The Rise of Virtual Companies

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For the past few years, I’ve been writing about the near term future of work. I didn’t predict Covid but the observation and predicted remote working scenarios are starting to happen now. Microsoft Vision KM / Digital and Run and a few other posts The Now of Work are some examples.

While I recognize there are challenges and and losses for many during the time, I also believe this is one of the best opportunities in our recent history. A few things to consider:

  1. Remote work is the norm – People will never go back to the office 100% for many reasons but real estate savings and infrastructure savings are important here.
  2. The acceleration of virtual work – More people are realizing the benefit of “gig” work and insurance companies and other support organizations are making it easier to work this way. People work for companies as they are called on or as needed and they go off to work with other companies in the same way. There is a lot to unwrap here but at the end of the day, it’s really the rise of the 1099.
  3. The rise of the virtual company- Pre-covid, Start up companies would live in offices, accelerators and other physical locations. While the costs were generally lower than having a “normal” office space, they still had to consider all of these if they were to pass some tests with potential clients. Today, this is flipped on its head. It will have to be the assumption until a vaccine is in place that we will go through cycles of virus outbreaks. Setting up in an office space is a business risk for clients and startups a like.

What does the new virtual office look like?

Three Parts:


Starting a company and getting people aligned to do business through partnerships or payroll goes from months to days or weeks. Time to realize and perform work is near immediacy. It gives larger slower companies a faster time to realize failure and success at an overall lower cost.


Hiring the best of the best at a higher run rate for a shorter duration becomes a more feasible option. Moving a company from Texas to Tennessee also becomes easier. Forcing people to lose jobs or move becomes a thing of the past. Companies and people can make changes much faster aside from industries that have manufacturing and physical requirements.


Security is changing now and will continue to evolve with a focus on end points, people and analytics around technological relationships. In some ways, the days of the infrastructure, VPN and securing the network are close to an end.

The back office, provisioning of hardware and software will change to a service model. Companies won’t have people to build out software and deploy it. Everything will be online and available through a multitude of new trust technologies.

This is just a snippet of capabilities and process already in existence, we are at a point where these are accelerating. The virtual company is here and we will need to learn how to live with it and find ways to extend our humanity through it all.

What do you think?

Posted in KM.