Encourage those in your community that may not be taking this seriously to take it seriously. Being a GenZ, Millennial, or science denier is no excuse to think you are exempt from this battle we all face.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ed Madongorere of MOON Ultra Light.
Ed Madongorere is the CEO and co-founder of MOON Ultra. A jack of many trades, Ed worked in Marketing at Comcast, Developed E-Learning programs and pioneered the video email marketing process at Cisco and was a designer & project manager at Affectiva. As a talented UX/UI design and cinematographer he would found Edemanté Design & Film where he produced stunning ads and content for clients. His work has appeared on CNN, Fox, CBS, MTV, NECN and more. Ed is a father of three.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Igrew up in Queens, New York, until I was around 12 years old, which was when my parents split up. I had the chance to go live in Harare, Zimbabwe. There I got to experience going to boarding school, which is where I can say I gained the most perspective, which was a critical and defining moment in shaping my future. Going to an all-boys school in another part of the world was an experience like none other. By the time I moved back to the US, my mom was living in New Hampshire. This was the complete opposite of what I was used to when I was in Africa. I went from being in the majority-black student population to an almost 99% white student population. This vast difference in culture would also help to shape me. I then moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, where I graduated high school. I never thought I would be the founder of a startup company. As far as I was concerned, my goal had become to grow my design & film company into a large branding agency. Around the time my wife Jamese and I got the diagnosis that our son had Autism, I always felt that he’d overcome all challenges and one day ask us, “how did we get here?” wherever “here” was at as he got older. We figured we could either tell him stories or show him. That inspired us to take a lot of photos and videos of just about everything we did to ensure we had enough content we could go back to as we shared with him. This love of capturing everything would find us capturing amazing content when the sun was out and some low-quality content whenever we were in dark and dim environments. This struggle inspired is what inspired me to come up with the idea for MOON UltraLight. The startup journey would take my family and me on a crazy rollercoaster that would lead us to move from MA to Austin, TX.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
One of my favorite books is Play Bigger -How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Marketsby By: Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead, Kevin Maney.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
What a punny and fitting question for a mobile lighting company. I genuinely believe, as humans, we’ll overcome this virus along with the hard times it’s brought our way. I think we’re in the biggest test of resilience, cooperation, perspective, and adaptation we’ve ever experienced globally. Most of the significant events we’ve witnessed or been a part of historically have been very localized. Today, we fight something together as a human race against a virus that doesn’t discriminate. I’m confident we’ll come out of this pandemic wiser, more compassionate with a more profound sense of appreciation for each other, for medical professionals, teachers, and our other peers in industries that were once neglected. Like all things in history, this will pass. What we do now during this time will define just how bright that light at the end of the tunnel will shine.
1.Medical Personnel-We hear statements such as “this is wartime,” so this makes the medical professionals the soldiers and generals fighting on the frontlines. Knowing we have incredibly dedicated people that are not willing to turn their backs on those that genuinely need them at this time is heartwarming and exceptional. Although we’re in an incredibly challenging time, I feel if the nurses, doctors, drivers, grocery store workers, and so many more risking their health, sanity, and wellbeing for us, we can certainly do our part, be patient and stay at home.
2.Global Cooperation-This is the first time that we’ve all fought the same fight and have a global collective of the world’s brightest scientists working tirelessly to see there’s a solution that will benefit all of us. It reminds me of that scene in Will Smith’s “Independence Day” when the US president gave that speech heard around the world.
3.Technological Advancements-We are fortunate to be experiencing this during this era, where technology such as smartphones, mobile connectivity, high-speed internet, online delivery services, and more exist. It also makes us thankful for the people behind these companies and the workers that keep such infrastructures running. Though not every part of the world is so lucky to have such access, this gives me and hopefully others some comfort and a better sense of appreciation.
4.Creative Content -There are way more people at home with devices in their hands, looking for something to watch, learn, participate, and get their creative juices going. The community is global, and the tools to create and share are highly accessible. Even professional TV shows and studios have turned to create content on a budget, DIY style. This has dramatically evened the playing field. What a time to get that idea you’ve been waiting to capture out. Just grab your mobile device, your MOON UltraLight, and shoot.
5.Family time and valuing what’s essential -This may be last but certainly very important. It’s time we can get together with our families and genuinely appreciate the time we have with them. One thing that has become apparent is that time has almost frozen, and with more time than we’ve ever had, there are very little to no excuses. No saying, “I was stuck in traffic, or I had to travel, or I’m going to be late.” Homehas become the office, and the lines of work-life-balance have been erased and are going to be redrawn. We must take advantage of it and learn from it.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Encourage those in your community that may not be taking this seriously to take it seriously. Being a GenZ, Millennial, or science denier is no excuse to think you are exempt from this battle we all face.
- Zoom and call each other. I grew up in an era of picking up the phone and making a call, talking for hours. Texting has taken over in recent times, but now we all have a chance to get back to communication basics with a sprinkle of video. Your event got canceled, turn it into an online event, grab your device, clip on your MOON UltraLight, and connect!
- Listen to each other’s concerns. Some people may have a very positive outlook, but not everyone functions the same. Some may be feeling anxious or overwhelmed and even depressed, and we need to be understanding. Merely being a “shoulder” for someone and listening and allowing them to vent with no judgment can be helpful. If you are a positive person, spread that positivity with others. I feel that happiness, motivation and smiles at a time like this are way more contagious than Covid19
- Share resources with your friends and neighbors. Create a community Facebook page, a WhatsApp group, or text thread and check in on each other. If someone needs something, you have extra, and they don’t have the flexibility or maybe too vulnerable to leave their house for necessities, share with them.
- Discourage and curb anyone you know that is being racist against people in Asian communities. We must continue to fight this as one, and if you see someone posting something insensitive, call it out and be a blanket of support for those that are experiencing hate.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
- Research solutions that can benefit those in your company and share them with leadership. We are in this together, and not every leader in your organization will have all the answers. Being proactive may come with benefits, and if you find yourself out of work temporarily, those skills can be transferable as even in these times, there are companies that are thriving and may need your newly acquired skills. 2.Visit Eventbrite and look for networking events that have all transitioned to being remote. If you ever felt you never had time to attend a networking event, maybe because of a lack of time or childcare resources, you can now participate in these with your child sitting next to you. Event creators and participants are in the same boat as you.
- Stick to verified sites when it comes to staying informed. There are a lot of false or unverified posts and articles going around. Stay on verified medical sites or trusted publishers. Be sure to confirm that your information is accurate before you share it — companies like Data. Worldare doing incredible work to ensure we get reliable and honest data during this time.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
Don’t end up an extra in someone else’s movie. I don’t remember where I heard it, but It stuck with me. I like to think of your life as a movie, and you’re responsible to write the script, casting, produce direct, and edit. Writing your script is coming up with a plan for what you want to do, which you’ll change and adapt as you evolve, but it has to start somewhere. Casting is surrounding yourself with the right people to help tell and share your story. In my case, everyone that’s played an essential role in my life, for better or worse, had a takeaway. Producing is finding resources to help fund that film. Every career path I’ve chosen, even if it felt like it was not useful at the time, was necessary for how I set myself for the rest of the journey. Directing is following your instincts, and using all the information, you gathered to that point to bring it all together. Editing is when you can reflect on what you’ve created and made some decisions that may sometimes mean going in a different direction, but you ultimately control how the story will is told.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
That is flattering, but I think everyone is a person of significant influence in their community, no matter how small they, or we may think it is. It’s not about quantity for me. It’s about quality. Though it would be amazing to inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, I would be just fine inspiring one person who may turn out to be as significant to our culture as Rosa Parks or Steve Jobs. Now In the spirit of participation, my one idea is to spend time in the mirror, reminding yourself how important, unique, and brilliant you are. Self love leads to more love.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
On LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/edemante.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!