Part 1 of a 3-part series on Mindset’s core values, in celebration of 10 years of Mindset.
Mindset won my heart through jelly beans. Specifically – and this is very important – Jolly Rancher jelly beans.
It all started for me in October 2013 when Gavin reached out through LinkedIn and grabbed my interest with this message.
How could I not be drawn in by a pitch like that? (Little did I know how very small that “small” team was.) In my big-company naiveté, I didn’t regard the enterprise/ERP/SAP space as being even remotely connected to the coolness of startups. So of course I jumped at the chance to talk. I remember getting Caribou coffee in the Minneapolis skyway, and a short post meeting note-to-self email captures some of what I was thinking about at that time.
I remember a little later telling Gavin that sure, I could moonlight-help him stitch together a UI5/Gateway demo for a prospective client. Shortly after that I remember freaking out because I had NO BUSINESS saying I could help. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing – how do you do SAP Gateway stuff? Begin immediate Google search spree.
About a month after that, I accepted an offer to join Mindset. This did nothing to allay my terror. How could a super cool startup use a weenie like me? I wanted the challenge, but was unconvinced that I was up to it. I’d been doing SAP nerdings for about 4 years at that point – did I really believe that I could bring enough horsepower to bear to help a startup take over the world?
My first official day at Mindset was March 10, 2014. We got a solo desk at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange building, where CoCo (now called Fueled Collective) had a co-working facility. Since Gavin was busy crushing it with a client at that time, I spent most days by myself at this desk. I was so excited!
And completely terrified! I didn’t have an Official Mindset Bureaucracy Department Performance Management Plan Form telling me which boxes to check on things. I worried that I wouldn’t cut it for what Mindset wanted.
“But Paul,” you justifiably interject, “what does this have to do with Jolly Rancher jelly beans?”
On April 28, 2014 – the Monday following my birthday – I came in to work to find a jar filled with Jolly Rancher jelly beans on that desk. I mean filled, as in 3 or 4 big bags’ worth. Peggy knew what to get because I sent a goofy aside in an early email. And since I have a serious candy problem, within about a day they were totally gone.
With this little jar o’ beans gesture, my fear melted. Every step in the process had required me to push through a wall of fear, and that can have a cumulative effect. Eventually that fear seizes up all the gears of your mind.
It wasn’t that jelly beans are the secret antidote to fear (though I would be a willing participant in a study to conclusively prove that one way or the other) – it was that my company actually cared about me. I’d worked in big companies prior to Mindset; and while friends I’d made cared about me as an individual, I never got the sense that the company cared.
This jar of jelly beans proved Mindset was different. The fear that bubbled under everything evaporated because I realized that our small team was behind me. I am not lying when I say that I sat down that very day and absolutely crushed about 3 things I thought I couldn’t do.
So while I connected with Mindset in October 2013, and became an employee in March 2014, the jelly beans are what won my heart. Since then, every step along the way for almost 7 years, Mindset winning my heart has helped me grow. Everything that would have terrified me in the past is now pure opportunity.
All I have to do is imagine a jar of Jolly Rancher jelly beans.