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17 Influential Business Leaders, Entrepreneurs, and CEOs Look Back on 2020, and Share Their Insights On What They Expect in 2021

We’re finally here, everyone.

2020 comes to a end, taking some of its many problems with it while leaving some behind. Regardless, many people are glad to say good riddance to the year, and set their sights towards what the future holds. Which, considering how tumultuous this year has been, seems uncertain. Well, BusinessInsider sat down with 17 of the most affluent and successful people currently around in an attempt to decipher how they dealt with 2020, and gauge their projections for 2021.

Jason Rubin, VP of Facebook's gaming pursuits rather kindly reminisces about gaming being a pleasant form of escapism for most people. While he also mentioned spending time with his children and exercising as further sources of happiness, the 26 million sold units of Animal Crossing give the musings some weight. Axel Hefer, CEO of Trivago, comments on how businesses are currently “vulnerable", and need to quickly adapt to the new standards set for them.

Tania Boler, CEO of the fem-tech firm Elvie, expresses concern about long-term quarantine effecting both workers and social culture. She intends on doubling efforts towards creating a workplace promoting both safety and equity for women. Markus Villig, Chief Executive for the ride-sharing service Bolt offers that while companies have definitely exhibited their ability to adapt, remote work will retreat to taking a backseat once the pandemic wraps up. He also comments on the importance of clear-cut communication with team members, stating it to be a primary reason that no jobs were lost in the year.

Continuing this impressive line-up of CEOs, Anne Boden of Starling Bank (who is also a founder), holds that remote work is around to stay. Mentioning how her lending service has impressively grown throughout the pandemic, even seeing an increase in staff, she goes on to speculate that presenteeism will be found less and less. Which bodes very well for staff workers and employers alike.

OakNorth’s CEO Rishi Khosla expresses an optimistic outlook, as he draws on experience from the 2008 financial crisis. Such hazardous developments lead to future development and growth in the market, which young businesses can look forward to. Nik Storonsky, co-founder of the banking app Revolt, further adds to this cheerful take, and rouses newcomers in the business to diversify, keep up with the trends and, most of all, keep their momentum going.

Deployed co-founders Emma Rees and Kayleigh Kuptz ask companies and start-ups to prioritize team members and work environment, as opposed to growth and profit at whatever cost. They compare the latter to a mythical and impractical unicorn, and the former to the ever-reliable, if not slow, camel.

Darktrace CEO Poppy Gustafsson comments on how effective customer service now relates to having a short task-list, and executing it as perfectly as possible. She also expresses concern for cybersecurity onwards, stating that companies need to re-evaluate their protocols. Matt Cooper, SkillShare's CEO, while fondly referencing his time spent home, also raised issue with the online political divide and general misinformation.

ComplyAdvantage’s CEO, Charles Delingpole comments on how post-pandemic work will be further specialized, with trust-related activities returning to the physical meet status quo, while other work will continue to be carried out online. He also warns customers and clients to catch up with technology as soon as possible to comply with the online-shifting market.

Entrepreneur First co-founder Matt Clifford continues that stream of thought, agreeing that while physical presence in some situations cannot be replaced, virtual interaction wherever possible proves both efficient and cost-effective. He shares hope in the online market, stating that any service can be found with the right amount of looking.

Graphcore CEO Nigel Toon emphasizes on the importance of finding purpose in your work and noting its impact on one's surrounding world, both as individuals and as a team. He also very expectantly looks forward to physical reunions.

Alex Chesterman, chief exec. of Cazoo takes a different approach and talks about how the resurgence of Black Lives Matter and its associated impact on employment is a big step towards stamping out systemic racism. He also urges companies to not leave the movement behind in 2020, and keep the good work going. Which, as cases of police brutality continue to rear their ugly head towards minorities, is an incredibly relevant take to keep in mind.

Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, current partner at Balderton Capital notes the environmental changes brought on by reduced travelling and noise pollution, and even goes on to pledge that he will be relying on flying much less in the future.

Finally, TS Anil, CEO at Monzo, looks at 2020’s aftermath in a more positive light. Careful to not ignore or belittle the extreme drawbacks from the year, he focuses on how much human compassion and support were on full display, even using his own team as an example. While expressing gratitude for the positives in his life across this year, he also urges people heading into 2021 to hold onto the empathy exhibited, and foster it for future situations to come.


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