21 March 2020

My Covid 19 Response

3D print of a SARS-CoV-2—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—virus particle. The virus surface (blue) is covered with spike proteins (red) that enable the virus to enter and infect human cells. The spikes on the surface of coronaviruses give this virus family its name – corona, which is Latin for “crown,” and most any coronavirus will have a crown-like appearance. For more information, visit the NIH 3D Print Exchange at 3dprint.nih.gov. Credit: NIH

I'm kinda bummed right now as I'm supposed to be on a plane, half way to L.A. right now on my way to Chile. I understand the situation and know that many folks got a lot worse things to worry about.

Being in a long distance relationship for almost 2 years, we look forward to the times we can spend together, so of course, I wished i were on that plane right now to see my Claudia.

The plus side of seeing someone so far away is that we've already mastered some of the challenges of self-isolation in many ways. Using technology, we cook together, we watch movies together, play games together and of course talk every day via text, voice or video. Seeing others now look for ways to connect remotely is awesome, because I believe even more ideas and technology will be created around this to bring people from all over closer together.

Some of the tricks we use are Whatsapp for texting, talking and mobile video. Whereby for video calls when we cook together (with audio through whatsapp). Netflix Party allows you to watch the same show at the same time as someone else (although we usually just sync it manually), the challenge is different content in different countries. And, Strava is a great way to follow each others workouts (runs, bike rides etc.) and give kudoos.

If you have any tips on some remote games (board games, card games etc.), please share! If you have ideas to build something that can help in this space, now's probably a great time to do some customer discovery and work on some minimal viable product testing.

This past week I got to see something amazing at work; the organization I work for, Platform Calgary, had a plan to expand into a secondary office space to give employees and clients more distance between one another to better manage the Covid-19 outbreak and meet the existing protocols recommended by authorities. On Monday, a staff member made the call to go fully remote at about 5:00am. Everyone adapted and by 9:00am, we had our cohort of 23 people from all over the world, our advisory staff and our session host, all in the same city, but all remotely connected using Zoom - What an amazing feat of leadership and technology.

What made this remarkable are two things: 1. the leadership in our organization is so empowering that an employee had the confidence and the agency to make a significant call and have the backing of the entire organization and staff. Wow. 2. the technology performed and allowed many of us to connect seamlessly without any disruption to us delivering our service nor any impact to schedules. Wow. 

There is no question that these are uncertain times, but these are great times to learn. Both what to do and what not to do. Fortunately, and unfortunately, there are leaders giving us both lessons.

In a few weeks or maybe more, we'll be back to some kind of normal, I can rebook my trip and maybe we will have all discovered some new apps to play with, be connected through and a new appreciation for the people who had the vision to build these technologies.

The folks that are keeping the 'lights on' while we're stuck in our homes (doctors, nurses, city employees, ISP's, grocery store employees and many others) should be given a huge party after all of this and should be thanked everyday.

In the mean time, stay safe, wash your hands, self-isolate and flatten that curve. Right now, I'm going for a bike ride. Alone.


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