See through the pandemic

The virus is still keeping small parts of everyday life under control. But simply waiting for the end of the crisis is not enough. In Germany in particular, there are good examples that show how things can be improved.

Amazon tests delivery robots in Atlanta.

AWhen Jeff Bezos was asked what constitutes entrepreneurial success in a time of great change, he said, to the surprise of his audience: It is important not only to think about what will change, but also what will remain the same. The Amazon founder mentioned three things: The customer’s desire for the lowest possible prices, the largest possible selection and the fastest possible delivery.

His mantra of categorically fixating on the consumer has not only made him famous, but also one of the wealthiest people in the world. The online retailer has been guided by these principles to this day.

Of course, the Internet company’s success is based on more: on using the latest technology quickly and helping to develop it yourself – more robots in the shipping centers, delivery drones and increasingly sophisticated recommendation algorithms are examples of this. And Jeff Bezos, too, initially accepted, as is not unusual in the online business, a phase in which he weighted rapid growth higher than profitability, and for years he even accepted losses.

Waiting is not enough

Meanwhile, Amazon is a global corporation with more than a million employees and a trillion dollar market value. One that had more than $ 100 billion in sales and $ 8 billion in profit for the first three months of this year, more than ever in a quarter. The company has long since earned money not only from online trading, but also from the increasingly important cloud division AWS and increasingly also from advertising.

Amazon is not an isolated case. The other major Internet companies are also reporting good business at the moment. Above all Alphabet, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, but also, for example, the increasingly popular video service Netflix.

Yes, on the one hand that has to do with the pandemic: The tech companies offer the technological infrastructure with the help of which so many people can switch to the home office more quickly than initially thought, have now been able to work there for months and, as a result, maintain business operations. Their services also enable friends and family to stay in contact, school is not completely canceled for long stretches, everyone can choose from a wide range of leisure entertainment programs in their own living room – or save going to the store because the supplier takes everything home brings.

And finally, the corporations themselves are comparatively little affected by the serious restrictions everywhere, much less at least than tour operators, airlines, restaurants or small shops, which often find themselves in need or have already disappeared. All of that is true.

What skills are missing?

On the other hand, it is a fallacy to believe that without the pandemic, the business of Internet companies (and many others too) would simply have stagnated, on the contrary. In fact, the virus has already strengthened existing trends, accelerated developments that have already started – and in some cases relentlessly exposed weaknesses on many levels.

It is therefore all the more important for everyone involved to continuously and consistently draw lessons from this crisis now. It is not enough to wait until the virus is under control or everyone is vaccinated. Until everything is “normal” again – what does that mean?