From Backlogs to Frontlines and How Personal Customer Interactions Changed My Perspective

“Putting a face to the customer feedback you receive changes everything.” That’s one thing I’ve learned from my Amplifeed journey as an engineer.

When I was with bigger companies, customer feedback felt abstract – many times, a mere bug ticket, lost in a backlog.

But when you personally hear from customers, their challenges become your inspiration. You’re not just fixing a bug; you’re making someone’s day better.

Understanding directly from the customer what problems they are facing adds an unmatched sense of urgency.

It automatically becomes the top priority, instead of a bug sitting in a backlog waiting to be prioritized.

Navigating the Emotional Rollercoaster of Solo Entrepreneurship

I face this challenge as a first-time solo founder, and I wonder if others like me experience it too

No matter how excited you are about your project, some days will inevitably come when you start doubting yourself.

The kind of questions that’ll come to your mind are:

am I working on the right stuff? what is the opportunity cost? what else could I be doing? am I being honest with myself about the potential of this idea?

To pull myself up from “those” days, personally, two strategies have been effective for me

1️⃣ Revisiting my written thoughts and plan
I write down my thoughts, aspirations, and six-month plans when my motivation is at its peak. And on less productive days, revisiting these notes helps me get motivated again.

It reminds me of the excitement I felt at the outset, the things I set out to do, and what I aim to achieve. 🚀

2️⃣ Conversations with the support system
The second thing that works for me is talking to people who believe in me and who will remind me why I decided to work on this project in the first place.

These folks have a very positive mindset. They boost my energy but at the same time be very honest about the reality.

These two things push me back into the motivation zone and I get back to work! 🚢

Would love to hear how others navigate these situations. Share your thoughts in the comments. 💬

Re-orgs: Not Just Change, but an Opportunity for Growth

In my career, I’ve been part of many re-orgs. Some proved fruitful, some……not quite.

For anybody in a leadership position, change is part of the job, and so is surprise.

Here’s what I’ve learned (in some cases hard way) –

💡 Re-orgs are opportunities for maturity testing
💡 Keep calm and embrace change
💡 React with patience

Sometimes, decisions might seem illogical, especially in multi-team forums. That’s okay.

We don’t always have the full story or understanding of the wider organizational priorities.

If you don’t understand why, ask questions. Probe. Discuss.

Don’t resort to frustration or anger. It’s not about the final decision, it’s about open dialogue.

In my experience, acting in good faith is key. Trust that no one wants to play the villain.

So, the next time re-org hits, remember, the reaction is your own.

Take the opportunity to display maturity. If needed, disagree and commit.

I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on handling organizational changes. How do you stay resilient and adaptable?

Evolving as a Staff Engineer: Embracing Both Depth and Breadth

When I think of the most respected staff+ engineers I’ve worked with, a few specific things stand out as a common factor.

They were both specialists and generalists.

They were experts in a specific layer of the tech stack but also had foundational knowledge in adjacent areas.

Here is what stood out:

1️⃣ They mastered a specific tech or framework
2️⃣ They understood the basics of adjacent fields
3️⃣ They were effective communicators and collaborators

Growing beyond staff level requires you to be a specialist but at the same time good enough generalist so that you can effectively communicate with other teams, build relationships, and make large engineering initiatives successful.

To be a good enough generalist, consider a short stint, a ‘tour of duty’, in an adjacent field. The broader lens you have, the more impactful you become.

In large organizations, striving to be a master of one can limit one’

Discovering What My Team Truly Feels

There was a time when I thought I was being the ‘ideal’ manager.

After all, I was providing directions, giving feedback, making decisions, everything by the book. Until one day a junior team member built up the courage to share that my approach was not fostering creativity.

That feedback was a real eye-opener!

More often than you might assume, managers are unaware of what their people really feel about their leadership.

In my time as a manager, I’ve come to realize: sometimes, I’m the last person to know how my team genuinely feels about my leadership.

This isn’t about trust or transparency but a natural human tendency. People can be introvert, hesitant to share, or just waiting for the right moment.

You need to build deeper bonds with a few members who aren’t afraid to be candid.

As a manager, you need a few folks in your staff who can provide you candid feedback, challenge you, and uncover the blind spots for you.

Who’s in Charge? Remembering It’s You Who Steers Your Engineering Career

Many software engineers are under the wrong impression that their career growth is their manager’s responsibility.

It is important to remember that “you own your career growth, not your manager”

Things to keep in mind:

🌱 Your career growth is primarily your responsibility.

⛏️ Understand how promotions work within your company.

❓ Ask questions in 1-1s about the steps you need to take for career advancement.

🎯 Work on what matters. Choose projects that align with your team’s objectives.

📣 Proactively gather feedback. Don’t solely rely on your manager to do this.

🗺️ Create a plan in collaboration with your manager, but don’t forget—you’re in the driver’s seat!

🗣️ Have an open conversation that you want to get to the next level by a specific timeline

Detaching from the Product: The Power of Active Listening in Start-ups

Last week, I had an eye-opening chat with an early Amplifeed user. It was a powerful lesson about effective listening.

I was excited to hear the feedback, I dialed into the call with high expectations.

However, as they began sharing their experiences, my mindset shifted from listening to justifying. Without even realizing, every piece of feedback they provided was met with an internal defense mechanism.

I found myself explaining our product decisions rather than understanding their pain points. Later on, I realized that was not the purpose of the call.

✅ The call was about understanding the user’s experience.
✅ It was about learning why the product didn’t work for them.
✅ It was about active listening, not immediate explanations.
✅ The goal isn’t to defend every choice but to understand where the user is coming from.

While larger companies have UXR (user experience research) teams for this, as a start-up founder, it can be challenging to take feedback as a third person. But it is essential.

I learned that day that as a founder, it’s essential to detach oneself from the product during such feedback sessions.

Do it, Perfect it, Improve it

“First do it, then do it right, then do it better.” – Addy Osmani

I have to remind myself of this frequently – “Progress not Perfection”

Anytime I am working on a new feature, here is what I follow:

1️⃣ Do it First: First get it working with a hacky prototype – brute force solution is fine! Then clean up the code and do it right. The key is to “get it done”.

2️⃣ Do it Right: With a skeleton and prototype in place, I shift focus to refining and cleaning up, looking to transform the ‘first draft’ into a more robust version.

3️⃣ Do it Better: Then ask a question – “Can it become faster?” Fixing obvious performance bottlenecks, and only looking towards scaling if necessary.

Refactors can wait until you start seeing problems

An iterative mindset helps you make progress a lot faster

The Power of Small Wins: Embracing Joy in Startups

In my corporate jobs, small victories went unnoticed.

Every day, unnoticed wins occurred. But, I am realizing in the world of early-stage startup, it’s all about acknowledging and celebrating even the tiny things!

✨ The joy when a user voluntarily sends positive feedback.
✨ The thrill of watching someone use a new feature for the very first time.
✨ The rush when someone agrees to be a beta tester for your newest feature.
✨ When we added a small lever for a network effect–and it worked!

Every single one of them is a step forward. These are the moments that give founders so much positive energy!

Acknowledging joy and small wins is what makes the roller-coaster ride fun!

Growing Beyond Code

Sometimes being a technical founder feels like you’re stuck inside your own coding bubble.

Many times I am so focused on figuring out the next big tool or line of code, that the simple, but important tasks like talking to users or learning how to sell feels like a distraction.

I’ll confess, my big company background left me stuck in ‘scale mode’. I was so used to careful roll-outs and retaining customers that it’s been a hurdle to realize not all of this applies in a startup’s early days.

It’s easy to remember that famous YC advice ‘Do things that don’t scale’, but it’s much harder to put these words into action and I’m experiencing this first hand.

So, I’m reprogramming my mindset, pushing myself to get out there and reach the customers. Surely, there’s a learning curve to this. I need to learn the skills beyond “coding”: cold outreach, user engagement, and learning the art of selling. 🎯

Here are my takeaways:

🗼 Building for scale from day one? Not always the answer.
🧑‍💻 Coding solitarily all day? Also, not the solution.
📞 Pivoting to a customer-centric approach? Absolutely necessary.

Watching “How to Get Your First Customers” video (link in the comment) was a good reminder for me to shift focus.

If you’ve walked this path, I’d love to hear your story and tips.