Blog post

Humbled and Inspired

Like many, I have been truly humbled and inspired by the way that New Zealanders, across the country, have pulled together to tackle the double whammy dealt out by Covid-19 – human trauma and economic carnage.

My direct experience is from working alongside the Founders and CEOs of the companies that Movac has invested in or I have a personal stake in.  We’ve seen it all: companies whose revenues stopped the day of the lock-down; companies whose revenues fell sharply or are predicted to fall sharply over the coming months; companies for who it’s business as usual; companies who are in the right place at the right time and are growing exponentially.

In all cases the response has been swift and decisive:

  • Existing plans have been thrown out the window,
  • Multiple scenarios have been modelled to guide decisions, and
  • New plans struck and implemented

This all done in the first 5 days. 

What’s been humbling is the way that everyone has pulled together and designed solutions, wherever possible, that ensures that everyone gets through this.  20% to 30% pay cuts or deferrals have been common and the response from staff has been overwhelming.  The government subsidy has been a huge help to manage through.  I have not seen this sort of response in my 30-year business career.  This didn’t happen during the GFC, the default action was people lost their jobs.

As survival plans have been locked in, attention is now turning to what the “new normal” will look like.  We’re reading everything and peering into the crystal ball to try and predict the future.  It turns out that that’s not easy!  What we currently summise is:

  • Moving out of Level 4, down to 2 (or lower) is going to take months.  When we do open up it’s likely to be region by region, with the major cities probably held back.  This means limited access to offices and factories.  Office work from home is likely the “new normal”.  Factory work needs to be replanned to ensure that the work place is safe. How do you protect from a hidden enemy?  How do we implement physical distancing, what barriers need to be installed, how do we clean?  Kids are going to be home from school for a while yet, what support do we provide to parents juggling multiple priorities?
  • Travel is going to remain tightly restricted until….we have vaccinated the planet or have “instant” border testing.  Let’s say 18 to 24 months.  This means we won’t be travelling the globe selling, services will need to be delivered locally and we need to learn to love Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc.
  • The hospitality, tourism, event and retail industries have a long road in front of them towards recovery.  These industries will shrink dramatically and there will be consolidation.  Domestic tourism will become the mantra for New Zealanders.
  • Global government stimulus will keep pouring in.  This stimulus will become more targeted and, unlike in the GFC, with the appropriate requirement that the tax-payer sees a return on their investment.  This means that good businesses will receive the financial support they need.
  • The sun will shine tomorrow.

So, we’re preparing to travel a long road towards a recovery.  Our companies are taking the opportunity to revisit their strategies, to accelerate work on the product features required to capitalise on the new normal, and adjusting their work practises to operate in a world that travels much less – one huge positive that’s coming out of this.

Finally I just want to acknowledge all the Founders and CEO that are showing great courage and leadership in managing through this.  In-particular the one’s that we’re in the trenches with:

Thank you, Ryan Baker, Timely.
Thank you, Will Baker, Mint Innovation.
Thank you, Gareth Berry, Unleashed Software.
Thank you, Phil Connolly, The RugbySite.
Thank you, Ana Wight and Vaughan Fergusson, Vend.
Thank you, Matan Gan-El, Adminis.
Thank you, Kayne Horsham, Kaynemaile.
Thank you, Tarik Mallet, Mobi2Go. 
Thank you, Selwyn Pellett, Coretex.
Thank you, Paul Reid, Author-IT. 
Thank you, Ed Robinson, Parking Sense.
Thank you, Brian Ward, Aroa Biosurgery. 
Thank you, David White, Shift72.
Thank you, Nathalie Whitaker, Toha.
Thank you, Ben Gleisner, CoGo.
Thank you, Ben Pujji, AtomicIO.
Thank you, Klass Stijnen and Geoff Keast, Montoux.
Thank you, Andrew Turnbull and Ray Connor, Revolution Fibres

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