Post-Pandemic Normalization - We all know a person who is still more than a hair C19-crazy.
Still rocking the mask everywhere they go in public, quadruple boosted, hand sanitizer packets in their pockets, and a dispenser attached to their belt. They probably still dial into their work meetings over Zoom, and they definitely are still riding their Peloton bike at home instead of going to the gym.
I'd argue that if you followed stonks in 2020 that these two businesses, Zoom and Peloton, became symbols of the C19 bull run. Not only did they transform our lives during the pandemic, but their stonks were bulletproof. Whenever bad C19 news hit the tape, their shares ripped.
Further lockdowns in NYC and Italy because of overrun hospitals? $ZM and $PTON to the moon. The vaccine doesn't actually completely eliminate virus transmission? $ZM and $PTON up, up, up. A parade in P-Town, Mass results in like a thousand new C19 cases, 75% of which were fully vaxxed individuals? $ZM and $PTON soared. A new variant, a new lockdown, new side effects from the vax; you name it, these stocks ripped on any sort of bad news.
Then the C19 bubble burst. Peloton is down 69% (nice) YTD, and Zoom has cratered, down 54% this year. Peloton has fallen from over $160 down to single digits. Zoom is down from $559 into the $70s.
I personally am somewhat shocked at how quickly we have both forgotten about our C19 insecurities, as well as the push to forget some of the lessons that we learned during the pandemic.
First, we learned that the internet is a powerful tool over which most businesses can be streamlined and still effectively conducted.
Next, commuting sucks, and WFH bettered the quality of life for millions of people, all while enabling asynchronous, more convenient work hours for many of us.
Finally, sometimes telling other people, especially randos and strangers, that you want some personal space and that frankly, "if I don't know you, plz f*ck off" is perfectly acceptable.
Some of the most lucrative professions are clamoring to forget these lessons, our industry included.
Knowledge workers in big tech, software development, and finance are purportedly the most squeezed by new office policies demanding a return to the office, a return to commuting, and a push to utilize the high-rent office buildings that have sat near vacant for the last couple of years.
I've hinted at this before, but these new policies do not have workers at the top of the priority list.
If you're reading this prepping for your 9 am Zoom call while eating breakfast in your boxers, I'm more than a little bit jealous because I'm writing this in a pair of pants that are too tight from my C19 fifteen, wearing shoes that are uncomfortable, and drinking a $9 latte that I picked up on my way to my desk.
The labor market has changed; we will see if these tendencies are here to stay.