6 quick thoughts & things I noticed

1

Internationally, Germany is often praised as an example of handling the coronavirus crisis well. In some aspects, that may have been true. In others, I have to say, I find it failing miserably: For a while, infection numbers slowed down, and certainly there are a lot of intensive care units (ICUs) to get patients through the worst times.

That said, after a brief phase the restrictions were lifted on all things business-related while staying in place for families. This is highly problematic for many reasons:

  • Children have rights, and those rights are ignored in favor of economic growth, which is stupid and cynical. How can we favor the well being of restaurants over the well being of actual human beings?
  • Poor families are hit significantly harder than more wealthy families.
  • Also, I’m not just a parent but also run a business — we have to think about intersectionality.

Now the numbers are going up again and I learned the lesson that I cannot in fact rely on my own government to take into account my immediate needs as either a parent nor as a founder: As a parent, the government prioritizes business needs over family needs; as a company founder, neither I nor my company qualified for most government financial rescue packages. So while I’m doing kinda-sorta fine for now (to my own surprise tbh), I have to run my company on extremely part time because I spend 50 percent of my time on child care.

2

We recently had a corona scare when we learned we’d been in close proximity to someone who tested positive right after we’d met. We tested negative and are just in the final days of our quarantine. But what I learned from experiencing all the processes involved in this whole situation was pretty surprising to me.

For one, we had to chase people to get tested. If we hadn’t proactively called every number we could find it would’ve been days at least until someone would have approached us to follow up, to declare us under official quarantine, etc.; I couldn’t shake the impressions that the government health workers were so overworked/understaffed that folks tried to slow the process down as much as possible. I hasten to add that I cannot tell for sure that was the case, but if there were other reasons for moving so slowly I couldn’t find out.

Our contact, in turn, wouldn’t have turned up through the official channels either because their primary (a medical professional) contact hadn’t seen them within a 48h time window prior to their own test, which is all the gov staff inquired about; they happened to get a personal call from that person.

What I’m trying to say is: I’m glad the numbers are relatively low but this system is a total patchwork with huge gaps. It feels like we just got lucky, not like we were structurally protected.

(I also just installed the new government “corona warn app” which, surprisingly, after some major overhauls now is mostly regarded as privacy OK by security researchers and activists.)

3

I don’t know about you, but spending so much time at home and socially very much distant, my brain goes into what I think of as corona brain mode. I’m that much more susceptible to internet rabbit holes than usual, and as M will confirm it doesn’t take much to get me down enjoyable or silly rabbit holes to begin with.

At the same time I kind of embrace it as a soothing way to deal with stress, a kind of pressure relief that hurts no one and accumulates weird niche knowledge in my brain that is almost certainly going to be of absolutely zero use. Which is great! For example, I learned a lot about the role of vintage clothing in Japan’s history from W. David Marx’s excellent book Ametora, and spent a baffling amount of time digging through vintage watch and design forums and listings learning what feels like a whole new language.

4

Got myself a really nice arm chair for my own upcoming birthday; one of those Danish mid-century affairs. With an ottoman to boot! What can I say, I’m officially turning old enough that I now get a lot of joy out of a chair 🤷‍♂️

5

Matt Webb has some good thoughts about virtual conferences and specifically the role of multi-tasking (as opposed to just streaming a video):

So ONLY staring at a conference talk just doesn’t make sense.

INSTEAD let me watch a conference talk AND ALSO have a text conversation about it, perhaps even with the speaker who may have pre-recorded their talk in order to participate in the simultaneous text channel.

Can virtual conferences be designed for multi-tasking?

SEE ALSO: Nudgestock which was 14 hours long and ran last Friday. I caught this on Twitter and what I found fascinating was the number of people watching the stream on their TV. People hacking their own two screen experience: TV for the talks, 6 feet away, a continuous stream; laptops and tablets (1 foot away) for tweeting, notes, and falling down wikiholes…

Can virtual conferences be designed for the two screen experience?

6

Speaking of upgrades, I should probably get a new template for this blog. This is old-ish and hasn’t aged that well. Recommendations welcome! My main requirements are that it needs to look clean and be extremely robust against whatever I throw at it.