Perspective from our CEO, Hit the Gas.
Today is day 30 for my quarantine.
In these 30 days, the world has changed. In my opinion, some elements of the world have changed forever. After September 11, 2001, air travel and security has forever been increased. I believe that Covid-19 has changed the way we will interact, learn, travel, and socialize forever.
It’s hard to say exactly what the long terms affects of COVID-19 will be. Nobody knows. The only thing that we do know, times have changed, and they have changed quickly. We also know that people are scared, uncertain, and fear for their basic necessities. If you can take a walk down memory lane, and think about when you were learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in school, you’ll remember that the needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up.
Just a couple of months ago, the economy was firing on all cylinders. A lot of people were doing really well. A lot of people were focused on their Esteem Needs and maybe even their Self Actualization needs. Today, it’s likely that many of these people may now be focused on the bottom of the pyramid- their Physiological needs or Safety Needs. They are now focused on their basic needs.
COVID-19 has single handedly changed people’s confidence, behavior and priorities. In short, peoples needs have changed.
As I was on a virtual community 5K (DisasterPhilanthropy) run last week, it dawned on me that in times like these, I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by incredible people. They provide motivation, inspiration, love and confidence. They have helped me get through situations before, and they’re helping me get through COVID-19.
As I reflected on my tribe, and those that have helped me in the past and present, whether personally, athletically (I was a NCAA D1 skier) or with business & Givego, I couldn’t stop thinking about how the things I learned in sports & athletics are likely my biggest asset to leverage in order to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than I entered it.
It was a cold, dark, dreary afternoon on Whiteface mountain, the home of the 1980 Olympic Alpine Events. Conditions were horrible. The ruts were huge, yet the snow was rock hard. The pressure continued to increase as people crashed, and crashed. Conditions were tough. Pressure was high. A positive outcome seemed more and more unlikely.
I was in 12th place after the first run. I was nervous. I knew that I could do better, but between the conditions, the impressive national field, and the do-or-die pressure, I could feel paralysis and fear setting in by the second.
I called my coach on the walkie-talkie for a report and an update on our strategy. “It’s rough. Really rough. But the only way to get through [the course] is by hitting the gas, believing in yourself, adjusting your plan, and know that everyone else feels just as bad as you’re going to feel… You can do it.”
I thought it was weird that Coach did not wish me luck. Normally he ended the reports with, “Good luck, have fun.”
Today, 15 years later, I am the CEO and founder of an early stage start up, Givego. We create meaningful connections that make people better. The conditions today, for a start up, are similar to Whiteface. A bit scary, a bit daunting, and a bit uncertain.
Just as there was no luck at Whiteface, there is no luck today.
As I do often, I spoke with a great friend and mentor Hope Taitz yesterday. “In times like these, those with grit, those with passion, and those with immense hustle and creativity, will persevere and find a way to innovate technology to adapt to the new world. Those types of people will be who win. You can win. Hit the gas.”
“Hit the gas” worked well at Whiteface. I won.
Per Hope, we’re hitting the gas. We are hitting the gas while being incredibly capital efficient, a very important element to navigating these times. We’re giving it our all and we’re using this time as an opportunity to build technology and a business that will make the new world, a better place. We have the privilege of connecting the masses with incredibly sought after professionals. We inspire and enable people to get better- to keep trying- to never give up. To wake up, see the day as an opportunity, and to get to work.
Givego’s technology fits into the new world. It’s virtual, safe, affordable and flexible. With the shift in people’s behavior and needs, Givego is positioned to provide top-tier learning, at affordable prices, accessible for all. We are not sitting back, waiting for things to happen, we are hitting the gas.