Post Corona: From Crisis To Opportunity

“I begin with two theses. First, the pandemic’s most enduring impact will be as an accelerant. While it will initiate some changes and alter the direction of some trends, the pandemic’s primary effect has been to accelerate dynamics already present in society.” – Scott Galloway

That is a quote from a book I just finished. Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where he teaches brand strategy and digital marketing to second-year MBA students. In his new book, he looks at the world post corona. The book titled “Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity” has been added to my Book library. He points to remarkable things that have happened since the virus reared its ugly head, like: It took Apple 42 years to reach $1 trillion in value, and 20 weeks to accelerate from $1 trillion to $2 trillion (March to August 2020), and we registered a decade of ecommerce growth in eight weeks. Additionally, Tesla became not only the most valuable car company in the world, but more valuable than Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Honda combined.

At the same time, negative trends accelerated at a greater rate. For decades, Mr. Galloway points to what economists have been warning for some time: economic inequality was deepening, while economic mobility was declining. The author takes us on a journey that helps us understand the state of corporate America pre-and-post corona, the dangers of big-tech dominance, and a look at what we can expect in a Post Pandemic World. Along the way, we are provided with fascinating insights. For example:

Sixty percent of jobs that pay over $100,000 can be done from home, compared to only 10% of those that pay under $40,000.
Home improvement purchases were up 33% in March, even as much of the country went into lockdown
As of June 2020, 82% of corporate leaders plan to allow remote working at least some of the time, and 47% say they intend to allow full-time remote work going forward.
From the beginning of March to the middle of April, online grocery sales increased roughly 90%, while food-delivery sales melted up 50%.
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google make up 21% of the value of all publicly traded U.S. companies.
One of Amazon’s best moves is turning expense lines into revenue lines.
Beginning in 2026, the number of graduating high school seniors is projected to decline by 9%.
After a spring semester of upheaval and ad hoc Zoom classes, 75% of college students were unhappy with e-learning, and 1 in 6 high school seniors were considering deferring college for a semester or a year.
Two thirds of international students finance their education with money sourced abroad. In aggregate, international students contribute nearly $40 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
Only a third of the U.S. population has college degrees, and less than 10% have graduate degrees.
Research suggests that the most important factor determining an American’s life expectancy is the zip code they are born into.
Study after study finds that Americans live shorter lives, are less free, and less successful in our pursuit of happiness than our European counterparts.
The youth suicide rate has increased 56% in a decade.

Mr. Galloway also provides a glimpse into the issues faced by the education and health ecosystems respectively. Two industries ripe for disruption. He describes education as a caste system, a means of passing privilege on to the next generation, and he supports his argument with data: at 38 of the top 100 colleges in America, including 5 of the Ivies, there are more students from the top 1% of income than there are from the bottom 60%. However, he does not believe free college is a good idea, as this would be another transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, as college attendees skew wealthy. Accelerated advances in technology spurred on by the pandemic will allow for the expanded reach of education. As the author states: “This provides the potential to correct one of the great inequities of the last half century—the artificial scarcity of elite education.”

There are several examples of silver linings emerging from COVID-19. One of them, as described by the author, is Google announcing that the company will offer courses awarding career certificates that it and other participating employers will consider equivalent to a four-year degree in that area. But there are also many examples of dark clouds – many of which were already hovering over us. As he said, the pandemic has laid bare a generation’s worth of poor choices and accelerated the consequences. One last important thought from the book. As I continue to explore the Rise of Ecosystems, I found this description fascinating in that context:

“What tech has done to retail is unfolding in media. This juggernaut of an industry, with hundreds of billions in value and cultural influence like no other industry in the world, is being featurized—made into a feature, an accessory”

That will occur across every industry. I highly recommend the book.

Explore other pandemic topics via the links below.

FEATUREDA Post Pandemic Society

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