Finding Opportunities in Era Corona: Human Interactions Matter More, Not Less

While many companies are hurting right now, I am encouraging every portfolio company to think about where the opportunity lies. It’s easy to say and a bit more challenging to do, but there is a method to the madness. You need to focus on what your customer base cares about, how those needs are shifting, and how you can creatively find ways to address them. Sounds like what all startups should be doing anyway – virus or no virus – but it turns out that a crisis can catalyze creativity in a way excess simply cannot.

One of these companies uncovering opportunity is Humanyze, which anonymously monitors communication patterns (digital and physical) to help large enterprises analyze, predict, and influence productivity-related outcomes in a more agile manner. COVID 19 is, at its core, an attack on human interaction as much as it is an attack on the human body. A byproduct of this virulent attack on social interaction is an elevated awareness of the importance of these social physics both in and outside of the enterprise.

As more companies implement work from home, the acute need to optimize workforce interactions becomes more apparent. Every company knows it will lose productivity. How can you reduce/manage that loss? How can you ensure your company still functions like a great organization amid so much people- and space-related change? I would argue that getting this pervasive and immediate shift in workplace culture right is the most critical way to differentiate from your peers. A well-networked, cohesive, and efficient organization can still thrive in these times.

Humanyze is acting on this opportunity as I write. The workplace changes sparked by COVID 19 have incited one customer to expand its scope. The plan is to use Humanyze’s technology to measure how widespread teleworking will disrupt collaboration across all of the customer’s 10,000 NYC employees as well as start identifying candidate teams for long-term remote work. This is critical work, not just for this moment in time, but for the insights this company will glean for its future. It would not have materialized if the Humanyze team was not actively thinking about how it could serve its customers better during these times.

Even if you are at home, this is the time to think about how you can better serve your customers. We can’t all be Zoom or Slack, but we can find an opportunity in this crisis to deliver more value to our own companies and to our customers. As evidenced by this post, I’m doing the same!