Your Oxygen Mask Is On. Now What?

“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area.”

It’s been two weeks since COVID-19 disrupted the smooth and upward flight of the US economy, and we’ve all grabbed for our oxygen masks.

We’ve made sure our families and teams are safe. We’ve checked in with customers and partners. We’ve run financial models for bad, badder, and catastrophe.

So we’ve secured our masks and oxygen is flowing. Now what?

“If you are traveling with someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”

Look around. How can you help those who are struggling with their oxygen masks?

Oxygen Mask Idea 1: Find Ways to Use Your Extra Capacity

Right now, there are a ton of startups out there with tons of capacity but no buyers.

That’s why thousands of Airbnb hosts – with no more demand for their homes – have opened up their spaces to first responders.

I just talked to a company that was forced to let many of its people go, but they’re still operational and are working below capacity, so right now they're talking to local nonprofits that could benefit from their donated services (I hope to have details to link to shortly).

This strategy might work for you if...

  • You can get up and running quickly.
  • The output of your service is immediately valuable.


Oxygen Mask Idea 2: Offer Your Product or Service for the Public Good

We have several clients stepping up to leverage their technology and talents to help people make sense of COVID-19. Among them:

This strategy might work for you if…

  • Your product truly can make an impact for the public good.
  • Your team can execute quickly – not in months.
  • Your efforts don’t dislodge your oxygen mask.


Oxygen Mask Idea 3: Gather Information Only You Have and Share it Widely

So many examples of companies turning their data into useful guidance during COVID-19:

This strategy might work for you if…

  • Your audience (customers, prospects, partners, followers, etc.) would have useful information to aggregate.
  • You can quickly and (relatively) easily survey your audience.


Oxygen Mask Idea 4: Share Knowledge No One Else Has

No one needs more tips for how to make WFH easy. Everyone has ideas for that. But we do need expertise if it’s unique and credible. Whether related to the product or service you sell or your own individual experience, if you have information that can help keep others going, it’s your obligation to share it.

This strategy might work for you if…

  • You see bad decisions being made based on bad information or lack of experience.
  • You struggled through a similar time and have wisdom to share.


Oxygen Mask Idea 5: Give Away Your Product or Service – or Some Version of It

Tons of examples here:

This strategy might work for you if…

  • Your product or service was already being used by the people now being impacted by COVID-19.


Propllr Oxygen Masks

Once Propllr's oxygen mask was on – when all of our Propllrheads were settled and clients were checked in with – we took a look around to see where we could step up to help people out.

First, we saw so much bad news and fear. We thought: How can we allay those fears? How can we offer hope?

Well, we know a thing or two about Chicago startups, so we reached out one by one to scores of them to confirm which ones were in fact hiring right now. We put the results in this blog post below, already seen by thousands of people:

We also know a thing or two about PR and recognize that many startups are struggling to know what to do next when it comes to getting the word out in a sensitive and appropriate way. For these startups, we did two things: we shared our guidance for how to approach PR in a crisis and we launched a platform to provide a down-and-dirty, easy-to-implement PR plan.

If your oxygen mask is not yet fixed to your face or if the flow of oxygen is uneven, by all means get those straps tightened up immediately. Save yourself!

But once your mask is on and oxygen is flowing freely, if you take a look around I'm sure you will find ways to help your fellow passengers.

Onward and Upward!