What to do when things get weird
March 27, 2020
To watch this update instead, here's the video
I hear a lot of people in the climate world frustrated about COVID. They're trying to figure out "is this something that I get into?" "Is this something that I ignore until we get back to talking about climate change?"
People that work in the climate are drawn to these big planetary scale challenges. This inspired me to share what I've learned from co-creating the COVID Accelerator
while working on Negative. Alongside 600+ developers, designers, doctors, and scientists, I've learned about the power of groups, thinking high level, staying connected, trusting intuition, and letting go. These insights are useful today and tomorrow, and they're also going to get rolled into my work on climate solutions.
Connecting with existing groups:
In addition to the COVID Accelerator, there's Helpful Engineering which is a group of 14,000+ engineers who are all interested in working on solutions. Also HelpWithCOVID.com
, a group that Sam Altman start which is a list of projects and how you can help. And I love what the XPRIZE is doing, they've launched a pandemic solutions platform
to connect all these big resources. Everybody has a piece of a solution to help connect those puzzle pieces together.
I've also grown to appreciate high level thinking
. It's valuable to have "T-shaped" knowledge where you see the broad scheme of things to complement your deep understanding. For COVID my mental framing is around is around a. testing and monitoring and understanding who has what b. treatment in terms of ventilators and other medical devices c. prevention like masks and protecting the equipment. That high level frame is really useful to go back to when things are changing so fast. For example I've had to kind of initially focus a lot on testing, but now as it starts to spread that testing aspect is a lot less of my focus.
gets better with high-level thinking too. You might get a sense of "maybe I should make this big change". What I found in the last couple weeks is that fast thinking is rewarded. Intuition is your brain and body trying to tell you something. Maybe it suggests you toss some big concept holding you back or you double down on just one piece.
For example, I started out going all in on testing right DNA testing was something I knew a lot about, but there was a point about a week or so ago, where testing seemed like it just wasn't as important anymore for me. My main intuition said there's community cases everywhere testing seems like maybe there's something else that's that's more useful. So I started to read up on ventilators and other treatment type equipment. By leaning into intuition I got to make a lot of progress learn about people that are working on these designs and learn about what what like can move the needle and what can't so you know by by leaning into that that intuition I think especially when things are changing really fast. (That said, testing is still super important, and my friend Elliot is working in a home testing initiative. He has a petition to make regulations for home testing easier, sign it here
with friends or new colleagues is essential. Every day at 10am, the COVID Accelerator hosts "COVID & COFFEE". It's a chance for people introduce ourselves to strangers over zoom. It's very casual, acknowledging this topic changes every day both globally and personally. Connect casually with people around you.
Let go of expectations. I
f you're expecting somebody else to take action or "that person should do this"....well don't waste more than 5% of your time on that line of thinking (20 minutes a day). Complaining is natural but make sure to keep your dashboard lit up with actions like reading, developing, promoting, and taking care of yourself or your family. For example my friend Purin hosted a virtual dance party on zoom! Let go of your expectations for what other people are doing and dance like no one's watching.
What's working for you these days? I look forward to hearing about your own playbook.
Let's go save the galaxy,
P.S. Listen to my interview about Negative on the Tech Talks Daily podcast!
Just went live today.