The coronavirus has taken over the world. In no time at all. We saw it coming early on. That big challenges were waiting for us. The tech industry is probably more connected to China than almost any other. That's why we talked internally early in February about possible consequences. What if the MWC was canceled? What would happen to our sales? Do we need to take protective measures? We are well prepared - and yet it is worse than expected.
Why is this article necessary at all?
On January 22, 2020, the president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Prof. Dr. Lothar Wieler, said: "Overall, we do not expect the virus to spread very strongly around the world". He was mistaken! The virus was already in many corners of the world and - more importantly - people didn't take it seriously. The major outbreaks in Austria and Germany were mainly due to après-ski gourmet bars and carnival events, which, mind you, took place despite clear warnings or recommendations to close or cancel them.
So now the world stands still. Not yet everywhere, but that will come. Here in Germany, we are already at a standstill, but obviously many people still find this thought very difficult. They stroll through the streets with an ice cream in their hands, lie together in the park and drink beer and explain to reporters that they are not afraid and must enjoy every day.
I fully agree with the latter. But life can also be enjoyed at home and in one's own four walls. There is more time for the family again, conversations, cooking together. Games evenings, telephone calls or anything else where you don't put other people - but also yourself - in danger.
Yes, we are all hard hit by this virus. Personally, however, the carefree and antisocial 'I don't let anyone tell me what to do' behavior affects me much more. It not only says a lot about the current state of our society but, in my opinion, it underlines the fact that many people have difficulties with medium to long-term thinking. The sooner we come out of the crisis, the sooner we can look forward again.
In this article, I want to look at the impact it has had on us as AndroidPIT. After all, we only had to deal with insolvency last year. Coronavirus threatens not only small companies or freelancers, but also giants like Lufthansa.
What does the virus do to NextPit and AndroidPIT?
But maybe one thing at a time, after this long prologue. In January we sat together with some of our own people and discussed if and how COVID-19 could affect us. It was still a rather abstract danger. After all, the virus was many thousands of kilometers away and the whole region where coronavirus had its origin was sealed off.
We are missing out on content
However, Apple officially warned very early in late January that COVID-19 would probably make it impossible to meet its annual forecast, and manufacturers told us that the curfews would lead to delivery bottlenecks.
The situation in China was already quite dramatic at that time. What came out of the People's Republic sounded quite worrying. There was talk of many deaths - and that did not fit at all into the picture that many doctors were trying to paint. Coronavirus, they said, was actually more like the flu.
After we had repeatedly corresponded with manufacturers here in Germany, but also in China, the question arose for us early in February: Are we going to the Mobile World Congress or not. This decision was taken by the organizer GSMA - and the MWC was canceled.
Actually, every year the MWC is the most important event of the year for our industry. There and around this date, the biggest brands present their new products from the fields of smartphones, tablets, smart home, and much more. The planned catch-up dates almost all failed due to the virus, so that new products were either not presented or only entered the market without any marketing ballyhoo.
We notice that! There is much less from our traditional area about what we can report on right now. This is not so bad in itself, but it means that our grown projections are being abandoned.
That is challenging.
We are losing (a little) traffic
But we always manage to find enough topics to write about. At this point I want to emphasize what a great editorial team we have built up again. Nevertheless, especially this week we are noticing that people read less of us.
After talking to some of our 'competitors', they were able to confirm my assumption. You, the readers, have other concerns right now than consumer goods or tech bubble news. The news around the topic of coronavirus is constantly overflowing. Hand on heart: could you remember off the top of your head what the situation was a week ago today? Look it up and you will be surprised how much has changed in the last seven days in terms of new infections and official requirements.
People consume content differently these days. People are spending their time mainly on reading about the crisis and its effects.
That is quite challenging.
We lack turnover
The decline is not dramatic, but noticeable. Nevertheless, every lost visit to our site means also a loss in turnover.
In addition, all companies are currently suffering from severe pain. The travel industry. The aviation industry. The automobile industry. And almost everybody else. What is the first thing a company savs on? Marketing. Advertising rates are going down sharply at a time when they would normally be going up.
This is not only the case with us, but the whole industry has this problem. We are already hearing from some established media companies that have to announce reduced hours for their people. It's about bare survival for some.
It's challenging, but we can overcome this.
There is a lack of personal contact
People are not loners. Groups or herds help each other, give the individual trust and security and overall a good feeling.
We have great colleagues and people look forward to their time in the office, but also to the challenges of the day. Since our insolvency last year, we have fought our way forward and upwards day after day. We have discussed setbacks in the roundtable and we have considered solutions together.
Now we are all in different places all over Berlin and even across the republic. Even 20 years ago, this would have been almost impossible to cope with from an organizational point of view. Today there are video calls - an instrument that is really a blessing. We 'meet' three times a day - at 9:00, 12:00 (when really everyone is there) and at 16:00 to report on our tasks of the day, the progress, and the results. And on Fridays at 16:00 we chat for an hour with a drink in hand about a topic or show others our apartments. Starting next week, we will try to have one person prepare something and teach others. Music, language, interesting facts, anything to replace the daily conversations we miss so much.
Being alone certainly makes things more difficult. Being together, even if it's only online, it is a bit more bearable.
But it remains a challenge.
What is the virus doing to me?
The coronavirus crisis has already taught me a lot. Yes, as I have finished every paragraph above, the crisis is challenging. On the other hand, I have found the last decade, and especially the last five years in general, to be challenging. And I'm talking about from a human point of view!
Our society felt somehow slipping away for me - especially because we were all doing incredibly well. It was a decade of egocentricity. Many individuals focused on themselves and their own problems. The sound on the net, but also at demonstrations, discussions, football matches, or even among friends had become rough and sometimes, I even had the feeling that some were looking for problems where there were none at all.
Last week, French President Macron said that we were at war with an unknown enemy. Other politicians also sounded the same horn: "We are at war."
We are at war. And yet we are doing incredibly well
How cynical this must sound to people who have been through one of the two world wars. Or for people from Syria, Africa or any other country where it rains bombs even on nice days.
We actually know this scenario here, too. Our country has started and lost two world wars. Our beautiful cities lay in ruins and the people had nothing left. An insane wave of refugees was created.
Today, the destroyed and divided Germany is a united country once again. And one of the richest countries in the world.
It could be that the virus takes away a large part of our prosperity. Jobs could be lost, even large companies could be pushed to the brink of the abyss and values could be destroyed. But this applies to all people worldwide and to all countries.
If we are a country of poets, thinkers, and engineers, if we are as hard-working, inventive and in love with quality as we like to describe ourselves, then we will not only survive this crisis, but it can be an opportunity.
Even in this crisis, we still have a chance
The notion of "I" loses its meaning, because everybody is needed to help and support. We are forced to reflect on the 'we'. We need each other again, we have to be inventive and have the chance to create something big out of small things.
There are no bombed-out houses, we sleep in the warm and we can go to the supermarkets to buy something to eat. There is enough stock there, unless some antisocial egocentrics have bought everything already.
The We counts - especially everywhere in the world. Maybe we lose something through the coronavirus, but probably we gain so much more.
What can you do?
We are still giving everything. Even from home. It would be nice if we as a community could also move a little closer together and turn the 'I', which can be found here and there again and again, into a 'we'.
Maybe you also have ideas about how you can get involved here and teach or show something to the other members here. Let's encourage and support each other and see the positive side of the problems.
It would be nice if we could be creative together and overcome this crisis together. Community means community - and AndroidPIT has always been a community. Together you are always stronger than alone.
The crisis is passing. What we have in common can stay. In this sense: stay well-balanced and above all healthy.