Life at Subscript
After guiding Freckle through an acquisition in 2019, Sidharth founded a new type of startup—one built on trust and empowerment instead of micromanaging.
“One of the biggest things I learned while founding my first company was how to move away from orchestrating work and get to empowering work,” he says. “Micromanaging and orchestrating everything really means you don’t trust your team. It messages that you know best and they need to be told what to do. But the truth is, I likely don’t know what’s best. That’s not my job. My job is to create an environment where the team is able to tackle problems themselves, and trust them to do it.”
Once he started to apply that approach to building Subscript, a lot of assumptions unraveled.
“One of the first things we got rid of was meetings,” he says. “Really, the vast majority of meetings are scheduled to seek approval for decisions. At Subscript, we trust our employees to make decisions themselves—meaning there’s no approval process and no need for meetings.”
From there, the dominos started to fall. No meetings meant that time zones and location weren’t blockers to hiring, and Sidharth was able to look globally for talent. He gave his remote teams the power to designate how much they worked and when. “We understand that people are different, and the times when we feel most productive can vary widely. Our team puts an emphasis on trusting everyone to know when and how they do their best work.”
A lack of approval process might send shivers up the spines of managers. But to Sidharth, it all comes down to context.
“A large part of empowering my team to make the best decisions is by providing them with the right amount of context, or information,” he says. “For example, we’re very transparent and clear about goals and how things are going. We tell everyone where we are aiming, then let them strategize on how to best get there together. If a decision goes awry, my first instinct isn’t to question the team member. Rather, I look to see, ‘What piece of context wasn’t provided to them?’”