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All the World's [in] a Stage

A COVID19 update from Mixolo’s founder, Carolyn Walton Lynch

I think it's safe to assume that we are all feeling some kind of way about the impact of the Coronavirus disease in our lives.

While humans and all other living things are inextricably connected, we tend to operate in a state of ego-centrism in our daily goings about. Ego-centrism represents a cognitive bias, and like any other bias, it can prevent us from considering different perspectives and accepting our differences as a potential positive.

We now have this shared challenge of a non-discriminating, global pandemic that is threatening the very structure of our society and bringing attention to the world’s most vulnerable citizens and workers. If this were a more definitive enemy, a visible oppositional or threatening power, we might be able to make more sense of it and quickly unite around defeating it.

The fight against COVID19 is forcing us into a collective consciousness around how we care for ourselves and the welfare of others.

We're all connected in the war against the spread of COVID19 and, unless we're super-human or lacking the empathy gene, each of us is likely somewhere on the grief spectrum with this abrupt disruption of life as we knew it.

What we're up to at Mixolo:

I wish I could report to you that we have completely revamped Mixolo’s mission and web and mobile interfaces to bring you an uninterrupted engagement experience. Unfortunately, we do not yet enjoy the luxury of an expansive and nimble development team to pivot on short notice to say, online events, like Facebook or Meetup.

We are faced with a harsh and sad reality that 100% of our hosts are experiencing loss of income and their livelihoods in varying degrees as a result of the social distancing restrictions implemented to slow the spread of COVID19. I’ve been promoting and contributing personally where I can to support those businesses and organizations that have had to re-imagine their business or fundraising model to stay afloat.

After the initial shock and feelings of despair and begrudgingly moving forward through the stages of what can only be described as a grieving process, I am pleased to report that Mixolo is currently situated at the corner of action and acceptance.

We've been very busy preparing Mixolo’s app and platform for a quarantine of sorts to ensure that all remains well and secure during the big sleep. You may notice some temporary interruptions in access, particularly with the Android app, the Facebook login option for both the Apple and Android apps, and the app's Mixchat messaging platform. We’re being extremely cautious about third-party plug-ins and waiting it out before engaging with some of the now overtaxed video conferencing apps like Zoom until they iron out some of their security issues.

We’ll be re-assessing the timeline and action plan for scaling our big idea. Mixolo’s long-term business growth plan and forecast that I was so excited to publish in February will have to be restructured to meet our new reality. The roadshow for investment must somehow go on.

So, how are you?

What stage are you in right now?

Are you grieving the loss of human contact? Are you separated from loved ones, friends or colleagues? Some of you may be grateful for the opportunity to check out for a bit and binge on the escapist documentaire du jour, Tiger King, or explore new interests.

Has this pandemic challenged you or your loved ones' health or economic wellbeing? If you’re on the front-line in healthcare or the delivery of other essential services, you may be experiencing fear, anxiety or bouts of depression, all while courageously taking on Herculean tasks.

Perhaps you’re frozen in the denial stage and skeptical about the extent, or the lack, of precautions being taken to reduce the spread of COVID19. It’s not unusual to feel stuck or powerless, given the uncertainty that remains and some of the misinformation we're receiving from various sources.

Maybe you’re cruising to acceptance of this new normal and already making plans to navigate the consequences that are sure to reverberate for months and years to come. If you find that you are experiencing more complicated feelings of grief, or more acute feelings of sadness, I encourage you to reach out to a health care professional.

This prolonged intermission will end eventually and we will move deftly to the next act. This is certainly not the first life interruption Mixolo or any of us has encountered. It will not be the last. Each of us can recall experiences where we have had to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

This year, after being invited to speaking engagements in corporate, startup and collegiate environments, another Mixolo story seemed to resonate with people more than my Mixolo origins story.

Group of people in a photo at a professional event.
In the middle of greatness! We all shared our startup experiences at a Baltimore Collegetown Network industry night.

I share the story of Mixolo's ‘failure-to-launch’ party (many of you were there!) when the first failed delivery of the app in Fall 2017 nearly ended Mixolo financially after the developer breached our contract that stipulated monthly advance payments for their work. That epic fail set Mixolo’s app release back 12 months.

People dining and looking at a mobile app demonstration.
The launch party for the first iteration of the Mixolo app.

While a failed app or dream delayed may not compare to the crisis we find ourselves in with COVID19, my point is that not every trial will end us but each will most certainly teach us (like not to pay in advance!!). I can tell that story now from the other side.

I do hope you’ll stick with us. In the months to come, COVID19, and future interruptions like this, will be something that we manage, not react to. Mixolo will have to reinvent itself like every other event and hospitality business in the world. Even some of the unicorns in our industry have been rendered comatose and are announcing massive layoffs.

Change remains the only constant. We will be forever changed because of this episode in modern history. But like the complex creatures we are, we will go on, even after unimaginable trauma, hopefully, better for it.

If you're bored and you're surfing the net for inspiration, please tune into Lauren Ashgari's "How'd Her Career Get There" Sound Cloud podcast where she interviews female founders about their road to fulfillment and finding their purpose. I just happen to be one of those women! I've never done a long-form interview or shared such intimate details about my journey, but I am so glad I did. Acknowledging your story is extremely powerful. I wish you well in crafting your post-corona chapter.

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