Week 1 of our new circumstances

For many of us this is the end of Week 1 of our new circumstances. We all had to adjust (even those of us who are accustomed to working from home): children (grandchildren) at home, spouse at home, looking after parents and grandparents, etc.
We’ve made it through the first week!
Let’s take time to celebrate that – with our loved ones, our friends, and our colleagues.
There are more of those weeks coming. This is not like preparing for a hurricane or a blizzard. It’s more likely to be a winter. So, let’s take it one week at a time – together.
Stay healthy. Stay home. Stay connected.

Until we know who is infected and who isn’t, please stay home. Here’s why.

Like you in this time of uncertainty I am concerned about my family, my friends, and my community which includes colleagues and clients, both individual and corporate.

Professionally  my mission is to help managers and business owners be more strategic, take a step back, and think for themselves so they can bring to their work life and their workplace contributions that are thoughtful, discerning, and unique. I never tell them what they should do, except in a well-defined mentoring context. And the things I post on my blog are designed to contribute to this taking a step back and reflecting.

This post will be an exception in that it is not about management nor leadership nor strategy. It seeks to address the topic of the day by bringing together information from what I gather are reliable sources. This information requires immediate action from all of us for the good of all of us.

Stay healthy. Stay home.


The rate of spreading of a pandemic is the product of two numbers:

  1. the infection rate of the disease, and
  2. the connectivity of the network.

The first number is one we cannot change right now, the second one (connectivity) is one we can influence… by social distancing and self-quarantine – that flattens the curve. If we don’t come into contact with others, the disease does not spread as fast.

How fast, you ask?

Remember that network growth is exponential, not linear.

Linear growth by increments of (for example) 10 looks like this:
10,20,30,40,50, and so on;

Exponential growth by a multiplier of (for example) 2 looks like this:
1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and so on.

At the beginning exponential growth seems slow. It is only 32 after five cycles.

But forward to 20 cycles. Linear growth gets to 200 (20*10); while Exponential growth gets more than a million! See below:

1,048,576 = 2^20

In exponential growth, 1,000 is “halfway” to 1,000,000. What brought you to 1,000 cases (which seems manageable), can bring you to 1 million cases in the same amount of time.

So, as stated above, the rate of spreading of a pandemic is a product of two numbers:

  1. the infection rate of the disease, and
  2. the connectivity of the network.

The first number is one we cannot change right now, the second one (connectivity) is one we can influence… by social distancing and self-quarantine. This will curb the growth in the number of infection cases. And a lower number is less of a burden on the healthcare infrastructure. Ideally, that number would be below what the infrastructure can support.

What to do? Stay home.

This way we won’t catch the virus and we’ll prevent exponential growth to a vulnerable population.

what to do

Sources: Cesar Hidalgo and Yaneer Bar-Yam onTwitter.

For further information, see EndCoronaVirus.org (also on Twitter) – an action network of @NECSI, scientists @Harvard @MIT and volunteers seeking to educate in order to end the outbreak of Coronavirus COVID-19.

Finding humor amid the challenges of working from home

As countries are now enforcing some form of quarantine, many of us are (re)discovering the travails of working from home.

You might remember Robert Kelly on the BBC from some years ago. I’m sure he didn’t find the episode humorous as it occurred…

but he certainly did later.

Stay healthy… and keep smiling!

Flatten the curve: it’s about capacity

It’s about capacity. The healthcare system’s capacity to treat people with the disease.



Coronavirus: Social distancing required. Now

  • The coronavirus is coming to you.
  • It’s coming at an exponential speed: gradually, and then suddenly.
  • It’s a matter of days. Maybe a week or two.
  • When it does, your healthcare system will be overwhelmed.
  • Your fellow citizens will be treated in the hallways.
  • Exhausted healthcare workers will break down. Some will die.
  • They will have to decide which patient gets the oxygen and which one dies.
  • The only way to prevent this is social distancing today. Not tomorrow. Today.
  • That means keeping as many people home as possible, starting now.


Source: Tomas Pueyo

What is a BIG question?

It’s not easy to say precisely what makes a question big; but we can at least give a few examples from the history of philosophy so that we have some idea what we’re talking about:

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • What is the nature of ultimate reality?
  • What is Being?
  • Is there a god?
  • Is there some sort of cosmic justice?
  • What is the self ?
  • Does a person’s self (mind, soul) persist after death?
  • Do we have free will?
  • Why be moral?
  • What is the good life for a human being?
  • What are the foundations of our knowledge?
  • What are the limits to what we can know?
  • What is truth?
  • What is the good?
  • What is justice?
  • What is virtue?
  • What is beauty?
  • What is life?
  • Why is there something rather than nothing?

More here.

How can management theories guide life decisions?

On the last day of class, Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, asks his students to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves to find cogent answers to three questions:

First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?

Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?

Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?

Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.

As the students discuss the answers to these questions, I open my own life to them as a case study of sorts, to illustrate how they can use the theories from our course to guide their life decisions.

More at How will you measure your life?