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

Elle cover

Coronavirus Log – Day 22: Cats too?

What I’m thinking about

Government Loans. Today is the day that the government is accepting applications for small business loans. My business and millions of others are swarming to this. The current amount Uncle Sam is looking to loan out is 2.5 months of payroll. We’ll see how that goes.

Schools Staying Closed. As I mentioned last week, I’m not impressed with the current home schooling system that Mill Valley has. But, I can’t see us going back to school in the fall. Even if the curve flattens, there will be no vaccine, so I can’t imagine big groups being allowed. Nobody wants to the school that starts the next outbreak. That means we might be doing this home-schooling thing for a LOT longer than I had thought. Good thing Sasha and Diane put together two new desks for Hunter and S this weekend.

What else

Our Pets Too?! It was reported yesterday that cats can get COVID. Apparently a tiger in the NY Zoo tested positive. I never considered that my two cats could be my weakest link in my attempt to separate myself from the outside world. One of them is super skittish so she’s no issue, but the other, Lucious, is too damn friendly. As if we needed another thing to worry about.

Also, come on people, are you still not staying inside?

Other Stuff

This next one is a really great video. This is the kind of content I’m looking for people. Get creative:

Some next-level cat moves:


I’m switching up my case tracking. I’ve got a spreadsheet with the daily amounts and am going to just post the graph new cases/deaths. That seems to be the most interesting to me as I want to see when the World and US start plateauing and then going down. Let me know if you’d like to see something different:

That’s all. Have a great Monday everyone 🙂

*Only 64 more days to go

Coronavirus Log – Day 21: Rainy Saturday

What’s Happening

Yesterday was a rainy Saturday over here at the Lewhouses, so there were lots of in-home activities. Diane and Sasha built some desks to improve our home schooling setup.

While that was happening, Hunter and I watched the Han Solo movie. After completing his Millennium Falcon Lego set, he was curious about how Han got the ship and its origin story. That movie got a bad rap when it came out but it’s not terrible. Lord/Miller did get screwed though.

Later in the afternoon, I then HAD to get out of the house so I loaded up the kiddos and we went for a hike here in Mill Valley to a local waterfall:

Finally, we finished the Netflix docuseries, Tiger King. A good watch:

What Else?

There’s a good Op-Ed by Bill Gates in the Washington Post. He brings up a good point – the federal government could start NOW preparing for a vaccine and invest in the favorites to mass produce the ultimate vaccine that gets created. This whole madness doesn’t really stop until we get the vaccine, so why don’t we do all we can to get prepared for that. During this whole period Bill Gates has shown to be a total winner and a national treasure. History will look extremely favorably on him.

Also, the mask business is ridiculous. First we weren’t supposed to wear them, now we should wear anything we can come up with.

I read this great interview with the woman who blew the whole lid off the story and the ridiculousness of the CDC not recommending wearing masks. There’s a lot of good nuggets in here including (a) why no-one in the medical community could write the story and contradict the CDC, (b) why Japan is the perfect place to prove that mass work,

In fact, there’s a very interesting case, in Japan where they’re doing everything wrong but masks — they’re not testing properly, they’re not socially isolating, they’re still talking about should we shut down this or that, they tried for a long time probably to try to keep the Olympics, which is hopeless, it wasn’t going to happen — they do as a culture wear masks about 60 to 80% of the time depending on the estimates. And while I think because they’re not testing, they have a bit of an undercount, they have more cases than they know, but they’re not Lombardy, they’re not Italy.

In other news, Louis CK is releasing anew comedy special…


  1. World: Cases: 1,203,485 — Total deaths: 64,784  (up 3910 – a daily increase of -51%)
  2. USA: Cases: 312,237 — Total deaths: 8,501 (up 1338 – a daily increase of 7%)
  3. Marin: Cases: 137 (up 6). Deaths: 7 (up 1)




Coronavirus Log – Day 20: New York City

What’s on my mind?

Home-schooling. Our online learning is sort of a joke. The teachers are just barely sending over what’s needed. We’re trying our best, but it’s hard. I can only imagine it will only get better as the teachers and staff figure it out.

Speaking of, this is a GREAT read about how higher ed (mostly colleges) will adapt post-COVID and how they and tech will merge. It will be fascinating to watch over the next 5 years.

Getting Out. Sasha and I are very similar. We both love to get out of the house and be active. If we don’t leave the house and do a walk or run, we’re crabby during the day and don’t sleep as well at night. We’re starting to combat this problem by taking long walks around 5-6pm, before dinner. Yesterday we took a nice 50 minute bike ride down the road. We’re both a bit nicer when we return.

Finally, NYC. The situation there seems exceptionally dire. There was an Amber Alert-like message sent to everyone in NYC asking if they know of any licensed healthcare workers.

and still the subways are packed with people…

Not surprisingly, the cases are still climbing in NYC:

Other Stuff

For those of you who are Sandra Bulluck fans or fans of While You Were Sleeping will need to read the following (thx Lizzie):


  1. World: Cases 1,139,207. Deaths: 60,874 (up 7,901 – a daily increase of 80%)
  2. USA: Cases 278,537. Deaths: 7,163 (up 1252 – a daily increase of 62%)
  3. Marin: 131 cases (up 13), 6 deaths


Coronavirus Log – Day 19: Home Gym

What’s on my mind?

Unemployment is just rampant. The number of people out of work is just staggering. I talked to someone I know yesterday who has 4 dollars in their bank account and one month left in rent. The aid can’t come fast enough.

Other countries continue to put us to shame. I’m glad we’re finally coming around on the masks, but it’s time to get the rest of the foundation in place – tests, temperature checks, and individual tracking. That’s how you beat it.

As for me, I’m working on my Home Gym. If I’m stuck at home, I might as well be staying fit. I’m jealous of those with Peloton, Mirror, Tonal or any of the other new gadgets that let you work out at home.

My latest attempt (Thanks MAL) is a weight vest. I’ve got a new 20 lbs vest. Wearing it turns air squats into real leg workouts, turns pushups into bench presses. My new vest just arrived and I tried it out for the first time last night and man my legs are shot after 100 air squats.

Other Stuff

On Wednesday, the singer Adam Schlesigner, a songwriter for films and stage died at age 52 from COVID-19. Quite a talented guy and sadly won’t be the last great talent to be taken during this time. From writer Matty Karas:

Adam’s eye for the detail of ordinary suburban strivers was every bit as sharp as the well-chronicled ear for criminally catchy hooks that he deployed over the course of six FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE albums, five IVY albums, one TINTED WINDOWS album, one unforgettable hit song for a fake ’60s rock band in a TOM HANKS movie, 157 songs for the TV series CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND, one Broadway musical, one off-Broadway musical, one MONKEES song and let’s just stipulate there was a lot of other stuff.

On a happier note, this was my favorite thing I saw yesterday (Thanks Dana P.). There’s a museum that asked people to recreate paintings with stuff they can find at home. Some great results. Some are below but click in to see all of them.


  1. World: Cases: 1,014,673, deaths: 52,973 (up 4,390 – a daily increase of -17%)
  2. USA: Cases 244,678, deaths: 5,911 (up 774 – a daily increase of -27%)
  3. Marin: 118 cases (up 10), 6 deaths


New Yorker COVID cover

Coronavirus Log – Day 18: Grocery Deliveries

What’s on my mind

Food and grocery deliveries. My company, Onward, offers rides to seniors and those who needed extra assistance. Now, because getting older adults out of the house is a terrible idea, we are also offering food and grocery deliveriesI am surprised how popular this is. Literally everybody is trying to get the food from the grocery store to their house without them having to do it. It’s been interesting to see the requests we’ve been receiving.

It’s so popular that Instacart, the app that partners with grocery stores to deliver food to you announced they are looking to hire 300,000 new people. Three hundred thousand. This is a unique time in history when we all need the exact same thing.

Yesterday, I wrote about asymptomatic people and how bizarre it is. I read this feed from an ICU doctor who, over 7 days, treated 50 COVID patients. Her patterns about what patients look like is interesting.

A Tale of Two Americas. I work from home every day. When I look down my street, I see construction workers still working on homes. It does seem like the better-off are getting sheltered but the rest are getting shafted as it’s harder for some people to “go virtual.”

At My House

We’re powering through. Diane has taken the lead on home schooling and, in good Diane fashion, it making it super fun for the kids. There’s an amazing amount of playing, building and laughter coming from the house and yard.

Hunter has a lego Millennium Falcon that he just started yesterday:

Sasha has taken to FaceTiming her friends and showing them everything in our house. Yesterday her friend showed her how to do Memoji’s in FaceTime. I’m amazed that my 5-year old is now more savvy than I am with my phone. #DigitalNative

Other Stuff


  1. World: Cases 956,588, deaths: 48,583 (up 5,297 – daily increase of 25%)
  2. USA: Cases 216,722, deaths: 5,137 (up 1,056 – daily increase of 16%)
  3. Marin: Cases: 108, deaths: 6

On Wednesday, Trump said that we should expect 100,000-200,000 deaths in the USA. Wow.