05/26/20

Fear V Danger — Perspective

Fear is an emotion. Scary things create fear. How we deal with fear and scary things is within our control. Sometimes, it takes real will power to control fear and to  deal with scary things.

Dealing with scary things is part of adulting. Not everybody is good at adulting. Not everybody wants to be good at adulting. Life is a swirl of choices. One of those choices is to be an adult about scary things.

Danger is a measure of risk. What is dangerous to one person — jumping out of an airplane, as an example — is not dangerous to another person. It is an acquired sense. You can mitigate danger through prudent action.

If you are a startup CEO/founder on your first company, everything is dangerous, risky, scary, and fills you with dread — fear. Sorry, that is normal.

If you are a startup CEO/founder on your sixth company, you are perfectly comfortable with the danger — yawn, been there, done that, hold my beer, on second thought go get me another beer — whilst it is not nearly as risky on No 6 as No 1, and it is not scary and you have no sense of fear.

You have learned how to deal with these two impostors — hat tip to Rudyard Kipling and that beauty of a poem, IF. Well played, Rudyard.

Glad I could be of service, Big Red Car, you lyrical bastard.

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05/12/20

Georgia And COVID19

Comes now the State of Georgia which re-opened for business in late April at the order of its Governor, Brian Kemp. At the time, it was a very controversial decision. How has it fared, you ask?

You will recall that Dr Fauci said of the idea at the time:

“If I were advising the Governor, I would tell him he should be careful. Going ahead and leapfrogging into phases where you should not be … I would advise him not to do that.”

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05/11/20

Unemployment, A Few Words

Today we are facing monumental COVID19 unemployment that is initially tracked by the weekly number of new applications for unemployment payments — remember this is an insurance policy for which you have paid for years.

By that measure we are at 15% unemployment (those without jobs actively looking for a job which is known by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as U-3 Unemployment, the most common measure referred to by the media).

We are likely headed to 20-25% unemployment before the trend is reversed.

But, we are dealing with a situation that is entirely different than the traditional manner in which we assess these numbers over a long period of time.

Traditionally, we look at these numbers as a means of tracking a trend line to establish the expansion or contraction of the economy. They are trend numbers.

Before the advent of COVID19, the USA was at record high employment.

These numbers subsume — incorporate — people who technically meet the criteria, but who are really “furloughed” rather than classically unemployed.

By using the word furloughed, I am suggesting that their jobs are waiting for them whenever that business re-opens.

They are not “looking for a new job;” they are waiting for the business that formerly employed them to re-open.

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05/10/20

CEO Shoptalk — Fear v Fearful

A leader is always operating on the edge. Talking to you: entrepreneurs, founders, CEOs, C-suite denizens, departmental leaders, and students of leadership.

When I was in those positions, I never thought it was lonely at the top, but when people say it is — this is what they are talking about. Being alone with your thoughts, your duties, your responsibilities, your decisions — good ones, bad ones.

Today it is perfectly fine to feel the press of fear. I would be surprised if you didn’t feel fear today. We are facing monumental changes and the fellow traveler of change is fear.

Fear is an emotion. It is an instant in time. It is fleeting. We can banish it. It does not define us.

As a leader, you can feel fear, but you cannot run your organization on it.

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05/7/20

Cheat From Home — Online Learning

Higher education has a new problem — how to administer and proctor tests in an online learning environment. How does online learning deal with cheat from home?

How does a professor ensure that her students are not cheating as they take those tests and final exams?

All of you engineers with your open book problem solving exams can just STFU with your superior attitudes and admonitions about how engineering is taught and tested. Yes, I’m an engineer and most of my exams were completely open book.

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05/5/20

Work From Home — Once They’ve Seen Paris

All desk bound or mind workers in the USA were “invited” to work from home — WFH — during the pendency of COVID19.

When American soldiers returned from World War I after having “seen Paris” the saying went: “How you going to keep them down on the farm once they’ve seen Paris?” It became a famous vaudeville song during the Roaring Twenties.

In fact, America became much more global and international. American changed irreversibly from the experiences of World War I Doughboys.

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05/3/20

COVID19 Reopening Facts

Long ago, I opined that the United States was facing 50 individual fights as it relates to COVID19.

Fifty Fights — COVID19 War

Now, I opine there will be a like number of “re-openings.” They will be guided by the facts. Let me use a couple of examples.

These numbers are for the time period 2-1-2010 to 5-1-2020. This is three months. These are CDC numbers comparing New York City versus the State of Texas.

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04/30/20

Re-Opening V Re-Visioning

Comes now the heady prospect that states within our glorious Union may soon be freed from COVID19 timeout and thereby businesses, both large and small, will be allowed to re-open.

What is the first task? Re-Visioning.

There will be no “one size fits all of y’all” plan as all states and businesses are different. Businesses are different.

What is painfully true is that the business environment we knew pre-COVID19 will not magically re-appear. There will be no going back to the past to define the future.

It is a new ballgame.

A new ballgame requires a new business plan. A new business plan requires a re-visit to the original Vision, Mission, Strategy, Tactics, Objectives, Values, and Culture of the company in light of the changed environment and marketplace.

Business planning building blocks graphic

The future will NOT be the past in a new dress or with a sleeker haircut or some great RayBans. It will be dramatically different.

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