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By Csaba Konkoly
August 13, 2020

How The Global Pandemic Exposed The Fault Lines In Our World


Written by Csaba Konkoly, Co-Founder and President of Hum Capital

The spiky little virus known as Covid-19 attached itself to our lives and ended what was our old version of normal. This pandemic has halted life as we knew it, laying bare the structural inequities of our society. Healthcare, government, education and the economy — pillars we relied on — began to crack under the pressure of a society relying on them to uphold the very foundation upon which we rest. 

Debris is falling around us, but we have the opportunity to do more than repair. Rather, we can rebuild pillars, systems and processes that are better, faster and more efficient. As with every crisis in human history, this pandemic is reshaping our practices, priorities and perspectives on micro and macro levels. While some outcomes are predictable, such as the obvious impact to travel and tourism, others are more nuanced but have the potential to bring about innovation and long-overdue changes. All are important to entrepreneurs who must understand the now but build for the future. 

Fluffy Metrics Give Way To Depth And Data

There has long been an undercurrent of inequity in our culture. These inequities have been driven by subtleties that are so tightly woven into the fabric of business that we often miss them. One related positive trend of the post-Covid-19 world is that it will be an equalizer in an important sense: Anyone can take a meeting anywhere because of video. This brings more equality and democratization to meetings and deals. It’s creating a less biased way of interacting.

Before this crisis, we relied on artificial markers to rate success. We used metrics such as style of dress, how you deliver a handshake or the weight of your business card to assess business acumen. We even ranked value by the type of meetings we set. For example, coffee meetings were obligatory gestures, but dinner meetings carried a weight of expectancy. Many of those things have now become irrelevant as offline interactions have moved online. 

Today, with so much business conducted over Zoom and Google Meet calls, the old priorities are obsolete. This is especially powerful for entrepreneurs who want innovation and data to be the focus of funding decisions. A coveted address and expensive clothing are no longer priorities. 

The new post-Covid-19 world will move in a more democratized direction, where the best ideas can be heard and the most innovative entrepreneurs can be elevated.

Better Balancing Of Risk Vs. Regulation 

The Covid-19 crisis is demanding the focused attention of all innovators. Before the pandemic, I believe there was often too much priority given to regulation and bureaucratic oversight of certain industries. This was something I saw while assessing timelines as a professional investor in heavily regulated industries, such as pharmaceutical research and development.

Now that priorities have shifted due to global emergency, regulation is going to take a back seat to innovation. Governments need to strike a better balance between regulation and research and development in the interest of public health. I want to see governments speed up the processes to get new testing kits and supplies manufactured and get new drugs into development. Now that our priorities have radically changed, our regulatory frameworks need to change, too. 

Adapting Existing Supply Chains 

We need to think more creatively about partnerships and how to utilize our supply chains for new priorities. As an example, I invested in a botanical spirits company that recently shifted its supply chain in a creative way that will endure beyond the crisis. Bars and restaurants were shut down because of Covid-19, resulting in a temporary headwind to the company’s on-premises business model. However, its CEO realized that through its current supply chain, it has access to high proof, food-grade ethyl alcohol, which is the main ingredient for sanitizer. 

The company has shifted its production to botanical hand sanitizer. Now it is selling sanitizers to restaurants that are gearing up to reopen. And it is planning, post-pandemic, to offer new lines of botanical hand sanitizers and personal care products for consumers.

The post-Covid-19 world will require agility and resilience to succeed, something that founders and entrepreneurs have in abundance. Companies that can rapidly embrace change and adopt new ways of thinking will adapt to these radically shifted priorities. Investors and founders who know how to focus on the truly essential elements of evaluating opportunities will see the biggest success.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.

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