Apparently, evolution has programmed us to take more notice of bad news than good. How is that working out for us?
If your fellow caveman tells you that a sabre-toothed tiger is roaming nearby or that a particular berry is poisonous then it makes sense to move that information to the top of your priority list. It makes sense to concentrate on it and pay attention and there is logic to the thought that those that didn’t do that failed to make their contribution to the gene pool. It leads us to think that many of the happy-go-lucky cavemen died out and it makes a neat little story that explains why we are so obsessed with bad news.
To a large extent, this is how recessions start. It isn’t so much that the economy is in a bad way or business is slack, it’s that people believe things are bad and lose confidence in the economy that they live and work in and Britain narrowly avoided going into an official recession in the last quarter of 2019.
It certainly seemed that by the end of last year with a combination of Brexit and the General Election Blues, we had reached ‘peak gloom’. Even the weather seemed keen to get in on the act and we were battered with storms and flooding. Things felt pretty grim.
‘Doomed. We’re all doomed, I tell yer.’
Social media and traditional media were full of messages of doom, but perhaps they got it wrong?
From October 2019 to mid January 2020 the Wet Leisure Survey collected responses across the entire country from businesses in our industry. 85% of those businesses said the year had been somewhere between OK and Extremely Good.
Talking to the trade at SPATEX – which is where the WLS Results are first published – there was a definite mood of optimism with many people saying they had experienced a substantial increase in enquiries compared to the same period last year.
It is still true to say that no one really knows what impact leaving the EU will have on the British economy. What we can say with some confidence though is that the uncertainty that ended on January 31st was doing a great deal of harm.
Neither Leavers nor Remainers knew whether they were going to get their way or be disappointed and so a lot of people just put decisions on hold until they saw what was happening.
Since the beginning of February Golden Coast have seen a significant increase in enquiries. Orders that had been on hold are often now confirmed. One way or another Britain has been waiting three years for that decision to be made and now, as they say, Brexit is done.
Are the robots taking your jobs?
Artificial Intelligence, it’s reported, will take over an increasing number of human jobs. Apparently, their plan for global domination begins with delivering packages for Jeff Bezos and taking jobs as bookkeepers and telemarketers. I guess you have to start somewhere.
In the wet leisure industry, AI is probably some way off, but automation is certainly booming. Interest in smart technology like automated dosing and control panels has never been greater.
There is an innovative product new to the market called GC PoolCop which offers the trade an opportunity to remotely mange their customers pools and allows service businesses to be more efficient and hence more profitable and, as the WLS reported, maintenance and service business is the sector of our industry that is showing the strongest growth.
Coughs and sneezes spread diseases
At time of writing there were 90 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the Coronavirus, in the UK and that number will surely grow.
Media coverage has ranged from hysterical forecasts of mass extinction to suggestions to keep calm and wash your hands. The truth is certainly somewhere between the two.
Coronavirus will have an effect on our industry, as it probably will affect the entire economy but quite how bad that might be remains to be seen. Certainly hysteria and panic will only make things worse.
It was the best of times…
If you could choose when to be born and you didn’t know what country you would live in or how well off your parents would be the best time would be now. Right now.
Around the world, crime rates and poverty are falling and literacy and life expectancy are rising. Contrary to what you might think from watching the news and reading the papers, the world is getting better and better.
But we tend to look at the past through rose tinted glasses and we worry about the future because… Well, we just do. And that is a shame because it spoils our enjoyment of the present and distracts us from dealing with problems that we should actually do something about.
But on the bright side, we’ve stopped having to worry about those pesky sabre-toothed tigers.