This article was originally intended to be about remote working in the current climate. My focus was going to be on the fact that our team at The Wallet Engine transitioned to a remote working culture in the middle of 2019. It was generally about how successful that change has been for us. It has enabled us to find the best talent in the world for our unique business, without needing to compete with bigger fintechs or even bigger banks and consultancies who are often fighting over the same talent pool here in Singapore. The remote structure has made us more accountable of our own work and to each other, as measuring work becomes an important part of the remote culture you create. And from a company culture perspective, there's a unique bond that forms when everyone is somewhere else.
Through the past few months (Singapore got stung by Covid19 very early in the spread since so many residents, business travellers and tourists either came to or transited through Singapore right from the start), while we have faced challenges like everyone with loved ones and families, our workflows remained almost entirely uninterrupted. There's no magic behind this; we simply have a little more practice at it than everyone else who is adapting to this new culture of stay-home working. Also, we end up following social distancing to another level, and ultimately that is the most important action anyone can take to protect family and loved ones.
That being said - there is a substantial realisation that is worth uncovering. The world as it works through and comes out of the current pandemic, and the landscape for how people do business is about to be set on a new path. Think it through, the world has collectively recognised just how disruptive and vulnerable most businesses and industries are when people cannot meet, or interact physically with one another. Take that down to the most hyper-local degree, who wants to use physical currency at the moment, knowing full well it can be a profound carrier of germs and infectious diseases? Not to be macabre about what the future holds, but there is a far greater likelihood that we will see highly infectious diseases spread more often that every 100 years; probably every five years in fact.
The companies that are seeing a massive boost in revenue, customer 'stickiness' and usage today are streaming platforms - whether music streaming like Spotify, movie and content streaming platforms like YouTube, Netflix and HBO, and of course the juggernaut growth of the online gaming ecosystem. These are businesses and industries that are simply better suited to the current atmosphere, and provide their services online and don't have the typical limitations of other old-economy businesses.
The gig economy too, is set for a massive explosion in growth if the Covid19 pandemic becomes prolonged. The reason for this, of course, is a little different. Companies will lay off people by the truck-load, and that will leave highly skilled and trained individuals looking to ply their skillsets while still being constrained physically by mandated restrictions on movements.
Adapting to this will require a fundamentally different way of moving money between people, and that will be the revolution that we actually needed in the world today. This will enable so many people who today are constrained by their geographic locations to be able to genuinely widen their horizons and increase income generation. This will become ultra-critical for cross-border, contextual, small-value transactions. It is these smaller amounts that today impact the most vulnerable in the economic ladder, and also are the most complicated to enable today.
These are tough time for all, but it surely isn't too early to keep our eyes peeled on developments and search for opportunities that crisis always brings.
We wish everyone and their families who reads this, good health, and if directly impacted, a swift recovery.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: ARISH KHAJOTIA
Arish Khajotia is the Co-Founder & CGO of The Wallet Engine.
The Wallet Engine is a part of our Batch 1 Fintech Program in Singapore.