Partner, Ourcom Digital (https://ourcom.in)
The Corona virus, COVID-19, has the power of destruction as well as resurrection. And that is exactly how it has affected my life. It first caused destruction and then it resurrected my life.
First, it threw a cog in our grandiose plans to create a new product and then when we despaired over how it had toppled our dream project like it were a pack of cards, it gave us renewed energy and strength and power to build something from its ashes. Let me explain:
Bridging the gap
COVID-19 has affected people in many ways. Some have lost their loved ones, others their jobs; some their health and some others, tragically, may have lost everything!
My story is slightly different though. It may not be that dramatic, but it still shows how human beings, when pushed to a corner, come out fighting.
And we, my friend and business partner, Sharad Narula, did just that. Actually, Sharad is not a childhood buddy or a family friend. Last year, we chanced upon each other at a beach holiday in Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala. We shared adjoining rooms and soon we became thick, inseparable buddies and even more importantly, business partners. Both of us were from tech backgrounds and perhaps that is the key point which bridged the gap, if there was any gap!
World should benefit
We were also consumed by the desire and passion to do something constructive and not just make money. We wanted to do something that the world would benefit. When I met Sharad, he had just quit his job and was eager to start something new of his own, and so was I.
Sharad’s last job was as head of operations in a software development company and his previous experience includes companies like Adobe and Dell. Armed with an engineering degree from the University of Pune, Sharad also has various technical certifications in the IT field. He has a total of 18 years of experience in IT.
And I am a tech enthusiast with a post graduate degree in computers. I moved to the UK from Oman in 2004, where I had worked as a webmaster for the online edition of a large media house, Times Oman.
I have worked for various organisations like the UK government departments, banks, media houses and digital agencies. My role had been as a front-end consultant where I advised on best design approaches.
I returned to India in November 2018 and started my own FOREX Consultancy. I teamed up with Sharad in 2019 and did IT consulting for a few clients.
But our dream project then was to start our own cosmetic brand. Unfortunately, the timing of our project collided with the emergence of the COVID-19 Corona virus crisis. This brought our grand plans to a grinding halt.
Launch a cosmetic brand?
Initially, both of us were sold out on this idea of producing our own cosmetic brand. The IT industry seemed saturated and this seemed the only way forward. We mulled over this and after months of research, discussions, and strategies decided to give it a go. We had it all worked out — we had the suppliers, an innovative formula for producing the product, and a top-notch selling strategy.
COVID was just raising its ugly head at that time and just like everyone, we were also under the impression that it wouldn’t be all that serious. After all, it was affecting only those who had a travel history to China. But then, suddenly the scenario changed and before we could read the writing on the wall, things turned topsy turvy.
Pushed off the ledge
COVID cases shot up and everyone was lip syncing a new word: lockdown! And we were swamped too. Suppliers disappeared, we had no recourse to transport raw materials and in short, suddenly, there was no one around to employ. It was as if someone had pushed us off the ledge.
Efforts in vain
We had spent countless sleepless nights making our website, videos, and not-to-mention studying a topic that was starkly different from technology. So much of time, energy, money spent…everything seemed futile. We couldn’t digest the fact that a tiny virus was doing all this to us and the whole world. The more we thought, the more helpless we felt.
Finally, after a period of painful self-denial we slowly began to take stock of things.
Light at the end
The way of doing business had now drastically changed. Suddenly, everything was going online. From small business owners to large corporations, everyone was looking to either make or increase their online presence. A light suddenly flickered at the end of that dark tunnel we were in. All hope was not lost!
After all we were IT geeks. And we were entrepreneurs to boot.
We didn’t wait or think twice: we just launched our own dot com, which we lovingly christened as ‘Ourcom’ (https://ourcom.in).
Yes, it meant more sleepless nights and we both were back to the drawing board… but so what? We were back on track and soon enough, we had on board our first client! We had actually come a full circle: from technology to cosmetics and back to technology.
Ourcom does website designing, development and digital marketing. We have floated our company and have become equal partners in the business. Our USP hinges on direct-client interaction to bespoke products and services.
Discovered an opportunity
Economies spiralling out of control, anxiety causing social distancing, disturbing lockdowns, a much-needed vaccine still a remote possibility… Yet, amidst this chaos, like Sun-Tzu (*) had rightly said, we discovered an opportunity! An opportunity to learn and help others!
(*) Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China – source Net.