The words “coronavirus” and “benefits” really don’t belong in the same sentence. Thousands have died worldwide, exponentially more have been sickened, businesses have been shut down and daily life has been put on hold for the better part of two months now.
There is no upside here.
But, the fact remains that, once this scourge is finally behind us things will change. And some of those changes will be for the better.
That was the point that entrepreneur Ben Finn made in a recent post on Lesswrong.
“Even clouds this dark have silver linings. Crises produce opportunities, innovation, and long-overdue reforms. 2020 will contain an extra year’s worth of mortality – but also a decade’s worth of progress, a leap into the future.
This post lists many benefits that could arise, so readers can consider how to maximize them, not just minimize harms. They cover a wide range of consequences. For example, lockdown has made many people (even drug gangsters) reassess their lives. Working from home has suddenly become normal, with less commuting, less cost, and more time for leisure and sleep. So people may move from cities to cheaper, more pleasant areas, or indeed countries.
Above all, coronavirus is a wake-up call – it could have been far worse. Better preparation for the next pandemic will reduce existential risk, potentially saving billions, or even trillions, of future lives.”
He goes on to list nearly 200 ways that he believes the world will change as a result of COVID-19, ranging from new government regulations, to a new focus on personal preparedness, to new digital tools. It’s a great post; you should read it.
But I’d like to add one item to the list.
We’re now living in a digital world. We can’t go outside. Can’t gather in public. Can’t meet with coworkers. So we’re all on Zoom and other digital platforms trying to do our work. That means that digital messaging matters more than ever. For companies, it’s no longer enough to have a website and a Facebook account. When your customers’ only interactions with you are going to be online, you need to really think about how you’re presenting your brand and what you’re saying to the world. The time to focus on those communications is now.
But maybe that’s just me.
Any others? Let me know.