Entrepreneurial optimism can be blinding, especially at times when startups are facing existential crises, and are being led by founders who desperately want to script heroic turnarounds.
It’s not surprising to find many startup founders clinging on to their companies hoping they navigate out of the pandemic soon, and regain their original positioning in the ecosystem.
But for some battle-hardened entrepreneurs, the ongoing pandemic and its disastrous effects on the business world, is an opportunity to test the culture of their startups and the resilience.
For Ashwini Asokan, co-founder and the CEO of AI startup Mad Street Den, fears of her startup’s “death is a distraction.”
“Hope is not a strategy. I truly believe that death is a distraction, sooner or later everybody dies, sooner or later all companies die and it’s a question of when, it’s never a question of if and it’s a distraction and it’s the same for companies,” Ashwini tells me in this episode of the Outliers.
“If you have been disciplined about how you spend your money and how you track your growth and if you’ve not been living larger than you should have as a company or a start-up to begin with, you get to do a lot of things right now that help you and your company.”
Mad Street Den, which counts some of the world’s biggest retailers as its clients, is busy building deeper relationships with customers.
“We got about 50,000 retailers that sign up for specifically the Vue.ai newsletter and the letter with the highest open rate to date is the one we sent out 3 weeks ago saying ‘We hope you are okay’. Who would have guessed, right? It was insane the number of openings and you can tell that people are looking for support and people are looking for someone to just hold a hand out,” she adds.
If you have been tracking all the news globally, things clearly appear gloomy. Please listen in to this conversation for insights about using the ongoing crisis for building products and startups that last.