China is opening up while the rest of the world wonders what Covid-19 plans to do next. While the future is dim to say the least, the worst thing you can do is sit back and wait.
The year of the Covid (guess 2020 can already be named as such) has been a rollercoaster ride to say the least. Long climbs have been followed by unexpected downward slopes, and even during those few moments of even ground, we have been in a dark tunnel most of the time, with no light to imply that the situation might clarify anytime soon.
No matter how unclear everything looks today, sooner or later the dust will settle. Whatever shape the society may be at that point, the time will come to pick up the pieces and move on.
Exactly where, there is no knowing. Pretty much all that has become even somewhat evident is that there will be no return to the way things used to be. Not exactly, anyway.
One of the big questions is, how can we even begin thinking about rebuilding when we do not have the slightest idea of how the future will shape up?
Back in March, at the early stages of the pandemic, Steve Blank, the Father of Modern Entrepreneurship, suggested that should this thing last for several years – as it certainly looks like – at least the startup companies should very seriously reconsider their current business models in order to survive.
Today, he says that the need is even greater.
– The entire ecosystem has gone through a very dramatic phase, Steve Blank points out. – In addition to the startups, also the investing community needs to take a close look at the mirror.
Some of the changes brought in by the pandemic will not leave with the virus. It is up to us to make that work for the society’s benefit. Change can be painful, yet this time it is also unavoidable.
People have discovered they can work remotely, and this puts the physical ecosystems and entrepreneurial clusters such as Silicon Valley, into a whole new situation. While remote working brings undeniable benefits, the coin has two sides.
– You can run startups and investments remotely, Steve Blank emphasizes. – At the same time, physical innovation clusters have a certain vibrancy that enables multiplying several benefits. That does not happen as naturally in a virtual environment.
In the picture: Steve Blank
The competition for the market shares
Rebuilding will eventually lead to redistribution of the global market. As China has been able to remain on the road to recovery, it is gradually gaining lead with its clusters open and operating. Eventually, the Western world will be faced with an enormous task to catch up – and that is precisely where the synergy effects that those innovative clusters enable, will be seriously missed. Initially, at least.
Will the benefits of remote working be able to offset that? We can only hope so. Steve Blank sees the situation as a gigantic test – what will, eventually, happen to the vibrancy of ecosystems?
– The fact that ecosystems slow down temporarily may very well be a good thing for the rest of the world. But what will happen if innovators decide that they do not want clusters to begin with?
Only time will tell. However, only after that becomes somewhat clearer can we plan our next move.
Luckily, at least for the moment and from the perspective of Silicon Valley, things look promising. Steve Blank is surprised of people’s vibrancy and venture capitalists’ activity to invest in new ideas and startup businesses. The virus may have changed the rhythm of doing things, but people are adapting extremely well.
Self-confidence is important as we wait for that window of opportunity to beat Covid-19. That will lead to the other element that Steve Blank considers as an essential weapon in any combat situation.
The willingness to take initiative.
– Harsh as it may sound, every crisis presents an opportunity as well, so one of the main things is to not sit around and wait for something to happen. You can spend one day feeling sorry for yourself and another blaming everyone else, including the government. Then, on the third day, when you realize you are out of excuses, it’s time to get up and start moving towards a better future.