I have been struggling for over a week to write this BLOG and I still somehow do. In the current situation there is so much to say but at the same time so much has been said already and everybody thinks he has to say something...
Is it ok to write about something not important when people are dying or fighting to survive both from a health perspective and very soon we will have our biggest recession ever and the fight will be a different one?
Whatever you write is inappropriate those days. People start to hate other people that can still ride a bike...when you do something good these days people think you want to get free marketing - it became very difficult to write something and not offend anybody!
Currently there are some many questions but almost no answers...
I will try to make this blog not political but just share some thoughts that float around in my head. This is just me and I don't want to teach anybody what to do and I might be wrong or right nobody has to care about that.
I get many questions those days if we still work. Yes we do as we have the luxury that we are already all in our personal quarantines since a long time. When we started OPEN it was always clear that we "work hard to stay small" and that we want to work from a place of our choice. So Gerard works from his home office in Amsterdam, Marc our photographer and social media master from Spain, Matt our webmaster from Toronto. So in fact in the office here in Switzerland it is just Sebastian and myself. We have now created OPEN West and OPEN East. We have split the office in two sections in which everybody has his own little infrastructure such as bathroom, printer, etc.
It is kind of strange to work with a closed door but at least we have a glass window so we can see each other and communicate through the closed door...But we can be safe like that and stay healthy. I think as important as it is not to get infected yourself, it's even more important not to infect anybody else and I would hate myself for doing so.
The only downside for me is Sebastian got the only coffee machine and I am a bit jealous honestly....
Next question I get very often is will you survive ? That's an easy one. I always tell people that we are very well prepared for that. Our "working hard to stay small" results in very low overhead cost. So we have zero worries about that. But even more importantly, we are experts in surviving: When we started OPEN, not only did we make no for the first three years, we lost a fair amount. So much so that all my savings and my pension money (and I had well-paying jobs for 25 years) were gone. It was always clear to me that OPEN was "all in".
We had many up's and down's but we made it. I personally reduced lifestyle a lot during those years . Let me tell you - as many people might be in the same situation soon - it felt very good at the end. So coming back to the question, will we survive? Yes we will, we did for 3 years before. So we're a lot more worried about those around us than about ourselves.
Strangely, for the first time since we started OPEN I actually have spare time. I would have preferred this during good times as then 95% of my thoughts would have been positive. Now it is a bit different and somehow I almost would prefer to have no time to think... But on the other hand it forces you to work on new projects, rethink existing structures, adapt to the situation and for the first time to clean up my desk.
So actually I work on 4 projects that will give back money to society. On a small scale but at least something. As mentioned before I will not misuse them for marketing so I will not list them, they will just happen sooner or later. And we will not make money on any of them and donate 100% of the profit and not just 10% as some companies do right now...
Last but not least there are many many heroes in this crisis- too many to list. Yes there could be more but better than nothing. So here just 3 very randomly picked people/companies that impressed me this week.
: Impressed me already last year with moving a lot of the clothing production back to the USA. Now they are producing masks and face shields for hospitals (no not for private people also they could sell a ton...)
2) Tim Cook from Apple who has sourced over 10 millions masks for people in health care not only in the USA but around the globe.
3) Every body that works in health care they are the biggest heroes right now. I had to spend 5 hours because of an emergency in a hospital this week. I had a lot of time to look at those people working in rough conditions not even being able to ask themselves what to do to not get infected? They are the role models. I know personally people in health care that got infected helping other people. I want to express an offer to them. Whenever this storm is over come to see us in Basel for a weekend riding and recharging batteries. We take good care of you, have bikes ready to rock and roll and you can stay for free in our B&B at the office (the coffee machine included). Contact me by mail hopefully in the summer when we can enjoy outdoors again without limitations.
Ok, enough words wasted. Please don't comment. I just want to mention one last thing: "lose your dreams and you will lose your mind".
Stay positive and keep dreaming and most important: all of you and your beloved stay healthy.