Airbnb’s first female engineer talks about the differences between the US and India
mona gandhi has experience as the first female engineer in US startups like Airbnb. After her time in Silicon Valley, she moved to India to create Upraised, a platform to train product managers in the country’s startup ecosystem.
Having worked in both countries, Gandhi has some interesting takeaways about the differences between the two working cultures.
As expected, she says Silicon Valley is putting more emphasis on quality as an older, more experienced startup hub. This gives them a greater advantage to continuously innovate, as they don’t have to worry about maintenance and quality control every few months.
Additionally, as the world’s oldest startup hub, the diversity of Silicon Valley’s teams gives employees a whole new appreciation for the world, compared to Indian startups that largely only hire other Indians.
Finally, she also points out that Indians have communication problems, and this is one of the first things to screen for in India compared to America.
However, on the other hand, says Gandhi, Indian startups have better hustle culture. While American employees are limited by both internal bureaucracy and the fear of expulsion if they accidentally break a law with their innovation, Indian companies are constantly looking for that next advantage and don’t worry about unnecessary compliance.
Also, despite the criticism over communication skills, Gandhi says the networking culture in India is much more open. While in America reaching out to people you don’t know is a social faux pas, in India it’s the norm to communicate personally with someone you’ve only met two or three times.
Gandhi also talks about the differences between vacation days, where Americans go on trips and Indians largely celebrate family functions, and employees’ relationships with personal wealth, when Indians are less financially independent due to the prevalence of families. municipalities. However, she does not comment on how either makes a difference in the workplace, only that they are different.