Regardless of anyone’s personal opinion about significance of the COVID-19 threat, the word is clearly stressed. More and more people are either self-isolating or are forced to stay at home and reduce physical social interaction. Businesses are suffering, stock markets collapsing and there is no end in sight. Or, perhaps, ”the end“ is not so much about the pandemic itself, but rather about accepting this virus as one of many illnesses our bodies are meant to deal with - yet another thing to be conscious of and that’s it. Perhaps, once we simply make friends with the idea that we have yet another reason to wash hands and eat healthy food, the whole hysteria would subside and we’d be able to move on, business as usual.
Anyhow, in the meantime, while the fear of anti-utopian collapse of human socially is gripping is firmly, we must look at what it may likely mean for UNA platform development, business operatioms and most importantly - what it would mean for UNA webmasters running niche community sites.
UNA is a private, bootstrapped company. We have no VC backing or corporate sponsors, so we have to make ends meet every month, in part by way of selling licenses and in part by providing custom implementation services. Naturally, if our clients become overly stressed financially we may have to wind down to some extent too. On the other hand, we are gradually coming to the point where the platform matures and with v11 we should have even better offering all around. We have a number of active ongoing projects, there new ones lining up and the interest is stronger than ever.
Furthermore, after UNA Altair (v11) final release we plan to switch to follow-up updates mode for a while to make the platform faster, more stable, more consistent - focusing on minor evolutionary improvements rather than huge new modules. This will gives us some breathing room to work on custom implementations more as well, and thus stay consistently profitable.
In short, we will not back down.
Networks running on UNA is another story. On one hand site operators may be in difficult financial position due to the shocked economy, but on the other hand we have a few positives:
- Humans are still social beings who want to communicate, interact, discuss ideas, argue, share, watch and read. We may well see increased amount of time spent online, particularly using interest-based social networks.
- Many business would have to re-arrange their processes in favor of remote work, which would increase the demand for business/professional networking platforms and would generally make the “online” communication more normalized in the long-term. This will again increase the amount of time people spend using niche community sites.
- While global trade and travel systems are disrupted people will have to look towards more local options for entertainment, consumption and socializing. This opens an opportunity for specialized networks to develop their customer bases - organizing small-scale events, offering products and services with local delivery, engaging neighborhood communities, connecting people with local businesses, etc.
Nobody really knowns what may happen in a few months or a few years. All we must do is apply our head, heart and hands to live each day the best way we can. As community leaders and idea people - it is up to us to lead the world from darkness to light.