Open letter to all the employees, aka heroes of struggling startups
I hope this message finds you and your family safe and sound at home.
Firstly, I want to congratulate you for choosing a different path - working for a startup - a path that is less traveled - a path you wanted to explore with all the enthusiasm. Thank you for choosing it. Since my childhood, India has been a "developing" nation. I believe you are playing a pivotal role in changing it by working on something important that will eventually build global powerhouses.
There are many webinars across the globe by investors, enablers and founders on handling these situations. In India, too, few funds came together with a guide to help founders battle unique conditions. But, there are hardly any sessions, or articles or any guide for the most important people in the ecosystem - 1000s of startup employees. I wanted to write a note for you - as a startup employee myself and now as a founder of a well-growing but a hard-hit startup.
Today, the world is fighting something, and you are fighting something else on top of it - the anxiety of what would happen to your job, career, dreams and what would happen to the startup. As you may be aware, these are unprecedented times - no one has ever seen such things - and no one knows how to handle it. These are unique times that present us with a hidden opportunity. These are the times when you write your heroic story - a story that you will tell for the generations to come.
Remember the families of our freedom fighters, Kargil veterans, Tsunami survivors? They keep telling the same story - how great their grandparents were - how great their dad was - they all are incredibly proud of them. The India Gate memorial in the new Delhi bears the names of more than 13,516 soldiers killed in the Afghan war of 1919. And there are many 1000s of people who lost their lives in various. We do not remember their names, but we respect them. Whether they won or lost, the truth is they had all the courage to fight.
Definitely, the current situation is far better than what they had to face - we will not die fighting the crisis. And as the old saying goes, what does not kill, will make us strong. I believe this is one such opportunity for the warrior in you. This is the time to fight and make the people around you very proud - most importantly be proud of yourself. Whether you win or lose, it is all secondary. But, you will remember the choice you make forever.
This kind of time may not come again to show your fight later. Take a moment to go back in time, the day you joined the startup - as a fresher you imagined this is going to be the next big thing, as a corporate employee who left the job in search for more meaningful work and challenges. Now is the time to show your fight - to write your own hero story and create your identity. I think, even after a decade, the actions you take will be widely appreciated and recognized. Just imagine ten years down the road, you get a resume who mentions "grit" as a competency with COVID-19 as a demonstration. Don't you want to interview them?
War is not won by weapons but by the people. You are the biggest strength of any startup. Just like in a war, every single individual is essential, and every minute progress made is crucial.
Please do a favor to yourself. Tell your founders that you want to fight, and you are with them. Whatever happened in the past does not matter much - a new chapter and a new beginning.