Speaking as an American, and putting politics aside, we all know that we will be moving to a "new normal" after the COVID-19 crisis. It will change the way we prepare for international health crises in the same way that 9/11 changed the way we protect ourselves from international terrorism. We are only seeing the beginning of the massive changes that will take place to ensure something like this doesn't happen again.
But there are other changes afoot. We have been heading toward a largely remote workforce for the past decade and this will dramatically accelerate that. Yes, people will return to offices, but not nearly all of them, and as companies change their cultures to be more remote-friendly, they will realize the efficiencies and other benefits of remote teams, enabled by cloud-based technology. It will represent a seismic step forward for business and the U.S. economy.
The Heroes of COVID-19
COVID-19 is a devastating threat to both our health and economy. No one is more heroic than the courageous doctors and nurses on the front lines fighting this pandemic. There are many other heroes, too: grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, fast food employees, mass transit workers, truckers, cleaning crews. They all are exposing themselves to greater risk in roles that benefit all of us.
I would add to that list of heroes B2B technology companies -- the ones enabling remote work, telemedicine, web conferencing, but also some technologies you might not have heard of yet. How about "germ-zapping robots" -- first deployed in hospitals and now being used to sanitize and disinfect hotel rooms? Or "smart helmets" that can detect if people nearby have a fever? Can you imagine the future applications of AI-powered helmets for first responders, law enforcement -- even cyclists?
I am grateful for the B2B tech companies that have built, and who continue to build, the technological infrastructure for this new normal.
In this time of uncertainty, I find comfort in knowing that I live in a country that has been a leader in technology since the invention of the integrated circuit. Technology time and again has been the hero for our economy. On so many occasions, when we have thought the U.S. economy was in decline, our innovation has saved us and moved us forward.
And so it will be in this case.
We Can All Be Heroes
Beyond tech companies and frontline workers, the truth is that all of us -- every single American -- has a chance to be a hero in this situation. That includes every employee of Idea Grove.
In a Slack message to my team, I offered them a mission statement for this crisis.
We have a rare and important opportunity to aid in our country's recovery, advance and transformation -- because we are uniquely suited to help the B2B tech companies that will be driving much of it.
We all can be heroes. We all can have a sense of mission during this crisis. Start by figuring out how we can help each other, and we will get through this together.