I have already written a little bit about this, so I will not belabor the point of this post.
Basically, the idea is … stop profiteering. You have your entire life to make money. The process may resume in three weeks, three months, six months, whatever. It may be hard for a minute. But it will come back and we will all rush from our lonely homes and spend money en masse.
Look at the above. I did some work with this dude in maybe mid-2017. Seems to run a successful business helping agencies and solopreneurs. Seems like a nice dude overall. But like, instantly, as soon as this all hit … he’s got a f’n “Pandemic Sales Guide?” Ugh.
I worked at this agency myself for part of 2018. That crashed and burned ultimately in a very bad way, mostly because I think I was somewhat of a functional alcoholic at the time (plus they had no broader strategy), but I’m still on their email list. What do I get last Wednesday? Some webinar about how this is a “brand-building” moment for “the work tech community.” Honestly, a good chunk of work tech is leveraged to the hilt from investors, and all the Brads and Trevors in their sales function are just trying to hit numbers to not get piped.
There’s an utopian way to look at this stuff, and there’s a real way. The real way is that this is not a “business as usual” moment. When you profiteer and chase lead generation every second, you come off as tone deaf to millions.
But what about opportunity? That’s what entrepreneurs do, right?
Sure, sure. That’s part of the narrative. It might be the whole narrative at some level. And we all worship these guys to some extent, so I get it. I see it.
But this reflect a broader problematic trend line in society. You kind of have three buckets going right now.
- Bucket A is the woke hustlers. They see everything as entrepreneurial and opportunistic and they dream of Bezos, not Jeannie. They are constantly posting walk-and-talks on IG Stories about the big meeting they are heading into. They want the cheddar. They create pandemic sales guides.
- Bucket B is people just trying to live life. That’s the biggest bucket on the planet. They view work as a means to an end, and they hope they find someplace with decent benefits, OK managers, and not a massively high threat of layoffs. They can either be passive or be very active on projects depending on the context.
- Bucket C goes home and smokes weed, surfs Reddit, and plays XBox Live all night. This is a large bucket as well.
“Bucket A” has little respect for the other two buckets, even though a lot of guys in Bucket A are really Bucket C people with a bit more ego and drive. Bucket A thinks Buckets B/C don’t work hard, don’t look for opportunities, don’t pull themselves up. There are fundamental misunderstandings and assumptions between the buckets.
Now flash-jump to politics:
- Conservatives: “Liberals are pussies.”
- Liberals: “Conservatives are heartless and just want to get theirs.”
Arguments for both, but it’s all fueled by fundamental misunderstandings and assumptions and a lack of attempt to learn about the other side.
Same stuff happens with work. In this moment, one bucket believes “Opportunity is everywhere, and I need to be profiteering.” Another bucket believes “God, I really hope I don’t get laid off because I live check to check.” A third bucket thinks, “Is my weed guy sick?”
The buckets don’t understand and respect each other, which is an inherent flaw of the human condition as we’ve evolved.
Just take a beat
You can get back to your sales guides and profiteering and product vomit within about 60–90 days, I bet. For now just try to keep the lights on, worry less about pronouns at the beginning of meetings (go see my LinkedIn for more on that), and just be kind to each other and look for opportunities to connect, not sell. Relationships before revenue.
Now, anyone want my pandemic email marketing guide?