Sometimes we get into a cruise mode, where we become complacent with our business. Too often during these times, we aren’t innovating, we aren’t pursuing new opportunities, we aren’t looking at our business procedures to see where we could make improvements. Then something like COVID-19 disrupts our lives and businesses, and while there are days when we are really frustrated and saddened by the loss of lives and livelihood, but there are also days when we are really eager to make a positive change in our immediate community as well as for the larger humanity to overcome this unfortunate public health crisis.
No one knows how long this situation will last or its long term repercussions. Unintentionally, this crisis presents an incredible opportunity in the long-term for the tech-sector as our societal distances becomes increasingly commonplace and hence transforming to a more virtual existence. Even in the short-term, we have seen how quickly the tech sector was able to shift to a ‘Work from home’ work-style. However, other industries have felt crushing blows from the pandemic even as they try to pivot and retool their businesses. While observing this crisis unfold in real time , we Immediately felt the desire to reach out, to look internally and see how we could help as leaders in the technical landscape, and then take our experience and expertise out into the community.
We are already seeing smart and creative leaders in a variety of industries make changes to their business practices. Some businesses that need to have workers continue to come into the office or warehouses, have divided their workforce and created shifts for different segments. These segments are isolated from each other, helping to create smaller work groups and keep employees better protected.
We have seen other businesses that rely on in-person customers modify how they deliver their services. For example, some yoga studios are now streaming their classes online Churches are another example of an in-person experience that is now being delivered digitally. In fact, there was so much traffic to these streaming church services that their website was crashing. There are many intelligent and hard-working people in these sectors that have been hit the hardest, including the restaurant, travel, service, and oil & gas industry. We want to help, particularly these small to medium-sized businesses, in working with them to develop mobile apps that will assist their business as they face our current unknown future.
While we don’t know precisely what kind of mobile apps will become popular, we know it starts with understanding the impact faced by different industries. For churches for example, would they benefit from an app that included private rooms for confessions? The yoga studio that is now streaming classes, would they benefit from a more secure application that would only admit current members? We see that the healthcare industry is being inundated with sick patients, how could technology help them?
Even for companies that were able to transition more easily to having employees work from home, are there aspects of the office experience that are missing and could be better replicated? When you are at the office, it’s easy to get up and walk to a co-worker’s desk to ask a question or brainstorm an idea. Now that workers are at home, how can technology help them from feeling isolated? Could a mobile app create areas for workers to still collaborate?
We want to help companies learn how to offer similar or new services to the same audience, but now digitally. We are looking at creative pricing models to help companies get the right technology for them to continue serving their customers. We also want to help those who have been laid off from their current jobs. We asked ourselves, “what are we best at,” and we put together a knowledge base of what we do and how we do it. We realized that through this knowledge base, we can introduce some of these currently unemployed workers into the tech space.
We will be offering 4 areas for training, and one of the sessions I’m leading is sales and marketing. We’ve also invited guest partners to share their knowledge with the trainers to cover the processes, from idea to launching a product to sales and marketing of that product. Our training classes are 6 weeks long, with 2 hour daily sessions and self-study work. Our hope is that through this training we get to engage the community, train them, and then gain feedback from them on how we can continue to help affected industries.
Personally, this has been a humbling experience, and it is truly a time of crisis. I see that my colleagues are working hard, they are putting in the long hours and doing the hard work, investing their efforts to make sure we are doing the most we can for other people and the community. COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation for an untold number of businesses. The best thing we can do is listen to our business partners and see if any emerging technologies will help them in their business.
My Co-founder, Rupak Lohit, put it best. This isn’t just working from home. It’s life at home and online. We know that people are starting their days with conference calls, and not just the adults in the home, kids are now involved with distance learning opportunities. Everyone in the household is relying on technology to navigate this new reality. While we collectively work to overcome challenges, let’s not forget to flip the page and see the opportunities as well
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