A meditation on the usefulness of entrepreneurially-minded people in the new environment.
People always find ways to talk bad about people doing things differently.
Many of us who have this preposition have spent every day in school defending our way of interacting with the world. The creative. The driven.
These entrepreneurial personality traits are difficult to make use of in formal and structured society. In a static environment, it is best to get with the system and reap the rewards. A challenge to the way things are is extremely irritating to all of us, I will claim that this is also true for the more flexible types.
I understand why questioning and experimentation can come in the way of a beautifully oiled machinery designed to shape children into the same fully civilized citizens by using a very limited set of almost identical molds.
But now we are in times of change. We have fallen off the road of order into the ditch of chaos caused by the force of nature and aided by human error. The only way forward is to try to find another road. And this is exactly the time when entrepreneurial minds are needed.
Is this new road taking us into the future dystopia of the Pixar movie Wall-E? With obese humans floating around on levitating chairs/beds taking them around, making the need to move obsolete. And to hide the effects of their somewhat disappointing life choices, all humans instead interact using chat avatars.
They never meet physically. They meet online. And when they meet, they only see the artificial picture the sender wants to show. Not the real person on the other side of the screen.
I hear discussions and read articles talking about how this quarantine will have huge effects on the possibility to work from home and similar. Meetings will now be digital. People will travel less. Commuting to work will decrease.
To a small degree, I think that is true. The laggards of this “distance work trend” will finally be brought over to the mainstream where the rest of us already hang out.
After taking that caveat into consideration, I can see how the real human interaction is, at least for now, not possible to replace. Meetings are slower, workshops are impersonal, human interaction is taken from the pedestal of evolutionary complexity, with all our nuances, to a more basic and efficient form. We need the whole body, our sounds, touch (maybe even smell?), and the instantaneous speed at which these signals are communicated. Without it, the digital road will always be a makeshift bridge for emergency use only.
So where does this leave the entrepreneurially-minded people I’ve spoken for at the beginning of this article? I believe that as these protective measures will be removed, the human need for true connection will spark a flame of human-to-human activities. Within a year or so we will act as if this whole “stay at home and save the world” is a memory of a distant past.
But another spark has already lit another fire, much bigger than human needs. The global economy has lost months of production, probably leaving the whole world in an economic depression.
No rescue package will save us from the downfall which is about to unfold. But just as the world moves into the economic crisis, the opportunity to fulfill the human needs now so desperately wanting to be filled will be bigger than ever.
And that is where all you entrepreneurially-minded people reading this should put your focus, in my opinion. Be ready to innovate as previously doable but now ineffective solutions disappear. Take their place by solving the same need but better. There might never be a time with as much of an open field as soon as the fires of the depression start to fizzle out and the economy begins its recovery.
And be proud of this skill set you have. You will be able to show the people around you what your place in society is.
And to all of you who find yourselves not really among the entrepreneurially minded – keep an eye out for the driven and creative ones around you. Ask questions to see their vision. If you can understand, you can lend them your weight in the decision making process.
Because the status quo will most likely not save you. Not during the pandemic and not after, either.
Network Manager, Boost Turku Entrepreneurship Society
Master of Science (Economics and Business Administration)
“To infinity, and beyond”