Message from Johannes van Eeden, Executive Chairman of Humanstate, sent to all staff on 19 March 2020.

I am incredibly proud of each one of you and the way you have handled the last couple of days.

From Miami to Toronto to London to Stellenbosch to Villars, we’ve acted as one to make sure we are as responsive as ever to our customers and as accessible as ever to the markets, while taking care of the health and well-being of our people first.

It was also great fun seeing all the home office setups being posted on Slack – to say nothing of Willem’s video game setup…

We live in extraordinary times. Mark Twain wrote, “It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” What is happening around us makes no sense to many of us. We wake up each morning to confront a new reality. We fear the unknown, mourn the lack of certainty, long for comfort and safety and love.

This has always been the human condition, but it is as if there is a renewed sense of urgency to focus on what’s truly important. Our family. Our loved ones. Our purposes in life.

That is what we should be doing now, today. Let’s stop fretting about tomorrow – we have no control over it. At this point it is just a dream. Let’s forget about yesterday – it is history and we need to move on. Let’s focus on today. If we can do that, the past will fade into worthwhile memories and the future will bear ample fruit.

This is not business as usual.

Niina reminded me the other day of the French saying “de remettre l’église au milieu du village”, which translates as a reminder to put the church back in the middle of the village.

What can we do today to place our respective churches in the middle of the village?

Focus on the important things first: Our family, our loved ones. Then living our dreams and purposes. If we neglect those, we are already dead.

I am excited about the opportunity this terrible and heartbreaking epidemic presents us all with: We have a unique, once-in-a-generation chance to re-engineer the way we live and work, to refocus our attention on what’s important – in short, to reassess our lives.

Let’s grab this opportunity with both hands. Let’s get rid of fear – after all, it’s just a bad acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real.

Let’s focus on the difference we can make today.

Love. Play. Create. Code. Design. Write. Support. Manage. Lead.

It’s time to tell, not sell.

Don’t forget that we are in this together, and we will get through it together.

As my father always told us: Families who pray together, stay together.

As the Humanstate family, this is our chance to re-examine and commit to our founding values.

Speak soon,
Johannes