Blake Dowling: Corona world

coronavirus florida 4
Take care of each other during this time and follow the guidelines of your local leaders.

We launched our podcast Tuesday afternoon from Tallahassee with guest Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier.

It was a great show and we talked about the FBI in the capital city for several years doing an undercover investigation. Then we moved into the coronavirus. You can watch the episode here:

On Tuesday, things were pretty normal.

I recall watching the first game of the SEC Tournament, Ole Miss versus Georgia; little did I know that was the last basketball we would see.

Schools started closing and every event on the planet was canceled.

Scott Pelley from “60 Minutes” said in his closing remarks on March 15 that they barely got on the air and gave thanks to a skeleton crew for making it happen.

The Supreme Court is closed to the public for the first time since the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak. We have seen in Florida the first ever toilet paper shortage in my lifetime; we have seen people use a great deal of caution to stop the spread of this illness.

Last week, I was talking to a manager at Dell; he and his team were sent home — someone in the building was rumored to have the virus.

I was planning an event with Cisco at our office for April and our rep there said all travel is suspended for their team. On the flipside, I was speaking to a USAA rep Monday in Tampa and they were business as usual; we are seeing a wide mix of approaches in the private sector to this situation but the trend is certainly leaning heavily on the work-from-home model.

The supply chain ramifications from China to America are going to felt for a long time but there is no need to completely panic just yet. We can still keep the work flow moving in the right direction in.

It’s time to roll out remote work tools if you don’t already use them. I like Teams from Microsoft, one of our managers is working from home this week to take care of young kids (day care closed) and we have had a constant stream of communication going in regards to billing and accounting. It is almost like he is next door.

Zoom is a killer video call solution that several of our clients enjoy without the huge buy-in required from old school video conferencing solutions.

Slack is another tool for communication that is worth checking.

File access is a breeze with various clouds, like Dropbox, One Drive and Google Drive.

But how about taking it to the next level while working from home; by not just having access but remote tools to help you focus.

Pro-tip on working from home from my friend Brandy.

Have you heard of Serene? It is an app that helps remote workers focus on their mission.

Check out the video, the app asks you to set goals.

Like writing a huge presentation, a column or speech, prepare a proposal, etc.

It then helps you block distractions so you can focus. I am not sure how you can block kids or cats while working from home, but it sounds like it can help from the digital distractions.

Check out my low-tech advice above from my friend Brandy, who posted this on Instagram yesterday and check out Serene here. If you don’t follow Brandy’s advice, this could be you. (Kids creeping into a BBC interview, hilarious!)

More businesses are making the call to work remote, and thanks to apps like the ones mentioned earlier and industry-specific cloud solutions plus remote access to on-premise networks the idea of a remote workforce is a lot easier to grasp and deploy than it would have been 5, 10 or 20 years ago.

That’s not to say you can do everything that can be done remotely, rallies, speeches, conferences, large dinners, are all done for now. So, people are hosting virtual events.

Barnes and Nobles says let me get that germ-ridden door for you, a nice low-tech option to help them keep the doors open, literally. Dang. AP alert – accidental pun.

From Associations to Tech events this is now a thing for the near future.

Check out more here.

Our economy is going to take a hit, and here in Florida, we are already feeling international supply chain issues. I checked on a client order this morning of a bunch of laptops from Lenovo (huge factory in Wuhan, China) it was listed as back-ordered.

I am optimistic things will get better soon; I also assume things will get worse before this happens.

Tech giants are also deploying recreational ideas that embrace social distancing. I saw Netflix does group watch parties with a corresponding chatroom. This is a pretty solid idea; I think I will call dad in Texas and get Top Gun going tonight.

Check out how to get this going here.

So I have ample supplies of seltzer (might as well try it as it seems to be the beverage rage), plenty of hot dogs, Budweiser, and some MRE’s that need to get knocked out (although the rib-shaped barbecue flavor pork patty has me a little scared).

Regardless, our state leadership is strong, our communities are strong and we will get through this just like anything else and having these awesome remote work (and play) tools available will keep those working remote in touch and keep the great economic engine of Florida moving.

Stay safe out there and thanks to the Tallahassee Democrat for listing these dining options in North Florida (while you can’t visit the pub, you can support your local restaurants). Look for more curbside pickup and delivery as restaurants limit their hours/seating space etc. Hopefully, we won’t see any “shelter-in-place” (I think that is the politically correct phrase for quarantine) orders in Florida, but you never know as we are sailing uncharted waters.

The bottom line is this; take care of each other during this time and follow the guidelines of your local leaders. Be safe, Florida.

You had me at rib-shaped.


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies; he also hosts the Biz & Tech podcast and contributes columns to several media outlets. He can be reached at [email protected].

Blake Dowling

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at [email protected] or at


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