Happiness is an (occasionally) empty calendar
Let's build back better and savor the time we have with family and friends.
Sree’s newsletter is produced w/ Zach Peterson (@zachprague). • A meme that applies to the Omicron variant and so much else.
🗞 NYT Readalong is taking a break today, but you can see 94 previous episodes in our archives - and prep for our episode Sunday, Dec. 5, 8:30-10 am ET w/ the legendary Clyde Haberman - on our playlist at http://readalong.link/youtubeplaylist. The Readalong is sponsored by Muck Rack. Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Digimentors team is working with companies and nonprofits around the world to create virtual and hybrid events. We’ve worked on events for 50 people and 100,000. See our updated brochure. Please talk to us if you need events help or social media consulting: email@example.com.
Once upon a time, the only way for the public to easily reach Fareed Zakaria was to write to firstname.lastname@example.org, an email address I created for a website I built by hand-coding HTML in Dreamweaver. He had no idea why he'd want or need a website, so I volunteered to make him one. This was before 9/11, before CNN, before his biggest books, before he became America’s top explainer about whatever the hell is going on in the world.
Every week, several emails would come in (fan mail, hate mail, solicitations of all kinds), and among them would be a never-ending barrage of invitations to speak here, give a keynote there, and so on.
I once asked him if he was tired of his calendar being so full, his phone ringing all the time. He said the only thing worse than the phone constantly ringing was the phone not ringing at all. He was keenly aware that “this will all end one day,” and his goal was always to be “as useful and helpful as possible” for as long as possible.
Neither of us knew it, but he was among the very first clients of what would become Digimentors — during that two-year period, I had the honor of working with five fab authors to build their first sites - FareedZakaria.com, SamuelFreedman.com, AmitavGhosh.com, ShashiTharoor.com and MervinBlock.com.
I share this story for a couple of reasons:
The power of a good network is very real, and it’s worth putting in the time to build and nurture a diverse network. A big part of doing that is putting yourself out there and taking a leap.
Given that I worked with five men tells you I wasn’t thinking about gender diversity the way I do now, building it into everything we do (including counting female guests on our pandemic show - 319 out of 560 guests in our first 292 episodes. Some of you know about my obsession with ending all-male panels (I have not appeared on any or even ATTENDED any after a promise I made to my daughter, Durga, in 2016 - it’s all documented here: http://bit.ly/sreemanels ). All this shows that no matter how right-minded we may think we are, we all have a long way to go. Doing the right thing is a process of permanent evolution.
This past week, Wednesday to Sunday, I had my first five days (in years) without a business meeting of any kind. My only tasks: get my son Krishna home from JFK, and pick up our (pre-cooked) turkey at Whole Foods. Sure, I am working here and there, but mainly I am left to admire the beauty of an empty calendar.
As someone who, like Fareed, prides himself on having a packed schedule, I now realize the value of the emptiness. An immense amount of work went into earning those five days off. The world changed dramatically over the last 20 months, and our burgeoning Digimentors operation changed with it. My life completely changed, my work completely changed. Whatever growth and success we have had, I’d give it all back to return to the Before Times.
This seemingly small payoff — five days to spend time with family, five days to be thankful for what we have built, five days to breathe and think and plan — contained multitudes.
balance harmony (as spelled out beautifully by Jill Geisler) means different things to different people, but the data has become clear — workers are burnt out, worrying about their mental health like never before, and women are being affected at a higher rate than men.
All of us - workers, employers, consumers, governments, et al - have a chance to build back better than what we had before. But only if we ALL make the effort.
Would love to hear your thoughts.
A fab job with a fab nonprofit! Digital Communications Manager for Hip Hop Public Health (founded by Columbia neurologist Olajide Williams and rapper Doug E. Fresh. "At Hip Hop Public Health, we work to inspire positive health behavior change through the transformative power of music, art, and science."
The job description: https://hhph.org/careers-2/
The application form: http://bit.ly/hhphsocial
Please share and/or tag folks you know who might be interested or might know people who know people. My Digimentors team is honored to work with HHPH and if you know anyone who applies, please LMK: email@example.com
For Digimentors and its nonprofit clients, a lot of our attention now shifts to Giving Tuesday on Nov 30, 2021. Here are some tips written up by Linda Bernstein (@wordwhacker). Anyone working on #GivingTuesday initiatives will find them super helpful.
Omicron - I didn’t even know that was a letter in the Greek alphabet. Now the whole world has heard of it as a Covid19 variant. The great Zeynep Tufekci explains what little we know about it and why we should all be paying attention.
It’s why we invest.
At this year's Armory Square Ventures (ASV) Annual Meeting Reception in September, the ASV community gathered in person after over a year.
To mark the occasion, we invited Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane to discuss how he has cultivated and recruited an exemplary, beloved professional football team and staff rooted in the Upstate New York region.
We love the ones who play hard through it all, magnificently, year after year, at the north end of New York State in spite of the weather (Go Bills!)
ASV Managing Partner Somak Chattopadhyay (@somakc) interviewed Brandon.
Watch the interview here.
WEEKLY TECH TIP: CES 2022 is Still a Go, But How Many Will Show?
By Robert S. Anthony
Each week, veteran tech journalist Bob Anthony shares a tech tip you don’t want to miss. Follow him @newyorkbob.
As the clock ticks down to the start of CES, the country’s largest consumer electronics show, the only thing known for sure is that the show will go on. But with the Covid-19 pandemic still with us, it’s unclear how many gadget aficionados will put their webcams aside and make the trek.
CES 2022, which opens in Las Vegas with two press-only days Jan. 3 and 4 and opens to general attendees Jan. 5 to 8, will be a crucial test of how major conventions will fare next year. There’s no doubt that it will be smaller than the last in-person CES in 2020, but how much smaller is the big question.
The all-virtual CES 2021 was a blow to small tech firms and startups that depend on one-to-one contacts to get their products and technologies in front of potential customers and investors. For 2022, the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, is hedging its bets and has designed CES 2022 as a hybrid one with real exhibits plus livestreams and video archives for registered attendees who don’t want to travel.
In 2020 CES, which uses multiple Las Vegas venues, filled the entire Las Vegas Convention Center, including the massive, double-decked South Hall. However, CES will not use South Hall at all in 2022 and will shift automobile-related exhibits to the LVCC’s glitzy, new West Hall, which opened last year.
During a Nov. 18 virtual press conference, CTA officials said about 1,500 exhibitors had signed on for CES 2022, but offered no attendee estimates other than “tens of thousands.” CES 2020 attracted 4,400 exhibitors and 170,000 attendees. They noted that the lighter attendance will allow for wider exhibit spacing, one-way aisles and various health protocols, including a proof-of-vaccination requirement to attend CES.
“We’ll be a little smaller,” said CTA CEO Gary Shapiro. “It’s gonna feel a little different.”
But even as the show shrinks for 2022, CES is adding new categories and features, including space tech and food tech and will have cryptocurrency and non-fungible token (NFT) exhibitors as well. Major TV brands such as Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic and TCL have confirmed that they will return for 2022 and new exhibitors will include Waymo, an autonomous vehicle technology company formerly part of Google; Vietnamese car manufacturer VinFast, and TuSimple, a self-driving technology firm, according to the CTA.
No, CES is in no danger of going the way of defunct tech shows like COMDEX, but a solid 2022 show would go a long way in cementing exhibitor and attendee confidence.
A word from our friends at India Sweets And Spices
The NY Times and LA Times are raving about Geeta Malik’s award-winning new comedy INDIA SWEETS AND SPICES — which is now playing in US cinemas and will open in Canada this Friday, December 3. Check local showtimes and get ticket info here!
Listen to Something
How the business world handles the rapid shift to hybrid work — or, the desire by a large sector of the workforce to regularly work from home — is so important. For me, remote work is the norm, and hybrid work has been my norm for a long time [read my essay on remote work and the response to it]. But this wasn’t considered “normal” until last year. Call it The Great Resignation if you want, but it’s much more complicated than that. I went through some old podcasts, and this episode of the HBR Ideacast on hybrid work and all of its pros and cons is just a great discussion.
Listen here or on all major podcast platforms. The episode aired on June 29, 2021.
If you live in NYC, you know that turnstile-jumping in the subway usually means a run-in with the NYPD. Apparently, that isn’t always the case. Gosh, I wonder what was different here…
Odds & Ends
🗞 NYT Readalong is taking a break today, but you can see 94 previous episodes in our archives - and prep for our episode Sunday, Dec. 5, 8:30-10 am ET w/ the legendary Clyde Haberman - on our playlist at http://readalong.link/youtubeplaylist. The Readalong is sponsored by Muck Rack. Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Be sure to check out “She’s On Call” podcast with surgeons Sujana Chandrasekhar, MD (@DrSujanaENT), and Marina Kurian, MD (@MarinaKurian).