Masstech’s VP of Support, Lee Sheppard, has been looking at how economies were affected by the Spanish flu pandemic of the early 20th Century.

As we all press forward through the Covid pandemic it occurs to me that perhaps there are things that we can learn from how businesses coped with the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic of exactly one hundred years ago. Though technologies have changed massively in the past century, economic principles remain broadly the same. So I did a little digging.

The first take-away was the very human reality that we probably all know but might want to give a thought to: the likely number of fatalities is likely to be vastly lower this time around, made still more so through tremendous medical and social advances. 

But what of the economic consequences in 1920? I was surprised to learn that in the USA that the overall economic downturn was limited to 6%, a figure paralleled in other advanced nations. The fundamental reason was that of the huge scale of government spending due to the demands of the First World War. At first glance you might think that makes any comparison irrelevant. However by 1921, when the pandemic ended, the war had been over for three years. The manufacturing capacity that had been expanded so much through the war years had had to be redirected to create and meet new peace-time demands. Those who succeeded were able to see the change in circumstances as opportunities, and to seize them. 

Several quotes seem to capture this spirit of pressing forward through challenging times and embracing change. Take Frank Wooden: “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be”. Or the thought-provoking observation of Helen Keller: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”. And then there is Albert Einstein: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions”.

At Masstech, along with so many of our colleagues in our industry, we are reimagining, looking to where these times of great change are going to lead us, and ensuring that as we all emerge into new opportunities that we are contributing fully. We see the great need to much more flexibly optimise the use and management of media, and the value in having a trusted expert partner in doing so.

The exciting new tools we are adding to our product suite, (including the upcoming Kumulate Gateway and Kumulate Gallery modules) and the skills we continue to refine within our services team, enable us to look forward greatly to our onward journey together.


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