Welcome to the world of business as unusual.
Last Monday I flew to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia to interview Deb and Joe Dellaposta of Doing Better Business (DBB) for our monthly CR CONNECT 2020 Dealer Tour profile. I was filling in for CJ, who was originally scheduled to make that trip.
When I made my flight arrangements the week before, it never occurred to me what a difference a week would make. As the date drew closer, I was mildly concerned about making this trip. Despite those concerns, I flew out of Philadelphia on one of the first flights of the morning and flew home early the next day.
It was a terrific visit and you’ll be able to read about it in our May issue.
By the time I got home from the airport Tuesday morning the situation had changed dramatically. The NBA suspended its season, opening day for MLB was postponed for two weeks (now probably longer than that), the NCAA was considering playing their tournament games in empty arenas (that was a couple of days before they scrapped the tournament altogether), and many other non-sports-related events had been canceled or postponed.
I spent a good portion of that evening watching YouTube videos about COVID-19, including an informative Joe Rogan Experience podcast with Michael Osterholm, an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. Here’s the link. You can also view the interview in short segments by searching for it on YouTube.
Then the work-related cancellations started. The first cancellation was an HP event in Anaheim scheduled for the last week of March. That event was canceled the last week in February, two days after I had made my flight arrangements through HP’s travel agency. At the time I felt it was a little premature but now appreciate how proactive HP was in making that decision.
Last Thursday we were notified that Kyocera was postponing its regional dealer meetings to the fall. Then on Friday, we learned that drupa in Dusseldorf, Germany had been canceled. I was scheduled to fly with CJ to drupa in June and had been monitoring the drupa site daily. After I saw German Prime Minister Angela Merkel on the news saying 60-70% of Germans will likely be affected by the virus, I figured it was only a matter of time before that event was postponed. Yesterday evening we received notification that Toshiba LEAD was canceled. We were also planning on covering ISA Sign Expo in Orlando the first week of April but that event has been postponed until late August.
Those cancellations were only the start. Next came all the other cancellations and postponements unrelated to our industry that started flooding my inbox. First, my church canceled in-person Sunday services starting this past Sunday. Instead, one Sunday service would be broadcast via Zoom starting this past Sunday. I was recruited to assist, and am happy to report it was successful with only a couple of minor glitches. More than 125 people watched via Zoom. That number doesn’t include couples and families who watched together on the same feed. We also did the Sunday financial offering using PayPal. That too was successful.
This experience showed me that even though we can’t always conduct business as usual during this difficult time, with a little creativity and technology, we can conduct business as unusual.
Because The Cannata Report team works from our homes, the impact of this situation has been minimal on us so far. We are fortunate that we have access to technology that allows us to collaborate and work remotely. Coincidentally, yesterday while making the final edits to our cover story about smart offices for our April diversification issue, I revised the lead to reflect current events and how smart offices fit into that picture. Not to be an opportunist, but if there was ever a time to market technology that enables remote workers, now is the time.
This continues to be an extremely fluid situation unlike anything many of us have ever experienced. As we continue on this uncharted journey together, The Cannata Report will publish digital content focusing on what your peers and colleagues across this country as well as other industries are doing to weather this crisis.
Be smart and be safe.
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