After the corona pandemic is behind us (and no one knows how long that is going to take, ed.), I am wondering if we will see the emergence of a new set of unmet customer demands born by the pandemic – and the withering of others, we thought we needed until this new reality hit us all?
The pandemic is a giant reality check on what is truly important on our lives, and what we can live without. Some are already suggesting that society will be changed forever, when we reemerge on the other side. Personally, I am not so sure. But if it is, it will lead to a change in priorities and, with that, spending.
For some startups it will mean staying in a death spiral. For others it will be their big opportunity. Spotting and betting on the right ones will potentially be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for investors, while others will be left to reflect on their losses.
It seems to me that a lot of the people who are starting to advocate economic considerations ahead of health-related ones during this pandemic, are some of the same people who were the least prepared for a sudden halt in economic activity. I don’t blame them for wanting to get back to normal ASAP – we all want that to happen.
However, I still think we need to spend time after this is over on the things, we have learned from this. Maybe we should consider whether some of the business school books should be reviewed and refined. Overly complex supply chains, ‘Just in time’-principles and over-optimization of the daily business operations managing cash on a shoestring suddenly seem like brilliant ideas now than they seemed to be just a month ago, right?
I continue to find it shocking (and then, not really for the above reasons, ed.) that otherwise successful and well-run companies can crumble within a week or two. It seems like a lot of businesses were already in essence on major life support as it were, and if the corona pandemic hadn’t pushed to the very edge of the cliff, it was a matter of time before something else would.
One of the things that really strikes me about the work-from-home way of dealing with the corona virus is the way it potentially stress tests the trust between employer and employee.
There are companies that are fearful of sending their employees home to work for fear that they won’t get any work done. And – luckily – there are companies where they have no issue in trusting their employees with doing their bit from home because they know that the relationship is healthy.
My bet is that those who are going to see and experience big issues here are the companies, where employees have been treated like little more than cogs in a big machine. While it may make weird sense to executives in good times to nurture the bottom line, it could effectively break them now.
And then I haven’t even mentioned all the employees who will now have time away from the office and amble time to think about whether they actually want to go back when this lockdown clears.
Yesterday, I received a couple of invites for upcoming Meetups of groups that I am a member of. I am thinking that it must be auto-generated reminders, since actually meeting up in person right about now would be in total conflict with the guidelines set forth by the Danish authorities.
And that got me wondering: Why is it that Meetup doesn’t use this opportunity to branch out with a remote, virtual offering? It may already exist somewhere in there (I haven’t digged around) but it seems so obvious: When we’re already working from home, many would have amble time to meet up virtually to share learnings, educate themselves and foster new connections going forward.
I furthermore believe that branching out with a remote option will make Meetup a much more interesting option for more people. Sometimes it can be a deal-breaker to have to show up physically for a meeting and where doing it from remote would enable more to chip in, expanding the footprint of the service and get more learning out there. It is so damn obvious.
Normally I try not to comment on areas that are unrelated to my daily work. But today is a small exception.
Doing some research into the coming apocalypse for 3rd party tracking and advertising, one thing struck me: In order to market something as a brand going forward, you need to have your own 1st party data. That means you need to be strong, valuable and relevant enough to build connection.
All those companies that are essentially taking the low road to everything just producing more stuff and caring more about the quick buck than building relationships will have no other option but low yield filler networks. Which means we will pay even less attention to them.
So, after all, something good is coming out of the abolishment of 3rd party tracking.
Working remotely is getting a lot of additional buzz following the outbreak of corona-virus, as people all over scramble to try to put themselves out of harms way and/or following the advice of local health authorities.
While there is a lot of great things to be said about working remotely – and there are – there are also some downsides of which the predominant one is this: Missing out on the creative sparks that fly when you bring people together, and they start getting creative.
For me, when people (in the absence of a perfectly legitimate health-related excuse, ed) want to work in a predominantly remote way, they send a signal that they care more about their ways of working than what we are working on; what we are trying to solve. Call me old fashioned, but I am the kind of guy who needs to be able to look my team members directly in the eyes to make sure we are all on the same page, driving for the same results – and feel equally passionate about succeeding. As a team.
Reading about data being the new oil and the next gold rush being a data gold rush, one thing stood out for me:
It will be interesting to see who becomes the Levi Strauss of this particular mining rush. Strauss became rich not from mining operations but by selling clothing and equipment to miners…I wonder how much that history will repeat itself in this rush to mine data. It remains to be seen who benefits or ultimately profits from all the data mining that will happen.Innovate on Purpose: There’s gold in the data…
Sometimes we are all so busy looking in the same places, flocking for the same opportunities, creating competition and settling for less in the end that we neglect the real opportunites, the underserved ones. Be mindful.
Is there ever such a thing as too much of a good thing? I came to think about it after following a discussion on Twitter about how news media may have been a contributor to their own digital demise by doing too much – or rather: publishing too much – rather than too little.
The argument against publishing, publishing and publishing more is that by betting on speed and volume, quality goes down. The finished product becomes thinner, offers less value to readers, which again drives down engagement, advertising revenue and – crucially – the likeliness of subscribing for a fee.
On the other hand, media execs may argue that there are great examples of great businesses being successful based on an abundance of content. Netflix is perhaps the best example, where precisely the vastness of the catalogue is a big reason to describe.
Here it is just worth noting that while shows on Netflix predominantly age well and stay relevant, the same cannot be said about news media. So when we compare the two, we’re comparing the value of infinity with the value of sheer speed. And here infinity always wins.
Forget all the bling bling of this world. The newest luxury item – and a valuable one – is going to be privacy. Just ask Jeff Bezos.
With face recognition being unleashed in the public space and all the continued discussion around tracking of people and our data, there is going to be huge potential in a new market that helps give consumers – well off consumers – control of their own privacy back.
When that happens it will likely be one of the most defining moments for truly separating people in the ‘have’ and ‘have not’ buckets in societies rampant on tracking.
It is great that a group of the worlds biggest players within the IoT-space have come together to form Project Connected Home over IP; an initiative to develop more common standards for IoT-devices large and small.
So far one of the big issues with regards to IoT has been a lack of standards. Lots ot things loosely joined – or sometimes not joined at all. Besides creating a focus on technology itself it has also made the usecase almost hopeless for many normal people. Just visit one of the many forums for smarthome-early adopters and watch the agony of trying to make things work.
Normally I don’t believe in technology before figuring out the problem. But in this case, I think that getting closer to standards will actually enable us to focus more on the problems and the use cases for real customers. And thus also the ability to start to fulfill the huge potential of IoT.