Your alarm goes off at 8 am. It’s Thursday morning, and you’re seriously hungover. Casual team drinks turned into a bender that seemed to have ravaged your 31 year old liver. It’s no longer 2006, and you can’t keep up with those 19 year old interns prancing around your office anymore.
The first thing you do is check your email, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You know it’s a horrible habit, but you need a couple of minutes in the morning to wake up. Nothing urgent, so you let yourself browse Klookfor a couple of minutes. You and your girlfriend are going to spend Christmas in Australia, so you’re excited to check out things to do. You pick out your work uniform: a plain tee, chinos, Converse, and a demin shirt to throw over your tee because your office is always freezing. Your Nespresso machine is already done brewing your first cup of coffee by the time you get to the kitchen. Your girlfriend’s already left for her morning spin class. She works for Citibank, and finds your Sales and Business Development manager role at a startup very endearing. She’s been talking about quitting her job and doing something she’s passionate about too. No word on what that is yet. Did she say something about F&B the other day? You take your dachshund, Ginobili, for a quick walk around the block before you head to work. He spends most of his day alone, aside from when your helper comes at noon to take him out again. You make a note on your Wunderlist to sign up for a Dogalicious subscription for Ginobili. He deserves the best, and you sometimes feel guilty for not having enough time for him. It’s 8:45 am and you’re heading out the door. You would normally take the MTR to work, but you’re just too hungover today, so you book an Uber, and enjoy the 7-minute ride to your office. You pick up a pineapple bun at the best local bakery in the neighborhood, according to OpenRice, before taking the lift up to the co-workspace that you’re company’s based. Two of your colleagues are already in by the time you arrive. Your office seats 6 people; you and the CEO / Founder sit near the window. You’re not sure how you ended up with the good seat, but it probably had something to do with the fact that you were the first ever employee. It’s 10 am and you allow yourself a second cup of coffee. You chat with another member of the co-workspace in the pantry. You politely decline an invite to his junk because you have a friend’s birthday brunch to go to. It seems like your Saturday mornings are permanently reserved for brunching. You cut off the conversation halfway through and hurry back to the office because you just thought of a metaphor of how you can sell your product. The company’s doing reasonably well. In fact, the CEO / Founder is hoping to raise Series A in the coming months. You raised an admirable seed round, and managed to receive some attention on Tech In Asia and StartupsHK. It’s been 14 months since the company was founded, and you’re all proud of what you’ve accomplished. But like with every startup, sometimes you lie awake at night and think - what are we doing? By lunchtime, you’ve had two meetings with clients, and two short meetings within the team. The interns want to order from Deliveroo, but the restaurant they chose is too healthy for your taste, especially since you know your girlfriend will be choosing something very similar for dinner (and tell you off for that pineapple bun from breakfast). The interns end up talking you into it, and you decide on some greens and roast salmon for lunch. The CEO / Founder comes into the office at around 2 pm straight from the airport. He flew back from Shanghai to speaking to potential investors. It doesn’t take long for everyone to notice that he’s wearing the same Grana denim shirt as you. The two of you decide to have a one-on-one meeting. He looks really tired from the trip, and looks older than his 29 years. Your afternoon is filled with calls, of which you manage to throw in the metaphor you came up with earlier a couple of times. Your brain is fried by the time you have to head out for your 5 pm coffee meeting. You notice that the temperature in your office has been on the spot all afternoon because you no longer needed to wear that denim shirt. A staff from the co-workspace tells you that it’s because they’ve recently installed an Ambi Climate. While you’re waiting for the lift, you notice a pop-up in the space selling organic soaps made by one of the members. You decide to buy a fancy looking one with real rose petals in it for your girlfriend. She’s been bummed out about the aforementioned existential crisis, so this will definitely come in handy. You walk to the Cupping Room, which you consider to be slightly overpriced, but it is what it is. You sit outside with the client because there aren’t enough seats, so you have no choice but to sweat through the conversation. The discussion goes well, and the client agrees to go ahead with the project. You can’t wait to go back to the office and share the news. You walk back to the office with your third coffee of the day, and manage to catch a Zubat on the way. You tell the interns of your catch, and the three of you compare Pokémon. Before you realise it, your workday is over. You were going to head to the gym because you signed up for a kickboxing class with KFIT, but remembered that you signed up for an event about cloud accounting in the space. You head to the event area, where people are mingling already. You help yourself to a beer on tap. Your hangover finally feels like it’s dying down a bit. The event turned out to be pretty informative, and you took down a couple of notes to discuss with the Founder / CEO. Before you know it, it’s 9 pm; you say your farewells, and walk home. You pick up some takeout on the way, so you eat it with Netflix. Ginobili is excited to see you as usual, and your girlfriend is at dinner with friends. You noticed that your flat feels bigger, and notices that she stored her clotheshorse with Boxful like you suggested. You cuddle up with Ginobili on the couch, and end yet another day in the crazy world of Hong Kong startups. Life is pretty good. This piece is inspired by "Your Life In Silicon Valley" (Medium) by Sunil Rajaraman.
Today’s entrepreneurs do not like getting tied down and are inherently drawn towards options that let them progress at their own growth-plan. Personalisation and a sense of creative freedom has picked up the pace and is here to not only rule but also dominate the work culture.
As part of Garage Society’s Well-Being Month, we sat down with Dutch entrepreneur Madelon van de Ven, to learn more about her flourishing plant subscription startup and her mission to get more urbanites to experience the health and well-being benefits of plants.