COVID-19 and the New Normal

We are in unprecedented times. COVID-19 is disrupting every aspect of our personal and professional lives, forcing us to make trade-offs on both safety and commerce. Personal well-being versus economic well-being. Who lives and who dies is now a function of balancing those tradeoffs. Retracting too much or not enough can result in unintended consequences.

As an early-stage privately-funded startup, we too, live or die by the tradeoffs we make. But in the case of the COVID-19 crisis, no balancing act was necessary. The most valuable asset of any startup is the team. As I like to say there are 5 elements that create value in a startup: 1-Team; 2-Team; 3-Team; 4-Market; 5-Product. A great team can deliver any product into any market. Products and markets can change and a great team adapts.

And nothing is more important than the health and safety of our team and their families.

In early March, well ahead of any state-ordered shut-downs or stay-at-home orders, I mandated that all our employees work remotely for their safety, and that of their loved ones.

In the spirit of today’s Zeitgeist, we also modified our logo in solidarity with other brands like Audi, Volkswagen, and McDonalds specifically to emphasize the need to maintain social distance during this pandemic and as importantly that we are ALL in this together.

Fortunately, Working From Home (WFH) was a simple and seamless transition. We use all cloud-based tools for development, team collaboration, email, customer meet-ups, and business operations. You will not find any desktop or servers sitting in our office (or indeed employees!). The products we develop are a combination of cloud services and mobile apps, distributed electronically. No physical goods. No store-fronts. No face-to-face meetings. Essentially, we operate as a virtual company whether we share an office space or not. We’re fortunate to have that luxury.

Conversely, however, other companies and employees are not so fortunate.

First responders and medical professionals have no choice – they cannot work remotely. I myself have sons and daughters on the front-lines so I know all too well the trade-offs they make and the risks they are taking. I remain proud yet at the same time l am personally conflicted.

There are many heroes in this crisis, unseen and unsung – but the ones I am most familiar with are our customers. Their personnel are on the front-lines maintaining critical broadband and Internet service infrastructure. Almost overnight, they had to deal with a huge spike in demand for new installs and service upgrades. And of course, all these remote workers are placing tremendous, unforeseen strains on the collective network.

We want our customers to know that we are here for them, not just during these difficult times, but every other time as well. Our goal is to flatten the curve by digitizing the service provider’s world as much as possible: digitizing paper forms, eliminating the need for in-person document handoffs, reducing the need for service calls to subscriber residences, increasing operational efficiency and more.

This may seem prescient given the state of the world today, especially given the sudden and pressing need to eliminate unnecessary physical contact between people embodied by paperwork, unnecessary in-person interactions and the like, at least until this pandemic has been defeated.

One of the legacies of COVID-19 will be an increased sense of urgency to digitize our lives and business processes; yes, out of convenience and a desire to reduce operational costs, but also due to this sudden and pressing driver: our collective safety. We are proud to play a role in that transformation, and will continue to focus on innovation to make that transformation faster and more seamless than ever before.

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