April 10, 2020
A semi-coherent collection of news, data, thoughts and opinions for your enjoyment, sharing or immediate deletion. Hopefully you find a few valuable nuggets inside that are worth your while...
This concept is my way of sharing information and staying connected with my personal and professional network in these crazy times. Content is chosen based on what I think is interesting, entertaining and relevant, and there is no commercial aspect to any of it.

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Have a great Friday!
Farewell, John Prine

Hall of Fame songwriter John Prine passed on Tuesday after a battle with COVID-19. I had the pleasure of seeing John perform live multiple times over over the past 30 years and, like so many of you, his music holds a special place in my heart. It seems like whether I am happy, sad, despondent or angry, there is always a song of his that fits my mood and helps me feel better. I am a big believer in the power of music, and I am extremely grateful to have had the melodic therapy of John Prine at my disposable throughout the years. Please take a moment to enjoy his song "When I Get to Heaven", the final track from his final album, and his message to all of us that everything is going to be alright.
John Prine - When I Get To Heaven (Lyric Video)

Lyric video for "When I Get to Heaven" off of 'The Tree of Forgiveness: "http://smarturl.it/treeofforgiveness Connect with John: http://johnprine.com http://...

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If you're looking for a little more "Prine-al Therapy"...

Prine's catalog of music is vast and deep with meaning, so the best advice I have for the less familiar is to pour a glass of wine and let a Spotify playlist take you on a little road trip - you'll definitely find some stops along the way that touch you. One of my favorite things about his songs is the way a single line can convey such a vivid picture or emotional connection. I offer the following Top Ten list for your consideration, with a taste of the lyrics that make them special to me...
  • All the Best - a fantastic ode to lost love and my all-time favorite Prine song... "And I got no hate - and I got no pride, Well, I got so much love that I cannot hide"

  • Hello in There - it is unbelievable to me that he wrote this song at the age of 21... "Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger, And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day, Old people just grow lonesome, Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello"

  • Sam Stone - a tragic tale of PTSD and drug addiction; his most famous song... "There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes, Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose"

  • Paradise - an ode to his family's home and its demise due to strip mining..."Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken, Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man"

  • Souvenirs - Sung with Steve Goodman (famous to Chicagoans for his perennial favorites: "Go Cubs Go" and "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request..."Broken hearts and dirty windows make life difficult to see, That's why last night and this mornin' always look the same to me"
  • Angel from Montgomery - another example of Prine's storytelling ability... "If dreams were lightning, thunder were desire, This old house would have burnt down a long time ago"

  • Lake Marie - Bob Dylan's favorite Prine song, inspired by a drive through Twin Lakes, Wisconsin..."All the love we shared between her and me was slammed... Slammed up against the banks of Old Lake Marie"

  • The Great Compromise - a critique of U.S. policy couched in a love song..."She said, 'Johnny won't you get me some popcorn?' and she knew I had to walk pretty far, and as soon as I passed through the moonlight, she hopped into a foreign sports car"

  • Summer's End - perfectly captures the melancholy and nostalgia of the end of a good run, and the contemplation of the end of it all..."well, you never know how far from home you're feeling, until you've watched the shadows cross the ceiling"

In the last dispatch, I shared some data indicating some positive trends nationwide with regards to cases, hospital demand and death rates. I was encouraged to see Governor Pritzker express cautious optimism at the trends that are developing. As we continue to celebrate Passover and head into Easter Weekend, I thought I'd share another analysis based on data I have been tracking for cases in Illinois. Again, the trends are positive...despite the fact that we still have an increasing number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, each 5-day period since March 17 (when social distancing efforts began) has seen a decline in the rate of growth. In other words, the curve is flattening. Let's all hope the trend continues and commit to celebrating this holiday weekend via videoconferencing.
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health; Analysis by John Murray
At issue though, is the question of what we do next and when is the right time to move to a less-aggressive form of social distancing. This MIT article makes some strong arguments in favor of the benefits of crushing this pandemic despite the image it is doing to the economy. Their take is that we don't have to choose to either stop C-19 or save the economy: "we can do both". They cite research that found that...

The 1918 pandemic reduced national manufacturing output in the US by 18%; but cities that implemented restrictions earlier and for longer had much better economic outcomes in the year after the outbreak...
Assuming that the communicability and mortality rates suspected for this virus are correct, the long-term economic impact could be less if we take the big hit now. Either way, more testing is needed to both understand those numbers more clearly and also facilitate any reasonable plans to get people back in the workplace.
Stop covid or save the economy? We can do both

In the first employment report after social distancing measures had taken hold in many US states, the Department of Labor announced that 3.3 million people had filed jobless claims. A week later, in the first week in April, an additional 6.6...

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Four Steps to Adapt Customer Experiences

McKinsey research and advice on actions that brands can take now and moving forward to adjust to the environment created by the pandemic. The article contains some interesting data (64% of customers choose to buy from socially responsible brands and that number has been growing significantly recently) and links it to specific recommendations to responsibly navigate the shifting landscape and authentically deepen the connections between you and your customers.
Adapting customer experience in the time of coronavirus

In a short period of time, COVID-19 has overwhelmed lives and livelihoods around the globe. For vulnerable individuals and the customer teams that serve them, it has also forced a rethinking of what customer care means. Suddenly, examinations of...

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Some Advice on Coping

I mentioned Harvard Business Review's portal for C-19 related resources in an earlier dispatch, but wanted to flag this article specifically, which has become the one of HBR's most-read stories ever. In this piece, grief expert David Kessler not only clarifies how the current situation is impacting us psychologically, but also provides some useful tips on coping. I hope that you find it useful and wish you all well in these crazy times.
That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief

Executive Summary During the global pandemic, a palpable sense of collective grief has emerged. Grief expert David Kessler says that grief is actually multiple feelings that we must manage. In an interview with HBR, he explains how the classic...

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Help for Healthcare Providers
bKL Architecture leveraged the talent and commitment of their designers and model makers to produce protective face shields for healthcare providers using an "assembly line" of 3D printers in their Lakeshore East offices. They are using donations to their GoFundMe page to purchase more printers and materials and have already ramped up production to 150 units per day and shipped more than 1,000 face shields to facilities in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and California. And when the crisis is over, they are donating the 3D printers to CPS schools and public libraries. You can click on the photo below for more information.
If You Fancy a Cocktail...

In more socially interactive times, some of you have enjoyed a cocktail at our office courtesy of this incredible machine. Bartesian is like a Keurig machine for the cocktail hour and I like ours so much that I have transported it from our space in River North to my home for the duration of the crisis. It's nice to be able to have a proper Manhattan, Whiskey Sour, or even a Sazerac without the need for any mixers or measures. I highly recommend the Uptown Cocktail as well. The folks at Bartesian are giving 25% of net proceeds from sales to support displaced bar employees through April 17. Definitely worth checking out. Click on the photo below to see it in action.

Note - As a reminder, I receive no incentives...just sharing things I like!
A Podcast for Everything...

There is literally a podcast out there for every taste and interest. Here are some suggestions and examples - no judging please, these are all mine, just sharing!! If you have any podcasts, TV shows, movies or books to recommend, please send them my way and I will share at some point.
The Morning Toast is a podcast by two twenty-something sisters for the twenty-something community, covering all things in pop culture. So, you may ask, why is a non-hip, old man like me aware of it? Good question...because I hire well.
A great one-on-one, interview-style show that delves into how some of the most iconic brands around started and grew. Very inspiring and informative for any entrepreneurs or business leaders out there.
NASA put six people in a small dome on a volcano in Hawaii and left them there for year to simulate living conditions for a Mars mission. This 7-episode series documents their experiences and is a strange parallel to our shelter-in-place experiences today.
the City is an investigative podcast from USA Today. Their first season focused on the story of "Mt. Henry" - a trash pile that grew to be half the size of the Pentagon in a disadvantaged residential neighborhood in Chicago and the political corruption that allowed it to drag on for years.
I'm still excited, so the countdowns stays!

Click on the photo for a sneak peek!
I am loving this performance of Ravel's Bolero done by members of the New York Philharmonic from their homes. Really well done video and good choice of music to showcase the musicians and instruments.