The World After the Coronavirus

11 ways Covid-19 will change our lives

This post was first published on The Generalist, a newsletter about the future for the digressive and curious. You can sign up here.

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Rudy Golbert, the NBA’s patient-zero (Bleacher Report)

1. The Asterisk Season*

The NBA and NHL are suspended indefinitely. The MLB has delayed the start of its regular season. The Premier League, Serie A, Liga, Bundesliga, and Champions League have shutdown. Credit to the leagues for acting in the interest of public health, despite the fact that it poses an impossible quandary. As a follower of soccer, I am most familiar with the specifics of the Premier League, though the contours of the problem remain the same across sports: how can champions be crowned if games are not played?

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Katzenberg and Whitman’s high-wire act might work (LA Times)

2. Quibi breaks out

The Katzenberg/Whitman vanity vehicle was destined to fail. Raising $1.8B pre-product? Absurd. Entering a content war with Disney and Netflix, both deeper-pocketed and garlanded with unique IP? Brave. Getting sued for one of the few intriguing product features before anyone’s had a chance to use it? Foolish. Actually choosing the name quee-bee? C’mon.​

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Expect more Americans to vote from home (EAC)

3. Remote voting takes center-stage

By the time America heads to the polls, coronavirus may have returned. If it acts similarly to influenza and SARS, summer should ease Covid-19’s transmission, while colder weather resurrects its spread. Last November, the national average temperature was 41F, with a nationally averaged maximum temperature of 52.5F. Given that coronavirus has spread most easily in countries with climates between 41–52F, those American that want to cast their ballots in person may have to brave something of the virus’s perfect storm: cool temperatures and crowds.

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Snake oil wellness brands like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop will fall out of favor (Good Housekeeping)

4. Wellness fanatics flee to trusted brands

“May you and your family bathe in Purell.”

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Doordash has a chance to change the narrative ahead of its IPO (CNBC)

5. Doordash delays, and flourishes

The markets had spoken. Money-burning, operationally-intensive businesses like Uber and Lyft had been overvalued by private investors and must now prove themselves under the sober gaze of a more circumspect class of financiers. Why should Doordash, in a knife-fight with Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates, be any different?

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2020 could be a turning point for gig worker rights (ThoughtCo)

6. Gig workers have their “Great Upheaval” moment

Employees of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) had reached their boiling point. Over the prior year, their wages had been cut three times, the latest a 10% reduction. On July 14, 1887, they decided to do something about it, stopping work and blocking trains from leaving the station in Martinsburg, West Virginia until salaries were restored to their former rate.​

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Neolix vehicles are disinfecting streets and delivering supplies (CNET)

7. AVs get looped in

That leverage will not last forever, particularly given the imperfection of human hardware. Just as this may be a defining moment for gig workers, it may be an equally critical period for autonomous vehicle operators. The modern scab is a machine.

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Tom Hanks’s Elvis biopic has halted production (Consequence of Sound)

8. Production bottleneck recasts Oscars

The average Hollywood comedy takes close to 800 days to go from first announcement to finishing post-production. Dramas take closer to 850 days, while adventure films take roughly 3 years. Shooting itself can take 120 days, with additional time taken up by pre-production work.

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The US is reliant on China for pharma manufacturing (Nikkei)

9. Manufacturing decentralizes, does not come home (yet)

The coronavirus may do more than delay the newest Apple product or Pixel phone. Over the past few years, 97% of US antibiotics have been supplied by Chinese firms. The States is similarly reliant on the country for vitamin C, ibuprofen, hydrocortisone, and other critical pharmaceuticals. Generic birth control, AIDS medication, antidepressants, and diabetes treatments are also manufactured in China. Should the outbreak continue to diminish operating capacity, the US may find itself facing a drug shortage just as supplies are needed most.

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Overwatch may engage viewers while leagues lay dormant

10. ESPN embraces esports

The first esports final shown on ESPN did not endear itself to viewers. The 2015 Heroes of the Storm clash between UC Berkeley and Arizona State left spectators confused, with the network trending on Twitter thanks to an outpouring of online snark. Three years later, the network turned to Overwatch, showcasing the Grand Finals on ESPN 2, earning 215K viewers. The Sunday night recap on ABC saw 358K tune in. Far from remarkable viewing figures, but indicative of burgeoning interest, especially since no previous matches had been shown.

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Modern religious organization like C3 and Churchome have live-streamed services

​11. A return to religion

The last decade has seen America stray from God’s light, the next few years may see some rapprochement. According to Pew Research, 40% of millennials are unaffiliated to any religion, with a further 10% adhering to a non-Christian faith. From 2007 to 2019, “religious nones” rose from 16% to 26%.

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Tech from idea to IPO at readthegeneralist.com. Investing in chaotic-good founders at charge.vc

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