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  • The Way I Work: Rashmi Sinha of Slideshare

    We have two offices, one in San Francisco and one in Delhi, India. There’s about a 12-hour time difference, which means we’re basically working around the clock. I work with my husband, Jon, and eight other employees in San Francisco. Amit is COO and runs our Delhi office, which has 20 employees, mostly engineers. When I wake up in the morning, their day is winding down.

    Upstart: Global Business

    Rashmi Sinha seemed destined for a career in academia. Born and raised in India, she earned her Ph.D. in psychology at Brown University and did her postdoctoral work in cognitive neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. But she grew tired of writing papers and yearned for the fast pace of a start-up. In 2006, Sinha left academia and launched SlideShare with her husband, Jon Boutelle, a software engineer, and her older brother, Amit Ranjan, a mechanical engineer. Since then, SlideShare, a site that lets people share PowerPoint presentations online, has become one of the most popular conference tools, attracting 50 million monthly users. The San Francisco-based company, which has 30 employees in the U.S. and India, has also attracted investors such as Mark Cuban, Dave McClure, and Hal Varian, Google‘s chief economist. Sinha, who is CEO, is a fan of rapid software development—and rapid meetings. During the day, she leads the San Francisco team in designing new features. In the evenings, she is on Skype, chatting with the rest of the employees in India.

    With a start-up, I’ve learned that it’s better to move fast. I’d rather we make a mistake, realize we did, and try something else instead of spending a lot of time thinking and not acting. If you spend too long thinking, you still might make a mistake, but you have invested so much time. And I’m impatient.

    We have two offices, one in San Francisco and one in Delhi, India. There’s about a 12-hour time difference, which means we’re basically working around the clock. I work with my husband, Jon, and eight other employees in San Francisco. Amit is COO and runs our Delhi office, which has 20 employees, mostly engineers. When I wake up in the morning, their day is winding down.

    Jon and I live in the Mission District, about 10 minutes from the office. Most days, we commute together. If I have a morning meeting somewhere else, he bikes or takes public transportation. I always drive. I tried bicycling, but my hair gets too messy.

    I usually get to the office around 9:30 or 10. I think the space is cheerful. I chose yellow and orange for the walls—I hate that minimalist white and steel. I also deliberately chose an open office plan. Our first office was too big and set up with people facing one another’s backs, which was alienating. We moved to a smaller office in 2009 and placed the desks side by side. You can just turn your chair if you want to talk to someone. I have a private office, but I rarely use it. I prefer to be in the thick of things. I usually work at a desk near everyone else.

    When I get to the office, the first thing I do is look at my e-mail to make sure there are no pressing issues. I try to respond to most things immediately. It’s something I learned from one of my graduate advisers. You’d e-mail him and he’d immediately reply, because, he said, “If I don’t, I’m spending my time twice. Once when I see the e-mail, and again when I reply to it later on. And then in between, it’s occupying mental space.”

    I never answer the phone or check my messages. I hate receiving random phone calls. I prefer to start a conversation by e-mail and then jump on the phone once I know what the conversation is about. Our office manager checks my voice mail messages for me when she comes in twice a week to stock supplies. She lets me know if any messages are important. People who know me well call my cell phone, which I do answer.

    Read More:

    http://www.inc.com/magazine/20110401/the-way-i-work-rashmi-sinha-of-slideshare.html

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Global Business

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