Can we talk about Tesla for a moment? The reason they are relevant today is that their stock is ridiculous. Not that it’s high (which it is) or that the company is loved or hated (which it is) but that its volatility is off the charts. Tons of trades happening every day. For instance one day last week (Monday), Tesla opened $114 higher than its previous close, then gained another $136 within 15 minutes, then dropped by $324 before the market closed. Each dollar of share price corresponds to a market capitalization of $185 million, which means that Tesla lost more than $60 billion of value during the day. That’s more than the market cap of Ford and Fiat Chrysler combined. And this happens every day. Walls Street analysts have no idea what to think. Their price targets range from $87 (GLJ Research) to $2,322 (Piper Sandler). Continue reading “134: Tesla Madness”→
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:
Thinking this is temporary, and waiting to get back to the office to do your work.
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.
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.
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.
Nirvana. This is where your distributed team works better than any in-person team ever could.
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.
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.
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.
Good morning, friends in Asia! — What are your ride-sharing companies doing to safely transport people and add revenue as your governments incrementally lighten restrictions? I read about the plastic screens, but what other innovations are you seeing for safety and revenue?
There’s a company called Wheels that is deploying eBikes with self-cleaning handlebars and brake levers. “NanoSeptic’s handlebar technology, which is powered by light, uses mineral nano-crystals to create an oxidation reaction that is stronger than bleach“
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.
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
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.
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)
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
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.
I just spent a week at our family cabin in the Poconos and thought i’d write a little recap as it was a great trip all around. Some highlights:
Mckenzie and Tracey
Over the past 10-20 years it’s been tough to see Mckenzie during the summer as he spends a good chunk of it in Europe leading archaeological digs. This year he was able to join us after the dig but before the fall school session begins. It was really great to see him. As we get older it’s good to get a good number of days with someone to get a feel for their daily habits and lifestyle.
The big event that occurred was the proposal between the two. One beautiful Thursday night Mckenzie and Tracey went for a walk after dinner. While the dishes were being washed in the Glass House (thanks mom) Mckenzie presented Tracey with a ring he picked up in Florence and asked her to marry him!
We continue to get to know Tracey and she is really awesome. A highlight for me was arguing with her about the differences between Canada and the US and discussing the problems we have here in the US and what some approaches might be to fix them (not a quick convo, as you could imagine). I liked it because the conversation got heated in a way it can between people who like to argue and are family.
Of course Georgia was in tow and it was really awesome to see Sasha and her (and sometimes Hunter) play together. Sasha and G are the same age (both 4) so they seemed quite comfortable with each other and their playing was incredibly cute.
Hunter did seem a bit left out sometimes but that’s to be expected when there’s only 3 (ahem, we need Reagan next time). But, the three of them did get some good play time in:
Kids and School
Now that our kids are getting older, we’re experiencing Summer break and the chafe that it is for two working parents. Hunter is between kindergarten and 1st grade and is off for the summer and we have to find things for him to do. We cobbled together a series of camps but this means that getting together as a family in the summer is much more logical than in years past
I haven’t been to my family’s cabin in the Poconos for almost a decade. It is so beautiful. The lake, the river and nature surrounding it are just awesome.
It’s also nice having my parents there and able to see and catch up with other semi-related folks. The cabins could be nicer (especially our Middle Camp) but it is great to have a place to go and have lots of family around.
Diane especially was a fan of the rustic nature of the cabins. Her childhood was spent traveling to Mexico every weekend and staying in half-built homes while they hung out with family and friends while enjoying the natural beauty of the ocean. She got the same feeling this past week, making the whole experience better for her.
We loved and plan on heading back again next year…
He’s really grown a lot of this year. He’s thoughtful and curious. He has a deep love of animals. His favorite animals this year, in order, were his 2016 favorites of the colossal squid, and then spent the bulk of the year idolizing bats (specifically the Somoan Flying Fox bat which has a wingspan of over 7 feet) and recently he’s super into dinosaurs. He continues to be more cerebral than physical. He’s much more content to sit on the couch drawing than kicking a ball or playing on the playground. We did get him riding a bike later this year. This is hard because it’s so hilly where we live that we can’t go out out front door and ride but rather have to drive to a school or area to do it. We had some issues potty-training him this year but he’s now past that and, in almost all ways, a big kid now.
Wow, what a year for her. She’s now talking and convening her thoughts and emotions so well. From a personality standpoint, she’s a force. She’s very strong. She wants what she wants and like what she likes. She’s not afraid to speak up and lead. She often loves to step up and start telling Hunter what to do. She’s super active. From the moment she wakes up, she wants to get out the door and go running and play. She likes to try to keep up with Hunter and does so pretty well. She doesn’t like fruit or vegetables at all (sorry about those genes, sasha). She loves the color pink and is very particular of what she wears and picks out her outfit everyday (Hunter, by contrast, does not care at all). She’s still a total daddy’s girl but increasingly is all about mom too.
With Sasha getting to 3, we are emerging out of infant zone. The four of us can now take a drive and all talk in one conversation. We can sit at a table in a restaurant and get through the meal without disaster striking. Heck, we’re even talking about a road trip and feeling excited about it. We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it looks glorious. I think 2018 will be a great family year.
She had a huge year. She started a new job at a startup (30 people) called Peerspace. Peerspace is a marketplace similar to Airbnb that offers locations for offsite and events. She’s responsible for host expansion and is loving it. She also crushed being a mom this year. Hunter and Diane have a special bond that is truly great to see and Sasha is typically Daddy’s girl, she currently obsessed with her.
At Airbnb, there’s a new business unit and I’m running the product group for it. The role was quite a change for me as I am being stretched in new ways. It’s exciting but also exhausting. We have a launch coming up in 2018 so stay tuned.
Diet and Exercise
I ended last year strong and running a lot. That ended almost immediately in 2018. I injured my knee again in January/February and decided to take some time off. I also decide to try a new weight loss tactic. Over the past few years i had been steadily gaining weight and found myself at the beginning of the year at over 195 lbs, the heaviest i’d ever been. I have always relied on running and working out as a way to lose weight and with that being removed due to knee problems, i decided to focus on my eating. I knew I could limit my portions as that’s very hard for me to do. But, i knew that i could limit the number of meals I eat. That seemed doable. So, i started skipping breakfast starting in March. Surprisly, it wasn’t hard to do and it was very effective in cutting calories and thus weight. You can see from the graph below that 2017 was by far my most successful year as i dropped 20 lbs this year and ended at 175.
This was the first year i started to feel old. My knee gave out at the beginning of the year and other aches started to manifest as I went on. There’s more grey hair. Heck, there’s more hair everywhere (hello, ear hair). 40 is an interesting number as I now no longer feel i’m on the upward swing of my life. I’m hitting a middle plateau, at least physically. I’ve peaked. I’m sure i could get back to running 7 min miles, but i’m never going to again run 2 miles under 12 minutes again. I also am getting the least amount of sleep ever. With the kids waking up early and the job going late, i’m burning it at both ends. It’s been an exhausting 6-12 months, and i’m finishing the year feeling old.
That said, we had a fantastic outing to Jackson Hole with the extended family. Check out that video:
I thought we were time constrained when Hunter came along. Well, with two little ones this year, aged 1 and 3, time really got sucked away from me. Less sleep, fewer workouts, fewer books read. All the things I like to do just for me basically went out the door this year. But, they were replaced with more time with my family, which was just fantastic.
He really became a full fledged person this year. He’s now funny and clever. He has a bit of trickery and deviousness in him, but he’s shaping up to be a very kind person. His teachers at school regularly remark about how genuine and kind he is. Also, his super power this year is his drawing. He’s very creative and can draw ridiculously well. Continue reading “The Lewhouses in 2016”→