business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to our story about Google deciding that its employees will continue working from home until at least July 2021, one MNB reader wrote:

My company, Advantage Solutions, permanently closed many of our regional offices at the beginning of the pandemic.  Everyone from my Metro NY division office, including managers and administrative colleagues, is working from home permanently.  They are looking for a small office space for conference rooms and printers, but nothing as large as we had.

On another subject, from an MNB reader:

Knowing you like information and facts, I wanted to share an interesting read I came across due to a Facebook post by Mike Rowe.  He shared a book written 10 years ago by Michael Osterhold and Mark Olshaker called Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.  In that book, the authors predicted a pandemic of coronavirus and the subsequent impacts it would have.  They based their predictions on known information about SARS and MERS, as well as their extensive knowledge of how viruses spread.  The new edition has a forward speaking to COVID-19.  It's been a fascinating book to read and I continually have to remind myself it was written 10 years ago, because the scenarios they lay out seem to be pulled from today's headlines. 

Michael Osterhold is an epidemiologist and founding director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.  This book has changed the way I think personally about this pandemic and how to operate in a world where it exists.  It has also made me aware that this likely will not be the last one we face as a global population.  I only hope our country's leaders and policy makers have a copy of this and are paying attention. 

I see Dr. Osterhold from time to time on TV, and as much as any doctor, he scares the hell out of me … but I believe every word he says.

On another subject, from an MNB reader:

Today was a great MNB… loved the Google and Delta articles and your side comments on COVID news.

Ok…back to the commercial you posted. Are you sure this isn’t a joke? The interviewee is Bob Luther of Lex Products Co. as in Lex Luther? Maybe my overly comic book hero brain is just reading into it… but I thought I’d share the observation.

Nope.  Not a joke.  See the site here:

Got a very different reaction to the commercial, which was for commercial real estate company RD Scinto but, I pointed out, showed office buildings without making any reference to the vastly changed reality of such places during the pandemic.

Almost all of today's MNB is related to Covid-19.  As a vulnerable guy I agree with you and applaud your missionary position on wearing a mask and social distancing. But doggone it,  give Bob (Scinto)  a break! 

Bob is a self-made man who rose from being a dyslexic plumber to building and owning millions of square feet of office space. Most builders are optimists who look into the future and see good things. When you say that Bob's advertising is out of touch with reality please keep three things in mind. 

1st.  You are projecting your and my concerns on Bob's  commercial,  but you work at home and are not a potential customer. 

2nd.  Bob is marketing a Covid-19 free environment to other dreamers who want to grow in the future.  He has no duty to sponsor a public service announcement about masks and distancing although ventilation and cleanliness could also have been selling points. 

3rd. Bob is facing a world of hurt. He has 4.3 million sq. ft.  with 678,734 sq. ft. vacant. The 15.78%vacancy rate is above Collier's 1st quarter national estimate of 11.5%. With a average national suburban rent of about $32.00, Bob is sitting on $21,719,488 in unleashed space while the world is thinking about reducing their office space needs.  He will be in an acute battle for market share.

Your article on Google's plan to keep employees at home until July of 2021 defines Bob's dilemma. Bob has chosen to fight  although some pessimists might describe him as dead man walking. 

I wish Bob success. 

Disclosure:  My numbers came from the RD Scinto website.  I don't know Bob. 

I take your point.  Mine was simple:  Tone-deaf communications put a business - any business - at a disadvantage.

I'm not suggesting that the company do public service announcements.  I am suggesting that to run a commercial in July 2020 that could've run in July 2019 - and indeed, may have - misses the point, and maybe the opportunity.

I wish RD Scinto luck, too.  He ought to make his own luck, and hire you as an advisor.