Over the course of the last year when the coronavirus struck, everything changed and the world locked down. However, the wheels never stopped turning here at Futurety. As a team, we focused on looking to the future for new opportunities and continuing to expand despite the struggles we faced with COVID-19.
The purpose of starting this blog is to share an inside look into what Futurety was doing during COVID-19 to grow as a business, make an impact in the local community as well as overcoming the struggles and obstacles of a global pandemic.
What was life like at Futurety during the beginning of COVID-19?
The Sky Was Falling
You were all there last March. Everyone was watching the spread of the virus across the world wondering if their country would be the next to shut down. Glued to our phones we raced to look at each news alert. Then it happened, the U.S. going into complete lockdown, businesses closing, stay at home orders in effect, a surreal feeling of “Is this really happening?”
Employees were panicked, wondering each day if they would find themselves without a job. Projects went on hold. Payments couldn’t be processed. The PPP money felt scarce and unattainable. Let alone all the concern we had for our family and loved ones. It felt like everything around us was crumbling and the world was moving into chaos!
After the initial panic, getting everyone situated at home, and handling the immediate problems, we regrouped here at Futurety and said “Let’s stop living in the firestorm of the moment. Let’s look ahead, six months, twelve months, two years. Let’s pause for a second and take the time to figure out exactly where the puck is going.
Where the Puck Am I Going?
When COVID struck, it seemed like we had lost our sense of direction and there wasn’t a clear path forward. Our clients had the same issues we had and it felt like everything came to a screeching halt. Though it was in these moments that I remembered the story of when Wayne Gretsky was asked about what makes him such a great player. He famously said, “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.”
Now, while I admit, I’m not the world’s biggest sports fan, I have always loved that story because it reminds me to look to the future and while it might twist and turn in different directions, it’s about always looking forward to the future and planning.
It was this anticipation and planning in the time before COVID that helped keep Futurety busy and active. It was important to me during this stressful and dark time to remind myself to laugh and be thankful for everything I did have. Two of my favorite comedians, Steve Martin and Peter Segal helped get my mind off of things as I would watch their old standups and hilarious skits.
You would think that these two comedian greats would only ever think of jokes and new ways to be goofy, but they had some very wise advice that resonated with me and applied to Futurety.
Martin and Segal both have said that when it comes to being funny and it’s all about timing. You know your friend who has that perfect timing with a joke? And you know your other friend whose joke is always one topic behind? Martin and Segal both say great comedians anticipate where the joke is going to be in a few minutes and have a bit worked out in advance.
The same can be said about Futurety. While we could never have anticipated the coronavirus, we had thought of the future before chaos struck and while certain plans had to change, we had a place that we wanted to take the company and it was about remembering, and modifying, our plan.
While it may seem odd to be thinking of comedians and athletes for advice during a global pandemic, it was in the advice of Segal, Martin, and Gretsky that I was able to step back, breathe and find ways to anticipate where the world would be post-pandemic.
Looking Into the Future
After looking at lessons from history, analyzing trends and mixing in our best instincts, we came up with a list of predictions:
- Travel would boom. Where was the puck? Well the travel puck was completely dead. Although travel and tourism were among the first industries to crash, their rebound would be epic. What opportunities exist for us to make a move into that industry?
- Public Health would become a priority. After years of explaining data integration and visualization to our partners, suddenly our Governors were on TV every day sharing data. The world got a crash course in data and what we do makes sense to more people. At the same time it became apparent that there is a huge role for data when it comes to public health. We already had great clients in healthcare and government, so this shift into public health was a natural bleeding of the two.
- Developing talent from non-traditional sources. Kids were putting off college. Companies who survived on in store experience had to switch to online only. Although the puck was at very high unemployment, we saw the puck heading to a huge talent shortage, especially for technical roles.
- People would buy “experiential stuff” for use at home. Subscription boxes were already all the rage and it seemed people stuck at home would want an experience brought to them. We started to look for opportunities for Futurety to create an “experience in a box.”
- The wealth and equity divide would widen. The pandemic was a case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. People with white collar jobs and 401ks eased into a home work situation and reflected on all the money they saved by not commuting, buying coffee, or having a gym membership. Workers at gas stations, coffee shops and gyms found themselves without a paycheck.
With a large RFP (request for proposal) on hold we set out to use our resources to tackle these opportunities.
“Never Waste a Good Crisis” – Winston Churchill
I cringe a bit typing those words. I think it is never okay to take advantage of someone’s misfortunes. Though, I think there is another way to look at those words. Adapting to an economic crisis allows great companies to be built, which create great jobs, build great communities and solve big problems.
We looked not only for opportunities within our company but looked for new ways to positively impact and improve the local community around us.
Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing an inside look at the many different projects and opportunities that Futurety undertook during the last several months of the pandemic that helped shape who we are as a company today.