There’s saturation of Covid-19/coronavirus blogging these days, so I’m mostly avoiding it. Naturally with a caveat like that, this’ll be a post about…Coronavirus of course. But this isn’t about coping or stress or health-in-a-lockdown or how-everything-will-be-different or whatnot.
Right as everything was beginning to hit, I was actually in Las Vegas speaking at a conference. Of all places, at all times, I know. It was early March, and we were right at the cusp of realizing that things were not good. Nothing had really been shut down yet, I recall talk of ‘social-distancing’ as a novelty, people were cautious about shaking hands. In all, it was a weird precipice where we all kind of had an idea that things were going to get weird and bad, but not how badly and even not really how. One thing was for sure, even before politicians started shutting our communities and states and economies down: This was going to negatively impact business.
One of my fellow participants and I struck up conversation over a drink and she said something like, “so how do you plan to take advantage of this?” She wasn’t being evil or cynical. She was just acknowledging that times of crisis often also offer opportunities. After all, it’s Warren Buffett who’s credited with saying to be fearful when people are greedy and be greedy when people are fearful. But as we spoke, she went a little deeper and said even more bluntly: “This is a dream for anybody in investor relations, don’t you think?” And she’s right. To put a finer point on it, she said, “You can try something new, a new business venture, a new product, be experimental in your business; and anything that goes wrong you can just blame on the virus.”