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The dangers of building a business on the weather vs the climate

The strangest thing about the Pandemic and stock market to me is how many people seemed to think the world would change forever.

When you look at the declines of these shares in the last 12 months, you have to wonder what happened.

Peloton down 81%

Carvana -80%

Docusign -60%

Netflix -61%

Zoom -67%

Shopify -60%

Wish -87%

Robinhood -70%

Stitch Fix -77%

Redfin -83%

Wix -75%

The truth is that much of the world works like a paradigm, it's a system of behaviors that make sense together and reinforce each other.

If you are unable to leave the home, buying a car online and having it delivered by Caravana seems quite wise if not, essential. If the gym is closed, why not sign up for a Peloton , if you need to buy a house, an online Portal like Redfin seems logical.

But as rules, etiquette, social norms and societal expectations change, we quickly find life snapping back into a prior paradigm.

Zoom video calls make perfect when everyone is at home, but doing one from the office, when half the people are in one place is strange, trying to fit in a Zoom call while you're on a train home is a nightmare, in fact calendar planning in the hybrid age is especially tricky.

In a world where one may drop kids off at school, physical retail makes a lot more sense, nobody wants to get home to "sorry you were out" cards, a trip to a parcel depot is way worse than any store experience.

We can start to see why it was that in a world of fast, free, abundant internet, many people choose with full knowledge to do conference calls, to have client meetings, to join gyms, to buy cars from a person you can stare in the eye, to try on clothes in stores and all manner of behaviors we saw before.

I don't think I'm unique to point out the above, nor to predict the return to normal. But what is interesting is less the new habits that quickly vanished, but the seeds we sowed, that may not die, but slowly flourish. And what about the second order effects.

The car didn't just mean America built cities with large roads and lead to urban sprawl, it also allowed less obvious developments like Walmart and large superstores to flourish, it made the USA develop 5 times more space for retail per person, than any country in Europe.

The Microwave changed our relationship with food and labor and gave arise to the TV dinner. The electric washing machine changed out attitude to fashion and clothing.

So what happens in the medium term.

How does access to world class online training change the world? What does an acceptance of distance working do for immigration and the distribution of wealth?

What happens to rural areas once facing declining populations?

What happens to education now entire syllabuses have been placed online?

What happens to taxation when the place of work and home are unbundled?

What happens to massive retail malls once anchored by department stores?

Some interesting times ahead, some huge opportunities ahead and some big mistakes to watch out for.

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