Blog: If you want your African startup to survive a pandemic, do this

Lessons in times of the coronavirus by Mata Africa’s Pumulo Ngoma

JAMLAB Contributor
May 1, 2020 · 3 min read
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Image: cromaconceptovisual/Pixabay

By Pumulo Ngoma

Shakespeare wrote The Bible during the Spanish Flu Quarantine, dropped an album with Drake and won an Oscar

If you thought this was another clickbait blog post, providing 10 ways to do this or that, you’re probably right.

I won’t apologise for that, you should know how the internet works by now.

But if you want to know how to survive a pandemic, here’s something that worked for us:

Stop reading articles about how to survive a pandemic, and create a game plan.

This was ours:

  1. First, we asked ourselves what can we control? And what can’t we control?
  2. What tasks will make us financially secure?
  3. What tasks will make other tasks easier?

Prioritising these three questions and forgetting about the rest was the winner.

Here’s a practical tip:

- Do the hardest thing first in the morning.

I mean it. Your willpower is like a battery, and in the morning after 5–7 hours of rest, it’s fully charged. For us, starting with the hardest task in the morning has resulted in greater success.

Look, I know Shakespeare wrote The Bible during the Spanish Flu Quarantine period, dropped an album with Drake and won an Oscar. But, plot twist, you’re not him. You have to know your limits. If you can commit to doing 1 significant task a day, you’re already winning.

- Crisis Presents Opportunity

Crisis demands a new way of thinking.

Crisis has always presented opportunity for technological advancements.

Look at the Internet, or the microwave — both created in periods of crisis. For us, because of the COVID-19 crisis: various tech organisations emerged from the woodwork and different stakeholders and competitors were on the frontpage of the news, organisations that we could actually work with, specifically in Southern Africa.

- The AHA Moment

The first breakthrough, as Mata Africa, came through the livestreaming of Beyonce’s Netflix documentary special, Homecoming. Beyonce, who hardly ever tweets, retweeted a tweet by Jasmyn Lawson about a Homecoming Watch Party hosted by Netflix.

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Screenshot of Jasmyn Lawson’s tweet

Since then, watch parties have been springing up all over the globe.

Virtual film festivals have been held, and binge-watching marathons are occurring as you read this blog post.

Did Jasmyn Lawson start something? We couldn’t help but ask ourselves, while scrolling through Twitter.

No, but she did confirm for us that communal viewing is the next frontier about how the world wants to consume content. And that’s together.

- Trusting Our instincts.

One last thing, before we go. We’ll tell you what we tell ourselves on a daily basis.

“Trust your instincts” and “Trust that there’s greatness in you that will outlive COVID-19”.

Mata Africa is an AI-driven, video content distribution startup. Mata is passionate about transforming the African Millennial narrative by connecting Pan-African audiences to edgy, empowering and immersive branded video content. We are committed to being the ones we have been waiting for, and the change we seek. Join us on our journey:

Follow how the team’s progress on the jamlab Accelerator Programme by keeping up with their story’s on this platform or subscribe to our newsletter to receive these updates and more articles on innovation in journalism and media in Africa.

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The Jamlab Africa Newsletter is produced by Wits Journalism. The Journalism and Media Lab supports innovators to bring new information, new ideas and new conversations to new audiences in Africa.

JAMLAB Contributor

Written by

jamlab

jamlab

The Jamlab Africa Newsletter is produced by Wits Journalism. The Journalism and Media Lab supports innovators to bring new information, new ideas and new conversations to new audiences in Africa.

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