OpenHub and HVTechFest2020 present
a 5-part interactive, livestreaming webisode series:
Friday, May 15, 2020, OpenHub livestreamed its first episode of its webisode series Pivoteers & Pioneers: Tech Enabled Recovery in the Age of Social Distancing. Partnering with the Office of Economic Development in Orange County and their ‘Small Business Survival Kit’, OpenHub’s mission was to explore how small businesses pivoted and adapted to a challenging and ever-changing business environment during the Covid-19 shutdown in New York State.
This episode focused on small businesses with under 20 employees, which make up 89% of all businesses in the Hudson Valley. Considered ‘essential’ during the shutdown, the featured business was Brother’s BBQ, located in Cornwall, NY. Jamie Farella, one of the three brothers who own the restaurant said, "It felt good to be called ‘essential’ but that, 'food has always been an essential business', whether we talked about it before or not.”
The webisode was scheduled to interview Jamie on a livestream on Facebook at 3:00 pm. However, around 1:00 pm we received tragic news. Gavin, one of the brothers with whom Jamie owns the restaurant, informed us that Jamie had been in the ICU since Wednesday. We want to acknowledge the strength and generosity of Gavin to call us when the entire family was struggling with this news while at the same time, somehow managing to run their business
The news shook us to the core, not only is Jamie a great business owner, but also an incredible person who communicates with clarity, intelligence and warmth.
Putting our own fear and sadness to the side, we had a tough call to make. Hundreds of invites had been sent and registrations booked. Orange County and a guest expert had cleared their schedules. We chose a ‘hail Mary’ pass and decided to proceed with the episode using the pre-interview Zoom recording from the week prior.
Despite this, attendees were dedicated to listen to Jamie talk about his experiences and learnings. In the chat box, wishes for Jamie’s recovery were expressed over and over.
When watching the episode listen for the
many pivots the business made in response to changing conditions:
- In the operations of their business
- Communications with customers>
- New delivery systems to exchang product and money
- Enhanced use of social media platform for promotion
- Other tech solutions to streamline and handle new workflows.
During the post-show interactive discussion, attendees enthusiastically invested their time suggesting possible solutions for the specific challenges restaurant owners face. The brainstorming session grew into ideas about how OpenHub may connect with small businesses to provide ‘boots on the ground’ practical advice and tech-support. And we all gained a renewed understanding of the value provided by small businesses like a local restaurant when selling you a sandwich.
During the pandemic, all businesses and organizations are switching gears and pivoting to adapt to new market conditions. OpenHub is no exception. We are happy to share episode #1 and also to grow from the experience as we transition our classes, meetups and annual TechFest from on site to remote gatherings.