Updated: Apr 22, 2020
A friend remarked the other day that history might record the hectic spring of 2020 as “that time the Internet saved the economy.” Then, to her credit, she checked herself and acknowledged she had been making different predictions in December 2019. Weren’t we all?
Cira Apps Ltd is among the fortunate thousands of tech companies whose virtual shops remain open in the lockdown era. “We don’t know what’s next either,” said the company’s CMO, Sonya Pelia. “We just have to steer through the curve. But as long as we’re afloat, we’ll do whatever we can to keep others rising too.”
There’s something valiant about a shrug like that. Pelia’s SaaS communications firm is donating serious resources to the #FightAgainstCovid, and she is pleased to note the new Internet phenomenon whereby sites publish roundup lists of tech firms doing the same. “That helps families, teams and organizations access any help they need,” she said.
“I shared an idea with Jason Feifer, editor in chief at Entrepreneur: a simple, organized list of free product and service offerings from all types of companies. Access to these powerful tools can help…” (Entrepreneur)
“Many other companies have announced similar schemes to make their products available free to help businesses and individuals with isolation and home working…” (BetaNews)
“Many organizations are asking their employees to work remotely. This, though, brings new challenges to the workplace as users adapt to video meetings, screen sharing, and the use of remote collaboration tools.” (BleepingComputer)
The #FightAgainstCovid may be a long one. Tech companies are in it for the duration
You can look back as recently as February to confirm that no type of forecasting can be 100 percent accurate. To put it in tech terms, the future has too many inputs to be completely and accurately known. But if all models are wrong, some are useful, Sonya Pelia said.
Forecasting does get more useful with better data, she noted -- and she believes she may have accidentally gathered some. “I don’t have a crystal ball. I have Google Alerts,” she said.
To #FightAgainstCovid, walk safely -- and carry a big dataset
Pelia estimated that lists of companies contributing to virus relief, some hundreds of names long, have been surfacing on the Internet at a rate of ten or fifteen new additions a day. “And that’s just in the tech sector,” she said.
That’s valuable information. It may say little about the virus itself, but it strongly hints at the sheer size and determination of the effort to defeat it. So online tech-help clearinghouses may themselves help move the needle against the pandemic. At the very least, the lists constitute a dataset on which to base guarded optimism about the near future.
“The future is unwritten, of course,” Pelia said. “But it looks to me like there are objectively more reasons to hope than to despair.”