Hyperlocal belonging

The other day I saw a survey that claimed that 44% of all Danes would like to know their neighbors better.

In a globalized world, where we’re so busy figuring out when and how to travel somewhere next, this is somewhat a mind-boggling number.

You may say that you’re global. But the fact of the matter also is that most of us (not me though) live alone – many even single. We venture out to meet people, but when we are at base, we’re most often alone.

To more and more people that turns into a feeling of anxiety and even depression. The Covid-19 pandemic certainly hasn’t helped with psychiatrists reporting a large influx in ‘new’ patients who all have in common that just a year ago they would have been deemed far from in need of seeking help with their mental health.

So, having said all of that, it is comforting to see that once again there is a surge of interest in the hyperlocal space. In building local (mostly) digital communities, where people who might otherwise feel slightly isolated and alone can get a sense of belonging.

That’s the good part.

The not so good part is that for all the initiatives, I see being announced especially in Denmark, I have a feeling that they will be missing the target and the real opportunity.

Both Jysk Fynske Medier and JP/Politikens Hus have announced that they will be rolling out new hyperlocal mediainitiatives in select geographies in the coming months. It should be applauded. It not for anything else then for the jobs it’s going to create in a media industry that is by now more infamous for its frequent job cuts.

But is a hyperlocal NEWS site really the answer to the question of hyperlocal belonging? Maybe. But I am guessing ‘no’.

It will most certainly be able to fill a need to be informed about what’s going on around you. But is that enough to make you feel connected too? I doubt it. I think that in order to achieve that you need something more.

Considering all the issues with people feeling lonely and borderline depressed, the opportunity to find new ways to connect people and by proxy help build mental stamina and health seems both really good, worthwhile and as something that could have some interesting positive business consequences.

Because people are more than willing to pay for services and products that give them a feeling of being substantially better off on a personal level. And what is more personal than the sense of belonging, being part of something bigger, being seen, heard, appreciated and connect with likeminded people for various activities?

Not really that much.

So I will be curious to see who the first ones will be who make the bet to build a hyperlocal model not based on information as the primary thing but on the psychological levers to make the individual feel better as it’s core.

That’s a really intriguing and cool opportunity.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Challenge the status quo

What is the one thing driving startup opportunity in the post-pandemic era?

The willingness of everybody to challenge the status quo and be open to new ideas, new ways of doing things and – with that – new products and services from new and inspiring companies with strong value propositions.

Now, what is the status quo?

Actually it is two things. And most of us are eager to leave both behind.

There is the status quo of the pandemic lockdown. Of course we want to be rid of that and get our freedom back.

But there is also the status quo of what was before the pandemic, and where we have had more than a full year contemplating what if anything that was before we would like to change. And how changing things are actually – even if forced by a pandemic – (by and large) less painful than what we imagined it to be.

Look at it this way:

The barriers of “that isn’t possible” or “I don’t need that” have been lowered by the past 12+ months of Covid-19.

If that isn’t a signal of opportunity to reimagine and reinvent things, I don’t know what is.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

The Norwegian Real Madrid

When you think about how hard the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting you, think about how you would have felt, if you worked at an airline or a company affiliated with one.

*GULP*.

People are not allowed to travel, your planes are grounded, you have high recurring costs for leasing aircraft, a valuable, sizeable staff you want to hold on to as much as you can and a cashflow resembling a one-way street in the worst possible way.

What’s not to be deeply distraught about? I know people who work at airlines, big and small, and it is really, really tough out there. And I am so happy, I am not in their shoes.

One of the hardest hit ones is the Norwegian low-cost carrier, Norwegian. They are working extremely hard to save the company from going under, and they are hoping for both a restructuring of their massive debt and an aid package from the Norwegian government.

Even though they are ‘Up S*** Creek’, I want to put forward the prediction that they will make it in some shape and form. But not because it is a healthy company. For psychological reasons:

Years ago there was a saying that the only reason the football club Real Madrid could keep existing with massive signings and massive debt was that there wasn’t a living banker who would have the guts to send this massive club, and their fanbase with them, into receivership.

Same goes for Norwegian, the airline.

The Norwegians are proud people – national attires, cowbells and all. I don’t think there is anybody in government or parliament with any appetite for reelection or his/her place in history who wants to be the one pulling the rug from under the wheels of essentially the Norwegian flag carrier. I mean, the name alone thrown into a dumpster fire?! Not going to happen.

But there may be one or two left who think about the one old naming rule for warships:

Never, ever, EVER (!!) name a warship after your country for the fully justifiable fear of what it being sunk in battle would mean for morale and publicity.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)