JPMorgan Research used credit card present sales information

JPMorgan Research: Follow the Money, Predict Hot spot

This week JPMorgan research published a recently completed report. Spending using their credit cards and determined in restaurant spending as a key indicator of spikes in COVID-19 cases. This confirmed an earlier study using of OpenTable data.  It should be no surprise, cooking #SafeAtHome keeps the case numbers down.

“high levels of supermarket spending are indicative of more careful social distancing in a state.” 

JPMorgan Analyst Jesse Edgerton

I’m still searching for the entire JPMorgan research report to learn more about it. For example, do they factor in take-out and delivery numbers?  In any case, public gathering must still be monitored. Care must increase as we move #NYForward to Phase 3, and 4 in suburban regions.  Especially as those phases relax capacity limits and more types of business start to open.

I continue to be pleased by intelligent use of data.  Evidence based decision making appears to be keeping the pandemic under control. That is, in places listening to the science experts.  Adding more signals to help flag potential hot spots can only improve our situation as we wait for a vaccine.

The video below, from back in May, interviews Edgerton, the report’s author. While he does not specifically discuss the report, he expressed caution about a COVID-19 resurgence.

Stay healthy and keep streaming!

Passing 👉 the mic 🎤

Handing over this week's edition to my high school friend, now a Dr at University of Connecticut

I was once told by a very good friend of mine that I “wasn’t really black” because I was “smart”, “kind” in premed classes and I liked the Beatles and REM…

but I was “black enough” to be stopped by police officers because I fit the description, a laughable photocopy of a black face which looked just like me because I had eyes and a nose and ears and of course a black face. They were looking for a rapist and I, all 13 years of me, in my Catholic school shirt and tie “ fit the description”

I was “black enough” to be called a nigger randomly as I walked home one evening.

I was “black enough” to have white women step out of the elevator whenever I walked in

I am just “black enough” to be seen with suspicion and fear.

I was “scary Dr. Alerte” until I painted a smile on my face and donned the elbow padded tweed jacket uniform of the academic. The safe academic who probably won’t attack you or rob you or assault you. I wear a shirt and tie everywhere because a hoodie just might get me killed.

I named my son Atticus after Atticus Finch and I find myself secretly, quietly, happy that due to his genetics he is just “white enough” to “pass” so hopefully he won’t have to walk the road I’ve had to and hopefully I won’t be standing over his grave.

I am so very, very tired of the understood and accepted world I find myself in.

Virtual Experience 📹 There’s Still Time 🕙 to Build Better 💻

Earlier in the month several articles started popping up talking about people suffering from Quarantine fatigue, after a considerable amount of time asked to #StayAtHome.  With Memorial Day just around the corner, these theories will certainly be put to the test, as the Greater NYC metro area is still shy of hitting all the NY Forward re-opening metrics.  I had firsthand experience with this last weekend, with the weather obliging many more cars and walkers were visible.  A week later and the metrics continuing to improve should only add to that.  My hopes is that it is a moderated and safe break from quarantine.

I mainly bring this up because the fatigue appears to be setting into the schedule of virtual networking events.  Have we hit a Zoom Wall?  Part of it, I suspect, is resources being shifted to opening business back up.  At the same time, I have noticed a drop off in

  • attendance at events
  • participation within events
  • availability of events

Are we saving our energy to dust off professional attire and finding alternates to public transportation.  Or has the novelty of video conferencing genuinely worn off and it needs to go back on the shelf, behind a glass pane “Break in case of emergency”?  

Virtual Experience Improvements IRL

My perspective continues to be that the quality of these meetings needs to improve.  “Yes”, the tools are freely available.  “Yes”, everyone has a different schedule. And “Yes,” everyone has their own domestic situation.  However, whether you are a team manager running regular status meeting, a moderator of a panel with diverse experts scattered nationally, or president of a community board, you should:

  • take the time to get familiar with the software, get to know as many of the “ins and outs” as you can.  You never know when they’ll come in handy.
  • publish best practices for a conferencing setup to all your participants.  Microphones, cameras, camera height/placement, background acoustics/visuals, etc. (Check out Epiphan’s Tuesday session, below)
  • Moderate the participants.  Mute and un-mute only speakers when it is their turns, leave time for questions, and get as many involved as possible.  Just like IRL.

Again, I know everyone has a different level of expertise, comfort, etc.  If you can’t dedicate the time to be a master of all of these, ask for help.  From what I remember about the workplace, there was usually one or two folks that would thrive when given responsibility and ownership of a task.  I’d like to think that still exists.  Fatigue or no fatigue.

Stay healthy and keep streaming!

🚪 If you open, will they come ? 🚶 🚪

NY State on PAUSE is scheduled to end next week, May 15th and businesses all across the Empire state are going through the guidelines to re-open when their region is ready and move NY Forward. The tweet below links to the much discussed, draft CDC Guidelines, which may or may not be the outline on which NY’s are based.

A neighbor shared a nice write up on how the virus spreads. Whether you agree with this course of action of re-opening or believe it is happening too quickly, make sure to take precautions. Staying safe is the best way to get us back to a pre-COVID state or as close to it as possible. For individuals, that means:

  • practice social distancing, six feet minimum, and consider wearing a mask or some type of facial covering when/where that is not practical
  • frequently disinfect your hands: sanitizer or soap and water
  • limit time spent at social gatherings, large or small

More importantly, business owners should take every measure to secure their workplace. One of the top priorities should be reducing worker density. Food packaging businesses are seeing the most new cases, due to the proximity of workers to one another, lack of protective measures, and noisy environments requiring projecting one’s voice and, by extension, droplet transmission. Precautions include

  • continuing work from home, staggering shifts where applicable
  • making sure all employees are clear on safety and hygiene protocols
  • limiting unnecessary travel and visitors

With NY State on PAUSE scheduled to end, business owners need to get creative and employ new technology where available. Below is another video on using streaming technology for schools, but this certainly can apply across industries. For those businesses that rely on face to face interactions or have been impacted by the scarcity in delivery mechanisms begin implementing Appointment Retail.

Stay healthy and keep streaming!

🌼 May Day,💐 May Day… 🌻 May Day is here 🌼

A new month is right around the corner and by all accounts that means we are one month closer to re-opening.  As we prepare for what that means, many are recommending using this time to reflect on what can be improved and rebuilt better than it was.

I take that to mean helping each other to improve their situation, not only with respect to the current status, but going back to when this all started.  I have no doubt we all know someone who’s career or livelihood has been completely disrupted.  Just this week, I had a colleague reach out because he had lost his job due to COVID-19.  What struck me was his optimism given the situation.  His expectation and career goals were not disrupted and he will continue to work hard towards those outcomes.  That said, if anyone is in need of a smart, hard working BDR in the B2B SaaS space, hit me up.

Virtual Networking in a Social Distancing Environment

As we witness guidance for #stayAtHome, meaning reduced workplace density, working remote, and the possibility of our municipalities mandating curfews, the conversation around social gatherings has noticeably shifted to web-based conferencing, distance learning classrooms, and virtual event spaces.

Below are a few links to collections of recommendations in case you are new to hosting online events

After TP, I think the next concern on some minds will be internet access. In the past week, service providers have offered free 60 day access to wireless connectivity and mobile carriers lifted surcharges for unlimited data. More importantly, on the infrastructure side there is messaging assuring customers that, despite notable and expected increase in usage, service and customer support will be available, around the clock, regardless of your time zone.

The take away should be to put your customers, partners, and even neighbors at ease. If you or your business offers a service or access to a product that others are depending on, make sure they know you will be up and running for them. Whether it takes the form of delivery, call center, or supply chain find a way to keep those people you impact as worry free as possible.

Stay healthy and keep streaming!

After past Friday the 13th, “Superstition ain’t the way”

Hello friends,

The impact of COVID-19 is rippling through the worlds of business, sports, personal lives, and certainly this week’s newsletter.  Here in NYC, congregations over 500 people are now prohibited, but events large and small, urban and suburban are being postponed, suspended, and cancelled.

I am happy to see local municipalities banding together in the effort to keep businesses, small, medium, and large, running.  For example, the Queens Chamber of Commerce will be continuing outreach with a daily email and are actively seeking businesses in distress that they may support in one form or another.

Last Friday I received my first invitation to an online event, to subsidize the lack of in person gatherings.  I fully expect more of these type of events to pop up in the coming weeks.  As they reach a critical mass, I will return to curating networking opportunities for us all and sharing across this medium.

I’m sure you have no shortage of emails stating CDC and WHO guidelines, so I will not regurgitate them here.  What I can’t stress enough is to surround yourself with information from reputable sources.  To paraphrase NY Gov Cuomo from his daily update, the anxiety surrounding the calamity can at times be worse than the calamity.  There is no need to spread false facts or worse: fear monger, let alone give into it.  And as Stevie Wonder wrote:

“When you believe in things
That you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,”

Keep yourselves knowledgeable on the situation and how to take proper action when the time calls for it.  Thank you for reading and I’ll see you out there networking, soon!