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Friday, August 28, 2020

Pandemic Will Change Uncertainty

We have never looked at uncertainty enough, but has the pandemic made us more sensitive.  Also how much risk is associated with the uncertainty.  Good piece:

An Agent of Change
A look into the Covid-19 pandemic's influence on how we think, spend, and manage our businesses.

By Q Ethan McCallum and Mike Loukides  in O'Reilly

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how people and businesses spend and operate.  Over the coming pages we’ll explore ways in which our current world is already very different from the one we knew just a few months ago, as well as predictions of our “new normal” once the proverbial boat stops rocking.  Specifically, we’ll see this through the lens of decision-making: how has Covid-19 changed the way we think? And what does this mean for our purchase patterns and business models?

Welcome to Uncertainty
You’re used to a certain level of uncertainty in your life, sure.  But the pandemic has quickly turned up the uncertainty on even basic planning.

Your dishwasher, piano, or clothes dryer is making an odd sound. Do you proactively call a repair service to check it out?  Your ounce of prevention will also cost you two weeks’ wondering whether the repair technician was an asymptomatic carrier.  If you hold off, you’re placing a bet that the appliance lasts long enough for treatment to become widely available, because you certainly don’t want it to break down just as infection rates spike.

Stresses on a system reveal that some of our constants were really variables in disguise.  “I can always leave my house.”  “I can get to the gym on Friday.”  “If I don’t go grocery shopping tonight, I can always do it tomorrow.  It’s not like they’ll run out of food.”  These weren’t exactly bold statements in January.   But by March, many cities’ shelter-in-place orders had turned those periods into question marks. Even as cities are starting to relax those restrictions, there’s the worry that they may suddenly return as the virus continues to spread.

As this reality sets in, some of us are even weighing what we call “acceptance purchases”: items which show that we’re in this for the long haul.  Your gym isn’t closed, but it’s as good as closed since the city can quickly order it to shut down if local case counts climb again.  So maybe it’s time to buy that fancy exercise bike.  And ride-hailing services were appealing until using them increased your exposure to the virus.  Maybe now you’ll buy that car you sometimes think about?  You had considered downsizing your home, but you’ll appreciate the extra space if you’re spending more time indoors.  .... " 

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