Throughout recent recorded history there have been major events that we can look at with 20/20 vision and say, yep, that event changed the world forever. For example, the Black Plague swept across Europe in the mid 1300’s changing the way Europeans viewed cities and seaports. It pushed Christians closer to their religion and caused the Roman Catholic Papacy to reassert its power over its constituents. It forced millions of Jews to flee to remote parts of Eastern Europe for fear of being scapegoated and blamed for the plague, all the while killing over 20 million people in its wake.
Another example of an event that change the world is World War II. World War II’s eventual impact on manufacturing and consequentially the global economy cannot be overstated. We are still living with and affected by this event. It gave us the first programmable computer. It caused a boom in suburban living. It created a manufacturing infrastructure that would allow for building a more efficient, and faster produced automobile. It allowed the United States to spread its economic power and influence with the money it pumped into Germany and Japan for reconstruction. It gave us Tupperware, duct tape, and synthetic rubber, all of which we still use to this day.
As these events have changed the world, we are currently living through another global tipping point. More pointedly, technology, the businesses that operate the technology space, and humans that work in this space, have been and will forever be changed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zoom has boomed. I don’t even think Zoom knew exactly what they had until Sha-Rona forced them to up their game and make sure that every displaced employee had the ability to attend those all too important office meetings from the comfort of their kitchen table, in pajama bottoms, or no bottoms at all, while wearing the nicest shirt they could find in their days of unwashed laundry. This goes for Teams too. You can communicate with coworkers while sipping coffee, watching the Today show, monitoring your child’s online school lesson, and still get the job done with the same fervor and passion you had working face to face. All of this is only the beginning of unwrapping the already existing technology and using it to its full potential. This does not even speak to the new technology for working remotely that is to come, or the fact that we aren’t yet on the other side of this global life changing event.
There is so much that has changed in a short period of time for tech businesses during this pandemic. It would take me a PhD level dissertation to exhaust all these changes, so I won’t. The one change to tech businesses I will mention though is, commercial workspaces. In the words of one poet laureate, Bugs Bunny, “that’s all folks”. Small, medium, and large tech business have realized that the technology they create is and has been their saving grace this year. In March, we were all forced to abandon ship and take refuge in our homes. Because of technology, tech businesses and other business alike now know that this abandoning of the office space wasn’t such a bad thing. In fact, they have realized they didn’t need a designated workspace for employees to gather to get the job done. Who needs a commercial workspace with overhead utility bills, and bloated lease agreements when workers can login online from home with Zoom and Teams, and be just as productive and efficient, if not more so?
Finally, the process of talent acquisition has changed. Because of the forced situation, and the enabling of technology, employers are no longer bound to scour local coffers looking for talent located in the immediate areas of the commercial spaces they will no longer need. By the same token, workers are no longer bound to find employment in the immediate cities they reside in. This new Co-vida loca has made it so workers and employers alike can seek out the best situation to suit their needs. Employers can hire top tier talent from all across the globe now and employees can apply and work for that long sought-after new situation without having to uproot their lives. Also, employees themselves no longer must be bound to Nowhere North Dakota or Brokeville Brooklyn anymore. It has been and will become increasingly easier for employees to move to more affordable or desirable locations of their choosing, and still work their current job.
Sam Cooke sang, “A change is gonna come”, and boy was he right. Technology, tech business, and tech employees have been forever changed. The pandemic has forced a new path upon the world and the old way of doing things is on its way out. We are living in it, we are it, and we will forever be remembered as it. We are the current blip akin to the Black Death of Europe and World War II. We are the Jones’s standing on the tipping point of a pandemic that has changed the world and especially technology.
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