Time to admit and celebrate that we live in a new world. No, we are not going back to the pre-pandemic world and no we are not entirely embracing a virtual digital-only world either. Economics prevents the first, and psychology and biology prevent the second.
It is a matter of return on investment. For most of us, Trade Shows are going the way of magazines and CD players. It is simply far less expensive and requires far less effort to telecommute than to hop on a plane and fly across the country to stay in a hotel in order to have a meeting with someone for the first time. We are used to prequalifying in-person meetings with phone calls and now we can prequalify them with zoom or the equivalent. Reading currently breaking information about topics you care about is a lot easier online than buying or subscribing to magazines and newspapers and having even several streaming music subscriptions is far less costly and far easier to manage than buying CDs and records. The business model for the digital version is simply extremely compelling, so no virtual is not going away unless human society truly unravels by some sort of apocalypse.
On the other other hand I like meetings people in person, and I like reading magazines and I like CDs and records. Also psychologically people do need people to socialize with as we are social animals, and then there is the issue of procreation. Biology vs. Economy? Obviously we need both. So neither are going away.
We are all to some degree or another, living hybrid lives where some things we do are online and others are in person. We had better get used to it and be ready for a world with many new business models which take into account the hybrid nature of things.
This impacts creative outliers more than most, for a disproportionate number are either self-employed or part of smaller organizations. None of you are surprised that for most, creativity does not flourish in gigantic organizations. Of course, there are always exceptions.
Hybrid life impact upon creatives will be largely positive because the overhead associated with creating and launching new initiatives is lower than it has been in generations. It is increasingly easier to start a company or a band or anything else than it has been in years.
It is time to create new business models. It has always been harder to make a living in the arts, than in say engineering, medicine or law and this is in part due to the prevailing business models in these arenas. It is a lot harder to get a gig at Carnegie Hall than at a restaurant, but can cost a lot less and in some ways be a lot easier to launch a virtual concert series.
Better than either is providing a choice to customer-audiences. If they live nearby and can manage and afford the logistics fine, open the doors. And if they are on the other side of town or the world, then okay accommodate them too.
Invent hybrid ways to earn a living, to collaborate, to socialize and in short invent your own hybrid life. This is a fantastic opportunity, not something to resist and run away from as we know – resistance is futile!