CoLabrs Up Close: Amandeep Singh Sapra
Aman is a CoLab Member-Owner who joined the team in 2012 on a freelance assignment. He’s since worked as a back-end developer and a technical lead on projects like Valuate, as well as exploring new models for deeper communication within CoLab.
I first began working with CoLab as a freelancer. I started out in the corporate industry in 1999, working in the publishing industry, doing back-end programming and site architecture. I spent three years in Denver, and when I returned to India, I got into freelancing. A friend introduced me to the job at CoLab. My first project with CoLab was building a locational product for yoga classes.
To be honest, when I started, it was just another assignment. Once I became familiar with the CoLab team, I was most impressed by the people -- their open-mindedness, their honesty, trying to do something good in the world. A lot of people say now that making the world better is almost a business in itself: a lot of companies say they believe in it, but behind the mask, there’s the same greed and hunger. After the corporate world it was so refreshing to work with people who really believe it. When you see that, you really want to put your shoulder to the wheel and say “let me help you with this.” That’s a beautiful thing.
People are the most important thing for me. I could survive when I was in the corporate world because of the people around me. In a company like CoLab, where we’re all spread out, communication is often the most difficult. It becomes even more challenging when you can’t see people face to face: it’s too easy sometimes to ignore an email or a Skype call. One of my efforts with CoLab has been to build more openness, because then communication becomes intuitive.
At the same time, it’s so easy to do work in the cooperative environment. It’s easy to approach people. Everybody’s at the same level; you’re working with peers. You can say whatever’s on your mind. It’s a very professional environment, without the political B.S. of corporate culture. You’re able to contribute directly. That’s the most rewarding experience, when you see that your passion pays off. It’s something that corporate culture always talks about but never seems to get.
I split my work for CoLab across seven days. Every day is a bit like a weekend. The concept of a weekend came from working so hard during the week that you needed two full days off, but I can work part of every day and not feel like it’s too much. I do a lot of meditation, gardening -- I have a beautiful terrace garden -- yoga, running, reading books. I’m working on an in-depth philosophical comparison of different versions of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
My friends in the corporate world don’t understand how much stress they’re under: they have no work-life balance, and they’re getting crushed. Companies like CoLab are making a real balance possible.