Time Capsule 2020: Society and Culture


Time Capsule 2020: Society and Culture

In the second part of our Time Capsule 2020 blog, we turn to those events and ideas that demanded our attention outside of the technology industry (you can find that post here), whether by the urgency of their cause or as a result of our desire for self-distraction. As a reminder, here was the prompt we put out to our team toward the end of 2020: If we were to create a time capsule of 2020, what 3-5 contributions would you submit?

The year of 2020 has some notable era-markers obvious to everyone around the globe, but we also wanted to highlight some hidden gems known more to individuals or smaller areas. Here’s a look back at some moments (and their detritus) from a year we lived through and hope we never have to again.

Higher Purposes and Our Social and Moral Obligations

Behfar Jahanshahi, CEO 

Over the last two decades at InterWorks, we’ve enjoyed the privilege of high growth and a fast-paced work environment. With COVID-19 and all the changes that came with it, 2020 gave me an opportunity to hit pause and reflect on the world we’re in and the role I believe we as a company should play in it.

For me, InterWorks has always been about having “fun,” and that’s always meant being surrounded by incredible people who build amazing solutions and work for clients that are excited to engage with us. I’m confident that when we focus on these three things—Best Work for the Best Clients with the Best People—we’ll continue to see success. While growth is not our objective, based on our trajectory, it’s likely that we’ll continue to grow in size, revenue and profitability. The question then becomes: what do we do with that success?

I believe we have an obligation to find ways to take our talent and muscle and make a positive difference in the world. We have skills that are in high demand, and we’re an organization that loves to teach other people. How can we combine our skills with impactful causes? 2020 lit the fuse for me to accelerate this line of thinking and operationalize how we contribute back to society in a meaningful way.

On any number of topics ranging from homelessness and food insecurity to social justice, just to name a few, we can find organizations whose beliefs are aligned with ours. Then the goal is to take our talents and apply them to that organization in a way that is beneficial to them and their cause. There’s no shortage of organizations that have deep expertise in their social cause, and the more we can help make technology work for them, the further they can go.

Garrett Sauls, Communications Manager

Rarely has a such a year as 2020 demonstrated the importance of voting in the U.S. And what a change to our systems, indeed, as more and more people voted by mail or in advance of Election Day. I know I took advantage of it:

Robert Curtis, Regional Director for APAC

My Face Mask: As a father of five little boys that are going through this year with me, I feel like it’s important to remember the challenges and sacrifices of this year. They’re too young to understand the historic nature of what they are going through, so hopefully the symbol of 2020 – the face mask – will be of service in their gaining perspective in years ahead.

Black Lives Matter

Above: Stickers we created for our team as a way of affirming that Black lives do, in fact, matter a great deal.

Theo Jones, Account Executive

For me, the BLM movement has to be in the time capsule. Being a black man in America, I’ve always known there is a double standard and uphill battle that I have to face just off the color of my skin. The events of 2020 helped open the rest of the world’s eyes to this problem.

Rowan Bradnum, Analytics Consultant

This movement struck a chord with me this year. There are a lot of barriers around for people not of Caucasian ethnicity in society, and it is so important to redress imbalances and disadvantages that have arisen from the horrific treatment of people in the past. I am glad that these ideas have grown in a lot of minds this year, and I think it’s really important that this continues to happen.

Rediscovering the Value of Hobbies

Robin Bergmans, Analytics Consultant

This is probably my favorite video this year. People have found lots of new hobbies during the lockdowns or taken up home improvement projects. Case in point: Mark Rober’s squirrel ninja warrior course, which is a mix of the two:

Robert Curtis

There’s a lot in 2020 that I don’t want to remember (Australian bush fires, the Melbourne lockdown, Tide pods and most of Tiktok), but there are also some things worth preserving. If I had my own magical time capsule, I’d want to place the following items within it:

  • A basketball: Melbourne went through 111 days of Stage 4 lockdown, which meant we spent nearly four straight months (and closer to nine overall) at home. So I bought the family a basketball goal for the backyard, and we spent ages back there shooting hoops. One of my four-year olds is quite a gun (and trash talker).
  • Bottle of Whiskey: It was during the lockdown that I decided to add whiskey to my list of hobbies. Six months in, and it’s a delight. So for my final item in the time capsule, I’d want to put a smokey Islay into the batch with the hopes of opening it up again in the presence of InterWorks friends as we’re able to once again break bread together at some future Christmas party.

Sarah Dorfman, Analytics Consultant 

Color Street Nail Polish strips: Ask anyone in our #hobby-glam Slack channel about these. I am obsessed, as are many folks in that channel. I have been a nail-biter for over two decades, but after a virtual Facebook party my childhood babysitter invited me to in June, my curiosity piqued and now my nails have never been longer. Much like friends who got really into baking bread, I was determined to be someone who got really good at self-manicures during the shutdown. Verdict with regular nail polish: not so much. After a month of practice, it still looked like a small child painted one of my hands. Color Street is made from real nail polish, lasts about a week or so and comes off with regular nail polish remover. The only difference? It looks UH-Mazing on! Yes, I soon joined them to get the “stylist” discount (especially when I realized how much I’d spent on them by late July), and once I started posting pics, friends got curious, so I started a Facebook group where we share pics and mani tips. As cheesy as it may sound, it’s been a really nice way to take self-care breaks and stay connected with friends, family and co-workers across the U.S. It’s been even more rewarding to see many friends who’ve never met in person connect in the group, especially my friends who have babies and toddlers, share tips and post pics doing their nails between naps and feedings:

Above: A holiday manicure featuring Brittany Dunn

Garrett Sauls

The one benefit of the downtime afforded by 2020 for many was the chance to pursue new and existing hobbies. Baking, brewing and making some tunes were all notable examples. Of course, any parents with kids under their roof will chuckle at the mention of extra free time during the pandemic.

Note: With unexpected amounts of time on our hands, many of us turned to old interests or explored new ones. Naturally, we had to blog about it! Explore our Out of Office blog series that focuses on the role of hobbies during the pandemic.

Media and Entertainment

Theo Jones 

The film Tenet was released in theaters over the summer, and it blew me away. This movie should be talked about the same way the other Christopher Nolan movies have been. It was also amazing to see an African American male be the lead role in an international espionage film. Felt like a black James Bond movie.

Rowan Bradnum

I really enjoyed The Mandalorian this year. It’s probably my favorite Star Wars product.

Sarah Dorfman

Badges from the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA: My partner, Brandon, and I went up to San Jose a week before the shutdown to celebrate him as finalist and third-place winner for his sitcom pilot in a screenwriting competition at the festival. Flying to and from San Jose that weekend from LA, we caught our first glimpse of travelers – only a handful at the time – in masks and gloves. This was when healthcare professionals and leaders were telling citizens we needed to ensure supplies of PPE go to frontline workers, and we should hold off on having them ourselves. This weekend was special because I not only go to celebrate Brandon, but it was also one of the last times I’d see InterWorks colleagues in person this year. Brandon and I met Ashley McCutchen, Kendra Allenspach and Kendra’s sister, Paige, for brunch before we flew home to LA:

Robin Bergmans

Taylor Swift dropping 2 albums! Folklore and Evermore show how productive and creative someone in lockdown can be, while also serving to take our mind off things with fictional stories.

Raphael Teufel, Solutions Lead

Like the year as a whole, it became a game to see how many of these common experiences and phrases occurred in a given Zoom meeting:

Above: Image courtesy of bingobaker.com

This video – I think it was produced by Dan Murray‘s daughter – was one of the first Zoom music videos:

Note: Music has long been a passion of ours, and you can explore tons of different playlists we’ve compiled and Tableau dashboards showcasing our musical tastes:

Looking Ahead

2020 has come and gone, and while we know its challenges won’t change as quickly as the calendar, we’re excited and hopeful as we consider what the future holds.

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