hello solace.

i miss finding the time to sit, think and enjoy the process of ideation. to really spark an idea and follow through with it is what has made the past few months truly enriching and exciting.

you see, i don’t think i have a very fascinating personality. i’m very boring in real life. i make your regular jokes, i have an interest in everything worth having an interest in and i generally play a good game between working and truly living. i live behind my ideas. i live behind the possibilities my mind envisions. i’ve come to accept that about myself.

in January, I managed to find my way to work at Gushcloud.(When I say Gushcloud, I refer to everyone in the Hoot Kiam office, including Barnett and Fixx) Now my honest thoughts are that I don’t think I would have been hired under normal circumstances. It was only because of my friendship with Janice and Aaron, whose channel was signed under them, and my understanding of how YouTube works that I even got a place as an intern there. The pay was standard, the expectations likewise. I should have known I would be stepping into a whole new world.

Before January, I had my fun being part of the YouTube community. I knew WahBanana when it was still the original crew, I had just started getting knowing Jianhao and NOC, and I was meeting the then smaller ones such as Keiji and Cheok. It was simpler times. I was happy there – I felt like I was a content creator truly, creating content alongside others. The Hidden Good is a full-force – we champion positive influence through media and events, and we maintain a community ready to be activated to change society. We’re a Cause, we’re a Movement, we’re an Organisation, we’re YouTubers, we’re a Force. Our content styles were starkly different, but we were YouTubers nonetheless.

when I stepped into Gushcloud, my perception changed. I started knowing bloggers, other network partners and most importantly brands. “Commercialization” was the word of the century. As an intern, I set up the basic understanding of the differences between a YouTube network and a Blogger network, as well as pushed for the key strategies needed to establish the network in Singapore. Things took a new spin for me as I was brought into the world of “Mad Men” , where ideas took the form of dollars and KPIs.  Digital, Social and Creative became buzzwords that were key pillars of any media strategy.

To digress a bit, I’ve interned at quite a few places before, all government statutory boards. Stat boards have their share of corporate identity, but for some reason everyone feels like their initial motivation to serve the community is limited by their need to fulfill the big boss’ KPIs. And I mean the BIG boss. Whether or not it’s true is one thing, what is felt is what truly matters.

At Gushcloud, things were different. People were fun here, people were motivated here, people cared here. There was a team spirit, almost unique to a startup culture. I remember thinking to myself, this is one of the few places where I don’t have a problem working with anyone. None at all. I built some of the most memorable moments in my 20s thus far (okay fine, I’m only 21 in June) with Gushcloud, what with the office conversations, the trips overseas and the expeditions to all kinds of places local and foreign.

I got offered to go over to another company in May, by my close mentor and one of the people I really admire a lot. I couldn’t make a choice immediately of course, not because the job offer wasn’t great, but because I truly felt like I was part of a family in Gushcloud. Whether or not they felt the same way about me, won’t change the fact that I felt like I was part of something there. I loved working with these people, I loved being in the trenches with them, and I had joined in the climbing months of Gushcloud.

I made the decision based on the fact that I was 20 and still had stuff to learn in this world. Friendships don’t end at work, friendships last beyond work and it’s my dearest hope that I stay close with everyone in Gushcloud, really close. But at 20, I knew I had to follow my resolution of the year “Choose who you want to be in the present, what will shape your future”

i still have slightly less than a month in Gushcloud and I wanted to write this because I felt like I had a lot of emotion and thought that was still somewhere inside and it needed to be expressed. these decisions are nowhere near easy for me – as much as I tend to think of myself an analytical person, i’m hugely romantic and emotional.

so to end off this blog post, I thought I’ll recall three lessons I’ve learnt thus far from my short 4 months at Gushcloud.

  1. Expectations need to be managed – In a place where it’s so easy to be friends with everyone, the line between business and friendship has to be drawn. Where friendships exist before business, there has to be a sense of professionalism adopted. Where business exist before friendships, the former must be seen as higher than the latter. At Gushcloud, they practice it religiously, by reinforcing it with one another.  Yet, the question remains, in an organisation that is built on relationships and servicing, how does it become manageable to continue watching out for these potholes. I’ve learnt about doing business with friends the hard way through life experiences, and I’ve learnt it can either kill you or be your best decision. There’s really very few ways to predict which way it’ll sway other than truly knowing the person. In, and out of Gush, I’ve learnt the need to manage expectations of everyone around you.
  2. Influence Matters – I honestly knew little about bloggers and social media celebrities before coming to Gushcloud. But #OOTD and #selfie has become commonplace terms now that I’ve become friends with some of them. It’s funny, because my honest feel was that it wasn’t a world I’d ever understand – how people take to posting incessantly and the form of influence they control. My thoughts have matured though(and that’s the purpose of such internships) . I’ve learnt influencers really know their communities, and have powerful bonds with some of them. We have our notable few who are on their way to fame trove, and that’s a completely valid option for those who choose it, but there are those who chanced upon popularity and are trying their best to manage it. I’ve come across incredibly humble ones, who understand the power they wield, and hope to drive their communities to the directions they see best. People join in the learning with them, especially when they make mistakes, and they realise these influencers are indeed human. I’ll never see myself pausing in the middle of the road for a selfie, but then again I’ll never see myself joining the Army as a full-time career. I had fun with these people though, the scene is truly exciting. It’s semi-glamorous , as a colleague once put it, and that means it has its share of perks. I get amused everytime someone says that I join in as an influencer – I prefer to join in as a Gush employee . Like I said, I project outwards through my ideas, and The Hidden Good is the true influencer. And that’s a good thing – The Hidden Good is indeed pretty sexy.
  3. Culture-building defines things – “There’s too much work” should never a complaint for a private company. My insurance agent once told me “Too busy to answer calls means there’s good business” . I love how I get all these sayings – again , perks of being in the working world and gaining wisdom. in Gushcloud, everyone has plenty of work to do. Yet, there’s a spirit that’s tremendously fierce. People are friends, yet they have serious conversations with one another when it comes to money and politics. Everyone is drawn towards the big dream, taking over the world. And so they put aside differences, settle them immediately between each other and move ahead encouraged. That’s really tough, but it happens here. It’s also why it was easy for me to click with everyone , I believed in the culture and mission and I drove alongside them. Never underestimate the need for a strong culture.

I’ll still be linked to Gushcloud after I leave in May, and hopefully things don’t change. But we make the choices we make and we live with them.

I’m glad I did this. I’m glad I had four amazing, mindblowing, life-changing months at Gushcloud. I’ve made the same promise to everyone who has helped me – I will never forget them. I value loyalty incredibly, I value comradeship like diamonds.

and so i’m going to make the best  out of the next month, i’m going to relish every moment I have to be part of this next big thing, and to embrace the friendships I’ve made. because being completely aware of how you feel and what you want is important – and this is it for me.