COVID-19 and BirchTree (in four parts)

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read
COVID-19 and BirchTree (in four parts)

It’s an interesting time for tech blogging right now. A part of me is like “I’m going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, and going out is frowned upon, so I’ll have tons of writing time,” but another part of me is thinking “there is nothing going on to write about…in tech, at least.”

Obviously, there is tons going on in the world, and right now it frankly all feels more important than anything new happening in the consumer tech space I usually cover. I love the new update to Things’ Apple Watch app, but it just feels a little weird to publish much about it right now. I look through my timeline on Twitter, I look at what people in the real world are talking about, and this sort of thing just isn’t breaking through. And even if I did want to talk tech, it feels like a lot of the tech world is on pause right now. Most news is about things getting cancelled or delayed.

I’m sure I’ll find something to write about, and work-from-home allows many tech companies to proceed mostly with business as usual, but it’s all just a little weird.

Switching gears, I went out Wednesday night during the President’s address (that was an embarrassment for the office, but let’s move on) and my local grocery store was pretty normal for 8PM on a weeknight. I bought some ice cream and fruit and came home.

I then decided to get our weekend grocery shopping done a couple days early last night and oh my god, it was a madhouse! People were straight up shopping like they were not going to leave their homes for months. Toilet paper and hand sanitizer was sold out of course, but so was bread, milk, pasta, most beans, soap, paper towels, and thermometers. People’s carts were overflowing, and Target was running a weekly sale with signs yelling “FUN RUN!” all over the place, which I just thought was hilarious.

Anyway, my wife and I went to a few stores and they were almost all crazy. Walgreens was the only one not insane, but it too was out of the essentials.

My work is recommending all employees work from home starting Monday next week, and I will be following that guidance for as long as it’s needed. My at-home setup is not as nice as my office setup, and I really value working with people directly, but I’ll be fine. I definitely feel for all the retail and restaurant workers who can’t work from home and who can’t take time off nearly as easily. They are more essential than ever right now, as we’re all going to need to keep getting food and basic life necessities, so we need the grocery stores and other retail establishments to stay open for business. Be extra nice and extra courteous to anyone who is working and helping us all keep things moving.

You’ll see me mostly on Twitter, being as disappointed, but not surprised at the utter failure of this administration to handle this situation remotely well. We have a president who is unreliable and has coasted on a low-stakes presidency so far. All previous crisis were frankly of his own making, but now when the stakes are high and people will die, regardless of party affiliation, we have a man at the helm who peddles lies because his whole world view revolves around public relations and how he’s always “winning.” He’s a little man and we deserve better in times like this.