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Virus Risk Management

Veteran international investor John Corey comments

Recently I read the book, Never Split The Difference. The author was the lead negotiator for the FBI. These days he runs a business where they train people how to negotiate. It is a good book and well worth the time, so grab a copy when you can. Late in the book, the topic of Black Swans comes up. An unknown, unknown is called a Black Swan. A more extended definition comes from Investopedia: “A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. These events are characterised by their extreme rarity, their severe impact and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight.”

I was speaking to a business owner recently. It was a Sunday. He was in the UK and I was in the USA, so we were using an online service for the call. Two or three times, his connection dropped as the local Wi-Fi or Internet connection to his house seemed to be acting up.

At some point in the call, he mentioned that due to the C-virus his firm has decided that everyone would work from home for two weeks. I suggested he needed to rethink his network infrastructure at home. The standard network package that many people select assumes that families are mostly downloading content. That is why the download speeds are much higher than the upload speeds. If you start having regular, live conference calls with people on camera, then the network requirements jump. With some network solutions, the capacity from the local exchange is shared across all the homes in the neighbourhood. When more and more people are working from home or entertaining themselves, the available bandwidth may fall below what is needed for practical home office usage.

The solution? Consider ordering a better network connection. Requesting that BT or another provider completes an upgrade makes sense. How many requests can they handle if there is a mini-spike in demand? Next, if the application for an upgrade is accepted, are there staff available to deliver the upgraded service?

Backing up to ponder the potential of whether an upgrade is even needed, how can you tell in advance? Most people are not that technical. Can you afford to wait, or will it be too late? Like hoarding essential supplies from the local supermarket, do you want to take the risk that something you might need is no longer available because you waited until you were sure you needed an upgrade?

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