I had an amazing opportunity to be the work shadow (an occasion where high school students can choose a professional working in the area they’re interested in to spend a day with) of Sten Tamkivi, the founder and CEO of Teleport, and spend a whole day with him following his every move. Here’s how it went.

The marathon day of 12 hours took off at 8.30 AM. At first, I had some difficulties getting to the right floor, as their super safe elevators require a master key, but fortunately there was an extremely cheerful secretary to help me out. Finally, having made it to the 9th floor, it was time to start the adventure.

At the time I arrived, Sten had already plunged into his schedule displayed on a massive monitor. He greeted me warmly and introduced me to his co-workers. It didn’t take long when the first joke was told and there were more to come. Having made myself a cup of tea and taken a seat behind the desk, I gradually comprehended what was around me.

The first thing that came to my mind was that the office turned out to be a lot smaller than I had expected. I had imagined Teleport having two complete floors full of passionate and light-hearted people. Those who worked there entirely corresponded with that image, but the number of staff was just a fraction of it. My thoughts were based on the publicity company has gained and its achievements which, to my mind, implies that at least so far they’ve done a great job.

toovari2Sten’s shadow. Literally 🙂

During the 4 meetings held throughout the day, I managed to see things from different perspective I was used to, and gained some knowledge as well. For instance, it’s an entrepreneur who says the amount of money he needs to raise, and the investor is the one estimating the value of the company. Additionally, when it comes to making most out of your custumers’ feedback, you should use reliable methods such as NPS, which eliminates those trying-to-be-nice users’ ratings and gives you an objective overview of your performance.

But the day didn’t pass without any unexpected situations. There were some things that needed to be shipped, and so we went to the post office nearby. It took us far more time than we had assumed. However, Sten and I got the chance to talk about a variety of things like education, working life, entrepreneurship, and what it feels like to live abroad. As he has experienced all of them by himself, it was a real eye-opener and certainly one of the highlights of the day.

Arriving back at the office, it was time for lunch, so the whole team headed to the cafeteria existing amongst several others in this innovative business district. Having lunch with the squad proved me that Teleport has a true team spirit in it, and I enjoyed the atmosphere to the fullest. After returning to the office, there were some obstacles to overcome and Sten gave me an overview of the core issue. It was also the moment when I realized that in spite of being in the same room, they actually communicated via chat. At first, I didn’t get the point, but when I remembered that their team was scattered around the globe, it became quite obvious.

During their intense work period I had some time to just hang around, and now it was the view that caught my eye. Imagine the panorama from the 9th floor, offering a breath-taking sight to the lake, city centre and the woods, especially during the sunset. It’s no wonder that people at Teleport are so positive and bright. Soon I felt that my body requires some extra fuel, and I must say – this company knows how to take care of its employees. There were tons of snacks and beverages, but I opted for a meal which was literally a powder, and only some water was needed to turn it into a liquid dinner. Sten also thought I might be a bit bored and gave me some materials to look at. There I was, enjoying the novel meal and making myself familiar with the slides which were used to raise 2.5 M. Great alternative to the newspaper I would say.

Then came the moment when everybody gathered in front of the huge TV screen and it was time for weekly 90-minute team meetup. The thing that attracted my attention and I admired the most was the way Sten was talking to his mates and managing the duties. He listened patiently and then always thanked each person for completing one’s assignments. In case of some tasks had missed the deadline, he stayed calm and was rather encouraging. Although I acknowledged the importance of recognition before, I was still stunned by the effectiveness of such behaviour and the positive impact it had on other people. It was one of the most important things I took along from this day.

toovariSten and Kristjan Erik

To sum up, the work shadowing day turned out to be quite different from what I had expected, and I mean that in a good way. Spending an entire day with startup people gave me a new perspective and a lot to think about. I’m grateful for this amazing experience and urge you to use every opportunity that life throws at you. Thank you Sten Tamkivi and the whole Teleport team!