There is nothing like attending a live event with dozens, if not hundreds, of other people. From the energy to the laughter, physical events remind us that we are a part of the collective human experience. And after several months in lockdown, individuals across the country are eager to adopt a new sense of normalcy following COVID-19.
However, real estate investor and entrepreneur, Randal Gindi, argues that despite major changes in the structure of our society, there are real opportunities for innovation and change in the most highly impacted industries.
Having earned his bachelor’s degree from New York University, Randal Gindi has years of experience successfully navigating the business landscape. As a driver of innovation, Randal Gindi believes that industries suffering as a result of lockdown will find ways to revolutionize the way we experience events and media. As an eternal optimist, he is convinced that these industries may end up being stronger than when they started. He takes the time to provide a brief overview of how COVID-19 has transformed our daily lives.
How have you been holding up in lockdown, and how has the pandemic changed your perception?
As a global community, we are experiencing a collective trauma together, and I think there is comfort in that. I have been taking this time to reconnect with my wonderful family, refocus my business, and work diligently on all of the tasks I have been putting off for a while. I have found that this experience has given me an objective perspective of my life that I have not had in a long time, and I am sincerely grateful for that. I believe in being optimistic whenever possible, and I am utilizing this time to better myself in any way that I can.
What do you miss most about pre-lockdown days, and what are you most looking forward to?
I miss being able to get together with like-minded individuals, whether it is in a business setting or a social environment. This is just one of the many things that we all took for granted. I, of course, appreciate the extra time I get to spend with my family, but I feel disconnected from the human experience. I miss standing in line for coffee or occupying a board room with my colleagues. Adversity reminds you of the beauty of small moments, and so, there is not one particular aspect that I miss more than any other, but everything.
What is it about physical events that is irreplaceable?
When you attend a baseball game, concert, or movie screening, you can feel the palpable energy in the crowd. From cheering, to laughter, and tears, physical events allow us to collectively experience something together, and I think that is powerful. It is a part of what makes us human, and a part of why people enjoy them so much. It is impossible to compare a streamed concert to the real thing for this reason. Energy is contagious, especially at physical events around a common interest.
It will be interesting to see how this pandemic impacts various industries, and the long-term changes that will be implemented as a result. If anything, this lockdown situation has helped us to realize what is possible when we are all working together.
Do you think this is a make-or-break situation for companies hit hardest by the pandemic?
Absolutely. For those willing to problem solve and innovate, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When faced with a problem, you have to be willing to view it from every angle. The event industry, for example, has been one of the hardest hit industries due to the nature of their work. However, COVID-19 has highlighted their greatest weakness, and I think it would be a big mistake to wait for this all to blow over before thinking of a plan b. In industries that were already fighting to stay afloat, like the movie theater industry for example, this is a particularly ‘make-or-break’ time. As an avid movie lover, I hope that they rise to the occasion.
How can movie theatres adapt to this change?
I think we are going to have to wait and see. However, there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of movie release delays as a result of COVID-19. Perhaps movie theatres could allow a premiere streaming of the film for a small fee at home. Perhaps they could partner with YouTube to provide paid releases and premieres. There is no limit to what they can do given the expansive innovation in digital technology. A film’s goal is to encourage as many people as possible to see it in theatre before it is available on Netflix, Hulu, Crave, or any other streaming platform. I think Netflix has captured the experience of watching with others through “Netflix Party”, and I think that theatres need to start thinking in this way if they are going to survive.
What is the first thing you will do when lockdown is over?
I am going to host a huge party and invite everyone I know. While Skype, Zoom, and Houseparty have provided us all with a means of communication during this difficult time, nothing can compare to the shared experience of eating food together, laughing together and hugging one another. I look forward to the day when social distancing will not be our number one priority.