In my lifetime, I have experienced multiple terrorist attacks on U.S. soil; a near economic collapse of the entire U.S. financial system; and now, a pandemic.
So far, for me personally, this experience – COVID-19 – has been far worse than the others.
I repeatedly ask myself, however, this question: how much worse would the current state of affairs be without the benefits of technology?
Yes, many, many people will still lose their jobs. Lives, unfortunately, will still be lost. And the socioeconomic carnage this pandemic will leave behind stands to be unfathomable.
Given all of this negativity, though, no matter how you slice it, we are in a much better situation than we would have been had the technological advances of the last 25 years not taken place.
Technology has many critics. People cite privacy concerns. Many workers have seen their jobs become obsolete due to technology. And technology can be hard to understand.
However, it has proven to be valuable during this, what is arguably the most difficult time in our nation’s history.
Two weeks ago, a young lady I know asked my advice about investing in cruise company stocks. The big three – Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean – are each down between 70% and 80% of their value. She said that she believed that eventually, people would start going on cruises again, and those stocks would bounce back.
I thought she made a very good argument. I, too, believe that cruise ships will eventually bounce back, although I could not tell you when. But my advice to her at this time was that she should buy technology stocks.
You may have had doubts about investing in technology before. But now, you’d have to be blind not to see how valuable technology has been for us, and will continue to be in the future.
The best judge of how valuable a good, service or tool may be is its usefulness when the you-know-what hits the fan.
Here is a list of companies that are proving to be most valuable during these difficult times:
1. Zoom Video (NASDAQ: ZM) and Ring Central (NYSE: RNG): Companies like Zoom Video have probably saved jobs by enabling employers to continue to conduct business remotely where possible. In a time of social distancing, how would you be able to work without the ability to video conference? Quite frankly, it’d be impossible.
Zoom has also enabled schools and colleges to finish out their semester by shifting everything to video chat.
The number of people that have filed for unemployment since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis is 17,000,000. 17 million. That number is staggering.
Just imagine how much larger that number would be without companies like Zoom.
2. Peloton (NASDAQ: PTON): Companies like Peloton have taken advantage of technology by offering online workout classes, that don’t require an exercise bike or other specialized equipment, for between $15-$17 a month. One of the downsides to staying home all day is that you tend to eat more. A membership to an exercise class through Peloton may be able to help you keep those extra pounds off.
3. Costco (NASDAQ: COST), Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN): Going to Costco, Walmart or any other supermarket has been an absolute nightmare during this crisis. It got so bad that supermarkets had to designate a time when senior citizens could have access to the store without the risk of being trampled by other shoppers.
If you want to get into Costco or Walmart without waiting on line, you have to get there at least two hours before the store opens.
Now, ordering groceries online from the likes of Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Peapod (privately owned) and Fresh Direct (also privately owned) has been no day at the beach either. They are so backed up with orders that it can take up to three weeks to get your order.
Be that as it may, though, online shopping has significantly lowered the traffic at brick and mortar stores.
Without e-commerce, going to the grocery store during these times would be almost impossible, as well as dangerous. Remember, there are almost 350 million people in this country.
4. Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU), Disney (NYSE: DIS): Imagine going through this 20 years ago without streaming video! When you’re home all day, seven days a week, you tend to watch a lot of content. How valuable has the ability to watch what you want, when you want, become? Netflix, Roku, Hulu (privately owned), and Disney Plus have been major beneficiaries in this new stay-at-home economy, and will continue to benefit when this is over.
5. Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC): The emergence of telemedicine has really taken off because of companies like Teladoc. At the moment, you can’t get an appointment with your doctor. Through telemedicine, you can see a doctor without leaving your home.
6. Docusign (NASDAQ: DOCU): We can still sign important documents in this time of social distancing, thanks to companies like Docusign.
7. Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), Pinterest (NYSE: PINS): The social media companies allow you to stay informed (to some degree), connected, and entertained. How would we survive without Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook), Twitter, and Pinterest?
Think of how valuable all of the above companies are now…and will continue to be in the future. Got some more to add? Share them in the comments.
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