Days after Silicon Valley Bank’s dramatic collapse, and just one day before Meta slashed another 10,000 employees, Vimeo’s chief product officer Ashraf Alkarmi, 776 partner Cristina Apple Georgoulakis, and Slack senior vice president Rob Seaman talked to Fast Company about the grim economic outlook surrounding Silicon Valley, and how tech companies can continue to innovate through the turbulence.

“You’ll see some great products come out of this,” Alkarmi said during a panel on “innovating through downturns” at the SXSW Fast Company Grill. “We’ve learned from the past that constraints create a space for innovation because you’re focused on solving a problem.”

For 776, a small venture fund founded by Alexis Ohanian and focused predominantly on software startups, Friday’s bank run on SVB threatened to be cataclysmic. Georgoulakis estimated during the panel that about 14% of their portfolio was affected by the chaos. Another 20% of their portfolio might’ve been at risk too, if the federal government hadn’t stepped in to prevent further collapse.

In describing her communications with portfolio companies during the SVB decable, she said she reminded them of the importance of patience and transparency—rather than “tweeting in capslock all weekend long,” and adding fuel to an already inflamed atmosphere.

“Bedside manners matter a lot, especially when times get tough,” Georgoulakis said. “You’re keeping that communication open and you’re having those dialogues and you’re letting your people know that I’m here for you.”

Seaman expressed his gratitude and relief for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which swiftly ordered the bank’s closure and seized all remaining assets on Friday.

“For all of us who work in this very small, tight-knit community, it was great to see the regulators step in,” he said.

SVB’s implosion follows a winter of downsizing that, to borrow Silicon Valley’s favorite verb, disrupted across the tech industry. Seaman described a period of “mourning” at Slack after cutbacks at its parent company, Salesforce, resulted in a 10% layoff this past January. A few weeks of decreased productivity, he said, was a necessary trade-off for shoring up employee morale and reviving the company culture.

“It was important for the culture and important for the organization to just allow everybody to be heard, for us all to kind of grieve the colleagues who we lost,” Seaman said. “We spent a lot of time, coming out of that two-week period, re-galvanizing people around the mission and vision of Slack.”

Slack is also making notable changes to its platform, embracing user feedback to integrate new features aimed at making customer’s work lives as “simple, pleasant, and productive” as possible. “Who here has ever had a hard time finding something in Slack?” he asked the crowd jovially. Seaman said the company is in the process of building a more durable surface, akin to a Wiki page or Google document, that makes cataloging and sharing information easier.

Alkarmi added that for Vimeo, which itself went through layoffs in January, the turmoil of the past few months has forced the company to double down its focus on customer needs.

“Stay close to your customer’s problems and innovate on their behalf,” he continued, which for Vimeo means making the platform more compatible for remote and hybrid work systems. “That always wins.”

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