Pandemic learning: Come what may, don't leave the playground
Today marks one year since India went into a three-month lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this past highly “unprecedented” year, I’ve been speaking to a lot of startups and entrepreneurs to tell their stories.
Stories of uncertainty. Of strength. Of learnings. Of losses. But mainly, stories of resilience and of rising to the challenge. Every day. Without fail.
One of the biggest learnings for me this year is that when you enter the playground (of entrepreneurship or for that matter anything important in life), it’s not about hitting fours and sixes but of making sure you don’t get thrown out of the playground. (And yes, I am using the analogy of India’s favourite sport -- cricket).
What matters is staying put in that playground. Doing whatever it takes to be in the playground. Whether it is fielding, bowling, batting, wicket-keeping or even for that matter, just serving water to the other players -- just make sure you do all that you can and remain inside the ground.
Surprisingly, this is highly underrated. Staying put. Not leaving the playground.
But stay put. Stay put. Stay put...
Of course, it goes without saying that your time in the playground will mean swinging from moments of happiness and confidence to those of utter chaos and dejection. Of feeling battered and bruised and dehydrated. Of feeling alone, nervous and uncertain even. But none of this matters.
And no, I am not giving you any advice or gyaan from elsewhere but from my own journey this year. This is exactly what my team and I did during this period of heightened uncertainty. It’s also my biggest learning during the lockdown. My biggest takeaway.
Because when the lockdown first started, I had absolutely no clue what this would mean for YourStory Media. For the team. For me.
And yet, if there’s one thing I was absolutely certain about right from the start is that I would not lay off a single person. I had no doubt in my mind that I would do everything I could to make sure everyone in the team had their jobs. And that they continue to be with me in this playground. Together.
So that together – despite the heat and the bruises and the losses – we can ride out the uncertainty. With empathy, compassion and an unrelenting resolve to thrive in this ‘playground.’
And today, I can say that we have done that.
Yes, I was nervous. Yes, I was afraid. But we stayed nonetheless. And survived.
At a time that stress tested our business, and tested our collective resilience and grit, the YourStory team – I’m very proud to say – stayed agile, sharp, innovative, and relentless.
We adapted and learnt how to play in this new playground or this new battleground, if you will.
We stayed focused, drowning out the noise and listening only to those voices that mattered.
The voices of our community of entrepreneurs, readers, partners, customers, and well-wishers.
Thanks to all of this, we have been able to launch new content series, like the award-winning Money Matters with Shradha Sharma: Build & Grow series powered by HSBC, to new formats such as podcasts and WhatsApp chat series. We’ve also launched new tech products like YourStory Connect, new certificate courses on YourStory Education, and our community-oriented subscription platform, YourStory Club.
Just this week in fact, we launched our premium subscription platform – The CapTable – for deeply reported stories on India’s new economy.
I’m very excited about The CapTable because this means YourStory’s impact will extend beyond enabling startup discovery and empowering entrepreneurs. It means YourStory will help top decision-makers across the world to make informed decisions about India and its new economy.
As a founder, it's a proud moment to have a team that believes in and shares your vision, and I'm very happy to have the brilliant Madhav Chanchani join us to further this vision with The CapTable as he builds this out with a highly passionate, experienced team of writers and editors.
And with that, I can proudly say that my team and I are very much in the playground. We’re still here. Still staying put. Still refusing to budge.
Mostly because you’ve been with us throughout. Cheering us on while we stayed put in the playground... these past 13 years, but especially this past year.
And for this (and more), we promise you we’re staying put. :-)
Here’s a special offer (Discount coupon: #YSFamily) for you to subscribe to The CapTable.