• Jarratt Ong

Patience and Founder Mental Health

We were live with ASEAN Business Youth Association (ABYA) in which Surya joined the ABYA Clubhouse to discuss if sustainability action is just a buzzword or are there tangible issues that youths can tackle in Southeast Asia? How can youths leverage the power of innovation and entrepreneurship to help?

The talk was moderated by the amazing peeps:

ASEAN Business Youth Association aims to empower a community of ASEAN youth to work and communicate effectively with people regionally, through cross-cultural training, exposure, application and networking.

The key part of the talk is about the importance of patience. Patience is a vital element to survive the tough and unpredictable early-stage start-up journey.

Sometimes it is better for the long-run to show commitment to a problem rather than focusing on that seemingly perfect solution that may or may not work out in the end, and also lose sight of the problem.

Patience is an important building block that helps the founder to invest in understanding what the user really needs rather than projecting a solution onto the problem.

Let's take a look into 2 startup cases which Surya has brought up during the talk and his take on the mental health aspect of the founder journey!

Phytopia.my and patience

Surya brought up Phytopia based on Malaysia in which an university lecturer from the agritech sector felt that the farmers in Malaysia was missing out on using more advanced agriculture technology and thus forgoing the opportunity to have higher yield and quality crops.

When Mamato, from Phytopia, approached the farmers, the concerns communicated back was that the farmers can't afford the technology and don't know how to use it.

Mamato's solution? He bought the entire thing as investment and toned down the sophistication of the technology. He showed them how to use these products, how to actually increase the yield. And he himself bought the higher quality products from them at a higher price than the market price. He channeled the produce to a saladbar that has been doing well despite the pandemic and MCO lockdown.

All of these required a lot of patience to reach out to the farmers, guiding them, and also powering through a pandemic.

Light of Hope PH and patience

Another example is Light of Hope PH which Jovie also demonstrated patience in which he understood the problems that off-the-grid communities face.

His patience helped him move from his initial idea of having a light source in a recycled plastic bottle and give that recycled plastic bottle that eventually grew to a Cloudgrid 2.0 design that provides solar electricity, 3G and also cellular access.

And he really is very passionate about making sure that people have access to electricity that allows him to be patient and find as many avenues as possible to monetize and continue this and support more communities at a larger scale.

Mental health and patience

Surya mentions that founder burnout and founder anxiety are both common happenings but usually not openly spoken about. The founder could feel that perhaps they are alone on this path and/or that this is something they shouldn't be bringing up with team members. Furthermore, the problems to climate change etc seems too big for just one person to tackle.

This definitely was the case during his Young Sustainable Impact days in which he was super burnout and realized that he was waking up thinking of how to solve problems, how to kind of get funding, and dealing with rejection and so.

Thankfully, he was able to take a step back when the iteration ended and he allocated an entire month to just take a break and regain their sense of calm and everything.

And then they continued again.

How are you dealing with founder burnout and anxiety?

Check out the full talk here!

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