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3 minute read / Mar 25, 2020 /

What Will this Crisis Accelerate in Your Ecosystem?

I read an op-ed in Bloomberg last week written by a stock trader who was on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the 1989 crash. His manager brought him into his office. The trader feared his manager would fire him. Instead, his manager told him that these kinds of crises accelerate change and that he should embrace them. I’m struggling to find the link now, but if I do, I will update this blog post with it.

Since then, I’ve been asking myself, what changes will this crisis accelerate? Obviously, telecommuting/videoconferencing adoption will have accelerated. As many of us learn how to manage our days and our businesses exclusively through video, it will be more natural in the future to do so even when we can meet in person.

In a related vein, my partner Alex suggested to me that telemedicine will become normalized. For those with non-urgent conditions, telemedicine provides triage and care without risking the health of others.

The corollary to working online will be software to improve collaboration for distributed teams. In tandem, security software spend is sure to grow. As colleagues communicate more ideas online, companies will have to secure these thoughts to protect their intellectual property.

I wonder if we will get to a point where we are routinely selling and deploying costly and complicated enterprise software entirely remotely. We already do this today for software with contract values at $50k. Could we do it at $500k or $5M?

Video might quicken the de-urbanization of the US. More Americans would like to live in rural communities than would like to live in cities. commuting patterns, travel patterns, living patterns, they may all change.

Delivery and logistics are booming. Amazon will hire more than 100,000 workers; Instacart is hiring 300,000 workers; Walmart will recruit 150,000. Certainly, some of this spike is due to transient conditions. But the US has the potential to increase grocery delivery 5x if we look to other developed nations as a proxy for long-term adoption.

Entertainment is changing. Formula One drivers now compete in online races since organizers paused the season. It’s not hard to imagine a world of eSports that’s a hybrid of real-world and virtual. Better for the leagues and athletes to sell more products and subscriptions, better for the fans who engage more, over longer seasons, in different formats.

Another question I’ve been wondering is about US college education. The increasing student debt burden is unsustainable. The typical student borrower graduates with about $30,000 worth of debt, while tuition grows 8% per year.

As more students learn to learn online, will their willingness to pay for on-campus college decline? And could online learning create a better learning experience at a fraction of the price, changing the return on investment calculations for going to college?

I’m sure there are many impacts outside the world of technology on medicine, drug discovery, energy production, and many other facets of how we work and live.

These types of crises accelerate change. What will this crisis accelerate in your ecosystem?

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