Solution providers and other tech leaders hope U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden will usher in a period of stability for the country when he takes office in January and that his planned science-based approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic will enable an economic recovery with help for small businesses.
Biden today unveiled his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board of 13 public health experts who’ll advise his team’s pandemic response and urged Americans to wear masks, as Pfizer announced that early data indicates its coronavirus vaccine candidate is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in vaccine trial participants who previously haven’t been infected.
Meanwhile, President Donald J. Trump continues to allege widespread election fraud without providing evidence and to promise legal challenges in multiple states as he refuses to concede he lost his re-election bid.
Joshua Liberman, founder and president of Net Sciences in Albuquerque, N.M., said he cast his ballot for Biden because the former Democratic vice president believes “economics should take second place to survivability.”
“The first thing most business needs in the United States and around the world is living, breathing customers, and I think there‘s a better chance that there will be more living, breathing customers with any president other than Donald J. Trump,” Liberman said. “The second thing we need is a viable and livable planet — same thing applies. And then the third thing we need is a healthy economy, and you can’t have a healthy economy without healthy people and a healthy planet.”
“The broad, top-down strokes that were accomplished by the Trump administration were entirely predictable, and their results were entirely predictable, and they benefited an extraordinary, small subset of living, breathing human beings,” Liberman said. “But they benefited that small subset greatly, and it‘s not the kind of improvements that we need. We need things that improve 60 percent of the people’s lot, not one-tenth of 1 percent of the people’s lot.”
Daniel Burse, owner of Next Generation Solutions and Services in Atlanta, also voted for Biden.
“I think that when it comes to the middle class and small businesses, that he would support legislation and a strategy to put more money in the pockets of small business through better loan terms and better opportunities that may even be spearheaded by the government, and tax advantages,” Burse said.
Burse also believes Biden and Democrats as a whole take the coronavirus pandemic more seriously.
“And they have shown when it comes to healthcare, that they are more concerned with providing healthcare to the masses, as opposed to Republicans,” Burse said. “They never even came up with a counter to an affordable healthcare plan.”
“I think Biden and Kamala (Harris) will do their best to try to bring their country together, and I think that they‘ll try at least to work with Mitch McConnell, especially if he has a majority of the Senate, and he’s still (Senate majority leader),” Burse said.
SADA Systems CEO Tony Safoian said the new administration gives the country a genuine opportunity to “heal, unite and take real steps with technological thought leadership globally.”
“The general message this new administration has fits nicely with SADA‘s own core values: people first,” said Safoian, whose Los Angeles-based company is a Google Cloud Premier Partner.
“From a business perspective, what the private sector and the leading edge of the tech sector needs more than anything is stability and predictability and a commitment to the education systems — both K-12 and beyond, so that our country can continue to produce some of the most qualified future leaders and professionals our industry desperately needs,” Safoian said. “For our companies to thrive and innovate, we need access to the best talent available globally.”
Businesses thrive when there is certainty, and 2020 has been a particularly difficult year from that perspective, said Jim Ryan, CEO of Itasca, Ill.-based Flexera, which specializes in IT management software, optimization & solutions.
“Some companies such as Flexera are thriving, but we know that‘s not the case for many individuals and businesses in the U.S. and around the world,” Ryan said. “We have known, and continue to know, that even with the vaccine news, we still have a road ahead to recovery. With no major policy changes likely from Congress, we look forward to 2021 as a year of more certainty and growth.”
A solution provider from New Jersey, who did not want his name used, voted for Trump in 2016, but said the president focused too much on partisan politics. So this time he voted for Biden, based on the former vice president’s track record during the Obama administration
“He was somebody that was willing to put the nation first and then the party,” the solution provider said. “That was the sole reason I voted for him. Of the two evils, do I like either one – no. It has nothing to do with what one party brings or the other party brings.”
The solution provider said he’d rather have a president under the age of 55 or at least 60 to help the United States retain its innovation leadership and unleash new technologies as digital transformation continues.
“If we don‘t have a younger leadership that understands what is going to be the need for…the next decade — and put in a blueprint and a plan from ground-up to identify, empower, motivate and unleash innovation that the United States has always done — it doesn’t matter who comes into power,” he said. “This is the same merry-go-round.”
The incoming administration needs plans to empower and motivate small business businesses to invest, he said.
“In my 27, 28 years of business, I never laid off any people,” he said. “Even during 9/11, even during (Hurricane) Sandy. This is the first time we had to let some people go — only for one reason: We don‘t see any clarity from a long-term perspective. I wish the new administration can take steps and do the right thing for businesses, community and for the people. And if they do so, my hat’s off to them.”
Over in the United Kingdom, Karl Robinson said his company is looking forward to stability now that the U.S. election is over.
“We’re hoping that Biden’s immigration policies will open up the availability of qualified foreign staff to bring back diversity and the innovation that it drives,” said Robinson, cofounder of Logicata, an AWS Managed Services provider based in London. “We’re also hoping that Biden will restore net neutrality, which is an important foundation of the internet industry.”
Kevin Geml, owner of General Equipment Maintenance and Language in Sterling Heights, Mich., said if the “throwing of rocks slows down, we might see some good” from a Biden administration.
Geml, who had been a member of the Michigan GOP since former President Gerald Ford’s administration in the 1970s, voted for Trump in 2016, but opted for Biden this year.
“Science-wise, it will help my business,” he said of a Biden administration. “Trump’s (and Pence’s) non-scientific ways only hurt the market.”
Biden also won the vote of Michael Kelley, president of ENC Inc. in New Orleans.
“I don’t see how any president affects my business unless they do something amazingly stupid like ignore an economy-crippling pandemic – oh, wait, that already happened,” Kelley said. “I trust the next president will have the proper advisors slotted in the right positions to handle any crises that may arise. Maybe we can start listening to scientists again instead of hyperbole. This could have been avoided. I’ve had some customers go out of business, but the shift in distance working and learning picked up the slack. Cameras, laptop/notebook, monitor and other peripheral sales increased, as did managed services support.”
Trump Supporters Weigh In
Mark Clem, president of CNC Systems in Roseville, Mich., voted for Trump, and said he’s truly disappointed in the election process and outcome.
“I believe this entire campaign has been based on lies and deception that started the moment President Trump was sworn into office,” Clem said. “With the vast majority of the media leaning so far left, there was never any room for reporting the good he has done for this country and our economy. And now, I believe that a liberal agenda will lead to a decline in the economy, partially due to additional taxes and repealing tax breaks, but also the introduction of socialistic programs. And should the Senate lose its Republican majority – our economic decline will be on a fast track in reverse.”
Trump backer Mark Martino of MNM Consulting Services Inc. in Orlando, Fla., is wary of the Biden administration instituting a shutdown to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“If he affects a shutdown of business like we had in March through May, my business will once again be severely impacted as a lot of what we do are monthly in-person business meetings,” Martino said. “If a new shutdown goes into effect, hopefully small business like mine will qualify for and be able to receive any grants or federal money that is made available.”
If corporate and personal taxes increase under a Biden administration, “so do my rates,” according to Martino.
“Further shutdowns or tariffs on imports will affect my ability to get product at good prices — or at all — which hurts my business and my customers’ business,” he said. “Sadly, I feel like all the above are coming as soon as his administration takes office.”
Trump supporter Gordon Martin, president of Tulsa, Okla.-based Peak UpTime, expects potential strengthening in state, local and education government verticals under a Biden administration, but a negative impact on healthcare and energy in addition to slow growth due to added regulation. Martin also is concerned about additional taxes, he said.
Meanwhile, Ethan Simmons, managing partner of PTP, a born-in-the-cloud consulting and services firm in Norwood, Mass., believes that having the uncertainty of the presidential election behind the nation, along with the reduced likelihood of a “blue wave,” are good for business. He declined to say who he favored for president.
“As you can see from this morning’s market reaction to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the prospects of a safe reopening of world economies will have a much bigger impact on our business than the election,” Simmons said. “Business leaders and owners want to see stability in the markets, so they are confident in making business decisions and investing in their companies.”