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

Fitness

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:

Cases

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

(spreadsheet)

Only 64 more days 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:

Stats

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.

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.

 

Cases

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

Only 64 more days to go

Coronavirus – Day 14: Masks

I’m thinking today about masks. It’s hard to say what to do about masks. Some believe they’re not effective in protecting you from the virus. Personally, I feel like they have to be as they block moisture coming in and out of the mouth. Even if you’re not sick, the more you can block, the better.

Of course, it doesn’t really matter because you can’t buy a mask anywhere. Luckily we have some left over from the forest fires that ravaged our area last year. Whenever we go out (which is close to never), we put on the mask. We used to get looks but now I think people appreciate it.

I read today that the US has only about 1% of the 3.5 billion masks we need to combat coronavirus. In the US, we don’t manufacture them and both Europe and Asia have put a ban on mask exports. Soooo, we won’t be able to get new masks any time soon.

Our Weekend Activity

After maximizing our screen time in the morning, we did manage to do some good activities. We hit an empty parking lot for some exercise.

We ended the night with some ping pong and then made a fort in our living room and had a slumber party on the floor. Fun for everyone – except my back.

The Bad News

New York is totally overwhelmed. The 911 system in New York City typically gets 4,000 calls a day. Now they’re getting 7,000 – all related to coronavirus. Speaking of masks, the 911 responders are doing most cases without appropriate equipment to protect themselves from infection. NYC has become the epicenter of coronavirus, with more than 30,000 cases as of Saturday, and 672 deaths. If the rate of growth continues, NYC will suffer a more severe outbreak than those experienced in Wuhan, China, or the Lombardy region of Italy.

In Good News

James Dyson, the guy who’s made your amazing vacuum cleaner has focused on ventilators and has made an awesome one in 10 days. He’s now generated 15k of them. Love it.

and also, this guy:

Cases

  1. World: Cases: 664,695, deaths: 30,847 (up 2,024 – daily increase down 47%)
  2. USA: Cases: 124,464, deaths: 2,191 (up 482 – daily increase up 18%)
  3. Marin: 74 (up 5), 1 death

Coronavirus Log – Day 11: Triscuits

Family Outings

We’re four people in a 1100 sq. ft house with one bathroom so things are getting tight. But, we’re getting creative. We did a group workout yesterday, and today, we did a team bike ride at a local church parking lot, which was fun for everyone.

Hunter loves riding his bike and Sasha is starting to come around.

Social Distancing

While at the church, we encountered a police officer. Super nice guy. He wanted to hand us some stickers and asked if the kids wanted to join him in the car and play with the dashboard buttons and turn on the lights. Really nice request, but WTF!!!??

Here’s my issue with that: we can get rid of Coronavirus. It’s actually pretty easy to do. All we have to do is, as a nation, take 14 days and not come in contact with anyone. That’s all. If we do that, this virus will disappear. It’ll be gone. Everyone just needs to take 14 days.

But if our police officers, who are on the front lines helping people, think it’s a good idea to invite others into their cars to touch all the knobs they’ve been touching, then this whole little plan just isn’t going to work. Oh man, we’re effed.

New York!
I was reading a lot about the scene in NYC yesterday. The NYTime has a good behind the scenes story and a video with the doctor.

The scene in Queens NY is crazy, an excerpt:

New York has become the epicenter of the entire world of the virus and they need not just thousands of additional beds but tens of thousands.

Finally, a Very Important Thread
In lighter news, this thread on Twitter was one of the best things I’ve read in months. A guy goes DEEP on
Triscuits

Cases

  • Worldwide: Cases 491,623, Deaths: 22,169 (up 2,494 from yesterday – daily increase of -1%)
  • U.S.: Cases: 69,210, Deaths: 1,046 (up 244 from yesterday – daily increase of 17%)
  • Marin CA: 60 cases (up 7 from yesterday)

Coronavirus Log – Day 9: Starting to Get Real

Yesterday was the first day where people in my inner circle – people I talk to every day – started testing postive for COVID. It’s makes the disease much more real and, let me tell you, it’s scary. It’s very contagious and seems to be coming for us.  This recounting of the day-in-the-life from a doctor is very interesting and really shows how this disease is taking over:

On a more positive note, my kids seem to be having fun at home. Sasha did a FaceTime call with another 5 year old. They two of them took the phones into their respective bedrooms and talked like teenagers. Sasha climbed up to her top bunk and turned to me and said, “Dad, can you go away. I’m talking with my friend.” Five going on fifteen.

On the other call, Sasha just set up her piano and played it for her friend. It was loud and annoying for her friend but cute for me.

Cases

  1. 392,780 — Total deaths: 17,159 (up 1,831 from yesterday – daily increase of 5.4%)
  2. USA: 46,481 — Total deaths: 593 (up 122 from yesterday – daily decrease of 7%)
  3. Marin: 47 cases (up 9 from yesterday), 0 deaths

Coronavirus Log: Day 7 – The Weekend

Happy Sunday from our house to yours –

Quick note for the Weekend post: The new album from The Weeknd is good. I particularly like this song:

Our first weekend while under quarantine. It was pretty fun. We went bike riding with the kids, and I went for a run. Upon my return Sasha helped me stretch out and then both H & S did a little workout with me.

I’ve been worried about eating foods at restaurants and ordering food for takeout or delivery. This read about Food Safety  gave me some much-needed facts and is making me less worried. A good read.

In the “I’m not at all surprised department,” the kids in Florida partying are coming down with cases of COVID

I get a weekly newsletter from Eugene Wei and I liked this metaphor he wrote about:

The Never-ending Bottle Episode
In the TV business, a bottle episode is the industry term for an episode that is severely constrained in order to be produced as cheaply as possible; usually, it refers to an episode shot entirely in one location, primarily with cast regulars. Without having to move the crew around and relight multiple locations, and without having to pay non-regular cast members, you can shoot the episode on the cheap.

Some shows have organic bottle episodes (for example, some serial killer show may plan for an episode where our lead profiler interviews the serial killer in his maximum-security prison), but more often it’s because a show has gone off-pattern (TV lingo for off-budget). When that happens, the showrunner announces that episode so-and-so will be a bottle episode, and the writer of said episode nods and then wanders to the bathroom to sob in a stall.

Writers usually hate to be assigned to a bottle episode; it’s like having your birthday on Christmas. You just feel swindled compared to other writers who have the budget to use multiple locations and high-profile guest stars. However, as in many creative endeavors, the constraints can summon untapped reserves of creativity. Such episodes often consist of a lot of people just sitting around and talking to each other. The one I remember most, because of what prompted it, was the “Isaac and Ishmael” episode of West Wing, its season three premiere. It was written and shot quickly and aired several weeks after 9/11, a stand-alone episode outside show continuity, consisting of a series of Socratic dialogues on terrorism and how to deal with it.

We’re living through a version of a real-life bottle episode now, many of us isolated at home because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is that emergency episode that falls outside the overarching narrative continuity of our lives. I find it challenging to process how life might be forever changed, that while we were going about our daily lives, we missed the transition to a new season, the dark turn in the plot. Even as I bunkered down and haven’t left my condo for 11 days now, I’m not sure I’ve fully accepted that life might be changed quite drastically for the foreseeable future, if not forever. This isn’t a stand-alone episode, from which we’ll return to the core plot branch next week. This novel coronavirus is woven into the ongoing narrative now, forever.

Cases:

  • World: 316,187 — Total deaths: 13,592 (up 1,671 – daily increase is down 12% from yesterday)
  • USA: 26,747 Total deaths: 340 (up 65 – daily increase is down 7% from yesterday)
  • Marin: 37 cases (up 0 from yesterday), 0 deaths

Coronavirus Log: Day 6 – Starting to Feel It

What we’re thinking about

We’re worried about Diane’s medicine. She has bad asthma and needs her inhaler. She has only 1-2 weeks left and she’s worried there will be a run on that medicine as people get sick and she’ll be left without. It’s quite stressful. We’re looking to score some more. Stay tuned.

We are finding our groove a bit in home schooling. Hunter is dining great although he’s telling us that school at home is “way harder” than regular school, which I’m excited to hear

The standing “quaran-time” happy hour is pretty great to have every day.  While we don’t talk about much, it’s been great to see old faces and see how everyone is stressed out, the same as me.

Where we’re at:

The main thing on my mind is that this is going to last a LONG time and that it’s really going to impact a lot oF people. This is confluence of 3 things:

(1) The cases are going up. We’re on a higher trajectory than any other country

(2) The reports from hospitals are that they’re running out of supplies already. One hospital has already ordered to stop testing people coming in so they don’t waste the gowns and masks.

(3) There are still many areas that are not taking this seriously and not isolating themselves. This all but ensures this is going to spread and that we’re going to be inside for a lot longer than we thought. We needed to get EVERYONE inside and that is just not happening. Yesterday the California governor predicted that 56% of all Californias will get infected.

Other Items:

Another crazy moment by our president where he lashed out a reporter:

Cases:

  • World: 287,239— Total deaths: 11,921 (up 1883)
  • USA: 19,931 — Total deaths: 275 (up 70)
  • Marin: 37 cases (up 12), 0 deaths

The 2010’s Decade

I’ve seen so many posts looking back at the decade, I thought I’d take a look at the changes I’ve gone through over the past 10 years:

Lots of geography changes. In 2009, I was living in Los Angeles and moved to Denver at the end of 2009. Since LA till now I’ve moved 5 times: to Denver (Cheeseman), within Denver (to Uptown), to Boulder (Quince Ave.), to Strawberry CA, and then to my current home in Mill Valley, CA.   That’s a lot of packing and unpacking.

Lots of personal relationships.  Diane and I had been dating for one year and had just gotten engaged at the end of 2009. Since then we’ve gotten married, had two awesome kids who are now in 1st grade and the last year of pre-school.

Lots of professional changes. In 2009, I had just left BuzzMedia and started up a company, Kapost, with Tony and Nader. At the time it wasn’t even called Kapost, it was called Collective Ink Systems and then Grogger.  Since then, Kapost grew to be an industry leader in B2B Marketing Operations software and was acquired. I also went to work at Airbnb and started their Airbnb for Work initiative as well as their Airbnb Luxe product.  In 2019, I left Airbnb to start Onward with Nader. It’s now almost a year old.

My health has changed quite a bit. From 2010 to 2017, I weighed between 180 and 195 lbs. and worked out at least 3x a week. Since 2017, I’ve reduced my workouts but have dramatically changed by eating and diet. I now weigh between 165 and 175.

MPL Weight

Hunter Enters 1st Grade

I dropped off Hunter yesterday for his new first day of school. He’s in the first grade and his teacher is Ms. Fort. He had a great teacher last year with Mrs. Dale and we’re hoping for another good year this year.

School starts every day 8:15am and I’m pretty happy to get our morning routine back.

Hunter