A SERIES OF TEAM MEMBER JOURNEYS
“It takes genius and courage to invent transformative new technology that creates abundance and prosperity.”
This has famously been defined by the entrepreneur, Peter Thiel, as the journey of building something from 0 to 1. It takes no less than this, to be building a product from scratch, or more so, to be making the bold claim of building the future.
We at Nymble have been on quite a journey ourselves, in building this moonshot of a product. Some team members have also been with us for quite some time on this journey and while we're going from 0 to 1 - they themselves have been experiencing unique journeys of their own.
A journey laden with uncertainties - where they have taken up a lot of responsibilities, where the scope of their work has expanded in unimaginable ways. These stories & journeys demand to be captured and brought to everyone!
Second in line of this series is Anusha Murthy, the Superwoman of Nymble. She is one to look out for. Embodying the true spirit and culture of Nymble with an effortless grace, Anusha sets the tone for what stands as contemporary in an ever - evolving turf. Best put in the words of our co-founder, “You've already hired some people in your mind even before you talk to them - Anusha was one of them.”
When did you join Nymble?
I joined Nymble on the 1st of July, 2019!
Any first Impressions?
I was very intrigued by the product as I had just finished my food innovation masters and I was working on a few projects of my own and consulting. So, I was very curious to see everything in action at Nymble. I came down to the Bangalore office, met the co-founders, and mind you, there was no working product back then. There was obviously an initial working prototype that was built, but it was very much in bits and pieces. So naturally the curiosity to see how the product would function and cook, and the work that I started off with - all of it was a whiff of fresh air and well, exciting!
What were your responsibilities when you joined Nymble?
Initially, I worked on understanding who our customers are and potentially could be. There was very little user research done, so my task was to understand the market and understand the problems this would solve for our potential users and identify who our competitors were. Basically, defining and ensuring the product fit for Nymble.To put it under an umbrella, customer development was the initial project that I took up.
Get a better glimpse into the work Anusha had done in her initial stages at Nymble. Read Now : How We Spoke To Users Before Building a Product
How have these changed or expanded over the course of time?
Since then, I think there were a lot of crucial aspects where I have played a role in. We did our first set of demos in January 2020 which was after laying out the primary research. These demos proved critical in gauging feedback and response from people, and became our first stint in understanding the market firsthand. On a personal level, my role has a good overlap of product and marketing and has evolved into a hybrid role ever since.
Even though I have a majority of my goal to be in marketing - but given that the product is not yet out and that marketing is all about the product, other crucial steps come first. Making sure we're building a good product, making sure we're getting it in front of the right people and audience - there's definitely a very close connection that can be seen. So initially it was in the rungs of business & customer development, but the focus has gracefully transformed into the core product & growth kind of a role.
It's also because naturally - when I go back to initial conversations - I think there were many tracks of field I could have taken up given the dynamic nature of work at Nymble. In a startup like this, you simply start off by putting out whatever fires you can, contribute in whatever aspect that you can and to not be blindsided in what you're picking. I'm definitely more of a generalist than a specialist and see myself as a liaison between the helms of customers, the product and engineering teams here at Nymble.
How have you grown to handle these newer responsibilities?
I think a big part of the culture here and my own journey is constantly learning, and in a way both have aided each other. I think ever since I started off, there's not been a single day where I have not learnt something new. Be it either about understanding the company, the market, or the ins and outs of the product, it is absolutely necessary to stay relevant and to know just enough to be dangerous and indispensable. I truly believe that knowledge is power and live by it.
Before we went for the first set of demonstrations initially, I didn't know a lot about the internals of the device. My knowledge was more market and problem focused. The second time around before our alpha trials, the tech team was kind enough to give us a two-week long training session. So now if you ask me to remove a wire and solder something inside the product, I can do that. If a motor stops working, I can replace it. This one time, the induction board on one of our prototypes stopped working and we were able to replace the induction board under the team’s guidance. It feels nice and empowering - to be gathering knowledge and understanding the intricacies of the product. It also translated into my real life when my induction stove at home stopped working and I actually took it apart and made it work. And well, my parents finally saw me as an engineer.
What are some hard truths you've learned which you didn't know before Nymble?
I have always felt that the tech industry is generally skewed against adequate representation of women - but the hard truth hits when it's more so than ever in a hardware company. The lack of diversity is very apparent. And it’s something that we’re actively trying to solve for..
Another ‘hard’ truth is that the world doesn't give many hoots about hardware - while software claims all the glory. Software is relatively easy, makes money, easy to create and sell etc. I think that not a lot of innovation is taking place and not a lot of companies are exploring because simply put, hardware is very hard. Iteration cycles are longer. If there's a bug in software, it can be fixed in a short amount of time. If the same happens in hardware, you have to redesign the component, reassemble - the margin of error is low and the effort very high.
Skewing towards software reflects across the industry. If as a young company, you're trying to learn something or if you're googling relevant blogs, you will find that there is not much conversation and discourse happening around hardware vis-a-vis software forums. This was a big challenge when we started up and still is the case
What's been your most challenging time at Nymble?
Adapting to a hardware-driven mindset was challenging at first, especially during the lulls between the various iterations of the prototype.
The biggest challenge in any pre-launch startup is maintaining that momentum. This naturally took a hit when COVID set in. We were all remote as a hardware company and as a young startup we had to take some tough calls like shutting down our China operations. And since we were all based in Bangalore at that time, we had to cut our US trip short to ensure we were all safe. But nevertheless, despite all these challenges we sailed through. This did affect our timelines since there was a global supply chain constraint. But keeping up our morale and momentum as a team during these months were the hardest, with all the uncertainty. But all that changed and became better as we started shipping and started doing trials.
To counter that, what would you say has been the most enjoyable time or aspect at Nymble?
This entire journey of learning, meeting new people, stepping out of my comfort zone.. All of it. The most enjoyable part has to be how you actually learn by doing.
After years of hard work by the engineering teams, to be finally putting the product in the hands of people and enabling people with the tech to eat a nice warm home-cooked meal is the most rewarding highlight. Having got the staggeringly positive feedback as we did, it becomes more than enough for us to carry on and build this ‘moonshot of a product’.
How do you think Nymble has impacted you?
Some of the things I have learnt here are for life. I feel like I have a broader understanding of things in the industry. On a personal level? I think I have developed a thicker skin, can stand for myself better and have become bolder. I don’t know, could be a factor of age (laughs). I just feel like there is a level of unparalleled confidence that sets in when you’re working towards a single goal with a spectacular team of peers who are all so young and driven.
How have you impacted Nymble?
Making sure we’re building the right product and ensuring that the product considers people at the core of it. That's one major impact I would say I have played a part in orchestrating. One of the most positive outcomes has to be the weighing mechanism feature, which was not present in the previous prototypes. I noticed people using the product during demonstrations and realised that there needs to be a way for us to easily measure ingredients. So instead of instructing users to feed in ingredients after weighing, we built a feature that would weigh things on the product itself. I get really happy when people say this is such a thoughtful feature. The magic lies in giving people not what they need to ask for but what would solve their problem and make things very easy for people.
A large part of Nymble is us as a bunch of engineers thinking that we are building the right product. Bringing in the ‘people perspective’ and an end-user mindset is what I have managed to impact or tried to instill.
What's next for you, what's next for Julia?
For me the only thing is bringing Julia to the market and have it dominate the world (in that order). We have built a great product that will change the way people cook and eat, and the fact that I get to be here and be a part of the process is very exciting and uplifting. Getting the product out, widening the reach and having it positively impact a lot of people is something that's next for Julia and for me.
I personally care about making sure that we use technology to solve some problems that exist in the food system. Access to nutritious food is very important and as we all get busy and run behind different things, it shouldn't come at the cost of your health. Personally, this pursuit aligns very well with my values.
Watch this space for more such stories we have to share!