A lot of people are finding it hard to focus on work because of Covid-19. They keep asking “what is the point of building anything when people are stuck at home, and not using our products”.
Every time I get on a call with my friends or have a 1-1 at the office, people bring it up. It might come up in the first 10 mins or last.
I always end up saying something on the lines of: “what we build is who we are as Product people. You can’t control the number of rides happening now. You can’t fight the Covid-19. Worrying about it is pointless. But if you go out and talk to people in the ecosystem, everyone will want to talk about what you have built. What you work on. And if it is any good. See people at Airbnb. In spite of the firings, everyone is sharing stories about their time there. The cool shit they built. They are one of the best product builders out there. And they will get rehired. No one cares that the company they worked at had to lay off because of unforeseen circumstances. Everyone knows it is not their fault. So we should do the same. Focus on our job. Be proud of everything we build. That is what goes on our resume. And the things we talk about with our friends.”
If only essential goods are being sold, and your app is not even allowed to operate, that is not something you can change. Worrying about it is pointless. But you can control what you build. Build things you are proud of. Let the quality of the features you are shipping be a reflection of your capability and not the number of people who are using them. At least till situation gets better and people get the chance to use them.
You can also use your free time to do other things you enjoy. Covid-19 has given all of us the chance to be proactive instead of reactive in life. Instead of living life by defaults, take time to think about what you want out of your life. Set up good systems. Develop good habits. And come out stronger when this thing is finally over.
Disclaimer: Not saying the situation is perfect. I know that I have done my share of ranting on Twitter about ‘bartan dhona padta hai’ and whatnot. And I have also expressed fear to my friends about the economy, and whether we will ever recover from the impact Covid-19 has had. But most of the time I try to focus on what I can do instead of things beyond my control. And I request to do the same.