Most people are currently at the end of their two week quarantine period (its definitely getting prolonged), and we can tell that people are turning a bit crazy just from the sheer amount of new activities being done on social media. Downloads for TikTok and Houseparty are trending up and on Instagram, people are tagging one another to do various challenges, which I think is amazing!
For once, social media platform felt like a social media — and not just another platform to share only the most curated parts of our lives. It felt like the early 2010s again.
Source: Google Trend
I began doing this weekly blog because I wanted to write more. I mentioned on my first issue that I wanted to jot down my thoughts in a coherent way, and hopefully others can get some value out of them. Well, practicing social distancing certainly gave me a lot of additional time to stay within my own mind and map out my whole perspective on this unique event that’s currently occurring in our lives.
How will all of us, as a society; change once we get over this together?
First of all, for a few of my friends or whoever reads this that are still downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19, please stop. Individuals as old as seventy have said that they’ve never seen something like this before in their lifetime. Previous virus outbreaks tend to be more isolated and obvious to the eye. Whereas our current invincible enemy is more like a guerrilla warfare — stealthy and deadly; enough to sent America back home from Vietnam.
I am confident that we will get over this pandemic.
The important questions are “when?” and “what’s the economic impact?”.
Multiple articles from notable financial medias have outlined the same topic in the past two weeks: the economy and COVID-19 are in a race. The longer it takes for us to bend the global growth curve, the more severe our economy will be impacted. Unfortunately, unlike 2008, the current recession is not only going to significantly affect the US, but it will ripple to emerging countries because of its exacerbator, COVID-19.
A lot of people have lost their jobs. Unemployment claims soared to ~3.3 million last week as the lock down continues. For context, the weekly average in the past 18 years is 345,000 and the peak of 2008 recession is ~750,000. In order to provide help for the economy, the Fed has decided to provide a $2.1 trillion stimulus geared towards businesses/individuals and conduct “enhanced” infinity Quantitative Easing (QE) with the added ability to purchase lower quality issuers including asset backed instruments, municipal, and corporate bond. However, will this be enough? With so many moving parts from zero-interest rate policy, liquidity crunch, credit crisis, severe inflation caused by money printing, and others; things can get complicated very quickly and cause another systemic risk.
I won’t bother you with the details because the aforementioned topic is an entire discipline of its own. Here’s the TL;DR — be very cautious about your money in 2020. At times like this, liquidity is king. There’s a reason why we haven’t seen any Berkshire Hathaway deals.
The World Post COVID-19
Once we get through this challenging period in our lives and enjoy public places on a daily basis again, some things will return to normal but others will be permanently impacted.
My believe is that the trend surrounding jobs and career will revert to the mean. Meaning that young professionals will think thrice before deciding to pursue a career in startups or other riskier endeavors that were popularized and enabled by the rise of big technologies (FAANG), from 2008 - 2020. I work for a small, unique company with a lot of potential and extraordinary people. However, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t feel any form of concern and thought that perhaps choosing to work for large established companies like most of my friends are the better way. But I regret nothing.
As people get reminded that a decade of hard work can be wiped out within weeks, the mania of working for an exciting, small company with a lot of potential will die down for a bit (it will eventually emerge again, everything is a cycle). More people are going to choose to work for large established firms with clear longevity, which conventionally were known to be boring but perhaps no longer so; because the “startups” from a decade ago, is now “the” large establishment.
Trends surrounding healthcare and wellness will come back stronger. Other than disruption in the healthcare industry, we will certainly see an even stronger embrace of health and wellness lifestyle, which includes fitness and diet — this time, not just from the younger generations, but also from the older ones as we all got reminded that human lives are more vulnerable than we think.
See you next week.
Ivy League Schools Acceptance Rates Went Up (Source: WSJ)
It took them a pandemic and a recession to realize that the most important thing that a university provides is branding. You can’t continuously maintain the same class size when your number of applicants tripled.