Kippa, Reminders for Microsoft Teams

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few: Prime Minister Churchill’s words from the second world war apply as much to our healthcare workers today as they did to the Royal Air Force pilots who fought the Battle of Britain in WWII. We owe these courageous and dedicated people a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. Thank you seems woefully inadequate.

The overriding thought we wish to convey at this time in our history, is that you are not alone. While the COVID-19 pandemic is obviously an unfolding tragedy, it has had a few positive impacts on our lives:

  • People all over the world have seen others of diverse cultures, races and religions, all reacting to the tragic deaths of loved ones with the same grief and compassion. Despite our differences, our hearts all beat in the same way. Seeing people in this new light should lead to better cooperation between nations and to a deeper understanding that we all share the same planet.
  • A reevaluation of the benefits of leading more modest lives. Spending less on frivolous things, being more aware of how lucky those of us are who are not starving or facing financial ruin; enjoying spending more time with our families whether in locked down households or via video conferences. Suddenly, we’re all doing things for ourselves again, like cooking!
  • A growing understanding of the importance of hope in our lives. History has shown, time and time again, that when we’re fighting for our lives, we are capable of heroic acts of courage and determination. The people who can see a changed future ahead, one in which their hopes for a return to what will be the new normal will come about, are the ones we turn to for solace in our worst moments of despair.
  • Seeing our cities around the world, for the first time ever from space, clearly, unshrouded by palls of pollution because we’re burning fewer fossil fuels.
  • Discovering that our technology has advanced sufficiently that many of us can successfully work from home, inspiring us to reevaluate:
    1. the daily commute. Why not spend the hour or two we used to lose in traffic or on public transit, working or socializing or just relaxing in front of a screen?
    2. travelling distances to attend meetings. While many of us could work while we sat in a transit lounge or on an aircraft, avoiding the stress of travelling, saving the expenses associated with it and gaining all the time it consumed, is leading us to meet virtually instead. A trend which will continue in the future simply because the crisis has rendered the concept legitimate: We are no longer compelled to show that we care enough to leap onto a plane to attend a meeting when the desired outcome can be gained virtually.

It’s worth noting that the ability for services like Zoom, Netflix and Microsoft Teams, to expand their user base more or less infinitely on demand, is only made possible by The Cloud. Imagine any one of these companies trying to expand their own computing facilities to add millions of users in days!

This confluence of computers, the Internet and communications capabilities, and the newly enabled distribution of workplaces, promises great shifts in the way we work and play. If you’re interested in these trends, Jeremy Rifkin’s Third Industrial Revolution and Klaus Schwab’s The Fourth Industrial Revolution are worth a look.

But from our own more narrowed personal focus, the future of Microsoft Teams, and the power inherent in a team of humans all pulling in the same direction, are assured. We have high hopes that this crisis will pass.

I believe JRR Tolkien said it best: “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Stay safe and well, will ya?

Bit-by-Bit #179

Kippa: Reminders for Microsoft Teams