Over the course of recent months, we at Tilted Chair—like many of you and probably most of the rest of the world—watched in awe as a pandemic swept across our planet, disrupting systems, institutions, and infrastructures we’d previously considered unflinching. Airlines could be on the brink of collapse, hotels are having to figure out how to deal with 45% lower occupancy rates, and republicans just agreed to an undeniably socialist relief bill. This degree of civilizational disruption is unprecedented in modern times. And in its robotic and indiscriminate march across the globe, COVID-19 has served as a sobering, ice-cold reminder of three things: we live in history, we live in a global community, and we live in an ecological system. These truths are inescapable.
If your immediate response to this new reality is something like anxiety or panic, well, that’s completely understandable. Like many devastating life events, this is a big one, and will be accompanied by all the human emotions usually evoked to process such a traumatic situation. But if there’s a silver lining to be recognized—and there are almost certainly more than one—it’s that this moment in history provides us a profound opportunity to reflect.
BE FEARLESS. BE RELENTLESS. BE HUMAN.
These words serve as our guiding principles for everything we do. Now, they’re being tested like never before. In this defining time, we’re afforded the opportunity ask ourselves: do we really believe what we say we believe? And if so, how will these beliefs guide our actions? Not just as creatives or business owners, but as human beings, living in history, a system, and a global community with one another. Will we shrink at this critical time, or rise up the challenge? Are we willing to suffer collectively so that some don’t have to suffer alone? Will we fight for a better future, or fall back on old habits? Will we support our neighbors, our friends, and our families as we hope they would do for us? Will we clamor to keep as much as we can for ourselves, or share resources?
There are many positive changes that hopefully will emerge from this remarkable era—better sanitation, a warming public opinion of social safety nets, and bidets, just to name a few. And for Tilted Chair’s part, we promise to pursue an era of organizational empathy like never before, starting right here first. We’re starting with a new initiative called Brand Together aimed at keeping small businesses around Austin (and beyond) open—and optimistic—as we all try to weather this storm together.
It’s times like these that reveal true values, to which we now turn. We will be fearless in the face of our greatest challenge. We will be relentless in pursuit of optimism and hope. And most importantly, we will never abandon our common humanity, always treating others as we wish to be treated—partners, employees, clients, neighbors, and friends. This is our treatise, one we will endeavor tirelessly to honor.
Let’s get to work.