From BBC News:

No country has had more deaths, more infections. Anywhere else, so far, is not even close.

Heartbreaking, embarrassing and infuriating. We deserve better.

Square announces permanent work-from-home policy

From The Verge:

“We want employees to be able to work where they feel most creative and productive,” a company spokesperson told The Verge. “Moving forward, Squares will be able to work from home permanently, even once offices begin to reopen. Over the past several weeks, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes for people to effectively perform roles outside of an office, and we will continue to learn as we go.”

Another one.

More and more tech companies seem to be moving in this direction. Very interested to see what it means for commercial real estate, tech company salaries and the future of Silicon Valley as the “hub” for a lot of these companies.

How the Novel Coronavirus is Speeding the Scooter Apocalypse

From The Verge:

There are some early signs that shared mobility could survive the crisis, even come out looking better than before; one of those “it’s always darkest before dawn” kind of things. But before that happens, the scooter industry as a whole will need to shrink, as it already was doing before COVID-19. And a lot of people will probably lose their jobs.

In what seems like a lifetime ago, I would walk past a local MARTA train station after work every day and it looked like the rapture happened without me. Scooters were flung about in every which way, and it made walking down the sidewalk a real pain. Every time I needed to use a scooter, it seemed like I never had the correct app and couldn’t find a scooter for the one that I already had credit with. First world problem to be sure, but it rarely left me feeling positively about the experience.

You never like to cheer for the downfall of any company, but I’m not all that upset to see this industry shrinking. Ideally there’s only one or two of these companies that work with local public transportation to fill the gaps in their service, rather than the streets being a wasteland littered with a dozen different scooter brands at any given time. Consolidation could be a good thing, with more predictable service and fewer apps to navigate.

Direct Support & Subscription Fatigue

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been listening to even more podcasts than ever that I’m mostly tooling around the house and doing yard work with all of this spare time. As a result, seeing some of the shows and sites I love start to feel the pinch of reduced ad spending have sparked me to […]

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You’re Not Going Back to Normal Office Life for a Long, Long Time

From VICE:

And even if an employer does everything right, a COVID-19 outbreak at the office will remain a distinct possibility. Considering what it will take to get everyone back to the offices—what with the masks, the empty offices, the staggering, the uncertainty, and the overarching anxiety—perhaps the question isn’t when the WFH-ers will return to work again, but when they’ll head back home.

Reading this article makes it abundantly clear that it’s going to be a while before folks who are able to work remotely should even think about going back to the office. I’ve started to mentally prepare myself for many, many more months working from my house. Taking the bus to work, riding an elevator up 23 floors to go work in close proximity to tons of other team members, bouncing between meetings all day sounds like a recipe for spread of the virus. Even if my office opened up today, I doubt I’d be very interested in going back until there’s good treatment options or a cure.

I’ll be honest though – the remote work part has actually been pretty good for me so I’m not super excited about going back anyway. I’m certainly tired of being so isolated, but I’ve always been a homebody and introvert, so this only feels a little abnormal to me. The general slower pace has been really good for me though.

Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting

From Julio Vincent Gambuto:

Until then, get ready, my friends. What is about to be unleashed on American society will be the greatest campaign ever created to get you to feel normal again. It will come from brands, it will come from government, it will even come from each other, and it will come from the left and from the right. We will do anything, spend anything, believe anything, just so we can take away how horribly uncomfortable all of this feels. And on top of that, just to turn the screw that much more, will be the one effort that’s even greater: the all-out blitz to make you believe you never saw what you saw.

I’ve already started seeing some content like this on the web and on TV. I, like everyone else, want to get back to “normal”, whatever that is. However, I do hope we try to be a slightly better version of ourselves as well and not try to paper over it with frenzied consumer spending.

Google and Apple launching coronavirus contact-tracing system for iOS and Android

From The Verge:

Apple and Google will introduce a pair of iOS and Android APIs in mid-May and make sure these health authorities’ apps can implement them. During this phase, users will still have to download an app to participate in contact-tracing, which could limit adoption. But in the months after the API is complete, the companies will work on building tracing functionality into the underlying operating system, as an option immediately available to everyone with an iOS or Android phone.

This is super interesting. Contact tracing and testing are the 2 best bets to getting us back to a sense of normal. Glad to see the big guys are getting along and building tools that can make contact tracing easier. I love that it’s so privacy focused as well. The article goes on to point out some of the flaws in a system like this that could produce a lot of false positives or not provide the level of the risk involved:

The method still has potential weaknesses. In crowded areas, it could flag people in adjacent rooms who aren’t actually sharing space with the user, making people worry unnecessarily. It may also not capture the nuance of how long someone was exposed — working next to an infected person all day, for example, will expose you to a much greater viral load than walking by them on the street. And it depends on people having apps in the short term and up-to-date smartphones in the long term, which could mean it’s less effective in areas with lower connectivity.

Still, I’m heartened by the fact that the tech industry seems to be showing their promise during this pandemic.