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The New Normal is a new regular column Ventureburn will run, featuring business leaders and how Covid-19 is reshaping the tech world. Here in the first such instalment, Durban tech entrepreneur and co-founder of V&S Innovations, Tim Strang, writes on how the tech sector needs to rise to the challenge and take advantage of a world in which tech solutions are “scaling overnight”.
“A nation’s ability to fight a modern war is as good as its technological ability.” — Frank Whittle, credited with single-handedly inventing the turbojet engine.
For the first time in history, the world is united against a common enemy. Effectively, we are all at war and facing an invisible enemy in the global fight against Covid-19.
One only has to look at the history books to see the benefits offered by the tech industry in times of war.
Our sector must rise to the challenge and take advantage of a world in which tech solutions are scaling overnight
World War II saw rapid technology growth in fields like communication, logistics and obviously, war machinery. It moved the dial forward in terms of digital transformation.
The same is set to occur following the war against Covid-19. The global and local tech industry needs to rise to the challenge and take advantage of a world in which tech solutions are scaling overnight and literally changing the way our world works in the new normal.
As an avid follower of the top free apps on the various app stores, I have been amazed at the rapid growth of apps based on the critical needs that face our population every day.
In the early days of the Covid-19 fight, it was the need to connect and adjust the ways we work and play. This saw Houseparty and Zoom becoming the top downloaded apps overnight.
Zoom calls from home and the ping of a mate now in the house or joining Houseparty became the norm. Then came the rush to get day-to-day essential items and the rise of Bottles (great pivot) and Checkers Sixty60 — both local applications finding their way onto the top five apps in the country over a very short period.
Now, as level 4 has dawned, it is the turn of the food ordering apps, where, almost instantaneously, four food ordering apps now feature in the top 10 where previously there were none – incredible!
What does this all mean?
Primarily, it is the shift of users accepting this new way of living and using tech to help them on a day to day basis.
Online ordering and digital connection are all new norms. As a tech industry, we need to celebrate this rapid transformation and then look at ourselves as startups and see how we can leverage these new trends and accepted ways of working — don’t be scared to pivot to fit the new normal, it’s a risk but it’s a risky time.
Secondly, and most importantly, we live in a time where the “playbook” has basically been written for us over the next six months and longer.
We know what’s opening and when, based on the levels that we will go through in our fight against Covid-19, so use this advantage to make sure your start-up is directly aimed at a level/s and an industry with in it.
Money is not going to be freely available and I do believe investment will be even harder at seed stage.
So, be focused, make sure you have cash flow, understand your role in the fight and start having the right conversations and planning so when that next level announcement comes, you are ready to add value to the country’s users.
Featured image: blickpixel via Pixabay