In the classic fable The Ant and the Grasshopper, you’ll remember the ant worked hard all summer to prepare for the winter, while the grasshopper sat around playing jazz violin.
“You gonna store away any food?” asked the ant.
The grasshopper waved him away. “I’m practicing my arpeggios, man,” he said, folding his long legs underneath him and retuning his strings.
Then winter came. The ant was warm and cozy inside his comfortably-furnished ant farm, when he heard a knock at the door. “Who is it?” asked the ant.
“It is I, the grasshopper. I am dying from hunger. Please, do you have any food to spare?”
“Maybe you can go play a few gigs with your jazz orchestra!” replied the ant.
“Please, sir, I am a solo violinist,” begged the grasshopper from outside. “I have no jazz combo.”
“Well then,” replied the ant, “you’ll have to eat your violin.”
The moral of the story: ants are a-holes.
Preparing for the Winter
The good news is that we will make it through the winter. We’re humans, and humans are resilient. “Making it through” is kind of what we do. In fact, we’ve been through a lot worse – war, famine, Achy Breaky Heart – and we turned out OK.
If you look at this time as one big stress test of the human species, we’re passing the test. Sure, we lost JCPenney, but they were going down anyway. All told, this has been very difficult – and it’s difficult for all of us, in different ways – but we’ve pulled through.
That’s the good news. The bad news is this ain’t over yet.
We’re most likely in the second inning of this ballgame, not the eighth. If Coronavirus behaves like other flu viruses, it will slow down a bit in the summer, but it could be back with a vengeance in the fall. Now is not the time to practice jazz violin: like the ant, now is the time to prepare.
While pandemics are hard to predict, we’ve laid out a likely timeline of what comes next. Remember: the vaccine is the goal. Vaccine means victory, which is why we are calling it “V-Day.” Then we can clear out the economic wreckage and rebuild a great new society. It will all be worth it.
In the meantime, we must prepare for the winter.
Over the last several weeks, we’ve been laying out a vision for the future, offering blockchain-based solutions to the biggest problems brought about by this pandemic. We’ve mapped these to the three “Acts” of this great drama:
- Act 1: Blockchain-based supply chains can help us get critical equipment where it’s needed in Wave 2 of the virus, and may be helpful for basic supplies (depending on how bad things get).
- Act 2: Blockchain “immunity passports” (a.k.a. “FastYes”) will tell us who’s been tested, which will give businesses and consumers more confidence they can start working and spending again.
- Act 3: Blockchain bonds (also called “digital bonds”) will be a way that states and countries can quickly raise money in the meantime, similar to war bonds.
These times have been tough. But like the fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper, times may get tougher. We’ve got to work hard now to prepare for the future.
Best case scenario: Things quickly bounce back to normal, the global economy snaps back into place, and we all live happily ever after. But “hoping for best case scenario” (i.e., practicing jazz violin) is not really a plan.
This isn’t over until we get a vaccine, which most scientific experts (not politicians) think is 12 to 18 months away. Right now, everyone is just trying to figure out what to do next, but the smart money – like the ant — is planning for the future.
There’s one easy way you can contribute to this effort: spread the word.
Spread the Word, Not the Germ
If COVID-19 is the virus, good communication is the antivirus.
Good communication is explaining:
- we’ve still got big problems;
- we’ve also got the solutions to those problems;
- we need to get moving on them now.
Share this column. Tweet these ideas. Talk about these solutions with your family and friends.
For our part, we’re creating massive communication campaigns around these ideas over the coming months. Like the ant, summer is the time to start preparing for a possible Wave 2 in the winter, when the flu season kicks back in.
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