Uncertainty was a big factor in my first week at Lightbox VC. I had not yet been through college, an MBA, or years of working a real job. My ability to offer everything I could ironically was hampered by fear that I could not give enough.
It did not take long, though, to understand that I was not actually selected for raw competence. I was there to give what most of the others could not. One of my projects at Lightbox during my internship was presenting to the team on “homegrown” substitutes for the recently banned TikTok. Despite the current stigma around the app, it was nothing but a full 180º sentiment. Before it was removed from app stores, it had a whopping 200M active users in India alone with an average daily use time of 40 minutes. Users weren’t just using the app normally. They were hooked.
The appeal of TikTok did not exactly pertain to the Lightbox team. Based on what I saw, they were far too busy and mature for the type of content that is uploaded. I could tell them the statistics and factors that contributed to the incredible user experience, but they most wouldn’t really understand why every other teenager was spending their afternoon mindlessly scrolling through one-minute videos on a daily basis.
The “team” that is constructed anywhere is not based on a single factor, but is based on covering multiple factors. While I could never offer the intelligence or business-sense that somebody like Sid or Anshika, I do have the ability to relate to and understand the demographic that constructs the base of million dollar industries.
Only with what I was able to offer, and with the following discussion, could the entire team establish an understanding of what TikTok’s end means, and which companies are going to rise up in its place.
I certainly wasn’t the smartest person in the room/Zoom, but I had a lot to offer. There’s merit just in that.