Man throwing flowers instead of bombs

78: More Protesting and Rioting

Police + Public

We’re now five days away from George Floyd’s death and we’re getting to a better place. On Saturday all I saw was police officers using batons, tear gas and rubber bullets. There was a lot of pain.

Yesterday, at first I saw something different. I saw people coming together and some police joining in with protesters to express their stance against police brutality, and to show solidarity with the anti-racism movement.

Continue reading “78: More Protesting and Rioting”

77: TikTok

I’m thinking about TikTok. As I browse through the web, I see that the most creative and fun videos are always coming from TikTok, and the creativity and influence is only increasing. Let’s talk a bit about it.

If you haven’t downloaded and used TikTok, you’re in the minority. The service has over 1 BILLION daily active users and is by far the best place to consume short videos. The company is likely worth $200 billion and is not only the most valuable startup but one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Some interesting facts about TikTok and ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok:

  • The only real competitor to Google and Facebook is ByteDance. If anyone is taking down the big dogs, it’s them.
  • The company’s roots are in a news aggregator in China (called Toutiao) that is a dominant source of news in China. The company did $20 billion in revenue in 2019. So, not small potatoes.
  • TikTok’s success is due to many reasons but mainly its slick user experiences. There is no signin or account creation required, it’s mobile-first in a much better way than YouTube, and videos are super short – initially limited to 15 seconds which reduces the friction of both creation and consumption.

  • There’s lots of content. They claim 34% of US users shoot content daily.
  • The cross-cultural nature of user-generated video has stronger network effects than traditional news. A silly video uploaded in Thailand is potentially interesting to someone in Romania and the US.
  • It’s doesn’t rely at all on friends, following, or even having an account. Their algorithm recommends content based on an individual user’s view history, re-watches, likes, comments, shares, and even post-view activity. It’s all AI. The AI is the product really.
  • It grew by spending TONS of money. It spend $3 million a day throughout 2019 to acquire users.

There’s lots more I could say about it but this is clearly the era of TikTok and if you think that you’ve heard the end of it, well just wait. It’s just now reaching more and more people and we’re probably 2 years away from mainstream media realizing it exists which means we’ll get a whole other round of “have you heard of TikTok?”

A few sample videos from yesterday that rolled up just so you can see range. It’s fishing, jokes, and lots and lots of dancing:

Continue reading “77: TikTok”

Newsweek Cover

Day 33: Reverse Quarantine

What I’m Thinking About: Reverse Quarantine

This is the first time i’ve heard about letting the 45 year olds and younger out and back into society as a way to restart society and get to the general population to herd immunity. If you do it, it’s basically as dangerous as the flu. Interesting to think about.

Continue reading “Day 33: Reverse Quarantine”

Day 32: Tech to the Rescue

What I’m Thinking About: Tracking Through Tech

I’m really interested in the privacy implications and the technology behind how we track people who have recovered and keep track of those are infected as we will need to do to get back to our lives. Without doing this, this shelter-in-place will just continue until a vaccine arrives – which is just too damn long.

Google/Apple have formed an alliance that will help track people that are infected. The way it works is:

An app on your phone will pass a random and anonymous code to all other phones within a few yards of you, wherever you are (and vice versa). If you test positive, you tell the app, and every other phone in the region checks the codes they’ve seen in the last 14 days, and if there’s a match they can say ‘you’ve been exposed’. This is anonymous and automatic.

This is very cool, but am skeptical that it’ll ever happen because it really only works if governments mandate it and I just don’t see that happening.

On a related note, there’s a new San Francisco company called Onfido that is working with European governments to develop phone-based “immunity passports” for those who have already recovered from COVID-19. This is happening in Europe and is similar to what’s in China. Oh, and just yesterday they raised an additional $100 million.

At My House

We’re digging into the remote learning more deeply this week as our school is starting to get more involved and attentive to what’s happening at home.

That only takes half the day. The other part is spent enjoying the great weather we’ve been sent


One of my friends sent me this today. I’ll be joining him:

I do one plank a day during the pandemic, holding it for as long as I can. Have made it to three minutes the last three days. Join me.

… and then I make myself a cocktail almost immediately afterward.

Other Stuff

Now this is a great use of modern technology. Here we have a Twitter account that is judging people’s video call background. Just what the world needed (thx Lizzie)

Thanks Jackie!

Check these out. Might as well keep safe in style:


New York added two thousands deaths to their list who were people they hadn’t tested:


Only 64 more days to go


Atlantic Cover Crayons

Day 31: Reopening the Economy

What I’m Thinking About: Reopening the Economy

Yesterday, Governor Newsom revealed a six-point plan to reopen California’s economy. Did he give a timeframe? Nope, but he did say what they are going to do to make it happen. They have 6 areas of focus:

  1. Lots of testing so we can isolate people who test positive
  2. Preventing high-risk groups (older people, those with asthma) from getting infected
  3. Getting hospitals the resources they need to handle more cases
  4. Getting drugs to help those who are sick
  5. Ability for schools and child care facilities to open or operate remotely and equipment for workplaces so they could possibly open
  6. Figure out when let people out of their homes

I’m pumped that they’re focused on this so that we can figure out what the next part of 2020 looks like.

Of course, Trump is pissed that someone else is calling the shots. His take:

What Else? Getting Groceries.

Seven in 10 people now consider going to the grocery store a risky act — and a majority of Americans say they’ve started wearing masks outside their homes at least sometimes

Not surprising as this is the one activity that we all must do and it’s the one time we’re getting out of the house. It is scary – especially when you see that old guy touching every single avocado to find the one that’s perfectly ripe. Come on dude.

Other Items

One interesting read in WSJ (paywall) is about how San Francisco was spared thousands of lives when the 49’ers lost the Super Bowl as it really eliminated a bunch of mass gatherings.

New Jersey knows their audience:

After Bernie Sanders endorsed Joe Biden over live-streamed video, Jimmy Kimmel said: “That’s a very powerful message for the country — if two 80-year-old men can successfully log into a Zoom meeting, anything is possible.”

A recorded Easter call:

I had thought that everyone had Netflix already. Apparently there was room to grow. The crazy curve is Disney+ that went from 0 to 50million in no time. Today is the day that Comcast launches their Peacock service, only to Comcast subscribers though. Others get it in July.

As if our front-line workers weren’t badass enough, here’s a quick video of doctor’s holding a cello and piano recital at a New York hospital:

Finally, in a move that surprises nobody:




Only 64 more days to go


Day 30: The Need for a Vaccine

What I’m Thinking About: A Vaccine

While this has been a nice little run we’ve had at home, I think you can tell from my email yesterday that I’d like to get back to normal life. Even if we have massive amount of testing, life as we knew it probably isn’t going to return until we have a vaccine. So, where are we on that? Here are the top four efforts towards a vaccine that I can tell:

  • Moderna. A Boston-based biotech unicorn, they started on their vaccine back in Jan – way ahead of the game. Their vaccine slips RNA into human cells and tells them to produce the the needed defenses. Sounds sweet. Apparently, RNA technology can move faster into trials but then again there’s never been an approved RNA vaccine yet for any disease, so there’s that.
  • Pfizer hopes to get an experimental RNA vaccine into humans later this month. Instead of testing the single vaccine, they are planning to move into human trials with four different options simultaneously, to see which one is the most successful before going to bigger populations.
  • Sanofi hopes to begin human trials of its first vaccine, which uses the protein technology of its Flublok flu vaccine, by fall.
  • Johnson & Johnson is working off a vaccine platform the company used for experimental vaccines for Ebola, Zika, and RSV. They’re a big dog, but seem the most out of it but, hey, who knows.

These are the top 4 but apparently 30 companies are in the race. (full list)

Even if one of these companies come up with it, there’s a need to get a TON of vaccines made. If you count doctors, nurses, and other first responders as well as infants, toddlers, and pregnant women, that’s 26 million people, you you’ll probably need at least 100 million out of the gates.

So, while there’s some good action happening, nothing seems like it’ll be ready for another year or so. Last Tuesday, Anthony Fauci told US senators, “It will take at least a year and a half to have a vaccine we can use.” That’s end of summer 2021. If true, it would actually set a record as most vaccines take between five and 15 years to come to market.

That means, between now and then, we’ll have some combination of social distancing, mass testing, and hoping for herd immunity.

So, we could be here a while.

Also, Flattening?

I’ve noticed that for the past three days the number of new cases has been decreasing – both the world counts and US. At first I thought it was just the weekend numbers which are typically lower but then Monday’s came in low too. Experts had said that the peak should be right around now, so maybe that is indeed happening.

Other Stuff

The French airforce gave a retiring contractor a joyride in a fighter. He accidentally ejected. That’s just the beginning.

Here’s a husband and wife team surviving the lockdown by crushing some lipsyncs. It’s These two comedians (Rachel Parris and Marcus Brigstocke) needed a challenge and it resulted in the trending hashtag #LockdownLipsync.

Only 64 more days to go

Day 29: Still Sheltering in Place

Ok, this is starting to get a bit old

I’m going a little crazy. It’s not from my family but more a lack of everything else. I miss my friends, my casual acquaintances, drop-off at my kids schools, the restaurants, the movies, the casual interactions, the hiking, the driving, the traveling. All of it. It was fun. I can’t wait wait for this madness to be over.

I miss the traveling (thx Kesner):

A good metaphor for this shelter-in-place experiment that’s happening (thx Hot & Streamy):

Continue reading “Day 29: Still Sheltering in Place”

Day 28: Happy Easter

Happy Easter Everyone

As we’re all still at home, not everyone can get out and celebrate in the typical way. I thought I’d post how it’s going with others around out there:

A chocolate factory in France:

The Pope is breaking with tradition and going online, so hopefully all of you will too

These deacons hold Easter service in front of portraits of believers who could not attend mass:

In this image, two pastors read scripture in front of benches with pictures of people

This Rabbi in Connecticut hosts a virtual Seder on Zoom:

This image shows a man on a laptop screen during Seder

At My House

My kids:

Meanwhile, i’ve been thinking WAY too much about Trolls 2: World Tour. Some thoughts:

  • Country Music Land could have been way cooler. Have one area that’s sad and drunk, another that’s party (Devil Goes Down to Georgia), another that’s all chicks (Dixie, Taylor Swift, Dolly Part), one that’s just Garth, and another that’s all ‘Merica with beers and trucks. That’s an awesome land and a place I could hang for a long time.

Other Stuff

A sign of the times. Taxi’s vs. Delivery


(spreadsheet data)

Only 64 more days to go





Business Week Zoom

Day 27: Zooming All Over

Zoom is the accidental social network of the coronavirus pandemic

What I’m Thinking About: Zoom

This has been an incredible rise and a little bit of a fall for Zoom.

In the past month, they went from 10 million daily users to 200 million. Wowza. In the past week 90,000 schools across 20 countries have used it to conduct remote classes. Ninety thousand schools.

They also revealed that while they’ve been focused on keeping up with growth, they’ve done some not great things. Specifically, they were sending info to Facebook even if you didn’t log in or ever use Facebook. Second, the videos/calls aren’t really encrypted, which means others can see and hear what went on. Oh, and third, many of the videos and encryption keys were routed through China so they were available for the Chinese state to hear and view. Hmm. 🤔

Personally, I don’t care if my personal or work calls are viewed in China but I suspect a lot of more important people and companies do. This could be real bad for them and for Zoom. I’m curious to see what the fallout is.

I’m also curious to see how Zoom integrates itself more into my life. I’ve been doing double-dates with friends, group family chats, happy hours, school lessons and more. It’s a daily app now.

Finally, I usually really dislike recorded Zoom calls, but here’s one I couldn’t stop watching. It’s ESPN reporters inviting famous people to join them.


What Else: The Flattening?

Nationally, the number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S. is projected to hit its peak within the next few days. Personally, I’ve been hoping that this is the worst as we had a few days of no growth, but yesterday we had peaks in new cases and deaths in the US and many others charts are saying that we still have some more time to go. 😞


Other Stuff

Great ad:



From my spreadsheet:

Have a great Saturday everyone:

Only 64 more days to go


Vanity Fair Italy

Day 26: Coronavirus Graffiti

“An open wound and an opening hope for new things” the Italian tricolour ✊🏼 newest Vanity Fair Italia


Murals are popping up all over the world to honor tireless health care workers, bring hope to those passing by, and to just vent. I loved seeing these. It was cool seeing how everywhere around the world we’re all dealing with the same thing, and it reminded me that this is the first time ever that the entire world has been focused on one thing.

In New Orleansa graffiti artist called “Bandit” has painted murals in the city — one of nurses and one of children playing with toilet paper rolls.

In Chicago, artists have also created outdoor art to capture the times and they’ve also started Quarantine Times, a website created to highlight the work of local artists during the pandemic.

This is happening all over the world. Literally every city is out painting their city to remind us that we’re all in this together, that this sucks, and to be safe.

In Berlin…

In Scotland,

In Milan,

In Sydney,

In the UK,

In Los Angeles,

In Moscow,

In Warsaw, Poland,

In Pontefract, U.K.

In Indonesia,

In Glasgow, Scotland

This is indeed a unique time in history

Other Stuff

“A famous win based on patience and pure belief” (thx Kesner)


Showing just new cases and new number of deaths to see if we are flattening. You can click into the spreadsheet to see totals.

Only 64 more days left to go