Week 204 in Detroit. We’re all quarantining together. Or as every brand ever has emailed you in the last few weeks, “we’re all in this together.” My friend Michelle forwarded me some “Dad jokes” on Friday and I gotta say, I always love a good Dad joke. Here’s one: “With everyone in quarantine, every attorney is now in-house counsel.”
I can hear the groans from here.
Hope you have a safe, peaceful and comfortable weekend. Blue sky. Good music. Grateful heart.
Thanks for reading.
As of Tuesday morning, the 50 counties with the most cases of COVID-19 accounted for more than one-third of the nation’s economic output and nearly one-third of its jobs, according to the Brookings Institute.
Want to know more?
There are over 3,100 counties in America — the 15 counties buckling under the largest number of coronavirus cases account for just over 16 percent of the nation’s economic output, and nearly 13 percent of its jobs, or nearly 26 million jobs in all. NYC & the surrounding metro areas of NJ/CT, as well as Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, LA, New Orleans and Miami.
Just those counties = $3.3 trillion of the country’s $20 trillion economic output. This is all in the Brookings research.
“Remote work doesn’t require any special sauce. It’s about having high intent as a leader and then pushing your team to relentlessly — and consistently — take small steps toward your North Star, trusting them all along the way.”
— Maggie Leung
Let’s imagine you were born in 1994.
You were 7 years old on 9/11/2001, an early memory is terrorism. When I was (almost) 7, I watched the Berlin Wall come down and the Dodgers win the World Series. I still remember it.
You were 14 years old when the financial crisis occurred. Depending on where your parents are at that point, you may have seen them lose their home, you may have seen them lose their value, you may have been fine. But you remember it. When I was (about) 14, I watched the President impeached in my American government class and decided to become a Political Science major.
You were 22 years old during the 2016 Presidential campaign. When I was 22 years old, I had just watched President Bush win reelection and, though, contentious it was not the political climate that would follow 10 years later.
You are 26 years old during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Isolated at home and wondering about your job. When I was 26 years old, I decided to go to law school.
Imagine for a minute you are then, at 27, asked to trust the Establishment, trust the system, trust the bank. Do you? How are you feeling about conventional wisdom right now? Do you take your parent’s advice? How about the President of the United States’s advice? Do you want to buy a house right now?
I wrote over the last few weeks about what might change during our massive work-from-home quarantine. Now, I’m wondering if it’s already changed. Perhaps explicitly, perhaps only a subconscious erosion. The erosion of the “supposed-to’s” that fuel the economy. The power of underlying assumptions weakened by a series of blows that do not seem to connect until they do.
No claim of having all the answers here. No crystal ball. The question is what indicators should we be watching to know for sure what’s next. Unemployment claims. Downloads. Clicks. Memes.
Many people have asked for a mortgage payment forbearance. Many people are looking ahead to May’s rent payment. Many people are working from home inviting new questions about what’s important. And that’s just work priorities. Many people are home right now not spending nearly as much as usual. Some internet shopping, sure. Some curbside takeout, maybe. Coming out of the next month or two, the economy will be different.
How your organization responses could make all the difference in the future of the company. The lives of your team members and customers are being shaped in this experience and it will be difficult to guide our teams and organizations over the next few months. Increasingly the “back to normal” sentiment is going to fade to “it’s more difficult” or “I didn’t expect that would happen.” Yes, the quarantine has been odd and unique. Prepare to be adaptable, just as you have been for the last few weeks, only more so and for longer. With that mindset, we’ll be ready for whichever trend or shift occurs.
The complexity of the wilderness: The complexity of the wilderness is matched by the complexity of the problem. The problem of the modern world versus nature. Indigenous versus survival. Desire to experience the hard against the fear of appropriating someone else’s experience as sport.
In an article this week from Outside Online, I enjoyed step into another world. A world in rural Washington. In the wilderness, there lives a woman named Lynx Vilden.
Lynx Vilden is a guide. She lives off the land and teaches others. It’s hard and romantic.
For example, “What she’s offering is a tool kit for complete self-sufficiency, as both an antidote and a radical alternative to the frenzied pace and digital solipsism that so many of us rail against — and yet so few of us successfully resist.” It just hard to live out, all the way, even for Lynx.
She describes living wild as “an act of bearing witness, one that frequently requires relearning how to see and hear.” In doing so, the complexity comes in. Lynx wants to live in the Stone Age and knows it takes e-mail, Powerpoint and flights to make that a reality. And that’s just the truth of the complexity.
The tension between indigenous and survival. “Indigenous literally means ‘of a place’ — survival is almost the exact opposite of that.” This is not Naked and Afraid on Discovery Channel. Lynx understands the complexity of the wilderness and the tension of her students but still recognizes how critical the wild is to our soul.
“Fire is what makes us human.” — Lynx Vilden
I read that to be much bigger than starting fire, though, it’s that. It’s THE fire.
The fire of being human is also threatening.
“…being wild verges on illegal.”
Once, Lynx led a course where one of the students was an undercover Parks officer and then she was “charged for running a course on public land without a permit and for cutting down a freestanding dead tree.” That’s all. That’s it. Constrain the wild. She is wild. And it’s hard to categorize that. Restricting and regulating it is disappointing. I found Lynx inspiring and without wanting to be her. Just seeing and feeling the FIRE was enough. Hope I captured it.
In difficult times, carry something beautiful in your heart. — Blaise Pascal
One way I’ve experienced beauty this week was through my wife and daughter sharing incredible experiences online. Seriously, I know home schooling has been difficult and finding ways to both educate and entertain can put more stress on parents than any other aspect of this quarantine. Meredith, my wife, consistently finds these gems.
Mo Willems teaching drawing classes on Youtube.
Home Safari with the Cincinnati Zoo (also on YouTube).
Incredible moments of music and art popping up every day on YouTube and Instagram. Get inspired.
Looking for something to watch that’s not kids’ stuff or Netflix? I stumbled upon this — the 75 short films of SXSW 2020, online, for free. Well, sponsored by Mailchimp. I haven’t started watching these yet, but I feel like this is an extremely generous find and timely to boot.
The politics of conspiracy theories. So 2020, right?
As far back as 1800, Americans hurled wild accusations about motives, alliances and secret beliefs that supposedly supersede patriotism.
“Morse, the Dwight brothers, and their allies were soon mobilizing opposition against Republican candidate Thomas Jefferson, calling him the candidate of none other than the Illuminati. But they couldn’t have anticipated what came next: Their conspiracy theory, once unleashed in the world, was turned back on them, upending the 1800 election and demonstrating the unique vulnerability of American democracy to conspiracy theories — especially during times of pitched cultural and ideological warfare.”
So, the strategist is thus. Find something people inherently distrust. Then blur the definition and emphasize it over and over.
For instance, a supporter of Jefferson “played off of Americans’ inherent distrust of anything that looked like a pope and then blurred it with the conspiracy theories Dwight and Morse had already set in motion.” In doing so, this guy — Ogden — flipped the conspiracy theory back onto the original accusers, his opponents. And that’s where it stuck.
Oh, and, if possible, do not forget to get a friendly media source to carry your every word.
Jefferson’s supporters’ “conspiratorial accusations were carried not just by the Aurora but spread in sympathetic newspapers from New York to Baltimore. “
Finally, when all is said and done, you will have “manufactured a paranoia.” 1800. 2020.
And so it goes…in America.
“Life is short — the fruit of this life is a good character and acts for the common good.” — Marcus Aurelius
Power of nostalgia: 1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Before you click, beware, bringatrailer.com is a never ending list of memories and cool autos.
Continued success and continue to answer well,