Ben Langhinrichs

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March, 2020
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Mon 16 Mar 2020, 06:33 PM
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The world is in crisis, and there's little doubt that for many of us, things will get worse before they get better. For some, much worse. We will be sorely tested, but we will prevail. (Though some of our leaders may not survive the mistakes they have made.)
 
But those of us in the high tech world have a ray of light to offer. There will be unprecedented new demand for collaboration, communication, and networking to keep the world running while we are all hunkered down in the backs of our individual caves, hoping the saber tooth tiger will please go away soon. Universities who have not previously understood the power and importance of remote learning are getting educated in a hurry. Companies that have mostly used face-to-face meetings as a way to ensure communication and solid business relationships must pivot rapidly to a world where most of their workers are remote for extended time periods, and all while the challenges facing their business are higher than ever before.
 
We can help. As Tom Lehrer would put it, we can do well by doing good. Notes/Domino, Connections, and Sametime are all products with a long history of meeting needs just like these, and have been recently enhanced to better serve those needs today. But that's not enough. We have a rare pause in our frenetic, hectic work lives to spend a little more time, first with our families and loved ones, but then with technologies we may not have learned yet, and integrations we may not have built yet, and toolkits which we may not have modernized yet.
 
We should seize this opportunity, not because we want to take advantage of calamity, but because we can help to alleviate it somewhat. We can help businesses survive the challenges, and even thrive with their newly isolated work forces. We have the technology and we have the energy. We need to find the creativity to solve the problems brought on with this new world paradigm. Most of us feel a little hopeless in the face of this virus, and there is precious little we can do about the crisis itself, but we can help companies face the ramifications. Perhaps we'll even feel a little more empowered if we do.
 
Certainly, we must take care of ourselves and loved ones, we must wash our hands, cough into our elbows, and maintain our social distance. But we can also take this adversity and turn it into a chance to do something more, something bigger.
 
Let's do this thing.
 

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