Exclusivity is the new Bubble

Getting ready for Bubble 2.0. Those who can afford to will inoculate themselves from the crowd through amplified exclusivity. What this pandemic has revealed is that people can and are willing to pay a premium for exclusivity. Everyone who can (sort off) afford to buy or rent exclusivity will do so. This will include contactless business interactions with less chance of any infections. This is the new normal for those who can afford to. With the World Health Organization convinced that the world will not return to the way things where, most pundits agree that we have to embrace the changes that have come as a result of this pandemic.

Ride-Sharing may be Dead.

Enterprises not offering exclusivity may suffer long term. Every ride-sharing tech company will have to rethink their future as people buckle down into their bubble. Crowd sharing may be impossible to reduce in developing countries, but it may be over in the West. Even in developing countries the young working class will most certainly be investing in cars of their own rather than carpool or attempt public transport.

The NBA Bubble in Orlando.

As a response to the pandemic, the National Basketball Association (NBA) agreed to move the remainder of the season and playoffs to Orlando. All the players live in a secure bubble, no one comes in without thorough checks and probes. Literally, no one comes in, no family, no no-one. Is this an example of the way those who can afford to will live? Major corporations looking to resume operations at physical locations may borrow from this playbook.

Other Implications

Single-Use Items: On a mass level, single-use items may become the rave. Single-use salt and pepper in restaurants rather than those little sprinkle bottles we “share”. No sharing on the plane any more. No sharing of juice or water being poured into cups to serve on economy class. Few people want to touch anything they think many people have touched before them. The sharing economy is under threat and may never recover. Religious events are no different, no more sharing of anything or breaking bread together.

Yachts replacing Cruise Ships: Do we see a mass movement from cruise ships to yachts? More likely than not. I am guessing the same rule may apply to airlines as more people may be tempted to move to the front of the plane (more people aiming for business and first-class seats). Those who can’t afford to will be forced to curtail their urge to fly anywhere in the short term.

Amplifying exclusivity on a budget is the new business trend.

In a Pandemic, there are no True Experts.

When faced with a pandemic, the type of which we have never experienced before, there are really no experts. Everyone is either under-reacting or overreacting to the situation. The resulting chaos makes for limited progress for almost everyone. Beginning with the rush on medical services, people with regular coughs and colds thought they might be dying and in need of urgent medical attention. At many other hospitals, the medical professionals played down the threat and told those with flu symptoms to go back home, unaware that those patients were carriers of “the virus” being sent forth to spread it. In the panic, a few public policymakers in Africa panicked, shutting down everything down including food markets. If people don’t die from the virus, why not die from hunger?

As the dust settled (somewhat), some experts were more committed to justifying their previous actions than in acknowledging the fact that their initial actions weren’t made as experts but based on panic. The moment a pandemic of this magnitude breaks, few people (if any) know what they are doing. The few who had great ideas of what to do were burdened by the obstacles brought on by those who were reacting in panic.

Think about the example of a room full of people when the fire alarm goes off, people run in every direction and no one cares about your PhD or knowledge of the building. Panic first, think later! Trying to stop people from panicking and creating more chaos may be costly to you. A bloody nose later you, you will realize that irrationality is enshrined in our human psyche. Chances are, if we had this all to do again, we would do it all the same random way.

The Future of Capitalist Greed

Every major corporation in the world has been targeted in anti-trust probes for unfair market practices. Many of the same corporations have had to pay out huge amounts in settlements to governments around the world. The growth of enterprise appears to come with a fair amount of greed and desperate attempts at crushing of all seeming competitors.

These trends popularize greed and its outcomes. They lay waste to our model of doing all things with a good conscience. A young entrepreneur would ask:

· What use is a conscience outside of religion?

· What use does it offer in the market place?

· Why does capital require greed to grow?

· Will greed destroy the world or has it destroyed the world already?

· Do we prioritise other people’s needs or do we exploit those needs?

Photo by Maria Oswalt

What is Capitalism without Greed?

Social capitalism or moral capitalism was intended as the remedy to unregulated capital. According to Marcus Marktanner (Economics Professor at Kennesaw State University), social capitalism (or the social market economy) refers to the provision of equal opportunity and the protection of those unable to enter the free market labour force because of limitations. This includes those limited by old-age, disability, or current unemployment. Beginning in Germany just after World War 2, policymakers thought of a way to ensure that the vulnerable had a chance at a decent life while enabling a free market economy. This model is supported by high taxes and tariffs which governments make available to the needy.

Some will argue that it can survive on its own.

In an ideal capitalistic economy, there will also be a re-balancing when resources are running low. Capitalists must invent a way to keep the party going. It is in the interest of the powerful to ensure that they regulate their greed when it is most critical. A classic example is the Corsair Compact, a negotiated settlement to ensure that major railroad competitors slow down expansion before they destroy the industry. The capitalist greed of a few industrialists was leading to a less sustainable rail industry and they needed to pause. They gathered to negotiate the terms of such a settlement under the leadership of J. P. Morgan in 1885 and it remains an example of how capitalists will fix things when they need to. They agreed to reduce their greed to preserve a sector.

A self-regulated capitalist world may just save itself. Just maybe.

Can the Corsair Compact agreement of 1885 be relied on as a pattern for future self-regulated practices by “greedy” capitalists? Can it be repeated by today’s greedy corporations? Can we rely on a robust free market to save itself from itself? What if capitalists fail to pull the breaks when most needed? What if the capitalist, while chasing their greed, just let the earth burn.

Photo by Edward Howell

If innovation thrives in capitalism then maybe Capitalism will always have a chance to reinvent itself and repair any issue it has create. Proponents believe that the cycle of reinvention by capitalism will always usher-in another season of recovery and an opportunity for new greed to thrive. To trust or not to trust?

Can we trust the greedy to think and plan for the good of all?

Adapt, we must!

Unprecedented times are upon us. The events of 2020 have reshaped many of our lives, and I dare say we are just beginning to see the full impact. The results of what we are witnessing will linger long for many but maybe shorter for others. While most know what to do about the changes which have occurred, others have no clue. In 2018 when I wrote this book, little did I know it was literally speaking into the future. As you plan to navigate the “new normal” and sometimes tricky terrain, this book will be there to guide you. It follows a similar journey I had to take a few years ago, redefining myself.

Questions: Where do we start? What are the next steps? What steps go after the first steps?

Regrets: If I had known, if only I had planned better or if only I had saved more.

A Workbook for Your Redefinition.

Like I was at the time, regrets and questions have overwhelmed many, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When I put together the second edition of my book, I added a workbook. The workbook is designed to provide a winning framework for those battling the bleakness of a lost future. It begins with asking tough questions directed to lead you towards new possibilities. I hope the answers to these questions help you see what is a possible future. Many of us planned for a different future, and then all this happened, making that future is no longer feasible. The art of re-invention is one of the most important skills to have when responding to similar life-altering events.

You may need a new future when the old one is challenged.

Get this book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GFT8TKQ

Deaf, Blind and Dull Enough to Dive.

Often, success comes down to how blind or dull you were when you launched out to achieve that objective. To succeed at a thing, you need to be selectively deaf to what will extinguish that flame of pursuit. You will have to be blind to the evidence presented against your cause. You will have to be dull enough to think that all of the naysayers have no sense, and you alone have what it takes to make it happen.

Success is often synonymous with paying no attention to or knowing very little about how hard succeeding at that thing is. Depending on how blind you are to the facts, you will (blindly) plough yourself wholeheartedly into the project with the full conviction of a successful outcome. Some of us are too quick to give up when presented with the “facts” showing what can’t be done. We dive in, technically drowning but refusing every attempt at being rescued.

Some may call it naivety, a dullness (or naivety) to apparent facts and limitations. This behaviour (or misbehaviour) has birthed great results. There are things we will never be able to achieve if we knew exactly what it would cost to complete. The only way to achieve those kinds of goals is if our minds deceive us into believing that it will cost less (or nothing). Some projects only started because someone refused to research and understand what it would cost to complete.

But all these are half-truths!

Here are the whole truths:

1. The reality is that for those who used the steps above to reach their place of success, it had little to do with their deafness, blindness or dullness but more to do with the fire they had in them. True vision is like a fire that will never be quenched regardless of the seeming opposition.

2. It is that fire in them that makes them act mad, blind and unresponsive to the facts facing them.

3. You can’t fake the fire or co-opt your mind to acting oblivious to the facts stacked against your pursuit. No real fire = no genuine blindness to apparent resistance.

Can you create the fire?

This is the big question. Do we acquire these fires that fuel us through the storms of life towards our goals or do we discover them?

Which flame provides more power: Acquired or Discovered?

I will commit the time to dissect this in a future post.

Till we chat again.

3 Questions About the Future.

  1. How much of the future is predictable?
  2. How much of the future can be planned for?
  3. Do we have to be surprised all the time?

In observing many lives, including mine, I have come to realise that we’re best suited to adapt to what we’ve previously anticipated. To be completely surprised and caught 100% unprepared means you may have little chance at adapting to what “suddenly” surprised you.

These may be harsh realities, and we live in hard times, full of many uncertainties. To seek to attend to only soft issues is to deceive one’s self. It’s time to take on these tough matters which have resulted from missing the pointers in the past. Decide on your next set of steps to recover some semblance of normality and prepare more. Preparation is the only vaccine against sudden surprise in the future.

I have faced these realities and made a comeback each time. I teach these principles to those I mentor and those I have the privilege of speaking to. Here’s a summary of the “sudden future”:

  • The Future is more Predictable than we care to admit.
  • Some people are better at planning for and predicting that future than others.
  • You can improve your ability to be less surprised by interruptions.
  • You can reduce your recovery time by the steps you are taking long before those “sudden” events occur.

If haven’t done so yet, get a copy of my book What the Future Knows About the Past (on Amazon or Okadabooks). It documents what I found to be true about the journey to recovery: a journey I have taken a few times in the past.