Business 1.0 September/October 2020

August 12th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

I Guess …

By Lyle R. Hill

At some point in the future, the history books will write about the pandemic of 2020. All kinds of data and analysis that will be included in the ‘historical’ perspective. Depending on the bias of the person doing the writing, I’m guessing we’ll have differing commentary on what went wrong, what went right and whose fault it was that things didn’t go better.

Differing Opinions

In the here and now, we are being bombarded constantly by reports, statistics and opinions by everyone and anyone. The experts, pundits and politicians often have changed direction and criticized each other’s interpretation of the situation. There are those who think the nation’s shutdown and resulting economy were not warranted and others who think it should have been stricter. I’ve seen people driving alone in their cars with the windows up wearing face masks. I’ve seen others not wearing any while talking in groups of people close to one other.

A few days ago the news reported that 75 hand sanitizers currently on the market are being recalled due to health concerns, meanwhile several cities and states are now reporting a surge in new COVID cases and deaths, as some parts of the country open up, others are shutting down yet again. The bars and restaurants that had been allowed to open in some large cities are now being told to close down. Recent polls have concluded that even if the vaccines we are being told are just a few months away are made available, less than 50% of Americans surveyed said they would take one. I guess we just don’t know who to believe or trust anymore.

Government Steps In

On the business front, the government’s PPP loan program saved hundreds of businesses. I know of three that could not have survived without those funds. Yes, there have been incidents of fraud and manipulation, but the benefit to small businesses was undeniable. The way some banks handled the process was confusing, unfair and frustrating–maybe even illegal. The rules for getting relief from the “loan” are seemingly changing almost weekly and equally confusing.

And if the virus was not enough, we have had incredible societal  upheaval and unrest sparked by a few policing incident with what appeared to be racial implications. Peaceful protests turned into rioting and certain areas of our cities were devastated. Some city leaders seemingly abdicated control to the rioters and looters. I would have to guess that in some cases it was political motivation and in other cases maybe fear or uncertainty.

A History Lesson

We are taught to study history so we can learn from it. Presumably to help us not make the same mistakes. History, however, seems to regularly repeat itself so it’s hard to see what benefit we get from studying it. And, history sometimes gets rewritten. I guess maybe the facts of an event are sometimes deemed to be less important than the conclusions we want to see drawn from it.

My wonderful father, Lyle Alvin, used to tell me regularly when things were looking bleak that “no matter how bad things are today, they will one day be better.” Of course when life seemed to be going along in a great fashion he would also remind me that “no matter how good things are today, they will one day be worse.” He was trying to teach me perspective and balance … I guess.

We are in the middle of a very dark and troubling time in our country. There are those who are predicting it’s all going to get worse … much worse … before it gets better. I pray that they are wrong. Others are claiming the worst is behind us and all indicators are pointing up. I pray that they are right. I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.

Lyle R. Hill is the former owner of a window film company in the Midwest. He also serves as president of Glass.com, an information portal and job generation company for the glass industry. Hill has more than 40 years of experience in glass-related industries and can be reached at lhill@glass.com.

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