jargons about financials, sales, and other operations that by the end of the third day, I felt much a lot more confident, enthused and most importantly: a lot more connected to this organization. This is how Locus fosters a long-term sustainable ambition in its team, where each member wants to give their best shot to achieve the company’s vision through outcomes and achievements that they can take pride in.
Getting to the heart of innovation with teamwork and customer centricity
In addition to these five values, TrackIQ focuses on three additional principles that I would like to touch upon, namely: User obsession, realizing quality products, and team effort.
Having been recruited during the pandemic, my interaction with my other team members was limited. Through the off-site, I finally got a chance to meet my other team members Shehnaaz and Chandana, who I would say are the true epitomes of following the TrackIQ principle of team effort i.e. helping each other out and being as fast as the slowest member in the team. I knew I could easily reach out to them on anything I was stuck on, and they would be there to help me out and answer even the silliest of my doubts.
After working for TrackIQ for almost two months, working on spec docs, shadowing Engineering folks on calls or during spec reviews, and attending Locus Sprint sessions has now made me understand what innovation means. In its truest sense, innovation is all about solving your client’s issues with robust solutions. After numerous failed attempts, I have now understood the importance of being user-centric. Before crafting any solution, you first have to truly put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Only then will you be able to innovate and create the best possible, holistic solutions to enhance their experience.
Lastly, I would like to conclude by saying the most important trait I found in people here is humility. During the offsite I got several opportunities to talk to all 3 team leads — Mohneesh, Saurabh, and Rahul. All three were extremely welcoming, and I got to learn a lot listening to their experiences. Not only the leads, but everyone was very kind and helpful where I was treated like a colleague. I hope my journey has done justice to these values that Locus wants each and every employee to imbibe.
I look forward to learning a lot more, and accumulating many memories and experiences together. Cheers!
PS: This internship marked my first entry into the professional world and I feel blessed that folks tried their best to make my onboarding as smooth as possible so that I don’t feel overwhelmed, or worse: left behind.
A special mention to Shyam from the IT department. He has always been my savior and go-to person for all IT-related issues I have ever faced. Special thanks to Jyoti as well for easing out my interview process, onboarding phase, my transition from NodeIQ to TrackIQ, and any HR-related processes.
I would also love to mention Sanidh and Anmol from the Product team, Prabhat from the Solutions team, and folks from the Delivery team and Founder’s Office for making me feel at home and sharing such wonderful insights about Locus and life in general. Finally, I would like to mention Vivek from Legal — he is a vibe in himself, and it was lovely to know about his colorful life experiences. I am grateful for all team members at Locus for the exposure and providing guidance on how to successfully increase my chances of landing a Product Manager’s role after my graduation.