April 21, 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...
Today's Dispatch is all about sharing GOOD NEWS and sending some POSITIVE VIBES out there to all of you in need of a little sunshine in your inbox.

I hope something in here brings you a smile!
Post-Traumatic Growth
A few dispatches ago, I shared an HBR article about the collective grief phase that the world is going through and how to cope with it.

More and more, I am focusing on what comes after that grief phase; and I am cautiously optimistic about the prospects for great innovations and a deeper focus on human connections going forward.

The term "post-traumatic growth" refers to the profound transformation experienced by some trauma survivors...new perspectives and skills leading to better relationships, richer experiences, deeper appreciation for life, and greater personal strength.

On a grand scale, this growth can be seen in the rebuilding after natural disasters, or in the post-war optimism and economic (& baby-) boom of the Greatest Generation.

Pre-pandemic studies have been documenting the isolation and loneliness that has accompanied the rise of social media...with Millennials and Gen Z'ers scoring as the loneliest groups despite being the most "connected".

This global experiment we are all subjects in right now can have many outcomes, but let's focus on the positive and embrace the possibility that the anecdotal stories we are seeing about people stepping up to help each other, relationships deepening within families, and how personal connections are increasing in value will all lead to positive post-traumatic growth on a global scale.

For now, I will settle for the smiles on stranger's faces, waves as we pass on the street, and the greetings of neighbors as they pass by the house...all things that were in very short supply just a month or two ago.
Continued Decline in Growth Rates

Even with a record number of new cases added this past weekend in Illinois, the daily average rates of growth continue to trend in a positive direction.

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 steady decline in the rate of growth.
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health; Analysis by John Murray

Some Good News

John Krasinski is doing a fantastic job spotlighting good people doing great things from around the world, and he's brining along some friends. These videos will definitely make you feel better and are great for the whole family.

This week's episode of Some Good News features cameos by Brad Pitt, Chance the Rapper and more...plus a visit to the International Space Station.

An Original Poem by Pat Moloney

The world is still beautiful 
frightening, horrible 
graceful, fragile
kind, cruel
people still cowering animals
and ascending heroes,
wash your hands of none of it
open, open and accept
with a warm but cautious heart,
see the fear in your neighbors eyes
and offer them some hope in yours
there is no medicine 
no cure that doesn’t pass through the heart

Visit a National Park, Virtually

Spring is arriving and the National Parks are waiting for us...kinda.

We can't visit them physically right now, but many National Parks have digital tours that you can take online from the comfort of your quarantine.

Bonus, no bear repellent required!
Take a Virtual Visit to a National Park

Got a bit of downtime? Take a trip to a national park from wherever you are! Many national park sites across the country offer digital tours and experiences that you can access anytime, anywhere. From digitally diving under the sea to watching...

Read more
The Last Dance Sets Rating Record for ESPN

The story of the Bulls last championship season finally arrived on Sunday and attracted more than 6 million viewers.

It also ranks as the most watched telecast among adults 18-34 and 18-49 since live broadcasts ended earlier this year and was the #1 trending topic on Twitter for the day, with 25 of 30 trending topics all related to the show at one point.

Across social media platforms, Last Dance posts by ESPN garnered more than 9 million engagements.

Episode #2 of The Last Dance featured Scottie Pippin's backstory and how his decision to sign a long-term contract early (for the financial security it would provide his family back home) cost him dearly as the Bulls became hotter than the Beatles.

What it didn't show was how Scottie augmented his salary doing some local TV ads. This gem is a far cry from the McDonald's spots with Larry & MJ...
A Little More MJ

The story below is from my friend and 2016 Olympic Bid colleague Mark Mitten, who shared the story of meeting Michael Jordan and filming the video below.

"In honor of The Last Dance, I wanted to share the super cut of the filming session we did with Michael Jordan during the Chicago Olympic Bid and the story behind it.

Given his international fame as one of the greatest athletes in history, it was obvious from the start of the 2016 Bid that we wanted to feature Michael and his love for Chicago and the Olympics. 

There was no shortage of people affiliated with the Bid that claimed to be a FOM (friend of Michael) and could pick up the phone to make the ask when we needed him. When we finally decided it was the right time to film him, we put the word out to this network to make the request.

The result? No one was able to do it. Not even the FOMs.

With the clock ticking, I called Michael's agent, Estee Portnoy. I didn't know her; didn't have an introduction; it was a cold call. 

Estee was terrific. Warm, professional and committed to help the cause. By the end of the call we had negotiated 30 minutes to film Michael at the Deerfield Hyatt the following week. No press. No outsiders allowed during the filming. No autographs. Done.

The next week, we had turned the ballroom at the Deerfield Hyatt into a soundstage and were waiting for Michael. He pulled up in his 4-door black Bentley in front of the Hyatt, leaving it there as he walked into the hotel. I was the host committee, introducing myself and explaining what were up to and what we would like him to do. I also said this was a secure set- no press and no autographs. 

Michael couldn't have been nicer. 

I handed him over to our director for the shoot Tyler Jay (who beautifully captured the essence of the man) and our interviewer George Hirthler. While I would have loved to interview MJ, this was George's sweet spot and I knew intuitively that they would hit off. And, boy did they. The footage shows how at ease Michael was thanks to George and Tyler.

At 25 minutes, I told MJ and the team we needed to wrap it up.

Michael ended up staying 45 minutes- making sure we covered everything we needed. A real pro.

I escorted him back to his car and made an ask along the way. "Would you consider coming to the final presentation in Copenhagen?" "When is it?" I told him the date. "Can't, it's the start of Wizards' training camp."

"Too bad" I said. "President Obama is going to be there and was hoping you and he could play a game. We already have a court reserved. And, he thinks he can beat you." Michael stopped walking, looked at me and said "You gotta be kidding me." I said, "What can I say; he's the President. Guess there is only one way to find out."

At this point, hotel guests were starting to notice Michael and approaching quickly. We walked out the lobby to his car, I thanked him again, shook hands and he was gone. 

I still don't think he and President Obama have a chance to play one-on-one yet. There's still time."
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 day!