Startup team: Am I the only one who cares?

I was excited and nervous for our first big tradeshow. Our team shared responsibilities: I had picked out the products, our staff were brining them over, and my cofounder was arranging the display material. We planned to meet at the hall at 7am to set things up.

I got there at 6am, nervous and ready to go. I waited; 7am came and went and no one else from my team was there. By 7:15am, I was getting scared. I called my cofounder but her voicemail inbox was full. The show opened at 8:30am and I had no idea how to pull this off without my team.

Our staff finally arrived with the products, but there was no display table. When my cofounder finally showed up I screamed at her; she had overslept. We quickly set up and started to layout the products. It immediately became obvious that our staff had brought the wrong boxes of products; there was only one color in one size. I sent two people to the warehouse to get the right boxes I had picked out. By 11am everything was sorted out. The show went well, but not as good as it could have.

That evening we took everything back to the warehouse and debriefed. No one was taking responsibility for their mistakes. I left that night feeling that no one cared other than me. I thought I was a good employer, that we had fun together, and shared a vision. Now I felt like I was the only committed one. For everyone else, it was just a job. I felt alone and isolated.