Where Tech Falls in the Aftermath of COVID-19: A Response to YPO Global Survey
In mid-April, YPO fielded a second global COVID-19 survey of chief executives to provide a better understanding of the impacts the pandemic is having on business. Results drew from 3,534 chief executives ages 23-91 from 109 different countries.
Ignite asked visionary technology leader, author and YPO member Jeff Booth for his reaction to the second snapshot of business sentiment conducted five weeks following YPO’s original COVID-19 survey. Booth has been at the forefront of digitization and other tech trends for 20 years. He led BuildDirect through the dot-com meltdown, the 2008 financial crisis and multiple waves of disruption. He’s a founding partner of OtioLabs, co-founder of addy — an online investment platform, and co-founder of NocNoc — a technology platform in Southeast Asia that allows users to find technicians for a project through an intuitive, web-based interface. Booth’s recent book is The Price of Tomorrow — Why Deflation is Key to an Abundant Future.
Here are a few of Booth’s thoughts on the survey results:
Recovery will be a long road
That more than 50% of chief executives characterize the COVID-19 crisis as a large or severe risk to their business, with 11% saying their business is at risk of not surviving, means that the recovery is going to be far longer than we think. The sheer number of people unemployed in North America against the backdrop of the amount of money that central banks are borrowing from the future to pay for today will feed back on itself. Assuming the already too-large debt load needs to be repaid, tax hikes are imminent and will only be a further drag on the recovery.
Accelerating the trend toward technology
Further, this situation has accelerated tech trends, driving adoption at every turn, which will subsequently impact all industries in different ways.
Consider Zoom going from 10 million users to 300 million in just over a month. Every one of those additional 290 million people is part of a business that is paying commercial rent somewhere. The reality is that some of these businesses “might” not require the same amount of commercial real estate on the other side of this pandemic.
Brick-and-mortar retail struggles
Will shoppers who have had to shift to buying online really go back to shopping in-store? Brick-and-mortar retail, already under enormous pressure before COVID-19, will likely face greater pressure as the trend to e-commerce is amplified.
Opportunity amid crisis
Some companies, like Zoom, will see tremendous growth and opportunity out of this pandemic because they are where the future trend around technology lies. Technology makes everything cheaper and it was already putting tremendous downward pressure on prices that had only been propped up by a massive rise of debt to hide that deflation.
The catch is, most people miss this connection, and by doing so, miss some of the greatest opportunities.
YPO members may delve deeper into the COVID-19 YPO survey here.
For more crisis leadership stories like these check out the COVID-19: Leading Through Crisis page on YPO.org. All YPO members can find breaking news, offer insights and view current discussions happening about COVID-19 impact within the YPO community on the YPO member-only platform.