Time to Build, The Doomsday Machine, and Pulse Oximeters
by David Wells – Nashville TN
Today’s top piece is a recent editorial from Marc Andreessen, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, challenging us all that the path forward after this crisis is as a society beginning to build again. It’s a tremendous read and well worth your time. This period is an unplanned detour in the route of our lives. 26MM people are sitting unemployed today vs. record low unemployment just a few short weeks ago. Many organizations are tasked with finding new ways to adapt and change. Not counting those who are ill and have lost their lives.
While limitations are never comfortable, they can spark periods of incredible creativity as prior constraints that are often invisible and implicit fall by the wayside. I am reminded of Conan O’Brien’s 2011 Commencement Address at Dartmouth in which he reflect back on losing his job as the host of The Tonight Show – a job he had dreamed of his entire life. He commented –
“But then something spectacular happened. Fogbound, with no compass, and adrift, I started trying things. I did a lot of silly, unconventional, spontaneous and seemingly irrational things and guess what…it was the most satisfying and fascinating year of my professional life. How could this be true? Well, it’s simple: There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.”
This is not meant to be Pollyannaish, but instead is a challenge to us all to see opportunity in uncertainty, and freedom in newfound constraints.
For Laughs –
What We Should All Be Doing Right Now – Credit EW – If you aren’t confused, you aren’t paying attention.
Content I wrote this week –
- 10 Must Reads for any Family Office Executive – While there are many great books out on business management, the vast majority are focused on traditional companies. The resources available to assist those tasked with leading and developing professional services firms are far fewer. Here are my favorites.
Food for Thought
- A16Z – It’s Time to Build “Making masks and transferring money are not hard. We could have these things but we chose not to — specifically we chose not to have the mechanisms, the factories, the systems to make these things. We chose not to *build*. You don’t just see this smug complacency, this satisfaction with the status quo and the unwillingness to build, in the pandemic, or in healthcare generally. You see it throughout Western life, and specifically throughout American life.”
- WashPo – They lived in a factory for 28 days to make millions of pounds of raw PPE materials to help fight coronavirus & WSJ – Lysol Factory Job Becomes a Calling. ‘Hey, I Work at the Place That Makes That.’ This pandemic has given us a great gift in helping us to see and applaud the inherent dignity of work – in all it’s forms.
- NYT – ‘Staying Nimble’: How Small Businesses Can, and Do, Shift Gears
- Fortune – Plastic that travels 8,000 miles: the global crisis in recycling This was eye-opening and thought provoking about where single-use packaging ends up, and how little actually is recycled.
- We are all adapting to a purely virtual workplace, and seeing the limitation of our new tools (Zoom, Teams, etc). Here are a few pieces to that end:
- Forbes – How A Goat Farmer Built A Doomsday Machine That Just Booked A 4,144% Return
- NYT – The Death of the Department Store: ‘Very Few Are Likely to Survive’ Shuttered flagships. Empty malls. Canceled orders. Risks of bankruptcy. The coronavirus has hit the behemoths of the retail world.
- BusinessWeek – Socially Distance This Carnival Executives Knew They Had a Virus Problem, But Kept the Party Going
- II – Absolutely No One: I Wonder What Phil Falcone Is Up To?
- NYTimes – The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients and why patients need pulse oximeters.
- WashPo – Desperate for fall enrollees, colleges are luring students with campus perks and cold cash
- LA Times – The hottest free agent in L.A. is a 69-year-old waitress from now-closed Nate ’n Al’s
- InsideHook – Sports Announcers Now Doing Play-by-Play Calls of Everyday Life
- Men’s Health – How the Game-Changing George Foreman Grill Made History What happens when an aging prizefighter, a quirky gadget, and iconic ’90s marketing combine to take over the world?