From the Editors
In 1929 an economic crash created shockwaves that reverberated from Wall Street across the globe, causing the worst depression in history. That same year, a young company named Walt Disney incorporated to become a production firm. It is now a titan of entertainment.
New York, 1911, IBM began selling commercial and business machines – just as a recession struck the city. More than 110 years later and its revenues top $77bn.
History is littered with companies that launched in deeply challenging circumstances yet went on to become a dominant force. More recently, Airbnb, Uber and Instagram were all forged in the furnace of the 2008 financial crisis. Each of them have disrupted their respective industries and generate billions of dollars in revenue. These examples demonstrate how times of hardship breed creativity, adaptability and innovation.
The pandemic, with its surge of technological dependency, has created unique opportunities for companies. In this issue of Verdict Magazine, we hear from startup founders who have launched and grown during the pandemic. They tell us about the challenges they face, and what they are doing to survive – and thrive – in the current environment.
History is littered with companies that launched in deeply challenging circumstances yet went on to become a dominant force.”
We also explore how the pandemic continues to reshape industries, from driving innovation in autonomous vehicles to live stream shopping in ecommerce.
While the pandemic has often been called the “great leveller”, it has become painstakingly clear that it is widening existing equality gaps. Dr Carl Benedikt Frey, director of future of work at Oxford Martin School, explains how automation is affecting the labour market in the age of coronavirus.
Elsewhere we look at technology and the climate refugee crisis, as well as what blockchain is doing to empower social media users. We also hear from the CTO of Microsoft – a company founded in the midst of the mid-1970s oil crisis – in the latest CTO Talk.
2020 has been a year of change and here at Verdict it is no different, with Verdict Magazine founding editor Lucy Ingham moving on to new challenges in the world of fintech, after leading the Verdict team for almost three years.
You can read her last features and much more in the latest issue of Verdict Magazine.
Robert Scammell & Ellen Daniel