Sounding Off: Survival of the fittest is a mental game


Gerry Samuels, startup mentor

“I’m seeing some ballsy behavior by young companies not willing to give up.”

Quote from Gerry Samuels, a startup mentor and former-CEO of Mobile Travel Technologies, speaking on the InPhocus podcast this week in a discussion about tactics for startups to navigate tough times.

Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered on our site that week.

One particular article this week demonstrated how fortunate some travel brands are to find themselves headquartered in countries that are offering comprehensive state support to keep businesses going.

GetYourGuide’s “zero bookings, zero layoffs” story is a great example of being in the right place and at the right time, taking advantage of a program that – in contrast to its competitor, Klook – will ensure there is some semblance of continuity in operations.

But the company’s experience will, sadly, be a rare one as the weeks and months ahead unravel and companies figure out what their chances of survival are going to be.

Gerry Samuels is fighting for this latter group.

His guidance of using the time to innovate and “up-skill” is a sound strategy to take, although it has a fair amount of assumption within it that operational issues and financial survival have been tended to.  

The smart startups in the travel industry will be those that are able to consider their options quickly and move forward into a space that gives them time to breath.

The smarter ones are those with the ability to identify where the gaps are in their technology, partnership programs, communications and in-house training.

These holes needn’t be filled with expensive solutions, especially in the personal skills area where so much training is available online.

The most important role that founders and executive teams can take on now is disseminating the gaps quickly and identifying who is the best placed in an organization to take on the duty of solving the problem. 

It sounds like a far easier strategy to talk about than implement – but this is really the only route that companies can take (unless, as he notes, there is also resource available for altruistic activities).

* Here’s the full interview from the episode of InPhocus.

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