By Jenna Pilgrim
Last year, we started a company - a stealth blockchain startup on the brink of something big. I wanted it to be successful, and my co-founder and I knew it would rest on our shoulders. I inhaled books, articles, podcasts and interviews about serial founders like Jack Dorsey and Bill Gates, trying to figure out how they ran their businesses while also finding time for creativity to just build.
I was looking for their guidance because I desperately needed it. Between the growing demands of our startup, the consulting gigs that kept the lights on and paid my teams, the conferences and the meetings - I was almost unreachable, and it was seriously impacting the productivity and happiness of my team.
When COVID-19 hit our world, everything paused. No more schedules, obligations, travel -- or even mortgage payments (for those of us in Canada). This translated into a lot of new time, for all of us. My team was suddenly making leaps-and-bounds progress on our platform. We had time to dig deeply into our product and provide real feedback. My similarly over-scheduled friends and advisors now had time to help out and make introductions. Simultaneously, thousands were laid off and were looking to take on new projects.
Despite everything going on in the world right now - we are making real progress.
Turns out, there’s some precedent for this in the startup world. Serial founders will isolate themselves for weeks on end (see Bill Gates “think weeks” or the annual exodus of Silicon Valley to Burning Man) to shut out the constant stimuli and rediscover their creativity.
While I hope that a pandemic “pause” never repeats itself in our lifetime, I have to recognize the gift it has brought to my team. They now have the time to look up from their laptops and ask, “Are we building something that makes the world better?” Instead of working down to-do lists, they’re finding new and better ways to help people collaborate on content creation. And what better time than when we’re seeing the emergence of projects like John Krasinsky's Some Good News (SGN) Network, online proms, virtual Broadway shows, and more.
The pandemic, in many ways, has just hastened the state of change across digital media. More than ever, users are valuing engagement over clickbait and shares over likes. They’re looking for a new way to engage with brands within the social sphere, and a robust reputation and reward system for doing so. In essence: our world is craving connection - and we can help.
That’s what we’re working on at Streambed, and thanks to the pause, we’re on track to launch six months earlier than we thought.
To everyone out there who has a company - whether it is already launched, on paper, or just in your head - trust me. Now is the time to build.