Where do we go from here?
Before writing this story, I was for a few days trying to think of what the coronavirus would do to our social behaviors outside, on Twitter I was seeing a lot of people like me discuss their post coronavirus plans and what they hoped to do, it was mostly people indicating they were going to be social butterflies when the chaos was over by doing things like hanging out with friends and going out to social events like brunches and happy hour.
For a while, I thought this was going to be the case, but as the coronavirus progressed, I began to wonder what social norms would actually still be possible after the COVID nightmare was over, and it did bring up some interesting points for us to consider.
Before the COVID happened, I was surrounded by very social people. Every time I looked on my phone, it was usually a group of people hanging out together, eating together, drinking together and having a good time and even when the COVID first started out, it didn’t affect my friends very much because it seemed an afterthought to suggest we could go for an extended period of time without having any contact with them, but as the coronavirus progressed, it was slow but there was definitely a massive decline with how we interacted with each other.
The story here is what fundamental changes the coronavirus will have on us long-term. To first discuss this, I talk about a common investment theme in hedge funds which has to do with trends.
There are two types of trend changes Hedge funds typically look at, the first is more of a fundamental change when something happens in a society that is expected to be long term, and an example of this is seltzers, as younger people begin to get into drinking they tend to try stuff and it is common knowledge that younger people enjoy seltzer drinks and so hedge funds will see this trend theme as constant and growing.
On the other hand, we have short term trend changes, trends that are currently occurring for a certain reason, and there is reason to believe that this phenomenon change will only be short term, for example during the cold winter, retail executives should see coats and jackets rise in the sale while there should be a decline in warm clothes, this is an expected trend and should not dictate the future business model of the business, so the question begs which trend are we currently facing?
While conjuring up this story, one thing I kept on alluding too was Airbnb, the giant tech company that is worth ~$36B just raised around $2b in the last few weeks to keep up with the strain the virus had put on its business.
The problem Airbnb was facing was that no one was renting their houses and homeowners weren’t giving out their homes either for the fear of the coronavirus that was going around, compound with the fact that the Airbnb homeowners took huge mortgages to get the houses, there were now facing impossible deficits as well.
I think when the Covid is over, there will be life changes that will stick to us. I think it is difficult at this time to really estimate what type of changes we stick to, but in reality, I don’t think common practices will happen for a little bit, the other side of the prediction is that this is likely a short term change, humans have shorter memory, and based off the early activities I believe we will not be seeing a longterm change with human interaction.