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

Coronavirus Log – Day 25: WFH

This cover is from the new NY Times Magazine cover article “What is life like right now on the life-and-death shift?” showing photographed workers on the front lines of Covid-19 in northern Italy.

What I’m thinking about: Working from Home

I’ve been working from home for the past year. One thing I noticed recently is that lots of other companies aren’t doing it very well. Over the past years, I’ve learned some modern work-from-home concepts. Specifically, there are 5 levels of remote work. The levels are:

  1. Thinking this is temporary, and waiting to get back to the office to do your work.
  2. Trying to recreate the office environment. This means trying to do things in-person, keeping all the interactions real-time, and making sure people are present and available during work hours. I saw a lot of companies here when coronavirus started. People were still expected to be online from 9 to 5, and in some cases employers installing screen-logging software on their employee machines so that they can play the role of Big Brother.
  3. Acceptance and adaptation. Here, companies and employees invest in their home office with better videos and possibly noise cancellation machines. Meetings move to shared docs and people start working asynchronously.
  4. Fully asynchronous. Getting to a place where you can actually get more done because you’re at home. This is where you want to be.

    Companies that truly practice asynchronous communication have stepped out of the industrial revolution, and no longer conflate presence with productivity, or hours with output, as one might on the factory floor.

  5. Nirvana. This is where your distributed team works better than any in-person team ever could.

The analogy I loved is that the Japanese 4×100 track team in the 2016 Olympics. They were massive underdogs. In fact, nobody bet on them to medal. Not one runner could run under 10 seconds:

But because they mastered the baton handoff, they shaved seconds off their race and came in 2nd. That’s right, the Japanese got the silver medal because they were better and the handoff.

The idea here is that, as a company, you can master how work and ideas are handed off between employees your company can be much faster, more efficient, and a better place to work than others.

True asynchronous working is the place you need to get to. We’re working on it at Onward and so far it’s been great. Using the tool Notion is a big piece of it. I love Notion and the fact that it’s worth $2 Billion with only 40 employees should indicate this is a popular trend. I could talk about this for hours, but here’s a good place to start: a good post that goes into this.

Other Items

At my house it’s Spring Break which means there are no lesson plans coming from school. Instead, our current project is for Hunter and Sasha to make 7 really nice cards to send to their grandparents and cousins.

Speaking of Sports (from yesterday’s email), the Rakuten Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (which is Taiwan) will play games in front of 500 robot mannequins dressed up as fans.

Also, the second episode of Some Good News by John Krasinski landed yesterday. Pretty funny and good:


The virus is starting to get out more and more in the US. I thought it was interesting to see that only 1 or 2 out of 10 know someone who has it. I know a few people.

New daily cases are shown below.

Coronavirus Log – Day 24: Getting Creative

The above cover from Vogue in Italy. They wrote:

White is first of all respect.
White is rebirth, the light after darkness, the sum of all colours.
White is the colour of the uniforms worn by those who put their own lives on the line to save ours.
It represents space and time to think, as well as to stay silent.
White is for those who are filling this empty time and space with ideas, thoughts, stories, lines of verse, music and care for others.
White recalls when, after the crisis of 1929, this immaculate colour was adopted for clothes as an expression of purity in the present, and of hope in the future.

What I’m thinking about: Companies Getting Creative

I was talking with my friend Camilla yesterday and she had a great point:

Its pretty phenomenal how companies are adapting and adjusting and getting flat out creative… pie shops and bakeries hosting virtual baking clubs, wine shops and florists doing classes, tastings and deliveries, I saw Redfin is now doing virtual showings where an agent goes and essentially FaceTimes and answers chat questions.

I totally agree. One area I’m really impressed with is Masks. Now that we’re past the whole should I wear? debate, we can focus on what really matters – how they look. I’m starting to see some flair. You can get all different colors and styles now:

Also, Sports

With no march madness, the sports world is scrambling. I thought it was interesting to see that Major League Baseball is floating an idea of putting all the teams into a compound in Arizona, quarantining everyone together, and playing games with no fans.

Meanwhile I’m like the rest of the world in just rewatching old games, trying to decide if eSports are a thing (not yet), and looking at videos on Twitter to pass the time until sports can start up again.

This guy did a one-man March Madness show:

Other Stuff

This is good:


Pulling from this spreadsheet which tracks totals and new cases:

Only 64 more days to go

New Yorker April 2020 Cover

Coronavirus Log – Day 23: Ride-sharing

I especially like today’s cover. The “Lifeline” cover seems like a nod to the essential worker, and to their place and contribution in a ravaged metropolis.

What I’m Thinking About: Changes in Ridesharing

At Onward, we’re diving into the food delivery world. We provide custom service where you can ask our drivers to shop in any store, go to multiple stores and do it all through the phone. This is new for us. We’re not the only one making changes in the ride-sharing world. Some changes that have stuck out for me:

  • Ride-hailing in China: all riders are required to wear facemasks, there’s an apps that tells you if your driver has had a temperature check today, and an in-car sign that shows if the vehicle was disinfected or not.

The Animal Game

Almost every night we play a game where a kid thinks of an animal and the other people have to ask questions and guess what they are. It usually involves the person acting out what that animal is.

Other Stuff

Matt McConaughey jumped on to a Zoom call to be the bingo reader for an assisted living facility.



Tracking only new cases now to see when the “flattening” happens.

Only 64 more days to go