By now, we’ve all settled into some sort of routine… or, at least, the intention of one. 3pm-5pm is my “Corona time” — not because I sit back to enjoy a refreshing Mexican beer (and my preference would be Guiness anyway), but because I’m trying to give this aspect of my life a limited and structured block of time. I listen to the provincial 3pm update from Dr. Henry and Mr. Dix while digging through articles and messages I’ve received, updating numbers, and writing this… and 10 seconds after posting this, shortly after 5pm, I try to forget all about it for the next 22 hours. Much easier said than done, but distraction helps.
If you’re reading this post on Facebook, then you have at your disposal the technology to distract yourself in isolation forever… with endless books, music, videos, movies… all at your fingertips. Distract yourself to your heart’s content with all of that… or just send memes and pictures of cute cats to your friends; whatever keeps your brain in a happy place.
And, of course, connect socially — not physically. You know, of all the whacked-out conspiracy theories I’ve heard — and I’ve heard many — if I had to believe one, it’d be that this virus was created by the people who are behind the Zoom software.
To Zoom’s credit, they took advantage of this situation very intelligently. Luck = preparation + opportunity, and lucky they were… but also smart. They announced that their software would be unlimited and free for educational purposes. Every school jumped onto it. They also made it free for everyone, sort of. Up to 100 people can communicate for free, for up to 40 minutes. It’s genius, because if you manage to get a large group together for free for a 30-minute meeting… and the meeting invariably drifts toward that 40-minute mark, the hassle of hanging up and starting over is superseded by the simplicity of just signing up. Somebody on that call will sign up. We are all signing up in droves. And above and beyond all of that, they understood where the “friction” was, and removed it. Setting up a conference is easy. Joining one, even if you’ve never done it, is simple. Jump through a couple of hoops and you’re in, and once you’re in, the next time is trivial. The days of tying up the first 15 minutes of any videoconference with “We can’t see you” and “I see you but can’t hear you” and “How do I unmute this” and “It won’t install” and “What’s the admin password” and “I’m getting an error… wait…” and so on… those days are over.
A company that many of us hadn’t even heard of a month ago is now worth close to $40 billion. And for those that know what it means, has its shares trading with a P/E ratio of 1,500. For comparison, Amazon’s P/E is 80. Apple’s is 20.
Whether it’s Zoom or whatever else you many be using, this has radically changed the way we socialize and, to a great extent, I find myself Zooming with people I haven’t seen in ages. Like, there is a particular group of people I’ve been hanging out with, on and off, for over 30 years. Before the internet (as we know it) existed, we were a bunch of geeks who connected via modems… which ran at speeds so comparatively low to what we have today, you’d think we’re kidding. We used to go for burgers and beers every week, but as people grew up and evolved into real lives, those meets got few and far between. But guess what we did last week — got together on Zoom, geeked out discussing technology, asked a lot of “Remember that time when…” questions, watched a bit of Demolition Man together, and watched each other eat burgers and drink beer. It was wonderful. Guess what we’ll be doing every week.
Yeah, it’s not the same, but how lucky we are that we have this technology to stay connected. Let’s milk it for all it’s worth. A virtual hug is nowhere near the same as a real one, but it’ll do, for now. Stay at home and reach out to all your friends and consume the gigabytes of free data being generously offered to us by our internet providers.
Back to today… this post didn’t talk a lot about numbers, because around here… B.C., and Canada in general — we’re in this sort of “hurry up and wait” phase. As optimistic as the B.C. numbers look, it’s exactly not the time to take our foot off the collective gas pedal. Don’t go dancing in the streets. Dance all you want in your living room. And if you’re don’t remember why, read yesterday’s post. Once the weekend numbers have settled down early next week, we’ll see where we’re at, and by then, there will be plenty of trending data to discuss. But don’t worry — even if I have nothing meaningful to say, or what I say seems to be irrelevant… the numbers and charts always have something to say and I’ll keep posting them daily while we’re all here.
And finally, in other news… I visited my car for the first time in a couple of weeks and found a 2-week-old Starbucks Iced Latte there. The mold/fungus/bacteria/whatever-the-hell-it-was growing in there may well have held the cure for COVID-19… but we’ll never know.