Originally posted on Mike Goodrich’s LinkedIn page

First, I hope everyone is still safe and well. And by safe and well, I’m not just talking about the physical ills of COVID-19. I mean mental health as well.  

I’m noticing in myself the challenges of figuring out this new way of living. I remember when Elizabeth and I had our first child – four weeks in, the infant was nowhere close to sleeping through the night, our gracious family resources had been used up, our adrenaline at the excitement of a new baby was drained, and we were just tired.  

 I think that’s where we are now: collectively stuck with a four-week-old who isn’t sleeping through the night, making us question decisions made long ago. The newness has worn off; challenged by not knowing how long this will last, we are all beginning to be mentally worn down. 

 I now hope and pray for everyone’s mental health. I can see people starting to fray, just a bit. Being mentally and physical fit is important for us – individually and collectively. We will need our health in the days ahead. 

Being healthy collectively is important, and we need to think through how we can do this over a longer period. Total disregard for the pandemic does not work; it is not a hoax. But perhaps quivering under the covers every day does not work either. We need balance. One thing is becoming clear: as we start to contemplate “getting the economy restarted,” answers will not be easy. We need all of our wits about us. And I think we also need to be framing some of these discussions differently. In particular, I think we need to reframe the questions we are asking. 

Here are two questions we should be asking:

  1.  When will employees and customers feel safe going back to work and going back to life, respectively? I think this question is better than both when will we be safe from COVID-19? and when will we open up the economy? Both of these questions, important contemplations for sure, miss the bigger picture about the balancing act that we face. While extremists on both sides will argue for complete opening or complete closing, we know that the answer lies in between: a healthy way to exist in this period of time.
  2.  How do we have better conversations on social media? Before COVID-19, we had a terrible problem with the level of discourse on social media. It has only gotten worse. This is unfortunate. Notice that the question is not how to stay off social media. Rather, the question is how do we have a better conversation on social media? While I may be on social media too much at present, it is a prevalent source of social and local news and information right now. No longer do we have gatherings where information is swapped. In their place is social media, which at present is like a cocktail party full of extremist jerks. I understand that not everyone wants to put themselves out there (myself included), but what is left is a void being filled by propagandist regurgitation of impractical perspectives. We must do better.

Personally, I want to reframe this discussion because I still am not sure exactly what the answers – or even best guesses – are. Two things I am personally interested in – consumer businesses and entrepreneurialism – have a good deal of uncertainty in the days, months and years ahead. For consumer businesses, it does not matter what the state says if the market says otherwise. What will the market say when consumer businesses are reopened? For entrepreneurial businesses, the financing in the short, middle and long term is paramount. How will venture capitalist fund things going forward?

We do not have the answers yet. We can speculate, but keeping our collective wits in a constructive conversation will hopefully makes the necessarily conjecture more productive. 

As we work through this, a couple of articles and links we like are below:

Saving Your Health, One Mask at a Time” by Peter Tippett, MD

What Could the Venture Market Look Like in the Coronavirus Era” by Tomasz Tunguz

Are Venture Capital Investors Open For Business?” by Joe Procopio 

5 Founders Explain How to Raise Money During a Financial Crisis” by Joel Wish 

VCs Share Thoughts, Advice On State Of The Market During COVID Restrictions” by Sophia Kunthara

Raising Funding (and Kids) in the Time of COVID-19” by Yuting Su 

Use the Calm to Prepare for the Storm: How to Test Your Business Processes During the Lockdown” by Dan Wheatley 

Also, we suggest following these Birmingham-local accounts on Twitter: