Staying on Call for Our Communities

Mike Alfred, CEO, Digital Assets Data

All over the world, people are shutting down and shutting themselves in. It’s for the greater good, but it’s still tough to see and feels like the sky going dark. We’re looking for answers, hunting for solutions, and waiting for guidance. None of us is quite sure what’s safe and what’s healthy, and many of us don’t know where to turn. We have entered uncharted territory. 

On LinkedIn, I posted a simple message that sums up my beliefs as a businessman and as an individual. It was well received, so I share it again here: 

If I am one of your customers or you are one of mine;

If I am one of your investors or you are one of mine;

If I am one of your neighbors or you are one of mine;

If I am one of your friends or you are one of mine;

Call me. I will do anything in my power to help.

I’ve been heartened to see friends, colleagues, and acquaintances share my words and express similar sentiments to my own. It may seem like pieces of good news are few and far between, but I know I’m not alone in my beliefs about how we, as individuals, should respond to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s so easy to forget how many things need to go right to make the world work. When something comes out of left field, a black swan like this, it forces us to go back to our roots. We’re reminded of all the many people and companies we rely on to do our jobs and go about our normal lives. There are so many things and people we usually take for granted. This virus is a reminder of how connected we all are and how important it is to support each other.

Across the world and in just about every industry, people are coming together — while staying socially isolated! — for the greater good. In Seattle, Canlis, an expensive restaurant with a seven-decade history, converted to a cut-price burgers and bagels drive-through for the duration of the crisis. Employees stay employed and diners get a safe food experience. In Denver, where I live, tech executives began the #StopTheSpread pledge nearly three weeks ago; more than 1,500 tech executives have since promised to “lead boldly” and let their workers work remotely. My own firm has been fully remote since Monday, March 9th; we’re unwilling to risk the health of anyone in our communities.

What we do in business is one thing; just as important is what we do in our personal capacities. Here again, the signs are encouraging. According to the BBC, the first person who volunteered to try an experimental vaccine did so because they wanted to make a difference: “This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something.” A pre-med student in Nevada organized her medical fraternity to deliver food to housebound and elderly people near campus. These are just a few inspiring stories; I’m sure there are many more, and most won’t make the news.

Although we can’t know when our lives will return to normal, or how the profound changes resulting from the coronavirus will force us to reconceive what “normal” is, there’s one thing I’d like to see stick around. The community spirit that has arisen in the past few days is more comforting than the crisis is terrifying. We’ve been reminded that we’re all here together, regardless of who we are, what we do, or where we live. 

Most of us aren’t doctors or nurses or epidemiologists; we’re not on call for endless shifts testing the unwell, healing the sick, and coordinating responses. We’re not stocking shelves at the supermarket or filling prescriptions at the pharmacy or manufacturing the ventilators patients will need. We’re mostly in isolation, working to flatten the curve by staying inside. But we are helping, and we should look for further opportunities. On LinkedIn, I said that I was on call for my friends, family, clients, and customers. I hope you’re on call for your communities, whatever they may be.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.