There is Always Something that Can be Done
It’s natural to want to help others in need.
It’s how a lot of people around the world are feeling at the moment as we react to the stories and images coming out of Ukraine in recent days.
Putting politics aside, the fact is that a lot of people in that part of the world suffering right now, and many of us watching are left wanting to do something to help them in a meaningful way.
But what can we do?
As a group, we gave this question some thought. On the one hand, we are a tech startup. We’re not an NGO or a human rights organization. We don’t have impactful financial resources or diplomatic connections.
But on the other hand, we’re an engaged, talented bunch and we believe that with enough care and creativity, there is always something that can be done with the resources we have.
So we’ve put together a few suggested ways that tech startups can reasonably help the people in that region, right now.
Donate your skills to cover for a Ukrainian Tech Professional
We recently came across the Ukrainian Tech Collective. It’s an online platform that is self described as follows: “The Ukraine Tech Collective matches international software developers with job vacancies left by Ukrainian software engineers called on to defend their country from Russian invasion. Software developers and tech companies from around the globe donate their skills and resources to provide work cover for their Ukrainian peers as to provide financial stability to their families. Ukraine Tech Collective identifies critical business needs of companies whose employees are involved in the war effort in Ukraine and matches them with volunteers [individuals and businesses] who provide temporary coverage for their peers in Ukraine.”
Full disclosure - we’ve actually applied to this initiative as a company, but we haven’t yet received a response from them. So while we cannot vouch for this organization or the companies they are working with, it is efforts like this that can provide a framework for us tech professionals to apply our skills in a meaningful way.
Consider Hiring a Ukrainian Developer
If it makes sense, you or your company might consider using platforms such as Remote Ukraine to hire a displaced Ukrainian developer for a project. There’s a lot of developer talent in that region and a lot of people looking for relevant, meaningful work at the moment.
Think about how your product or service can help
A recent CNBC article describes how the war has impacted the developer community in Ukraine. Ukrainian developers are trying to maintain some semblance of professional consistency while fleeing their homes and staying involved in the local war effort.
“Our lead front-end developer fled to Lviv to his parents’ rural house 40km outside the city and is still submitting pull requests,” Eric Hovagim, CEO and founder of Los Angeles-based betting platform Pogbet, told CNBC. “He’s returning to Lviv tomorrow morning to continue his work while helping with the fight.”
After reading this report, we wondered - as incongruous and insignificant as it may sound -perhaps our platform could be helpful for these Ukrainian development teams. We could help them easily build and share PR previews, collect clearer feedback asynchronously from remote team members, and potentially cut down the number of PRs necessary to get the next version out the door.
It’s a use case we never imagined in our wildest dreams, but regardless, we’ve been reaching out to Ukrainian teams to offer our service and our setup for free. Even if it relieves just a small fraction of the pressure on these developers and their families - it’s well worth our efforts.
This is just an illustrative example. Maybe you and your company can think of a similarly relevant application for your product or service. Maybe not. Either way, it’s important to at least give it some thought.
The Bottom Line
These are just a few quick ideas that we came up with here at Livecycle, and obviously there are many other ways to show support and contribute as individuals. There are probably also plenty of other good ideas out there that can be specifically relevant to startups. Our hope you and your team will devote some time give it some thought.
The bottom line is that we don’t always need to reinvent the wheel in order to help in a meaningful way. Sometimes, it’s what we already have that is exactly what those other people need right now.