Adapt or perish

Adapt or perish! H.G. Wells said it over a hundred years ago, and today it is of vital importance more than ever.

After the Coronavirus pandemic has abated, few things will return to the old comfortable “normal.” To survive and prosper again, people will have to adapt to the new reality.

Take the celebrated handshake for instance, originally a symbol of peace… or the French custom of greeting friends or relatives by planting an audible kiss on each cheek. Those gestures have been with us for a very long time and they are almost automatic …

But they are now mainly disallowed and might disappear altogether. Due to the threat of Covid-19, most people today would recoil in horror if you attempted those familiar moves.

The world will have to adapt. What was perfectly normal and well-mannered yesterday is now taboo. But do not lose heart; kids will most probably provide alternatives to these antiquated greeting customs. They are creative and not constrained by fear of ridicule… One of these days, a new (unphysical) cool form of greeting will emerge and spread like black powder. Something like the Victory or the Get Lost sign… and some loony kid will be its originator.

Regardless of their previous occupations, many people will have to adapt and switch professions. Instead of crying all the way to the unemployment office, job seekers will have to be proactive and innovative. The question is not anymore “what company is seeking professionals like me” but “what does everybody need or wants?”

In 1849, the Gold Rush was on and every Tom Dick and Harry rushed to the Yukon. But not Levi Strauss. Instead of making the long and arduous trip to gold fields, Levi moved to San Francisco. In 1853, he opened a store catering to the miners’ essential needs. He sold men’s clothing, underwear, handkerchiefs, rolls of fabric, umbrellas… anything that the miners needed or wanted.

Strauss also recognized talent. One of his customers, a tailor named Jacob Davis, designed denim work pants, hammering rivets onto the pocket corners to make them more durable. Davis proposed a partnership and Strauss accepted. The ubiquitous “jeans” was born.

 “By the end of 1873, thousands of San Franciscans were wearing Strauss and Davis’s pants. The company would later adapt the name “Levi’s” as a trademark.”

 Find a need and fill it!

Alain

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