We talked to Manush Melkumyan, Executive Partner, StudioHub.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Manush Melkumyan : Thank you for asking, we are trying to stay safe and also thanks for kindness. This is something we need in these challenging times, compassion for each other and I hope that humanity will rethink many aspects of life and relationships.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined StudioHub.
Manush Melkumyan : It will be difficult to be brief, but I will try to. I started my career at a very young age of 15 beginning as a volunteer and at the same time as a staff member in the Red Cross Family first as a project manager and being promoted to the top management at 21. Then I switched into a business undertaking a family business in HoReCa. My entrepreneurial and business career started to develop, I was involved in diverse and multidimensional projects starting from Telecommunications, Media & TV production to Luxury goods.
I have joined StudioHub unexpectedly, meeting the founder and being inspired by Startup Studios’ idea as an emerging innovation model. I wasn’t looking for such an opportunity, but it found me.
How does StudioHub innovate?
Manush Melkumyan : Innovation is the soul of our company. Innovation lies within our processes, products and services that we offer, and most notably in building relationships with our customers and partners.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects StudioHub, and how are you coping?
Manush Melkumyan : Well, given the character of our work means that it is related to IT and digital innovation and that we do not have to produce something physically actually the Pandemic hasn’t been as much of an obstacle rather than an opportunity in a sense that we have a multidisciplinary and multicultural team. Everybody feels engaged versus the times that those who were not physically present in the office would probably miss socialising and sometimes project involvement.
I would say that most have been affected by human interaction both with the team and the clients/partners. It is not evenly efficient and pleasant to communicate with a person not feeling the aura, not looking directly in the eyes, internet connectivity failures etc. However, there were also some right sides too, for example with the meeting you have to be precise because it’s a video call and then you have to attend another one. I have also noticed one thing: it is more comfortable, to be honest, and open both with the clients and the teammates in the online mode, rather than during a physical one.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Manush Melkumyan : Difficult choices in terms of business are all connected with uncertainty. What would be the trends for the new era, how long we can survive these situations keeping our projects sustainable and running smoothly regardless of market conditions and moods, how long the things that we are doing will be needed by the society and the world that is changing so rapidly that we cannot manage to keep the pace.
So there are a couple of lessons learnt from all of these:
- This is the reality, and we cannot wish for the things to be the old way, and we need to reorganise ourselves, our activities and environment to fit the new Reality.
- We have to find the right stream of people and projects to keep us moving rather than waiting for the new trends.
- This sounds banal, but it is the truth “we shall not wait for the changes to affect us instead of bringing the changes that can affect us in the best way”.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Manush Melkumyan : It’s easier said than done. And also it depends if you ask individually or as a team. Individually it’s incomparably more comfortable given the ample working experience and life lessons learnt.
So I can speak on an individual level and there are central components to deal with stress and anxiety.
Healthy self: strong basis for mental and physical health is essential for not allowing the stress and anxiety to get to you. Human body and mind are the fortresses for protection, and if you have it strong and control over it, you don’t fear anything.
Healthy environment: not follow or listen to the negative news, block that source. Stay away from negative people whining about their problems, help if needed in the critical situations, but surround yourself with only positive people who strive for change and with every activity add value to your life and life in general.
Stress can arise from both positive and negative; it’s the human organism’s reaction to something unknown, unclear, and unexpected. So it means that we have to be ready for anything and everything, on the other hand, we shall hope for the best. My motto is “Expecting the worst hope for the best”.
If we lose hope if we start thinking that this is the worst and keep complaining, why do we continue to live? If we do continue and we do so, that means that we are expecting the best from the future and we have to find solutions for this situation that has caused stress, also being aware that if we stress, we will lose that time and energy on nothing and won’t be able to change it. Even as many wise men say and I am paraphrasing “you can’t stress for something you cannot change, because you cannot change it, and if you can change, then why stress, go and change”.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Manush Melkumyan : In Europe we still don’t have a competitor, in a worldwide perspective, GSSN is a global network of studios who have been providing similar services to Startup Studios and Venture builders.
But we would welcome smart and resourceful competitors as it would help us build the awareness around the Startup Studio Model and drive us for better innovation.
Your final thoughts
Manush Melkumyan : We are here, on earth, in the Universe for a mission, I believe so. And rather than trying to find that mission, we could just try to connect with the Universe and follow the signs which will bring us to that exact destination point. Meanwhile, we should enjoy the journey and the people who accompany us, families, friends, colleagues and business partners.
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