I wasn’t expecting that
One thing is certain, by the time you read this, the situation in the country will be different to what it is as I write it – such is the speed and severity of the situation unfolding. That makes writing anything meaningful very difficult.
Science fiction becomes fact
I’m no fan of science fiction, so a global health pandemic was never on the long list of things I worried about. I’ve had sleepless nights worrying about plenty: whether to employ someone; whether to take a particular client on; whether Southampton FC would win the 2017 EFL cup final. But I can honestly say at no point did I worry about the current crisis engulfing the world.
I’ve been doing a little research on how often pandemics come about. It appears that they are reasonably random events. Much like earthquakes, pandemics are apparently very difficult to predict. Over a period of the last 300 years they have taken place around every 30 years on average, but the gaps can be as short as three years or as long as 60. Just because we have one this year doesn’t mean we won’t also have one next year; or not for another 100 years.
A global reaction
As I write this, around one quarter of the world’s population is in lockdown. Plenty of people are arguing about the precise timings of these lockdowns and how long they will last. My view is that, when faced with an unexpected threat, unprecedented actions were taken to protect lives. This is bound to come at a cost to business, economies and society. But the wellbeing of people came first. And that gives me hope.
Making sense of a situation
It’s a bewildering experience living through this crisis. Yet our capacity to adapt to a “new normal” is phenomenal. Technology businesses often explode from nowhere to phenomenal valuations and fame. Others inhale vast quantities of venture capital and then disappear into oblivion. It’s an ever changing and often overwhelming landscape. Even little developments are often blown out of all proportion, making them seem vitally important.
But the development of science and technology is also an incredible force for good in society. It is the industry that creates the machines, vaccines and equipment that will address this threat and keep as many of us as possible safe. In the current environment, VC money and share prices seem irrelevant against the application of technology to save lives.