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Alan Weiss

Well, you must have been expecting it, and I'm not publishing this elsewhere (for now) because I'm running on fumes when I have to deal with ignorance, which is what the social media feed on.

I found a coffee shop open this morning, other than Dunkin', so I stopped with the dogs to give him some business. Apparently, he's exempt from the restaurant closures. I worked out yesterday with my trainer, and will do so Wednesday and Friday. I spend an hour a day over at my train room, and I hope to visit the hobby shop, if he's open, because I need supplies for my new model project. I play Frisbee with Bentley, and both dogs walked with me out to the mailbox yesterday. I visited my dermatologist because I want a cyst removed that's irritating me. (It's refreshing that some irritations can be removed so easily!)

My son calls because he's concerned about us and we try to explain he's at greater risk than we are. We are both healthy and he's had underlying health issues. We'll FaceTime our granddaughters today, if TLM or I can figure out how, exactly, to do that. Maria is cooking at night and preparing three meals a day for me, and I've begun rummaging through all that wine I was worried I'd never get to in my lifetime. Well, guess what?

I'm breaking out in a rash from the phrase "an abundance of caution," because what we really mean is "we're trying to be very careful" or "we just don't really know what's best so we're being archly conservative." 

Which brings me to my point (I am not subject to the length limitations on the Forums because I'm "connected"): We are doing grievous harm to people who own businesses, who work for larger businesses but figuratively live from paycheck to paycheck, to the arts and cultural glue of communities, and to the primal need for personal support beyond daily press briefings. 

I understand "flattening the curve" and making sure hospitals and medical people aren't overwhelmed. But I remind you of my characterization of lawyers: Don't open the business and don't turn the lights on and you'll be fine. Well, at least you won't be sued.

I don't choose to argue with you here about the gravity of the illness, nor of the fact that most people (apparently 85% or so) either don't know they have it or do know and recover. I know about "community spread." I do believe the majority should protect the minority (of the vulnerable). My intent here, in this rare community space, is to just encourage you to think as intelligent professionals and experts: Could we have responded with less long-term harm to our citizens? The economic repercussions will be far worse than the disease for many. 

I'm doing my best to patronize local businesses and pay all my local bills immediately as they arrive. I think I'm acting responsibly about the illness but not radically. And I want you to think of the future. I didn't have to create a livestream platform or find a videographer; nor  set up an internet site where we could all talk and exchange best practices; nor create a remote coaching program; nor have relationships where I could reschedule major events; nor figure out how to get paid because I failed to get paid in advance; nor worry because I had no liquidity; nor consider how and where to run free livestream and text and audio and video dealing with the challenges. All of this was in place and immediately accessible. 

You have the time (!) so I want you to think a bit about the real lessons here. This, too, shall pass. But will you be the better for it?

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popky

Yesterday, my daughter was laid off from her job in Hollywood an hour after she sent her boss a note from the doctor that she was high risk and shouldn’t come into work. 

While the timing is suspect, they laid off about 10% of the agency, and I suspect more will follow, given that the studios are shutting down and there will be nothing for them to work on. 
 

At the same time, I got an alert that there would be an imminent lockdown in the Bay Area. So I dropped everything and made a 450 mile round trip down the CA coast to meet her and get her back here. We made it back about 2 hours before the deadline. I did not want her to be shut in a tiny apartment alone for  a long period of time. 

While this is obviously not a good situation, we consider ourselves very lucky that we are in a financial situation where we can continue to support her. Too many people will be hurting badly financially very soon. That’s the most scary part of this. 

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Ruben Ugarte
4 hours ago, Alan Weiss said:

Could we have responded with less long-term harm to our citizens?

It's interesting to see countries which are handling the situation much better. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore all have measures for how to deal with the virus (after being hit hard by SARS in 2003).

Despite their proximity to China, they all have less than a few hundred cases.  They are still implementing similar measures of testing and social distancing but aren't locking down their countries. Here's a short article on what these countries are doing: https://time.com/5802293/coronavirus-covid19-singapore-hong-kong-taiwan/

It seems the rest of the world doesn't know how to deal with a virus of this kind. Even Canada is heading for a lockdown.

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Kim Wilkerson

Alan -- I'm confused as to how or why your post is contrarian? 

I think most are asking exactly the same questions and have the same concerns. The proposed actions seem to be mutually exclusive as to what degree to shut things down or keep things open. There’s not a lot of room for compromise and not a lot of historical situations for fact based decisions. Sometime, hopefully sooner versus later, the decisions being made now will be hindsight as to how effective the current actions are and at what cost to people, healthcare systems, businesses, economy, etc. 

My post here isn’t disagreeing with you or your post. I'm wondering why yours is contrarian? 

Edited by Kim Wilkerson
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Kevin Berchelmann

As one of my clients is fond of saying, "Now's not the time to overreact," as though there's a good time to overreact.

The economic beating will leave lingering marks well after the infection impact has subsided. Airlines are already asking for $50B to survice, and we're looking at an almost $1T stimulus package -- while we're still creating new hysteria around local economies. If the craziness continues, that $1,000,000,000,000 won't be nearly enough to make a difference.

We seem on target to cure the disease while killing the patient.

KB

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Noah Fleming
5 hours ago, Alan Weiss said:

Could we have responded with less long-term harm to our citizens?

Less than one week ago, last Tuesday afternoon, people here and elsewhere were still suggesting this was just a minor flu-like annoyance. The markets, closings, shutdowns, panic and more, hadn't fully kicked into gear yet. Trump was still saying no big deal as were many others.

Genuinely curious, since the gravity of the situation seems to be changing by the hour. In what ways could we have responded with less harm? I'm just not sure. 

To me, it seems like more preventative actions and more seriousness a month ago might have helped cause less harm, but we certainly seem to be responding contingently now.

Edited by Noah Fleming
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Praveen

In hindsight, as soon as the virus started spreading in China, we should have immediately stopped flights from China (which we eventually did), and we should have had mandatory quarantines for people arriving from China.  Instead, at first, we were just checking temperatures of people arriving from the Wuhan area and then only quarantining them if they had a fever.  Now, we know that people can spread the virus even if they have no symptoms.

Then, when Italy and South Korea became hotbeds, we should have stopped flights from there too.

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Alan Weiss

Kim, I thought it was self-evident, maybe not: I'm saying we're engaged in a huge overreaction that does more harm than the disease itself for a longer term. The authorities, medical and civic, are saying that we must do this and nothing less will stop the spread. Most people are so cowed by all this that they simply comply. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, people are visiting restaurants as always. What I'm seeing and hearing all over, including here, is the "abundance of caution" mantra, which I do not agree with. Maybe that's not contrarian and most people agree with me. That's not my impression, but that's fine, too. The title I put on the post isn't as important as getting people to think about all this.

We are responding totally contingently, Noah, because we don't even demand that all parents vaccinate their kids against measles or themselves against the flu. We allow all kinds of pseudo-science and "parental rights" to obscure rationality. A great many people who are cited as "living from paycheck to paycheck" aren't the victims of the "gangsters" that delusional Bernie talks about in the pharma, oil, and banking sectors, but rather of a lack of disciplined savings, living above their means, and using far too much credit. We DO have "working poor" in this country, but we also have "undisciplined poor."

There will follow even more of a bureaucratic and political overreaction. When a nightclub fire here killed over a hundred people because the idiot brothers who owned the place broke the law and kept only one door unlocked, the state passed laws costing small business owners $80 million collectively to comply with preventing the horse from leaving which had already left, instead of just shooting the two brothers (who wound up with slaps on the wrist). Watch for legislation that will increase health care costs and provide governments with alarming new powers.

If I'm speaking here for the mainstream, then I'd better get out of the water!

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patrickdaly
18 minutes ago, Praveen said:

In hindsight, as soon as the virus started spreading in China, we should have immediately stopped flights from China (which we eventually did), and we should have had mandatory quarantines for people arriving from China.  Instead, at first, we were just checking temperatures of people arriving from the Wuhan area and then only quarantining them if they had a fever.  Now, we know that people can spread the virus even if they have no symptoms.

Then, when Italy and South Korea became hotbeds, we should have stopped flights from there too.

Alan asks what we could have done sooner that would have done less long-term damage to our citizens. I think by the time China acknowledged that it had a problem, it was already too late for the US, Italy, South Korea and Japan to impose travel bans because the virus was already circulating in those countries.

The question is pretty much unanswerable because we are where we are and the question is now, “what can we do to minimise the damage to our fellow citizens given our current position?”

Most governments seem to be aiming for a short, sharp shock while turning on exceptional liquidity measures as in NZ and elsewhere to keep the  system moving and the supply chains for the basics of food, medicine, clothing and shelter working. Massive liquidity is what is needed, despite the dangers of moral hazard, otherwise a cash crunch could bring extensive parts of the economy to a halt unnecessarily.

Other governments, most notably U.K. and perhaps up until yesterday US seemed to be playing for time and hoping to manage with gradual measures. The rates of increase seem to have led them to abandon that strategy today. 

Edited by patrickdaly
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Alan Weiss

The question becomes when is the cure worse than the disease? The economic harm is incredible.

Three hotels are treating me well where I've had to change things, either rescheduling without penalty or returning my deposits. My Palace (New York) contact asked if I'd be kind enough to leave some money with them, and I agreed to because we have a great relationship and I will run things there as soon as there's an "all clear." But he told me they are at 6% occupancy. That's unthinkable. He and his peer are working on alternate days. 

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Hamish Mackenzie
8 minutes ago, Alan Weiss said:

I'm saying we're engaged in a huge overreaction that does more harm than the disease itself for a longer term. The authorities, medical and civic, are saying that we must do this and nothing less will stop the spread. Most people are so cowed by all this that they simply comply.

I completely agree, and I can certainly confirm that in Germany this viewpoint isn't just contrarian, it's subversive.

Most people are accepting in its entirety anything they are being told by the government and the media. Myself and my wife are literally the only people in our immediate circle who are in any way critical of what is happening. I'm ashamed to admit we have actually stopped talking about it to people, because we have been told too often how stupid and irresponsible we are being to question what is going on. I also agree with Alan that governments will impose a raft of new restrictions on our freedoms in the wake of all this.

The irony here is that despite headlines like "Germany closes everything except banks and essential shops", the current reality is pretty close to normality (apart from the homeworking and no school). Unless you're the kind of person who goes out most evenings, you will not notice much of a difference. Banks, post offices, supermarkets, liquor stores, opticians, pharmacies, dry cleaners, gas stations, hairdressers and hardware stores are all open. That selection has pretty much all my daily needs covered! As long as that doesn't change (and I realize it might, the way things are going), the only things I'm really missing out on are international travel, doing business in person and socializing. And the last one doesn't count because there aren't many people left I want to socialize with, based on their lemming-like reaction to all of this.

Nevertheless, I believe that the legacy of corona for me personally could be transformational in a positive way. I am using the extra time to completely rethink how I do business in the future, and moving much faster than ever before. For example, I had an idea for an ebook on homeworking on Saturday morning, finished it on Sunday, got it designed yesterday and published it today. That's lightning fast for me, if not for you Alan...

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patrickdaly

I don’t know the answer to that question regarding which is worse the cure or the disease and neither does anybody else, but I can do math and the numbers for the disease are beginning to look unacceptable.. The current rate of increase in deaths is between 20% and 30% per day in countries like U.K., France, Spain and Italy. That is exponential growth that in a few short weeks could be absolutely eye watering if it doesn’t change and so far it is proving very difficult to change. Those would be numbers nothing like a normal flu season within 30 to 60 days.  That is why, today, Boris Johnson changed from a softly, softly approach to a much more restrictive one along the lines of neighbouring countries like Ireland, France and Denmark to try to slow that rate of increase. It will be 10 or 15 days before we know whether those measures were effective . If we were in the position of Macron, Conte, Merkel, Sanchez and Johnson, what would we do? 

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patrickdaly
8 minutes ago, Hamish Mackenzie said:

For example, I had an idea for an ebook on homeworking on Saturday morning, finished it on Sunday, got it designed yesterday and published it today. That's lightning fast for me, if not for you Alan...

And absolutely brilliant it is too Hamish! Well done!

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popky

Patrick,

I knew this was serious when Ireland cancelled St. Patrick's Day. Coronavirus has done what 800 years of British oppression never accomplished...

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patrickdaly
3 minutes ago, popky said:

Patrick,

I knew this was serious when Ireland cancelled St. Patrick's Day. Coronavirus has done what 800 years of British oppression never accomplished...

Not a pub in the place open bejaysus! 

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ColleenFrancis
4 hours ago, Ruben Ugarte said:

It's interesting to see countries which are handling the situation much better. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore all have measures for how to deal with the virus (after being hit hard by SARS in 2003).

Despite their proximity to China, they all have less than a few hundred cases.  They are still implementing similar measures of testing and social distancing but aren't locking down their countries. Here's a short article on what these countries are doing: https://time.com/5802293/coronavirus-covid19-singapore-hong-kong-taiwan/

It seems the rest of the world doesn't know how to deal with a virus of this kind. Even Canada is heading for a lockdown.

And the are in recovery in Hong Kong and Singapore right now. A lot of there success is because of massive early testing and personal responsibility around isolation.

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ColleenFrancis

Alan asks what we could have done sooner that would have done less long-term damage to our citizens. 

1. Months ago the WHO put a working group together to develop a common test, and the US declined to participate. On Jan 11 the US was offered test kits and declined them, stating that they wanted to develop their own. WHO shipped working test kits to 60 countries.

2. When the CDC developed kits failed, the FDA was slow to act and didn't immediately enable a provision they have to enable local scientists to start testing kits developed in private research facilities. These now make up the bulk of the kits being used today.

3. Flights continued to China until Jan 31 despite the fact that the virus was spreading there since December

4. Mobile test centers - or ones isolated from the hospital should have been set up earlier

5. The messages about social distancing, self isolation etc should have been enforced earlier - the models comparing other places to Italy vs South Korea and Hong Kong are astonishing

6. Cruise lines needed to stop selling cruises -Norwegian was caught telling people that they would be "safer in the Caribbean because the virus could not survive warm weather!" They should have also cancelled more cruises more quickly.

7. Temperature testing should have happened more quickly. 3800 passengers disembarked in Miami on the weekend and not a single one was health screened!

It's St Patrick's Day. I'm Irish. And have a beer at my desk....

 

 

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patrickdaly

Sláinte a chailín! 

Colleen comes from cailín and means “girl”.
It’s grammatically inflected in the salutation hence the h after the c.  It’s agonisingly complicated, I know. 

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Alan Weiss

Well, then, I guess I'm pretty contrarian. Subversive hadn't occurred to me.

FYI, and Hamish, I'm proud of you: I've closed the ballet season in contradiction to earlier resistance from the artistic director and the board, all of whom came around to my way of thinking and I'm now being told that the ballet would have failed had I not been in control. I've had to use some external clout to get the Australia hotel back in line, the Palace was a pleasure, the Marriott LA was a pleasure, and I've secured the Drake, a great hotel and at great prices, for the Mentor Summit. I've schedule a Consulting College for New York and now have four people in it, three from Europe. 

I've launched a free public livestream, another livestream for purchase, and a webinar for purchase, with a pro bono aspect to support SAC (Lisa and Linda).

I'm doing about four coaching calls a day, my norm. 

I'm working out, and am pursuing all of my hobbies daily. I've gone to my hair dresser, have a massage scheduled tomorrow. 

I've written probably eight pieces specifically on building  business during the crisis and one on how best to work at home. I've done a radio interview and the host invited me back immediately for next week. I implemented a new board here on the crisis, where you're now reading this.

I've had a scheduled call with the doctor and engaged just today in a very confidential strategic initiative in a major city that might or might not eventuate, but my contact is talking to his board. 

I've made a decision with Maria NOT to offer refunds in Australia and LA, but rather to offer varying options of value for anyone choosing not to reschedule to my new dates. My notices will go out tomorrow. 

I limit myself to one cigar every other day, and alternate between martinis and wine at dinner time. Today we're going to try to get take-out food to support a local restaurant. I listen to the news only in the morning and the evening (ABC's breathless David Muir, how I long for Diane Sawyer or Peter Jennings) and abide by reasonable rules. My Chevy contact is coming here tomorrow with his tech on the phone to find out why my Vette top won't go back up, I had it down the other day in joyous conditions. I'm trying to drive a different car every day just for the hell of it. I also made almost $20,000 so far this week on my remote services.

What I'm doing here is trying to give you all confidence and hope and some joie de vivre. Retain control of your life. It's a shame when THAT'S contrarian!!

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Kevin Berchelmann
52 minutes ago, ColleenFrancis said:

1. Months ago the WHO put a working group together to develop a common test, and the US declined to participate. On Jan 11 the US was offered test kits and declined them, stating that they wanted to develop their own. WHO shipped working test kits to 60 countries.

The CDC/FDA made several missteps with the testing kits (your #2 comment about the FDA is likely an understatement), but this is simply untrue. The U.S. was not -- would never routinely be -- offered those WHO tests as a matter of practice. Should we have asked for them? Maybe, especially in hindsight. But they weren't offered/declined.

The rest are pretty good hindsight observations**, clearly exposing our lack of preparedness for something we hadn't experienced. I'm hopeful this causes us to rethink what real contingency preparation should look like. We knew viruses like this were a possibility. No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, but it feels like we didn't have much of a plan at all.

**(Though #3 may have caused a lynching, given the Trump-excoriation that occurred when he did impose travel restrictions)

KB

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patrickdaly

It is good for us to be optimistic and to encourage our clients to be positive and to encourage them to look to the future and how we can help them to leverage the crisis itself to unlock creativity and make possible very positive changes in the future.

However, right now, we do have to acknowledge some of the very real challenges and difficulties that some clients are experiencing, to pace them, to empathise as distinct from sympathise with them, in order to be able to lead them, if not right now, in the near future. 
I am finding that some in manufacturing, distribution and logistics services are under so much pressure at work right now that they have no capacity at this moment to consider new initiatives. I could help them but their focus is inward right now. All I can do for them is let them know I am here and ready to help if they need me.

Others have said that they have more time to consider projects that they had on the back burner because they are not travelling, or other things have to go on hold, and I will be focusing on these actively while maintaining contact with the others. . It really is a mixed bag and the situation is changing very rapidly from one day to the next.

I am relatively optimistic but I am not going to be denying the reality out there and risk losing credibility with my clients and prospects as a result.

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ColleenFrancis

Kevin:" The CDC/FDA made several missteps with the testing kits (your #2 comment about the FDA is likely an understatement), but this is simply untrue. The U.S. was not -- would never routinely be -- offered those WHO tests as a matter of practice. Should we have asked for them? Maybe, especially in hindsight. But they weren't offered/declined."

It was widely reported (internationally and nationally) that the CDC ejected being part of a working group to create the tests early on. They likely were not offered the tests after that as the CDC opted to make their own. I can't be sure the WHO offered them "for sale to the US" but that's not the point. The point is that they should have participated early to gain access to the much needed test. No one knows why, but sadly it was a mistake.

I think the actions taken in the last 24 hours have been tremendously helpful and needed. It's going to hurt, but hopefully not as much as in Italy.

Edited by ColleenFrancis
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landerson

I agree it is a mixed bag for manufacturing and supply chain based on a multitude of factors. Most are under extreme pressure (for widely varying reasons). We plan to share ideas with our new SAC group.

We can help clients navigate these challenging times, and we have the opportunity to shine as thought leaders. I am glad I picked up my phone earlier today because it was a reporter asking for my perspective for an article to be published tonight or tomorrow morning in a Southern CA news site.

 

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patrickdaly

By the way, I just read that 50% of the ventilators used in acute medical units worldwide are manufactured here in Ireland. Some people are going to be really busy over the coming months. 

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andrewhollo
4 hours ago, patrickdaly said:

Others have said that they have more time to consider projects that they had on the back burner because they are not travelling, or other things have to go on hold, and I will be focusing on these actively while maintaining contact with the others. . It really is a mixed bag and the situation is changing very rapidly from one day to the next.

I agree Patrick, about the mixed bag. I am segmenting my clients / immediate prospects as follows:

Group 1. COVID-19 infection is/will make them busier e.g., healthcare. Pressures: resourcing, scheduling, prioritising. 

Group 2: COVID-19 will make them far less busy e.g., employment agencies, universities Pressures: cashflow, under-utilised staff, marketing. 

Group 3: COVID-19 will send their staff to work from home, but won't affect business dramatically e.g., regulatory authorities. Pressures: customer engagement, staff management, operational continuity. 

I see opportunities with Group 2 ("Use downtime to think strategically about the future" or, even better, "These times reveal your true strengths as an organisation") and Group 3 ("Continue projects as normal, but using different communication channels" or, even better, "These times reveal practices that should become the 'new normal'") 

Back to your point Patrick --- I'm taking this one day at a time, dealing with each client individually. Most important: Be a focussed and positive voice amidst the chaos.

Andrew

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