Adam Benzion, writing in Fast Company, posits that moving online is the way to go and that permanent changes may be here to stay. I must say that I wonder about that. Benzion, of course, is a Silicon Valley graduate and of course sees the world through that filter. Let’s take a look at the businesses he says will prosper by going online.
Exercise Businesses: I don’t think so. The main reason I go to the gym, when I did go, was because the other people there, either actively or passively, encouraged me to do better, to really make it happen.
Food Establishments: Oh Please. Part of the excitement of ‘going out to dinner’ is ‘going out.’ Food isn’t the same from a cardboard container, warmed up in your oven.
Event Venues: Ted Talks are great, but we go to trade events to meet old friends, make new ones, and touch and feel new products and services. And if it’s in Vegas, well….
Community Engagement: If “Next Door” is any example, online community engagement brings out the wierdos on your block. These are people that won’t go to a community meeting but hide behind their laptops and whine about not having locked their cars and why the police haven’t stopped car thefts in their neighborhoods.
Education: I guess I’m just old school, but I cannot see a real live teacher replaced with a video screen. A large part of going to school is the experience of learning how to interact with others, dealing with bullies, and feeling the thrill of success over failure. (And also the sadness of failure when it really doesn’t make a lot of difference.)
Physical Retail: Maybe its just me, but I really don’t like to buy something without feeling or even smelling it. I love to go to Home Depot – there is a guy there than has an answer to my questions. It may take two or three trips, but it’s worth it.
Manufacturing and Construction: You gotta be kidding. I want to live in a house where the builder learned his trade online. I think not.
I want to live ‘real life.’ Reach out right now and touch the display you are reading. Its cool, flat, and guess what, not real. Reality is walking the dog at 5 am, tripping over the sidewalk, and ending up in the emergency room (after walking home dripping blood all the way). It proves you can survive, and you meet the nicest people along the way.
The virtual world can bring a lot to your living room, but it will never be the same as jumping into that arena, taking a risk, and feeling the thrill of victory or even the agony of defeat. When it’s you out there, doing it, life is really worth living.
We have been on ‘lockdown’ for about five weeks. OMG, five weeks. There are a few more to go. It’s not the end of the world, gang. We will be back, driving, eating out, going to movies and concerts, visiting friends, hiking in the hills, going to the beach, and living our lives. Sooner than you think.