What you’re doing is important. Yes, I’m talking to you software, security and infrastructure companies. Given the health risks out there, our perspectives are fluid and changing, your work may seem inconsequential at this moment, but I’m here to tell you it matters. You help to power companies, institutions, non-profits, industries, countries and governments. You, on the backs of an internet network light years beyond its original use case, are critical to your employees and their families which in turn drive value to your customers, partners and communities. We’re all in this together and your work matters.
For businesses, there has never been a more important time to value your most critical asset, your people, and exercise immense caution in the face of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. The health of your employees and their families is paramount. It always should be. We’re all doing that with our work from home policies and constant communication on hygiene and social precautions to enact in an unprecedented and scary situation.
The People of the Internet
It should go without saying that without these committed and tireless talents no company would even exist and no impact would be made on the world. It’s an amazing truth (also being tested right now) that beyond our people, the second most critical thing for any business to carry forward in 2020 is the internet. We’ve never relied on internet access and performance more to support our everyday lives and workforces. A system based on trust, a broad and diverse network of networks, with bad actors aplenty, is the linchpin of our livelihoods, our careers, our economies. Our people and the internet have become the two most critical path necessities for any startup to even foundationally start, exist or thrive — followed of course by customers — and without health and consistency of all three, the dreams we all have become far less possible.
I’ve spent the entirety of my career working for software and internet companies where reliability, security and performance are the expectation of my customers and their customers. My role today, running York IE, and working with dozens of portfolio companies and partners makes this an interesting network effect dynamic. How can you show support and leadership of a vast web of important startups? How can we continue to champion the internet, its promise and its fragility? Be there. Communicate. Share empathy and inspiration.
We Need to Deliver
One constant in this day and age is the need for reliable internet, wifi that just works, cloud applications and infrastructure running at full steam, IoT reliability, and mobile devices at the ready – all with seamless experiences for end-users. If your people can’t expect consistency online, they can’t provide the high caliber work product your customers demand. They also can’t work productively from home. We all lose. It’s that simple.
This pass through or shared intrinsic responsibility (and often direct accountability) is something that service providers in any industry or market must take seriously. That’s why what we all do is so important. It also means there is another level of distraction in this internet field, or the tech VC world of owning pieces of these companies, different than the ones listed in my last post on distractions in the office, in startups, or for remote workers. These current events are forcing us to pay more attention to the utility of the internet and its macro expectations and requirements that provide flexibility and connectivity to the world’s population. It’s straight foundational to our world. It’s vastness and the diverse amount of content and data pervasive across the web will also in turn create further criticality over time. It only is growing more and more important and all things like it need to be appreciated and respected.
Let’s ensure we all rally together to protect the foundation of the internet during this time and all the great software tools and companies built on it’s backbone. I encourage you all to check out Internet Society and support their cause. It’s a great non-profit run by a former colleague and friend Andrew Sullivan, doing their part to steward and evolve the internet for the next generation.