Published 11:58 AM EDT May 2, 2020
Times have changed haven’t they?
I still remember the night In March watching the last game of the SEC Basketball Tournament and terms like social distancing, essential business and Zoom bombings were not in my daily vocabulary.
Our company is in the Information Technology sector as defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) but I didn’t need the government to tell me we were an essential business; there was literal smoke pouring out of our phones the first month of this situation (not literally). The first call came in about making sure an organization was all set to work remotely and then more and more and more.
Most of our clients are so gracious and kind that despite the volume being unprecedented (like Ozzy Osbourne concert volume) and even with delays in response time and shipping we are able to get the job done so far (steady as she goes). A shout out to our team from me to you, thank you. To be able to do our small part to keep businesses in our community running felt pretty damn good.
I was just talking to Paul Watts at Electronet as we sometimes collaborate to troubleshoot with mutual clients when in crisis (and in normal times too) and he said; it is like we are in hurricane mode but instead of 3 or 4 days its 30-60 days. Indeed, the pace and the change is extreme. Most weeks I have 5 or 10 onsite meetings/collaborations, now that is zero. Remote everything, as you see in the pic with Katie above.
I am not complaining, just sharing my story and my prayers are with everyone in our community for a speedy financial and health crisis recovery. My point is if you would have told me over Christmas that I would be leading a company through a global pandemic with almost all of our clients switching to a remote work model, and that there would be no concerts, sports, or dining out for weeks on end, I would ask what sort of Mad Max land crack are you smoking? But here we are.
I watched “60 Minutes” recently because Scott’s voice is always nice to hear during a crisis. The dude can tell a story. He went on the front lines with the healthcare workers in New York and several of them said despite the impossible mission, they were fired up to get back to work, that the camaraderie was something they had never felt before.
On a different level I feel that here with our team. Granted we are almost all remote, but there are a couple of us holding down the fort here. But tools like Zoom and Sharepoint have all of us in touch every day and we are working as fast and efficient as ever before.
Not one person has complained about anything since this all started. In fact it is the opposite, it is complete team work. People stepping up and taking on more tasks just to help out their colleague.
Someone once told me that once you become CEO, no one will ever tell you thank you, or “nice job” ever again. I guess that is true some places; however I had a team member drop a bottle of wine off on my front porch yesterday to say thanks for everything during this time. It was just about the coolest gesture ever.
Around the world we are seeing lots of negativity in the cyber landscape during this time. We are seeing coronavirus themed phishing emails and texts embedded with malware, we are seeing and Zoom bombing (people crashing Zoom calls and sharing inappropriate content) in our schools and churches.
Speaking of Zoom, people point the fingers at them pretty fast over this situation, but they were called upon to keep learning in our schools going and they pulled it off. They went from 10 million users to 200 million in a couple of months; of course there will be problems.
Sit tight, they will fix them. In the meantime, don’t post Zoom meeting links online, and add password protection.
In North Florida, you see groups like Second Harvest helping our community put food on the table, you see learning institutions adapt, law enforcement and elected officials doing everything they can to keep us safe and in the know, healthcare professionals putting it all on the line. It really makes you feel part of something special. Scary yes, but we are all in it together.
This is my first pandemic so I am almost at a loss for words but I am thankful to be part of a community that cares for each other, where kindness is the norm instead of hate.
God bless you all and see you on the other side of this. Shoot me an email if you need help working remotely, as our phones are only simmering now. The smoke has cleared and hopefully one day soon all this will clear up, too.
Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and hosts the Biz & Tech Podcast. He writes for several media outlets and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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