April 5, 2020

Tired / Wired

Tyler Cowan had a great before and after table for the old world and the new world we find ourselves in. You should check it out. This one made me laugh in shock.

Old: $100k for college

New: Not paying $100k for a webinar

April 5, 2020

Covid-19 Shifts

The other week, Venkat Rao posted 100 shifts on twitter and challenged other people to do the same. I had a try.

Post-Covid-19 Shifts

  1. Home cooking
  2. Normalisation of work from home
  3. School from home
  4. Competence based assessment in schools
  5. Touchless delivery
  6. Touchless doors
  7. Remote sales meetings
  8. Cross-border working
  9. Collocated teams
  10. Asynchronous collaboration
  11. Not-handshakes
  12. Off peak travel
  13. Staycations
  14. Alone together/together alone
  15. Home offices
  16. Office-at-the-node
  17. Vaccination proof
  18. Papers please
  19. Social safety net increased where it already exists
  20. Depletion of social safety net where already in decline
  21. Broadband as essential public infrastructure
  22. Withdrawal of elderly from public life
  23. Stranger danger social distancing
  24. Performative public cleaning
  25. Item limits in grocery stores persist
  26. PPE-chic
  27. Outerwear as defensive layer
  28. Shoes off inside
  29. Decontamination-in-depth in houses
  30. Primary carers with children at home in the everyday remote workforce
  31. Synchronous remote socialising
  32. Work-at-home wardrobe (“the fourth wardrobe”)
  33. Second shift weekends (offset weekends)
  34. Split shift white collar work (9am-2pm; 7pm-10pm)
  35. Antibacterial packaging
  36. Prepackaged fruit
  37. Gloves on retail workers
  38. Gloves on public transport
  39. Masks in public in Western countries
  40. Bottle episodes
  41. One room plays
  42. Home gyms/workouts
  43. Local high tech manufacturing
  44. Surveillance socialism for the rich
  45. Surveillance capitalism for the poor
  46. Remote learning becomes the norm for most tertiary education
  47. Smaller university campuses
  48. Smaller planes
  49. Smaller busses
  50. Attendance logs for business meetings
  51. Subscription payments for hairdressers
  52. Public-private partnership public” hospitals
  53. Telehealth for GP visits
  54. Tele-service centres for government shopfronts
  55. Wealthy keep more cash on hand
  56. High cash/asset ratio becomes key investment driver
  57. Antibody testing in normal check-ups
  58. printing and scanning at home
  59. rental agreements get public health subclauses
  60. Temperature scanning people in airports
  61. Less hugging
  62. Decline in cinema attendance
  63. Wider spaced seating in cinemas
  64. More bottom up self care” talk in workplaces
  65. Changing speed expectations in workplaces (some things faster, others slower)
  66. More involvement of people with disabilities in the WFH workplace
  67. Retreat to deep exurbs, satellite cities with good rural broadband
  68. Only boomers shake hands
  69. Rise in experts as part of everyday news
  70. Public health statistics as part of every day news
  71. Large workplaces/schools/universities track employee/student health publicly
  72. Normalisation of tech-enabled state surveillance for subsets of diseases
  73. Disease-based discrimination magnifies race-based discrimination
  74. Long term tech boom follows massive public sector investment (20+ years away)
  75. In-home recording studios
  76. Cash is deprecated
  77. Shopping malls close
  78. Smaller retail stores
  79. Big box retail eats more local retail
  80. Niche sports narrowcasting
  81. Panel shows as grids of talking heads
  82. Local supply chains
  83. Micro factories
  84. Legacy media celebrities pivoting to solo local streaming
  85. New collaborative social media broadcasting from experts
  86. Conservative Keynesianism
  87. Unquestioned national budget deficits
  88. Barre (special inside joke for Australians)
  89. Regional international collaboration
  90. Government-supported cartels for essential services
  91. Socialised childcare
  92. Full unhinging of anti-vax / move underground
  93. Health minister (Australian govt position) gains equal prestige as Treasurer
  94. Blue helmet occupation forces
  95. Hand washing as a generational marker
  96. Better webcams in MacBooks
  97. External microphones as part of everyday kit
  98. Ring lights as part of premium mediocre kit
  99. De-gentrification of cities
  100. Quarantine rooms in houses
April 5, 2020

Meet the new boss

The big dog:

After COVID-19, nothing will be the same. The previous sentence is bullsh*t. On the contrary, things will never be more the same, just accelerated. Covid-19 is just making the future happen faster.

He’s also got something to say about miners and pickaxes. If you can’t be a superstar brand in higher-ed (a miner), start selling pickaxes and denim.

There will be enormous opportunity to substantially upgrade SaaS teaching tools, as anybody who has used Blackboard can attest.

(I’m always here for dragging on Blackboard.)

Not sure how this dynamic applies to Australia where many of our Universities are already massive. The idea that there are a small number of ringers, or superstar teachers, who are the shining lights, seems to be greatly influenced by model of the US system. In Australia, I’d expect to see the Matthew Effect of research prestige and funding continue to hold.

March 31, 2020

Act Sense Respond

Maciej Cegłowski, illustrating the Cynefin-suggested response for chaotic times:

warning people about these dangers today is like being concerned about black mold growing in the basement when the house is on fire. Yes, in the long run the elevated humidity poses a structural risk that may make the house uninhabitable, or at least a place no one wants to live. But right now, the house is on fire. We need to pour water on it.

But the public health potential of commandeering surveillance advertising is so great that we can’t dismiss it out of hand. I am a privacy activist, typing this through gritted teeth, but I am also a human being like you, watching a global calamity unfold around us. What is the point of building this surveillance architecture if we can’t use it to save lives in a scary emergency like this one?

March 26, 2020


Health officials in New York, California and other hard-hit parts of the country are restricting coronavirus testing to health care workers and the severely ill, saying the battle to contain the virus is lost and the country is moving into a new phase of the pandemic response.

Washington Post, 22 March

March 26, 2020

COVID log 20200326


Second Thursday of the New Normal.

Today, several of my team were asked” to take leave without pay as they weren’t currently billable to clients. If we get more work in, they come back to being paid. I spent most of last night stressing over it — I didn’t have to choose who was affected, or announce it, just listen in. Then I spent most of the day on the phone with those affected. I was expecting anger but if they’re angry they weren’t angry at me. Spent the rest of the day working on business development with others in the crew who aren’t directly on client work.

M is also fortunate enough to be working at home. It was supposed to be her RDO but the government keeps needing new things done so she was effectively on call all day.

Ms Grade 7 was home all day yesterday. Mr Grade 10 had half a day at school yesterday and then came home in the afternoon to trial his school’s remote learning system. Today was the first day they were at home together. They did really well. Ms G7s school has her in Teams; Mr G10 is in a weird cobbled together LMS-like thing but mostly seems to grab powerpoints to view so it works out the same. G10 is more introverted than G7; he’s quite happy so far but she misses school. The Premier formally announced today that schools are closed next week for all but children of essential workers”.

Yesterday when I walked around the neighbourhood, I would step off the footpath and other people would continue on it. That’s cool. I’m tall and broad.

Today I steped off the footpath and so do they, quite deliberately social distancing.