No one has the same Praxis apprenticeship experience. I’m pretty sure everyone thinks that they have the best business partner. I can’t argue with that; everyone is different. However, I can say that my business partner has far exceeded my expectations. It wasn’t because it was easy, because it wasn’t. It wasn’t because I learned more than I would have during a semester of college, even though I did. It was because I was given a challenge and the tools to succeed – and that is where I thrive.
I work for a company in the telecom industry called Telo. We developer-friendly data APIs. Our flagship product, OpenCNAM, provides Caller ID to phone carriers and telephony service providers. Our second product, EveryoneAPI, also involves a phone number but can be used for call tracking, identity verification, and fraud mitigation.
In many ways, Telo functions as an established business, not an ordinary startup. In fact, it lacks the stereotypical “start-up” culture that may be expected at a company of this size. Our co-founders didn’t launch the business with a product, quickly followed by rounds of funding. Rather, it began as a small project that grew slowly, through many iterations. From the start, Telo has had a clear road map for the future. A roadmap that includes disrupting the industry and pitching a product that is superior to all others in the market today.
While the industry and subject matter may not sound revolutionary or even remotely interesting at first thought, give it a chance. Before working here, I had never considered the technical aspects of the telephone network or the inner workings of how a phone call is placed and received. It’s actually rather intriguing. Every day I’m learning something new and different.
Some may wonder what my job as an “apprentice” looks like.
Surprisingly, it looks like everyone else’s. Well, not quite, everyone has their own role, but my point is: the executive team doesn’t treat this as a temporary position. They are willing to invest in me as much as I’m willing to invest in them. It didn’t take long before I knew this was the right place to be.
Many days are a mental roller coaster due to the various responsibilities and deadlines. There are highs and lows, wins and losses but there hasn’t been a time that I have left the office without accomplishing something new, or screwing up on a simple task – and learning from it. To say the least, I’m never bored.
The best part is, the learning doesn’t come from writing essays and giving presentations to a class of students. It comes from writing marketing material and sales emails to real prospects and clients. We pitch our product daily to new leads using decks that we designed – for a purpose other than good grades.
It amazes me that I am able to learn an entire industry while developing sales and support skills. I’m also picking up bits of web development, coding, marketing, accounting, and legal skills. Each employee often wears many hats – and I’m able to learn pieces of it all. The best part? Telo isn’t looking for salespeople with years of experience. We want people who are inquisitive, are thrilled to dig in and learn something completely foreign, or enjoy poking around to teach themselves a new skill.
In addition, the executive team understands that everyone makes mistakes while learning a new industry and adapting to changing circumstances. In their mind, mistakes are 100% acceptable as long as the experience is learned from and doesn’t happen again.
Perhaps it would be easier to avoid mistakes if I only had to concentrate on one task but there are often quite a few jobs vying for time. There are often jobs to take ownership of that weren’t part of the job description. Sometimes projects are more difficult than expected and mistakes happen. However, it’s not always about the end result, rather how I handled the challenging situation. It’s a true example of losing the battle but winning the war. Fortunately, the whole team is ready to teach and help answer the difficult questions.
I can’t say the job is always glamorous but few are. Some days require determination to push through from one task to another knowing that the list never ends. The good news? Each task that is completed has a visible impact on the growth and success of the company. There may be a ton of work to be done but that also means there is also a ton of opportunity to create value.
If the goal is obtaining a job where there is potential to improve and grow, come to Telo. It really is an unlimited learning experience. Everyone on the team works hard to get s*** done and is dedicated to growing our company and our products. I couldn’t have chosen a better business partner to complete my apprenticeship with and I look forward to working here at Telo for the foreseeable future. My biggest complaint? We don’t have a beachfront office on a tropical island.
Kaiden Foster joined Praxis after he realized that college may not be necessary to provide the career opportunities he was looking for. He has a passion for learning new things which led him taking accept a sales and support position at Telo, a tech startup in Atlanta, GA. Kaiden plans to stay with Telo for the time being but would love to run his own company in the future.