Bill Moss AO: Adapt or 'it will be the end of you'. (The Australian, 4th May 2020)
Updated: Sep 10
Passages from the article.
Moss has something of a reputation for being able to predict the future. He was employee No 32 at Macquarie Bank, where he made tens of millions of dollars betting on such things as the rise of China (it was rickshaws and bicycles the first time he went; he came back saying it’s the future, and Macquarie backed him on it).
Moss says COVID-19 is the kind of event that has the capacity to change a generation forever.
“I’m a great believer, every 30 or 40 years, there comes an event that shapes society. It might be war, it might be a depression, it might be something like this, which, if you think about it, was always going to happen,” he says.
“There has always been the risk of a global pandemic. We have them all the time. Why would we think we wouldn’t have one here? And it will change the generation that lives through it.”
Some people will start to think about “going to the office” as real Mad Men stuff. What is the point of all those rows of desks, with phones that never ring, when it’s so easy to work remotely?
The flexibility that women have been seeking for years is also now upon us.
“We will go back to the office, to some extent,” says Moss. “But many people will be saying, ‘I’m happy not to work Fridays. Or else, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, I’m working from home. I can save on travelling time, and I will see my family more often’.
“The key to all that is having the right technology and the right management systems, to make sure people are productive. And that’s hard when you’re doing things that can’t easily be measured on a daily basis, like: how many clients did you call today?
“But you can have some things that employees are required to do every day, in order to build routines.”
Another example: going to the doctor.
“We talked about the office as real 1950s stuff, but the GP, that’s real 1900s stuff. But now the telehealth revolution is finally here, and it’s so easy. You have a five-minute conversation with your doctor, and he debits your credit card. They’re happy. You’re happy. That kind of flexibility won’t be given up easily.
“It’s going to impact the way we spend our leisure time, too. Overseas travel will be difficult for years. You might still go on a cruise, but most won’t, and if you fly, you’ll have to quarantine two weeks there, and two weeks here, and that’s not practical for most people.
“So, quite logically, there will be a boom in domestic tourism, especially outside the major cities.”
Moss says Australia is likely to come out of the crisis “as the global star. And that’s going to mean more people wanting to live here. And that is going to lead to social change, and probably tension”.
To read the article in full click here