Un-Masking Opportunities in a Crisis


In the 1960’s and 70’s it was determined that it would be a whole lot cheaper to seal all the windows in most commercial buildings. Basically, no fresh air – except from the air that was added to the HVAC systems from the outside. That was called “ventilation.” But even that was throttled down to conserve energy to just enough to provide adequate oxygen and exhaust carbon dioxide, basically enough to breathe.

Open the Window!

Then comes the Covid-19 and the scientific consensus is to increase ventilation, open the windows, and do as much business outside as possible. Cities started closing streets to make way for outside dining and haircuts moved outside. But what about the winter? And what about dramatically increasing ventilation inside?

We think there is a big market emerging to retrofit commercial buildings with windows that open and new ventilation systems with built in virus filters. The scientists seem to want moving air around folks who are in closer proximity, in other words, crank up the fans!

Covid Architecture

This all seems like a lifeline business for other businesses that require inside sales and services. It is also a business that can only grow as more pandemics inevitably erupt. We are talking here about only one aspect of an emerging new form of commercial architecture that is focused on reducing the spread of aerosol-borne diseases. It’s going to happen anyway so if you are wondering about what business to explore, why not go where the demand is emerging?

We have already seen an explosion in key-like devises that open most doors and operate most touch screens. New masks are being developed every day that are lighter, cooler, easier to clean, and more attractive. Just look around…

Rethinking the Mask

Just on the mask issue, there is a demand for masks that filter both ways: N-95 on the inhale (for protection against the virus, and now the smoke from the wildfires), and on the exhale to block droplets (to protect others like most valves do not). How about a mask that’s easier to take off and leave around your neck and quickly pull up where needed? How about replaceable filters?

Right now with the wildfires in California, we have endured weeks on end of air too polluted to breathe safely, so we wear an N-95 mask to protect our lungs from permanent damage, right? But then we have to wear another cloth mask right over it to protect others from the N-95 valve exhaust which contains droplets. Crazy? You bet, so let’s get imaginative and solve this problem and create successful products.

Look Around

In Australia, the folks who have suffered multiple fires down there have products specifically designed to address the problem of saving structures during wildfires. For instance, attic vents that automatically close when exposed to high heat such as an ember trying to get into an attic. Or how about a generator that runs a pump that pumps water from an emergency tank to the highest point on your roof and runs a golf course-size sprinkler? So when the fire comes, your house is in the rain.

Opportunity Knocks

We want to encourage young entrepreneurs to be successful even in tough times like these. The rules of supply and demand still hold. The rules of innovation and sales still hold. These crises are identifying a ton of opportunities for a new generation of entrepreneurs that can help us all cope while creating successful businesses. Let’s jump on it!