The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
Over 760,000 individuals have lost their lives to Covid-19, while millions more have lost their jobs and livelihoods. Like the ancient torture, Covid-19 containment has doled out death by 1,000 cuts, killing the hopes and dreams of many. Entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig urges clear thinking on the pandemic, reminding us in this powerful piece that the world is not dying – it is resetting. What’s more, with a front row seat to a seismic shift from an old to a new world, it’s an exciting time to be alive. – Jarryd Neves
Is the world dying?
By Alan Knott-Craig*
The world is not dying. The world is resetting.
It’s changing from old world to new world. From analogue to digital. From flying planes to Zoom. From brick classrooms to Google classrooms. From grocery store visits to home delivery. From shopping centers to Amazon. From rush hour traffic to tele-commuting. From print newspapers to social media. From cash payments to Zapper & SnapScan.
It was happening anyway. Every day of the past thirty years has seen a pundit punting the internet economy.
- Robots taking jobs. Machine learning. Middlemen being taken out. Tele-commuting. Tele-medicine. Tele-everything.
Software eating the world. We all knew it was coming, but most people found it too difficult to embrace.
So they didn’t. For years we’ve been stuck in a kind of awkward waltz between the old world and the new world:
Asking scholars to use tablets AND forcing them to buy printed textbooks. WTF?
Covid-19 is forcing us to embrace a new paradigm. Covid-19 is a hard reset to the digital economy. The hard reset is good, even though some hard truths are being felt. It was inevitable.
No amount of teacher union strikes was going to stop online learning from overwhelming brick class-rooms. No amount of government-sponsored industrial development zones was going to stop jobs going to robots. No amount of child-friendly architecture was going to give retail shopping centres an edge over e-Commerce.
With the exception of tourism & hospitality, the sectors that have been hit the hardest were already being hit before Covid-19. Cinemas. Textbook publishers. Shopping centers. Commercial office developers.
There were hard years ahead for all these guys as they fought to slow the death of their business models.
In the immortal words of Ben Horowitz: “If you’re gonna eat shit, don’t nibble.”
The Covid-19 crisis is forcing everyone to just take a mouthful of shit, swallow, and then get on with life.
Embrace dark kitchens. Embrace teleconferencing. Embrace e-learning. Embrace remote working. Embrace universal basic income. Embrace the internet.
Walk away from the past and embrace the future. It’s an economic and social revolution.
It is the most exciting time to be alive.
- Alan Knott-Craig is the founder of Project Isizwe.
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