Western New York is full of innovators, blazing new trails as they work to build a better Buffalo. In collaboration with our partners at 43NorthAleronBe In Buffalo and TechBuffalo, Forge Buffalo is celebrating a select group of these Western New York Trailblazers. 

John Lockwood is a Full Stack Developer at 43North portfolio company Strayos, a 3D visual intelligence platform for the mining and Infrastructure industry that utilizes an AI engine and imagery data to extract hidden insights about geology in mining for optimized drilling/blasting and pre-excavation utility detection below the ground surface for accurate inspection in infrastructure projects.

We connected with John to learn why he decided to transition from running his own company to joining a startup, the qualities people need to strive in startup life, what he likes most about working at a startup and his tips for anyone considering joining a startup.

Tell us about your decision to move from running your own company to a startup. Was it challenging? What was the transition like? 

My transition from running my own company to joining a startup was seamless. The main driver that led me to pursue an opportunity with Strayos was a need for more stability—and the organization has given me just that. I knew right from the get-go that Strayos embraced a work environment that promoted creativity and fluidity. Our company is also one that has remained flexible and innovative when overcoming various challenges that we have faced.

What qualities/talents do you think people need in order to thrive at a startup?

I always tell people that in order to achieve great things at a startup, you need to have a broad skillset and a positive attitude. These two components are key to your success. Often times, you’ll find yourself pitching in on projects or working on assignments that don’t fall within your area of expertise. That’s where a positive attitude comes into play. Startup employees need to have a team-first mindset and do things for the good of the organization.

What tips do you have for someone considering working for a startup?

If you’re looking to get hired by a startup, try to showcase an interesting quality or niche skill set to stand out from the crowd. Once you get your foot in the door, be proactive and try to solve problems on your own. This will only enable your success.

What surprised you most about your new position at Strayos? 

I was shocked by how quickly I was able to get promoted. It didn’t take long for me to move up the ladder and rack up more responsibilities. I was also not expecting the work environment to be so refreshingly casual. I’ve been loving the laid-back atmosphere that Strayos has cultivated. 

What do you like most about working at a startup?

Like any organization, startups come with their fair share of challenges. But these challenges are actually part of what makes working for a startup so rewarding. I love solving problems and figuring out how to come up with optimal solutions. Working in a startup environment is extremely exciting, but also very informal and casual.

What are you most thankful for?

I’m grateful to have found a position that aligns well with my skill set and personality. Working at Strayos has been an incredible opportunity, and I’m excited to see the growth that our company has in store. 

Ready to join John in the startup life? Become a member of the Forge Buffalo talent community and let Buffalo’s hottest startups find you, check out the newest positions on our job board and stay in the know with Flashpoint the Forge Buffalo blog.