« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#194 — The New Future of Work

2020-03-24 | 🔗

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Matt Mullenweg about the evolution of distributed work. They discuss the benefits of working from home, the new norms of knowledge work, relevant tools and security concerns, the challenges for managers, the importance of written communication, the necessity of innovating in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, delivery networks as critical infrastructure, economic recovery, and other topics.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome This has been cast. This is Harris ok,. Well, I am speaking with mad Mullen Wegg MAD is one of the founding developers of the word press platform. Which, if you dont, know powers many of the websites you go to. In fact, I believe that thirty's Percent of the web is now run on word, press includes my website. I believe it concludes sites like the New York Times.
Press is everywhere, Anderson, Opensource platform, but Matt, two thousand and five started the company automatic, which is now what drives word: press dot, com and wool commerce. And many other companies they recently acquired Tumblr and I want to speak, because he has unique insight into running distributed teams, as your here automatic is in time. A distributed, They ve over eleven hundred employees working in a belief, seven five countries, so a man has been taken for a long time about the advantages and challenges of working from home. Many companies and their workers are struggling to figure out how to reinvent themselves new environment, where we're all needing to shelter in place, to bring matters to talk about this and now further delay. I bring you, Madam onward.
Well, I'm here with Matt Molin Wegg Matt thanks rejoining me, it's a pleasure, let's get into your background. We're we're having this conversation, in the crucible of the current moment with the corona virus pandemic. Raging on a hundred shores. Here now let's introduce you properly give us Europe's business perch, and then we can. Jump in yeah I stark and shipping the word press in the word press opensource project when I was nineteen, so I didn't have a tunnel work experience beforehand. Besides, like freelancing and things Actually that's gonna be musician a few years later started automatic commercialize, basically SAS services. Or a software the service round Wordpress. So I made word press that Jack Pack will commerce love sort of more commercial things, but so does actually like a nonprofit volunteer project over press, and then my company called automatic see you and I have hung out. You times and
I've known in the abstract that I've always wanted speak with you, Wanna podcast of several mutual friend and and and one just, but it into my head that I should talk to you in the current moment, because you really have a unique experience with Moat work describe just now fully youve embraced remote work and how long you ve been doing it sure. So one automatic started in two thousand five. We were coming out of Opensource project and typically opensource products are volunteers. Working from all over the world, just operating. A line was different. We decided to keep that model as we scale the company, so we are now you have you fast forward to twenty. Twenty were now about twelve hundred people all of the world, all working together remotely collaborating completely online? We do not use the word remote, even because we say distributed remote implies it as essential in a remote, so we were fully distribute and and incite meaning that you know through especially there
These people set out his works when your ten people, fifteen people, why won't work under fifty or wonder one fifth, reach Dunbar's number whatever it is. And we ve shown wicked scale up to now been commercially successful, as was kind of hopefully doing the thing for society and also try to place a path without this tunnel other fully distributed companies now. Many are unicorns of aid, a multiple billions of dollars and doing some really amazing stuff throughout the industry, so that I get lab and vision as alot. Besides, you started I got there. He s a many companies now confronting this imperative to figure out how to be distributed team. Obviously, this is totally unworkable in certain businesses and who is here We are witnessing the closure restaurants and the decimation of the service industry and yet Some companies like yours and happily like mine, just by accident are in a position Bein guesses,
De fragile as to employ the term of jargon of one of my nemesis where's, anti fragile, as you can be in the car, environment. What do I say to all of us? companies that actually KEN this change, or at least put a significant percentage of their their workforce into home quarantine, essentially as enough from epidemiological perspective That's what is being asked of us what advice you have for how to make that transition. As a lot packed in a first. I will, I will say that considered a moral imperative, so just like but ask anyone who can work from home, you really should or its worst for society. I think any common, What can enable their people to be fully effective and distributed fashion can and should in fact should do it far beyond after this crisis is currently blocked.
I think this mentioning parallels, you never want to compare disasters, a crisis, but after nine eleven we in a situation where people were staying at home naturally, and they were disengaging from now the broader economic and we had asked society to say: hey, go back I'll, go to the movies, go to restaurants and to restaurants Now our asking people to do the opposite service aim. Please do not engage in these particular physically cut located activities, but we do still need to restart the economic engine and anyone anyone who can contribute to economic engine. At this point, I think, should be doing everything they can to be part of it. You asked like what to do for somebody transitioning this first, I will say that this is not a normal work from home situation. This is
When you work from home you're, your kids might have like they care or be in school. So a lot of people are struggling with with sort of unusual family situations when trying to work is obviously a time going out and there's gotta be, I think, a lot of challenges, tragedy, at the same time, but I think that you can can assume out and sable how can use this as an opportunity to this build a framework for how myself, my colleagues, my industry, my organization, can be, as you put it, in a fragile which is not just resilient in the face of, on Cyprus, but actually could stronger. I think this five levels here, but I ve been talking a while already suffered you come on over the motive levels, keep Rowan and when I hear it shall so I ve met with them no pinks work, drive, but I do know that our listeners are to meet us his problem
we want the most influential bucks on me when creating automatic and sir designing the workplace that I wanted to working, and I wanted to be a model for the world need talks about bags you want people to be happy, motivated contents satisfied and fulfilled in the work. I could not really about compensation, are given the bonuses and actually solve those things and have the opposite effect, but it's really about three things. Mastery autonomy and purpose mastery being like. Are you able to get better at your job? Do you have the sort of ability to accomplish it or you being held, and now is the pointy haired bossed, holding you back from from doing what you, I tried trying to do the other side that normal organizations can do really well at its purpose and that's all working for something better than a paycheck, something bigger than yourself. You feel connection in your work to something larger that can be intrinsically motivating far beyond any
Extrinsic factors might be, I think, to shivered organizations knew better than any sort of immersion office based Organisation is an attack on me. A Tommy is, do you have the freedom and agency to control, your environment, to get your work done as effectively as possible as how I'm defining now If you imagine what you do an office, so many elements of your environment are out of your control from the trivial, so they had to the serious like it's. You were gonna as they can locate with someone for a third of your life. I got a partner or remain. You would take it very seriously. You said you had your cannot consider, like a major life decision and and make that choice very carefully, but in work. We're sort of just thrust into this fiscal colouring,
a random set of humans who we did not choose to be their they're they're they're, hopefully because our competent their jobs and useful to the employer, but even that can be a question. Sometimes, and in the environment itself, for this sort of compatibility the whole, as is very constrained, so you, don't have control over the temperature typically using the restroom in a shared setting you in our pets. Might be allowed at some point that maybe you don't like that. Other peoples, that's a there may be, in others, also of fraud things there. Your desk is in I'll, probably Not everyone has a corner office with a window they're, just so much there, the food, the talking of her colleagues, the temperatures and its essential, like I think, you can end up in an office duration for a while. I know no. In truth, I've never been a man, something I have no direct experience of, but the other aspect of it that seems to be true. Is that
for better and worse, often worse, there's a lot of time. There's a lot of work time. That's not actually a matter of getting worked, and I know this from even distributed. Meetings in many meetings are in the end wasted time, so this probably efficiency to be found, assuming one can actually figure out a way to work from home or work remotely that doesn't open itself up to its own distractions. You can probably get a lot more done in less time if you know what you're doing it so that where we can to the levels of autonomy. So you know how does liked it levels of self driving cars so have, I think- different levels of autonomous organizations, so how far they they index on giving people they time you to be happy and satisfied. Work The level one I'm going to find as The company has done anything deliberate, but almost any today, if your knowledge worker you can
if there is an emergency or something you cannot? into the office for a day and still kind, keep things moving your happen. A phone call your equipments probably like yours cell phone, your broadband you can get by, but more likely is going to kind of put things off until you're back in the office or you won't be as effective if you're, not in the office level. One most organizations like ninety eight percent of the world that can be like this level too, is I think, A lot of people are heading right now, which is where you try to we create what you did in the office, but just do it online. My with so many organizations forced into a sort of a media or from home situation desk. I like in this a little bit sad and nineteen twenty two. Radio dramas were first starting and radio. The dramatic medium was wishes, beginning at the four. Things they did warrant like great things. Just for- you as they would literally just have actors perform play right on the radio, and so there is no like now adopted
an advantage that the medium or cinema in the beginning was was a similar. No, the terminology at this face this levels off rooted in our old frames so moving pictures. Are you probably had a fur telecommuting or tell our yeah yeah. I haven't even use that myself to my embarrassment. What of The term like on a telephone. I wrote it as you probably know, the company's probably woken up to like you need to be able to access things when you not in the office certain tools of yours, into adopt things like zoom- are slack fur chat and video, but still Your retrain, almost in that everything is assumed to be synchronous. And you might even say, like hey, everyone needs to be on line at these hours, like ninety five you're just kind of recreating on us. It was a factory model of office, work which doesn't make any sense for knowledge work in first place at home, and this is also the
phase where sometimes companies will want to install software on their employees. Computer like screenshot their screen or makes sure certain things are open, a dialogue Dan, it's kind of the big front brother phase, and this is why I would argue, sometimes even less productive than in the office. Actually removing some freedom and agency in a kind of on on some worse tools, so logical, these are gonna be going through a level to now, and I would just advised them to know that kind of old. You're gone through heck you'd gone, they forgot their level too, like tough, it out and start to talk about how you can move to alcohol levels three through five, so level three. So to really take advantage of the medium sized. Some examples of this, like, let's say, you're having a video call, but instead have like in our having people type in their country. There are some that you can have a shared Google document, all open for everyone on the screen and doesn't sound to take note and then, if we also see the notes being written as their being taken at this
like. It might be distracting, but actually incredibly clarifying practice and a meeting because you're kind of in real time checking whether whether the the of of that meeting. The notes been taken from that meeting referred a shared understanding of what was agreed to and in up to me occasion is hard general, but in work situations. So often I see so much conflict and drama come from where people thought thereof same page, but they were using words. The same worrisome, indifferent things didn't have a shared understanding of our expectations are outcome, so, under the note taking is actually, I think, whether the most powerful physicians in a meeting at that, and so on have a shared responsibility. There. You get a lot better outcome and expectations meeting. Because I too share screens really quickly. So, ok, just let me pull up this chart really quick. Let me show you something. Let me show you website things like Zumiez. You can actually like share the screen of your phone jointed Emma something on to ask you really start to get to where it's pretty powerful
it also where typically people start to invest in better equipment, and this could be simple as like, buying a lamp for your desk? So you don't look like you the war on terror movie say. Don't let like you already have covered nineteen yeah. It's also really fantastic. If I think the best investment this is acting, So I'm a little heterodox that I do not believe in meeting during meetings. Have you don't have to because when you're muted, I get let's eight have this conversation that we would have to admit to talk to each other every time it would really be introduced that lay and make it quite stilted. So you lose on that spontaneity of great conversation, but we asked people to move they usually have really terrible. Mike's happened, letter of noise and the good is there's like thirty. Fifty dollar usb headsets, I like one from sign, has called it s authority. I see one thirty, that plugins you can. Peter and I have a little you look like you're in a call center, but just the physics It is that, when the microphones very close to your mouth does have to work hard and it can kind of bee tuned to
get just your voice and another background noise, and there are like dogs, Barkin kids can be telling you dont I also believe this is an area where suffers. Gonna have incredible innovation, so there's a call machine learning tool called crisp that I think is like thirty or forty bucks here. If you can, and it actually is machine learning to remove background noise even from noisy environments, they can do it for incoming audio and outgoing audio, which is actually so Retarget Zaragoza, can can remove everything it's over the voice on their side as well. Can it be run phone as well or just a computer, so they, but I was up, but you have to use the apt to make the call. So it's not yet because of the Sir Systems our access, but I would also say level three you're, probably using a laptop more to work, and if you put these tools to the left- You actually get a lot more power than if you Jesse your phone or an Ipad or something before is also. We are level three also we invest in written communication, so the right word, I think, is by far the most powerful, for
sharing, thinks that a Shepherd organization and writing quality clarity and skill comes more and more valuable, I think an hour, positions, but the more distributed your future. This is gonna, be windfall for all the humanities. Degrees absolutely we screen for very heavily in hiring process like I. She don't care, carry went to college or anything like that, but we do a lot to screen for writing ability both in the high you apply, Howie in, That will hire many many people without ever actually talking to them in real time. Voice made out entirely through slack and tickets and other things to interact. That's how we work near here, that's gonna, be there. Final product in many cases here has interesting. Love I welcome here, please level for it. When things go asynchronous, so every
thus far, you're kind of assuming that people are synchronous which acquires people to be on the computer. At the same time, and so your actually it not giving people like the agency to design their days or designer productivity to choose how he had the same I'll, put your judging them on what they need to produce but not on how they produced. So I think a lot about the two thousand. Sixteen japanese relay rusty story. No, no! So the japanese runners, like their hundred metre dash, was a full like to second slower than the USA Ball to the world. But they were not the the fastest runners. By far, but they were actually able to get a silver metal and its way sixteen Olympics beating out faster teams, Ike jamaican others, because they focus purely on the baton, hand off the relay race. There were A shave second saw the baton, hand off squares. I think about that all the time. So I, for example, if you can get to where you have people all over the world
four is also weakens our to hire tap into the global palatable. So to hire all over the world and of those people be able to be just as effective working there daytime or most productive hours and passing off that baton between the people working daytime hours and the? U S to Europe to Asia, Pacific. You essentially get a twenty four hour cycle, What might take a normal organization three days to have three kind of cycles are going through something you could do in twenty four hours now. This is the idealized version. It's never quite that easy, but you can get a likely. Or by focusing on that Baton pass level for, as I think that also where you can start to shift to things when you shift to a secret, your decisions can take a little longer, but they can be a lot better. Are you are complaining about meetings appetite for tourism, meetings perfect, most meetings, a terrible and it now or as the funny to me
finding out just how many meetings could have been an email instead like he was her status, updates things like that aren't great and often the uses of forcing function just to get people to pay attention to the same thing at the same time, there were just say, hey Now we're gonna get everyone in a room and force. You think about this topic now the downside of that, and I do know as someone who like appreciates contemplation in deep thought- is that I you're getting and that our is people's reactions, so their presented with information This is most meetings that presented information and they react immediately and you typically now. We also get other dynamics which are too often in person. Situations where the highest paid persons opinion in the room tends to care more. Eight more gregarious outgoing people speak a lot. More often, men speak more than and to lose a lot of really viable perspectives and inputs into the decision making or a sort of that bear the decision making process
when you can move asynchronous at actually create a ton of space for the introvert for the thoughtful people. For folks who, for whom, in this might not be the first language, to really sit with an idea play with different hypotheses and then now contribute something. That's very thoughtful back I've had a chance to take a walk with it or think about in the shower, whatever it is, that sort of contributes to their best critical thinking and contribute those ideas. This means you know it might take a day or two to come to a decision that you might have been able to hash out an hour long meeting. But you can design business around this decision. You come to and the insight that was gone into that should be much much much better than if you just got people react, anything's, real time, road, we're level for an hour? We are we love affair. Therefore, as the level of the rifle fire, this direct, Brain Machine Interface, I too have level five. I do call it Nirvana
good, to have unattainable of all right, but LO fives, when you're done. Better work than any in person. Organization could ever do and I like to think of level five work, it's fun, so every organisation can have tasted it. So in the funds I d love, five I would says: there's things are able to incorporate in their day to day. Tat would be either socially operator impossible in an office. So, member of that stuff, talked about about being office like not have one the coroner office? Your colleagues allow they eat smelly food, like other sorts of things, This is when you really start starter. Be able to design your environment and your day around health, wellness, mental wellbeing etc. Something I like to do. That would be not impossible that deafening, socially awkward in office is in between meetings, I later do like twenty squats and then some pushups gigantic. My blood flowing myself active you get it out, but I would feel weird personally. I do a lot of a domestic and go up and down, and when I start to fly
energy and afternoon after but fundraiser gone, and do I go dancing while am I too am I reading? I would say not if I'm on video the awkward treadmill desk, Russia, Breakfas, I've colleagues have lost twenty or thirty pounds just cause. They start putting in tens of thousands of steps. But they're, not on video or call just being on a treadmill desk. Doing a very slow like in a one point, five to my reply or walk while they're doing what would normally be a stationary activity. My personal favorite here is she right now I have a candle on my desk, I find that the flame is, like very centering, remind me to breathe and also smells really nice to me, imagine office for two hundred people and open office. Our candles needs at the fire alarm off, get do that, so you can really. You can design things and as the organizational level when everyone's able to operate at that higher level. I do if they also, then can bring their best cells to their work, their most creative thinking there most productive times a day, and they can start incorporate things that again might make their lives
feeling better about the Arden office. Your office said you can leave between two and three p dot m, like we allow people to do that to pick up their kid, you might feel awkward if everyone else in your office wasn't doing that, but we need to show. Did you can go drop? Your kids off pick your kids up everyday, very, very common Padua families, which makes a huge difference in the kids lives in their eyes, but is completely your colleagues. No idea if you're because are still producing the same, come up here. That's a crucial threshold. There were you no longer index on time spent in the office her at the door ask and you simply focus on the output. Do you care about right? So it doesn't matter when you get it done or how you get it done, and just matters that get done. That's a very different orientation than you have by default in. A normal office, which is, I guess you Is it normal offices demand results as well, so that people working after hours and cramming to get done often, but
In reality, there is a lot of merely existing during these work hours and that counts as a full days work, whereas if you could do something heroically, productive in three hours, that the good enough. It is a different value, a meal it actually kind of links up with the default sense that we all have that even in a world of infinite abundance, one should have to work to justify their existence What Andrey gangs campaign ran up against in trying to explain you, be I to the rest of America is just you're telling me you gonna give people money and they don't have to work. This is just the ultimate subversion of our ethics and our politics. But in a world where we really could just pull wealth out of the ether Then that should be a world where people can just creatively use their time to any purpose that interest them.
And you really shouldn't have to find something to do that. Other people will pay for They say when we are now we're close internet world, we were close, to that world a couple weeks ago, and we are quickly being shoved further way, which I want to talk but I get the sense that many employers are uncomfortable. Would the idea that they really know what their employees are doing more But by moment hour by hour, unless in a box with them in an office building. What do you say to that concern that's level, one or level to me. Now we inherited this from the factory where, if you weren't in the factory, you really want doing work but for some reason we ve carry this over into knowledge work which actually lends itself to being far more productive when you're distributed that when you're in a cramped and cubicles are an open office space,
his next to her two hundred of you're not favoured people, not that closest friends. You know, I think that it I've worked in offices before I had now, sub contracting oil companies, our two Cnet when I first moved out the sentences as they think it's easier to. Back off in office than it is when you walk of mom. Should define easier there, it's easier to get by with it How to say, when you're at home. No one knows what you're doing all right, but the results of that input start to become very, very parents, and you start to go a couple days without delivering the thing that you said you were going to deliver or your output compared to a colleague starts diverge people are gonna notice, whereas if you're in office- and you show up early in the morning, you're well dressed, you asked, ass, smart sounding questions in meetings you're, not drunk even Elsie Facebook. On your screen, you can actually get by four like three four months before people really noticed that
What is what is Joe done recently? What are they? reducing, and I think there is a lot more focus, Another, moreover, is- and I think that distributed work can be so much better for the world, and society is that by focusing pure, This up, as you actually remove a lot of them, can a built in brain biases. That we all have a kind of inherent. No, like I said joking earlier, someone's not drunk of eight. They dress well and things we assume their doing good work. We also have a ton of other stuff that has been a lot of research around like when someone J walks, if their wearing a suit people are more likely to follow them than affair, dressed like a bomb We're were kind of hard wired. A lot of ways have these kind of built in social queues and unconscious biases, and things like that. When you're able to remove all that. I think you get something much closer to vibrate, Alyosha
something like an idea, meritocracy, which I think all organization should strive for, where we're just looking at the work itself in the purest most objective form, and judging that not trying to bring an all these other things at a conscious or unconscious, I get my temps us about how someone is doing in there all his who? What are the other barriers here? The key organizations from moving up these levels. When it comes to mind, is a concern about security, so you're all working in office together and accessing database, an office computers. Now, switching to remote access to every tool you need to use. I can imagine that certain companies wall either Look at that or war about it or or not know how to employ. And in a way that actually doesn't compromise the security of their clients are customers are urged to open them to some kind of risk they haven't had to think about. Is her generic
discussion we had about this problem. Yeah. The good news is organizations are already moving to end point security or bring your device are entrusted devices already and the most sophisticated ones, like Google moved to this years ago, so used to be there. This kind of regulatory capture rather be ip departments that had to justify like very complex processes or systems. The name of security and there is a car model that assume that if you were inside the wall, you trusted her outside the wall. You're interested now, of course makes it and as the sort of huge rash of hacks and data, Glaciers has shown that, like, when you put all your faith in the wall, it becomes a single point of fair. You just have to call the receptionist and say you're a prince from Nigeria and you you need her password you're in there human element? It's only strong as the biggest length and you lose what insecurity, call defence and death where you try to have defence layers. Every single step. So, of course,
you can have a law, have a law, but beyond that assume that there might be untruss or malicious actress inside the wall, actually security model that alot attack companies are having to move through in Silicon Valley is assuming that trusted people employs with valid credentials, might actually not have motivations which are aligned with the company they might be employed by state actors from China, IRAN or Israel, either things, and so you really have to look at what are the behaviors that we want to protect against? Not sang the access control model of security and down I actually really excited in our affairs. They suffer lines or anything. You like to be hopeful that were being Hannah jolted out of many, every day that Skype the story of the day that Skype and face time we're not allowed for telemedicine again. There's the tiller word, because they aren't hyper compliance, which is a set of regulations designed to protect patient privacy,
they going regulatory make. The other reason they weren't allowed was because all the companies all like super expensive telemedicine, stuff that didn't work as well as face what sort of putting these obscure rules- and that said I, if it's not. This is not hip a complaint and those regulations have at been temporarily moved, I think hope get permanently. Remove Certain solutions, like a face time has security, which is gonna best in class and the world. We can say that this is sufficient for handling private data, like like discussing how you feeling, with your back The security, as I think something that again is he start to move through the levels. You naturally move to a point where you enable more district a level one, a level to special of a one people might not fish. They might actually be able to do the work of this summit. Also some there don't have access to, but again most knowledge, companies most? Certainly, technology companies, there's no reason for this
What are the tools that you think of as now, Justine staff? started at the moment. To do this. Well so on. Tools are mine stuff. I would say that doom slack and something that we use something to replace email is really keep so emails. Because it's asynchronous, but unfortunates private partners of levels three and four are used. Move to be a lot more transparent internally. So information locked up in private things, I can boxes so it Peter is essentially a asynchronous blogging system. That's internally, public by private to the world that we can use to instead of email, to have all discussion, so an automatic, probably level for innovation with glimpses of level five. Sometimes I from colleagues get under five Emil's per month, while and some months it might just be one or two basic. All I get with email is like private.
Our stuff things that need to be wonder one private communication. Everything else happens on these internal blocks, including of someone wants to ask me a question. They can do that publicly. Instead r r p too, and then, when I answer that question the rest of the organization has the ability to see that we ve so developed, essentially like an internal google alerts. So if twelve hundred people producing lots of posting comments is very thousands per day, it's more than any new person could reasonably read every day at all, but with its internal go alerts you just get alerted one. Someone mentions a topic that you're interested in, or, of course, measured using So I just a lot more effective, so that into the information you need to without a kind of a huge cc, chains are like sort of opt out methods that email tried to take to information sharing. How flat is your organization now? What are you doing about the tyranny, of notification debate. Anyone can just use your username and you ve got now
over a thousand people working for you how oftener you pinged, who was stuff, it is diverting your attention. That's a good question, because two things get conflated there. One is the actual, or position itself, so we have a totally normal organic around like our chart aren't we very natural hierarchy of teens and divisions, and everything like that. It's totally telephones out automatic, now communications, though, is totally flattened accessible. Happening in larger companies as well like if you work of her eyes and you can figure out the sea Yossi Beilin Email, but just by making things by default public, we have Kennedys open channels, other beauty of it. Is you get folks who might not be in a meeting if you're having a meeting about a topic participating. So, for example, maybe a frontline support person The saying loud, I heard this from a customer. Seeing this pattern or folks different area. The company might be work on it.
A similar problem, can drop in and say things now. It's a double edged sword, so, what's beautiful about that, can also be the downs so on these kind of asynchronous threads around decision. Our design. Things like that, you can also just get where people without as much credibility. But lots of opinions are lots of time to argue drop in so that that can be just calico internet sounds like twitter here or read it. So that can happen. You just have to sort of deal without, as it happens, maybe talk to the person or just say were looking for this type of feedback monopoly. Type of feed back, and then I think it's also really important to have just like those good meetings or bad meetings is good or bad threats. South The thread with what you want the outcome to be when you need it by and then, when it's all done summarize it so maybe it hundred comments on a particular threat? I didn't we like encourage a best practice where someone summarizes so the best arguments on every side and then
says what the decision is. Why are you doing that we thought of this, but we decided in the other direction or their challenges as a manager that are unique to this distributed environment or is it basically the same? thing, but with different tools managers are actually the biggest barrier to companies moving up the levels for Savannah. So I say individual contributors or sort of engineers, poor people. I said I like that. Actually you fall into distributor work really really easily, especially could so many people have experience with side, gigs or being freelancers or something very natural to do the work just in I have a bit more autonomy of your day need to work a little harder to make sure you have good like processes
schedule on everything. But you can you can do the work, but managers particulates have have a lot of experience famously they talk about managing by walking around where people might so to get a pulse of the organization I walking around the office of the queue farm or whatever and discard dropping on people. Things like that you lose that kind of ambience, intimacy or information gathering a comes just by being around people. So with all of this, I think that you know it's not actually. Inherently necessarily good or bad, it's just different to work this way, and you have to list out the things that you are missing and sort of from first principles.
Go back and say, I don't have his good pulse on my team and brainstorm ways, you can get that stuff. For example, many managers are still continued, weekly, wonder ones for thirty minutes or you might start meetings with kind of a. I like a warm up question you ask someone like what their favorite cartoon when they were growing up, is in the other. Things going to break It gets no people. You ass, I think, as a manager have to keep a closer eye, because, where you might notice in an office when someone is coming and looking really dejected or sad or low energy, you need to keep an eye out for that it sometimes even just a written communication or how they response of there being to make sure that there might be something going on in their life that you could be a better, more support, a manager if you were aware of, but they might feel awkward bringing it up and you're, not gonna noticed just from how they're there now sitting at their desks knocked over. So he started
need to be a bit more tune for that, and they also issued a fully distributed like level for when you're, actually global, the meaning that you are able to tap into the world's talent, pull your people. Automatic now has people seventy countries The time zones can get a little tricky, so we try not to spread individual teams, so teams are typically five hundred and fifteen people across more than eight times us, and some companies even go as far as to say, like people need to be within like two or three times on Cermak other, so you, two big of an early spread, but most certainly, if you had your zone in Asia, so in the Americas and so on in Europe. There is no good time that at least once a week when you Kennedy to think up the last and we spoke about this. It was a few years ago. I think You had a you did have a physical office. I think it is like eleven people in it, and you had close to a thousand people distributed. What's the state of things now, so we went to closing that office again.
Dwindle, because traffic in the Bay area got so bad through. Even though we have a similar percentage of people, I think over a hundred people in the Bay area, the office p stopped want to go into because they Even though is a really beautiful office, we had, I think, three thousand square feet per person there at well it other than I am want that it he's gonna ended up that that's enough for a candle and a treadmill does exist it out. They could have more concerned in a time of their life at home, and the community could be a real killer, especially when traffic started get back so shut that down Then we also bought a company called tumblr which historically has always had a really really strong New York Office in New York. So being when those places where many people's homes sat up is not conducive to great work. Yeah and you have to level three four or five? You start to find that people often walls
to make changes in their life to just have a better quality of life. So often that may be moving to someplace where the same dollars get you just a lot more space is in. You can have a dedicated room for your home office, set up or or more at dollars whatever. It is that you value, but of course, if it hadn't road, I can be very tricky. So Montana Office. There was when we did the acquisition they set of super super importance. Are we actually committed to maintain one for five years? For them we temporarily moved until we work and were bill asked as something interesting happened so before they had about it and thirty people going to the office as waste
but I have started to share some of our best practices and distributed work previously. The folks were- and I use the word wrote here- folks- are remote from the New York Office of Tumblr- had a much worth his spirits, so they weren't able to be as productive as the people who are in the office as they start to incorporate more of the best practices distributed. Work that you and I have talked about. They had less need to go into the office to be productive and it's down to where there's only forty or fifty people, of course, prior to the current crisis. Only forty or fifty people that were regular going to the office in a given week. So even those living in Manhattan started to run a shift away from now going and certainly everyday like they used to it. And I will say one more thing: that's useful to have a physical space for the office is one fundraising south I raised over four hundred. Fifty million dollars last year, I found it hard to do that from coffee shattered, certainly be it a Starbucks though, and illiteracy and twenty eighty or twenty a twenty Eightth. I tried doing that. So, where heard me
People have like at lower is often These are our investors offices, other things and they are treated as large round and, to be honest, was much less successful interest, though We ve actually built out a small space that we actually planned to be empty. Ninety nine percent of time in San Francisco just for investors and will also use it for board meetings, so our board meetings have been distributed for many years now, but we like to get everyone together once here. That's actually worth saying the magic the Shepherd who work, which is something that a normal situations every company should incorporate, but right now is obviously off the table, which is meat ups. So are you join automatic, we say we can. I, the script Companies say: ok, forty So the year we want an office and in three or four weeks you can travel or be ambiguous. Whenever we reverse its was forty eight weeks of the year, do whatever you want be wherever you want. We just are going to judge you on the output, not your input, but three or four weeks a year. You should expect the Kabul and so does take that into account. What do you need
home care, soda water pats who take a dogs whenever, like take that into account fear combination decision as well. The three for weeks in here, you're gonna need to be away from home, and I these made up about really were the crucial to us so, paradoxically, like that in person, time is just as important as distribute time for building that fast and I think, you're going back to her early discussion about this. Does our lizard brains is just things that are happening when you're in person we can say across the table and break bread, would you can see the full band with there of your five senses being engaged her by the by their presence, that is just more powerful than any technology will be able to create, no matter how rich the medium is removed. Vieira whatever- and I trust you build- and the that in person time can actually carry three years and not seeing that person again and I'm sure we can all think are friendships. We have where or maybe like a family member who don't see regularly, but like
because we had that really intense bonding time at some point in their history. We just have a deeper level of trust in communication with that person so that it You have in any organization, trust, communication, etc, is really really important and that in person timescale yes, there are these global meet. Ups, were everyone comes to a big conference, or do you have in a regional meet up centres more so the organization so they're around what you work on less than where you are so historically, once a year report the entire company, together as we ve gone over a thousand people, that's too me become a bit less useful because it feels more like a conference than it does like really again to know your Alex, although even at that will have little hacks. So, for example, we have a software program where you can sort of attitude a system that lets you say whether you met someone or not. So I could say: oh I've met SAM and then that also gets marked for you that you,
me all of our meals at the meet up. We have ever some software that assigns the city for other dinners and launches, so your seated with people that you ve never met before, and so that gives you the opportunities created is made us cross organizational bonds possible, but we do want for the whole company and a more often to three times a year. You'll meet with your team, which is typically pretty small, he's lander ten people and then maybe once with your division, which could be anywhere from my fifty eight how do people so those smaller ones when it comes to restructure access about this in and I believe all organizational structures are tradeoffs. You just have to be conscious web, which train after making and we have try to make were automatic, is fractal. So several of you, zoom in out of itself resembles a whole like Al Qaeda? gas the more socially positive that we try to say. Like me, there's a twenty percent team that should look
work, a lot like one automatic did when the whole company was twenty people, so we try to make the tv superman functional railway external barriers to them. First, being reiterating iterating and that all that is really really effective. Four line there I would say we ve actually been able to get faster and speed of innovation, as we ve grown were typically as companies grow, tend to get slower. You know I have says I know is one of your intellectual nemesis, but I I really obsessive much of the writing avenue seem to lab, because an Jeffrey West is another one him from his work here. This idea that companies are are typically not resilient and tender no head towards extinction and by a cities can last survive nuclear bombs. And still nearby it's. Alright, it's personal. It's I think that A person running a company should should reinstated at work, because what are the elements of the city's? What are the elements of control that they give up? What are the sort of
like little bit of anarchy randomness day, allow that allows them to persist and thrive and be so creative and actually increase in productivity is the density goes up. I think companies can we for the same things. So I'd like to say to our are now global concern about what's happening with corona virus has, I want for ass sure ass. I forgot it, but it is so important especially in this day and age, where sometimes we can be more sensitive. You know I like to say that, as a good woke in a bad looks like we can be over sensitive to what people say, when you shifted distributed a lot of your communications gonna be written and usually when you're reading, something that's two ways to read anything away, watch it out Concannon. You gonna worked up our matter or feel like a person's attacking you. In a way which doesn't so we, the economic, social and internally, the call which only a text answer application programming interface, but we Is it to say assume positive intent, rescript needed for some time and a work environment
person who sending your message is not trying to make. You feel that they can how China like attack you or anything like that, but we can offer feel that way and again a lizard brains can count flare up and be again so defence about which really. I can devolve quickly, especially when you're typing back and forth to each other So we like to say, like just assumed the best intent and what you receive, we like to say be conserved and what you put out. So many like try to put some exe fuzzy language or extra emerges or a gift for whatever it is that when you write a message, try to make it as kind and humane as possible answer taken to mine that the person receiving it might read it from whence the scammer variation pastels lot, like liberal, what you're setting certain what you put out and Finally, we like to tell people to jump meetings, so if you find your typing back and forth a lot, it's getting like a little combative, see if you can help to an audio color an audio safe, because even though people, my not be like dressed, are ready for video call anyone can help on audio really quickly and you son,
getting on a farm can really de escalate things really in a really beautiful way, as also use being distributed to de escalate yourself, such you're feeling really worked up like. Can you take a walk or do some pushups are alike? Just I take a few more four moments away from the computer in a way that allows you to bring a mindset back to that communication, which is much more has a lot more equanimity, eyes more kinder to the other person. Emerges are interesting, because I was one of the whole that I went for very long time without using an emerging in my motives, were everywhere, and I was still has some Dogmatism based on my identity. As a writer, I dont know what it was budgets aesthetically into actually I just I was allergic to emerges and then just immediately: stumbled into their utility. Once I started spending a fair amount of my time on slack end and once text,
Pain became more a part of my life. I was I slow to adopt text in as a main form of communication, so he but it you know it's just in terms of into the text, which is often too terse too. We to take too much time to close the door to any variant. Reading that worries you so much this can be useful there. I would hope that our work tools also get better at a synchronous, audio communication, so what's or tell her re easy to ensure audio mistress and slack its currently. Really, I'm practical, citing battle improve communications lot. Communication is lot low level of level for quite a bit. Did you also used to use a lot of punctuation like the areas at and sentences? It's amazing, like I was a totally out for the law. This time, email for me had to rise to the standard of what you would have written as a letter. It made no sense
but for the longest time didn't occur to me that it did. I still try to write as coherently as I ever tried a right, but I'm much less concerned about typos or I'm dropping the sub act from many senses. I know now: it's the purse pronoun on just often doesn't show up and the sentence, because I'm I'm just saying things like in a working hard on this now let a sentence right now I would have done that before. I feel like I've been Cognitive Lee, required by the pace of electronic communication It's actually instinctive unstring level, three or four actually, because its if you visualize, like those in its this, isn't what I was looking for. If you imagine that, with a capital tee and a period at the end, his way heavier than if what kind of a lower case without a period punctuation at the end, but have also I've actually started to sort to expand. My brevity, a bit more because especially coming
MIKE Irish Sea and all that stuff. I, it was very wrong. Fire short messages, a lot more like texting, but when you moved or a synchronous. You want the message to be a specific and contain all the context as possible for someone reading. It may be out of content largest and the stream of other thing to have everything need to to respond, and so, when you have Kennedys dangling references to pronouns are concepts that might occur in previous measures. You have more chance for misinterpret. Asian. So I find myself actually spelling things out a bit more like, as I was saying, I Are we a reprieve the salary for these three hires, our privacy, happy like yes or that sounds good Now, I'm trying to say yes calmer, sally for these three higher, because also might be other messages in the stream since then, and other might be the things I sort of create some ambiguity for what you responding to or a prison be stuck on sending messages until you respond to that specific they suffer, it just allows.
Like a level threading, a synchronicity, hey synchronicity, to have more that context in every message. Ok. So how are you thinking about society? At the moment we were recording this after I haven't looked yet again today, but imminently, the stock market was plunging for another day in last week fallen more than at any point in history. And I'm sure it's gonna go up again, but I'm sure I'll go down again and how far down is anybody's gas. At this point, I am not in order to bring people up to speed with ie. A demi, illogical picture, I'm not seeing an off ramp in the your term here where life gets back to normal. So I think we have Many months of this body Some remark a breakthrough in anti viral treatment, which so lowers the risk attendant to getting the corona virus. That people can. Behave normally. You know with it.
Replicating all around them? So you know in the bed case. We have, I think, months of disruption. We have to read tool in some significant way here: Obviously, even if we could get it the situation in a few short weeks. Something like this? Is gonna happen again and theirs no guarantee that it won't be far worse. The next on some level we got lucky with IE and it seems perverse to say it, but very lucky that this virus isn't ten times as level as it is, because that is absolutely on the menu biologically to say in what someone could consciously weapon eyes and spread. So the big picture question here's. How are we going to avoid falling into a great depression here, do you have any thoughts of another
this is definitely more somber. I should I've. I've tried to be a lot more positive and jovial am I advocacy of distributed work, because I think it will be crucial, like I said, to unlock sort of economic engines where we can and is really trying to But like you, if I look forward, I actually become quite quiet and sombre, because I think there is in addition to being easily a year, of disruption, we're going to have a lot of loss of human life and tragedy there, which will weigh you know psychically and mentally, very heavily on every single one of us, and I already have friends or a very, very sick from this. No one has passed yet, but if you think, statistically by the end of the year, will all gonna know a few people who have been on the bad end of this disease.
It was just a we ended up. We respect, have a big conference last month on the dark side, and on February twelve I had a purse. They make the call to cancel it, because the team was still kind of then have a consensus on where they go for us. So for a month ago, I got a huge amount of criticism we have now thirty six days later, whereas now seeing people start to wake up and have a lot more of that the social behaviors which to me feel like have a chance of lowering the Arnott etc. But am I worry that will relapse? I will have premature victories or lapse of Kennedys social distance singer or distancing as about and resolve likes to call it measures, and so that's why it's so key. We were really work, a kind of getting what we can of operating in our lives.
Even in this situation really with a curious if we are able to recreate in America Cadis systems that they had for home delivery of goods in food and things in China, where the kitchen, what kind of like everyone's temperature be taken, the delivery persons temperature betaken, you can. I had these things to keep society going even in face of an incredibly, take us and dangerous disease. Just before we start a recording that there was some reports on numb areas, urgency in some of these countries have had the most success in flattening. Her of South Korea, Singapore and even I believe, in China and areas has been fully. Locked down interested. So it's gonna be interesting to see what happens. One restriction on social proximity become last, either legally or just by people, I wonder, complying with strong recommendations and how we can find a pattern of life that demand she's the risk sufficiently, so that this just doesn't
run at a slow boil for very, very long time amid the counter actual here is so hard to absorb. If we could all just perfectly quarantine for something like three weeks, we can have this evaporate ram. We could force this into extinction, boring that people who are already sack who need to be cared for in hospitals. We could, Fully contain this thing, except for the possible Neither the virus has some truly rhetoric, terrific. Were people remain infectious, for, for much longer? You'd expect this to self extinguish. If we could just take our best advice immediately but we shall actually no signs of being able to do that. So it's going to go on for a very long time and its, like we're living on another planet here where the atmosphere has become biddable, and we we have to each to figure out how to maintain the integrity of our respective biota
arms are spaceships end. It's absolutely bizarre. So what do you think about when you look get the economy? Shutting down? I mean the things that you can see. Manner an organization like yours. Can you keep fly at cruising altitude out. Imagine without much of it thing changing apart from individuals getting ill, but then there, other sectors of the economy where is very hard to imagine how they can, at all are and how they can restart even when the picture with back to the disease, has totally change in their deceiving over there perfectly viable restaurants, him in the most part, the restaurants in cities, like Francisco in New York, in LOS Angeles, who may just go out a bit simply because they can't handle this hiatus in their activity. Can you think of any kind, eight of ways or is there anyone in your world who you know who is thought of creative ways to
bridge this gap in economic. Activity? It just seems to me There are so many truly success for businesses that may not survivors ere. I think I think it's an opportunity, one that no one asked for about two really reexamine if Europe business, what is it that you are selling to the old? Actually, like you don't sell drill. You sell a hole in the wall, There are other ways to provide the value that you provide here, customers that aren't just doing it today this week, as you did it before, and I think we're gonna have We every aspect of our society which is over, really reliant on physical co location, because that makes us an ever hyper connected society where people travel more than ever, etc, makes us particularly vulnerable and, like you said this, this one being a dress rehearsal for something that could be a lot more deadly.
I would bet you have to decide that we're going to have more situations like this in the future, not fewer that there will be or things like this, that impact our ability to sort of be physically located with with random members of society more often and so for able? I think it's a moral imperative for every single business to try to reach examined their supply chain and their delivery mechanisms to customers in this, for those rushed on seamanship to spigot pick a specific example. Like I love. The stories will see how it goes, but like a high and restaurants like a aviary who might have said their products was purely the experience of being there in its true the theatre of Sundays. Restaurants is part of it and the obvious, but sort of rapidly shifting to be to go and lovely orders and that they can they can cannot shift their business model. We started. Have you heard about cloud kitchens before? No? I don't think so. I think I have heard the phrase, but it means nothing to me and it started to shift meal with
over its endoored ashen, these different things, and when you think of that the business model of like a a grocery store, verses and Amazon. Fresh har, verses, Amazon, like these kind of like Big Box football field, side, spaces where people come and pick up their stuff is, is a little bizarre rikers as an inventory plus lodge six plus making people do a bunch to himself, and then you also get things. This industry term called leakage. Do not wonder shrinkage know that what is it shrinkage is not just that course George could stands. A thing is also one went ahead when inventory walks out the door without people paying for it so shoplifting. Are stealing IDA from customers are from employees. Women that huge issue shrinkage is a euphemism relief, is EU euphemism for theft yeah
that is a very common in the short term, when typically, that they'll have single digit percentage of immature and certain businesses that just walk out the door. So when you can move to delivery, you bypass others much like the shift to a cashless society ass. She can decrease corruption quite a bit because now track transactions can be tracked and there's no cash register. That money can walk out from things like that. So I'll think of lobbies, things that digitization and Atomizer of society can actually have lots of ancillary benefits in areas. We might not even expect this sort of second and third order effects from when you move to being say, mostly delivery, both positive and negative. There was a spate of deliver that as people started, overran Amazon more more now their technology Sorry to adapt to that, though, so one they ve been able to use data to look at where that was concentrated, some away,
like a company, is running a large national e commerce Jane and they were finding that essentially like. I think it is sixty or seventy percent of all the loss happy in the country was in one zip code in Massachusetts, really that's a big data allows you to zoom in and it turns out that in theirs. Why chain there was it out someone essentially telling someone when this high value item was gonna, be delivered so that Pakistan is a one time aid package that they still some water and some socks. If it It was actually a high risk. Lower word activity philosophers, but if you know it's gonna be a computer or self financing, namely that a such or changes to economics and the rest reward, so that information is very, very valuable, but they are able to take and if I that I think is also shift psych now, where are you happy? Smart locks, allow people to leave packages inside the door inside the fence or something like that and a more secure fashion even things like the ring doorbell, where I, like you
immediately went on Wednesday when the doorbell, you can see what's happening right there or can create more alike? do you know the term like club, verses, logic, solutions and security. Yeah yeah, so they can create more or logic solutions where, if every one on the street has a ring, you're probably catch some on video at some point when the doing something bad verses, just like making it less attractive for you you to be stolen, verses, others, because her decreases the societal benefit and just a risk worker for a moral or ass society, harmful behaviour? So I think about these things, not because I think that the systems we put in place will have many order effects We are, unfortunately in real time trying to define new methods of privacy of travel of communication and so there for countries of how companies are working, that the repercussions of which were going to feel for a generation
Yeah no really does seem like its cross that threshold, where what will feel the the impact of this for a very long time. I think, analogies to nine eleven are misleading, I read, the impact on their restaurant business of nine Levin was something like a three percent decrees and revenue over the course of the next month, It would really was minor aside. It was the we think anyone was thinking about, but people still going to restaurants and amend this his chest. Perfectly designed to zero out a whole sectors of the economy, and rebuilding under any thing if the uncertainty is very hard to picture but Even when we have a vaccine still is take a while to climb out of this, and as you say, it defined front ways of. Collaborating that allow for
a similar pattern of economic activity and growth and for certain ports the economy or certain businesses. It's hard to see what the hole in the wall is. That really can be delivered, absent, selling the drill in the usual way. Am I do have Our time picture in it for restaurants, even just food delay, Really I mean I would love to be able to support my favorite restaurants if I were comfortable having their food delivered it is hard to see how many get comfortable with that I'm picturing world where an exit, having a percentage of the people preparing that food have to be shed in virus right and that's a world is coming in in a handful of weeks on what conditions am I going to be eager to have my favorite meals delivered to my house? I can picture We are treating their packaging as terminated and ordering things that can put directly into a pan and essentially red heat, but still
Let's make some magic jack, they could design food for that right. Give you something that needs to more minutes or amended in the microwave before you eat it or whatever that final step in preparation can be that you could have kitchens where everyone is certified essentially to either. Hopefully, once we have testing, there could be actually some wriggle attesting refund, whose firefighter inducement they're starting to do testing after every shift when they think they been exposed to cover what kind of us. So you can start to build an things to create sort of safe pockets are restored, have trusted supply chains of cloud kitchens, I'm sorry, I've got to find it earlier its it. It's a restaurant with no storefront, no real space no place were cut, as far as a set, but they still have a brand and a menu and everything else. They just exist purely in Canada, the industrial kitchen space, which, of course, now we have a lot of history around food safety and how to prepare food and hijack weighed and we're pretty. That actually in America, so there's no reason you need all that the rest of the stuff. That's
actually expensive and adds Etana overhead both employ people answer to maintain that ambient space and so there were so many, let's say, ninety eight percent answered era. Ninety nine percent restaurants have that retail space, maybe in the future only twenty percent. Restaurants have that retail space because they you go there purely for the ambience are purely for the theatre of being there. Versus the sort of utility of that delicious meal that you want, that it turns out can be delivered in an effective way and in a way that comes last safety. I think that delivery networks are going to implement a functioning society or the next year were we're gonna, really forgot away to treat the delivery workers as essential functions. The same way that we might say for health care. Other emergency services Roca it'll be really important for the fabric of the society and the sanity of society for people to not feel like one. They have to go into like grocery stores to get things now suggest a manage their,
a sort of Deliverance Vijay's so like, for example, may understanding is a lot of the grocery store snow being picked clean without a permanent thing right now. It's not that we can't producing toilet paper from just that, like they normally sell a normal affects them out and for some reason decided by it at once. They they ran out then, but there's more the people on the way right, we don't have to worry about this. We're not gonna have a global shortage, is not like a virus and attacks trees routes. As these sorts of things, I think we can wakened assuage a lot of the panic behaviour if were able to make somebody's, these basic services. Yes, it does seem that testing is the crucial peace here. If you could- and this would happen more or less with respect to every sector- hands that could touch the thing your ordering. So is both a delivery. Sir, says, and in this case in this my Ok, the restaurants, the ability to test and a big confident in the sensitivity in the specificity of the test and they
the real time value of it, and also the prospect of finally, people who are immune to the virus, because they ve already added at a mild case where they were just they had just become carriers. Essential but now they just have antibodies force. We need an antibody test, although if that's what this is rapidly mutating here annual thing that I won't be as a factor here with us and we have to understand the virus were dealing, with better here and what it means to screen someone and be confident they're not shedding virus at the time. That really is as far as a landmark on her eyes and in our climb out of this whole, that's an important one. And when you think about it, we have we have a version of this which is easily accessible and aversion. What I'm I'm actually of after optimistic with so they easily accessible, is taking temperature right so that hopefully can catch as early as possible, but then was that the novel aspect of this is the laden period, but
its assume that weaken yoke as other countries a ramp up the testing, far more than we have in the? U S, with the sort of warlike intensity of society focused on getting that testing more widely available. Could we get to a point where every American had a number? test on hands and could test themselves with some regularity, and particularly if there, in my car, a role where their interacting with lots of other humans? They can't self quarantine as much yeah. I think that, could I you say, bring it to the point where we can get a lot closer to eradication, that we went through an extreme social measure like saying everyone, including emerge, Z, workers stay home, their deadly people can't stay home and that its own challenge, but this just cut. It comes back to the point. You made very early on in this discussion that, for those of us, can stay home. Now that shouldn't be, you'd merely ass a ass, a thing that will keep us, personally save and therefore its prudently
do it. It really is an ethical obligation in this is the thing you can do. They can contribute to the health of society and the rebooted of our economy. Maybe you can work from home, is a moral imperative now, and to view yourself as someone especially some his young, who stands chance of getting a mild case of this. If you get it You are the first line of defence in front of every person- the community, whose more vulnerable than you are I'm every old person in your life your parents, your grandparents or any, older person or more vulnerable as a new compromise person say even a child. In that case well, you might meet, and so it's hard to get a visceral feel. There's that you're actually doing something important by doing much less of all the things you want to do by staying home Bob, I said to go back to work and how
much of the spread already was because the social stigma against working from home or the fact that the euro can be productive when they read it homes. They wanted the work a little bit sick or maybe one you're still on that early phase, so there are shedding, but in display a lot of symptoms yet mean I actually would take it to the point where much like it. David Hammer Hansen. I would say that bosses today, who are still force and employees, are going to work when they don't have to literally will have blood on their hands in their society. I will look at that. Almost like a war crime. So it is is what you do today immediate reaction and then as what you're doing the bill for the future any person listening to this that has influence over the future of their organization can and should make it so that they can remove all the stigma. All the sort of otherness are second class citizens of being at home, because we really need especially you kind of a post covered world to make it ok for someone even at the slightest hint to bail, I say: I'm not gonna come into work today,
We even maintain offices to the same degree that we had the best. He had been thinking in the last two days or so to me. It's amazing how long a day is now how much change one can witness over the course of mere days but I've been thinking that there has to be a way for us to not forget any of the lessons were learning here in a way which is we have to make some them? This basic lessons indelible there things were discovering essentially you see some horrific misstep for it in the media, like the presence spontaneous yes preventing I'll travel from Europe s spontaneously me to do without warning, and therefore there's a panic, and you have airports where people are packed shoulder to shoulder trying to get through immigration rights. Like you see, photos. Are there now a shocking, and you say okay, we can never do that again, but I fear that in this list,
bad news. The lessons we'll get lost almost feel like. We need a Google docs for all of civilization. Right now we're working continually updated, just eat just a list of Thing we can never forget again right like now, is not the time to hear were China about their wet markets, but we can never forget that maintaining wet markets is completely unacceptable. The first thing I know I'm on my list is don't play with that's here. We need to get human bat relations, and a zero or down to how you we in Bio contain the CDC right so and in the list just proceeds from there has prolific implications it has economic ones, just covers really all aspects of human behaviour
simply for some kind of online project that should know you you're in the website business missionary website for the lessons learned here that people can contribute to. I think so he does evolve and if you think of all of humanity as a organism are the internet on, communication methods allows to sort of increased a clock, speed of humanity or increase the rate at which were able to evolve or social more raise around these things. But I I, while I'm in view, an agreement with everything you just said and specifics. I do think that we have to be careful not to fight the last war. So by definition, now, that's her color. Another good concept found since eleven a black swan events. It will not be from bats next time, so we can eliminate. Although at markets we can eliminate, maybe we admit bats. I don't life where we can get around these things and the net can a novel, the still listen happening and these organisms and the next novel virus
and I worry a lot actually about prions and viruses near like- and I would like things that would be infinitely harder to contain and that we have no known treatment for, even in the foreseeable future, that we don't even have something like an ant So it's gonna come from someplace else. When we, when we fix the things that happened last time, I tell you really just have to think about, like oh Two things I like I like to think about. Like is our way we can do things too. Set of what we ve done in the past and what will be the plus or minus as that I find that almost every problem, especially business, can get a lot better if you think really long term. So, if you out and said okay, if we did Ex free fast for ten or twenty years, What would our company organization society look like if we continue to do x and everyone else also did exe. And that's what she can remove a lotta his the short termism much, I think, plagues argument is biggest problems that include climate change, which we often talk to, but I
Our response, so for her to get to the crown of ours, does not like me as after mystic about climate change, because it's so much more slow moving you I I do hope that I don't know you fundamentally at eighty five after Mr Pitiful pessimistic. I think I'm default worried, which is not quite the same thing has been pessimistic, but by default pay. A lot of tension to the way things can go wrong or are going wrong and the the imperative to respond to those problems whenever accuse me of being optimistic, what pollyanna fish, but let us now That I don't know, I really do think we have an extra Mary ability to solve problems, really the skies the limit on that front. I think could engineer something like a true utopia is not. There would be no problems, but the problems would become increasingly refined, and then in some limit case were just try.
To make things more and more beautiful and disagreeable standards of beauty, across all domains, the human experience could become a kind of paradise. Really, and we have all experienced moments where it is and yet, has to be shored up against the insults, covered by nature and random, this bad actors and that's impressively hard to do and it, but do the combat Europe. In about climate change, which is sometimes said almost verbatim in my previous, park ass. This the one thing has made me pessimistic. And seeing this drama unfold is how hard it is for so many of us to orient to a threat that is becoming less and less ambiguous by the hour, were hearing anguish horse from ITALY, about its health care some crashing and doctors who
worked in icy use. Her decades have never seen anything like this haven't a tree eyes: patients, facetime. You know how many kids do they have or they're going to go to the likelihood they're going to survive, mean they're, essentially practicing battlefield medicine in the best hospitals in their country and putting to people on a single ventilator, right and thereby com. In them to share any conceivable, in fact his agent between them right, because it is their out of ventilators this medicine in extremism and were hearing These anguish reports- there's no barrier to us, getting this information were getting it in real time. And yet we ve got people cry in Disneyworld on its last night of operation and Fox NEWS. Wearing out misinformation to half of our population and they're laughing it up and without any consequence to the business the Fox NEWS and many people have cut together. They kind of before
after statements of anchors on Fox NEWS, where either denying this as a Democrat, hoax and then a day later there telling people to socially distance and obviously trumpet patient zero for this kind of disregard for this communication, the fact that were here with respect to a threat to our well being even just economic wellbeing, forget about the health implications the fact that were so slow to orient to it honestly, it makes it case of climate change seem totally hopeless by now think that the only solution for the problem of climate change is a surreptitious one where we just invent. Technologies and businesses that become so compelling and they become open. Nine. With respect to climate that in a people adopt them.
Because that's the kind of car they want. That's the kind of just better Janius was better and we ve never had to persuade anyone of anything that actually seems truly huh was to me at the moment, but the Good NEWS bill sillies engenders you be they optimist. Catches by, I think it's gonna be really bad at that adversity does create clarity, so in these things. It's true that there has been no immediate business. I actually have no idea what's going to happen with media, but I think that it goes to show that you know in good times when the tide is rising. You can kind of get by with week or bad leaders a week or bad information. But when things get tough that's where it really has to draw people together, and there is a much more a much our bar that every person has when it becomes more of a life and death situation, which this is a life in that situation
I now resonate a lot with a philosophy that all suffering comes from separation, or the myth of separation, and so my biggest I actually you even more than distributor work advocate for open source, because I that we need more transparency of information, we need humanity working together to solve common problems and open source waited and software Optimism I having right now is how much better this is. Then it even could be at this point by researchers. Oliver World sharing data in a very open way. New air were starting to break up the kind of Jerome Journal Publication and other things were saying my K. We had this myth like journal. Publications, are really good example like with his method, this peer review process, crates. Correct outcomes almost like the firewall we talked about earlier, where I live, it's on the other side of the wall and secure, and am we of course know that many things are not reproducible in that process? Actually, as always perfect
and also there could be true and useful things that haven't made it through that process, and I won't make up to a process. But if you can share things were context as the researcher and unwashed. Indeed, who talked about the you're, probably other the sequencing of the other, the virus. That said, it's probably been in a wild and watching for forty six weeks. That's for alien, the technology world. Why not? A lot of us woke up to every knows: TAT Company started like work from home and shutting things down a bit sooner, cancel my events pulling out of events before a lot of the rest industry. That tweets is, I would point directly to that is the reason that it happened, and so, if you can have the adversity bring us closer together. I hope that- and I say like much like tomorrow, say what you got: a taste of freedom, it's hard to return to previous state that once we see the pain in I've kind of the sharing of information that there kind better angels of our nature can shine through and if you believe,
I do that humans are fundamentally good at their core. On average, the has adversity can cause us to behave in a more generous or altruistic way. It's best knew, but we're gonna run a swing in Houston. You know we have hurricanes and I'm in Houston right now, after Katrina, There was a lot of you now cause in New Orleans. It in fully evacuate for Katrina. Alot of people died as a huge trash, whether worst domestic tragedies we ve had and the governor responsively back. There was a hurricane comedy. Houston after that and they overreacted so told everyone to evacuate and that valuation of the third or fourth large, sitting America, clogged other roads and Cars are run out on gas and they would die in the roads were declared that war
dozens and dozens and dozens of people died in the evacuation as a result of the evacuation and then to top it all off. The hurricane became a tropical storm. It ended up not being even something very severe, and so you had this kind of over reaction to a mistake in the past, which now has created, something which could be similar to the near times talked about and ninety five mask. Where, like we were telling me do the right thing, but maybe for the wrong reason, work that you have an overreaction, where I worry that, as we start open things up as a virus receive a little I think it to open and I'll come back and then we'll overreact other way with getting too close in ways that are so needless shocks. The economy yeah. That's that's totally valid, we ve had a thread the needle here and in our thinking and our message about this because its true that it's possible that the panic associated with this pandemic-
and any subsequent overreaction, personal or or collective can be worse than the consequences of the virus ultimately end, true, even if in Armenia people in the? U S, her two million went up dying from this virus is still conceivable that crap in the global economy will have worse Ex than that right. So, while that is a kind of talking point the people have been using to dismiss The danger here stream version- is to call this a hoax at his designed by the Democrats to unseat the president, which one could hear, I press one can still hear it in certain circles, even though the press, and himself has not speaking these wise. It is. Legitimate concern that we win a crash. Our economy are necessarily, and we not crash it for a moment longer than is necessary because I live
of economic activity, translates into lives, lost and in very concrete ways and other social ills, but crash healthcare system, because you can no longer funds under the load is the meat, The problem that were avoiding, I think, have to be solutions, oriented and high talk about these things. So, if you I'm not our domestic, if you told everyone like hey We're not gonna have enough mask, please don't buy them that people would not buy them right. I something my again where they say well, ok, if you were to modify and say hey for the next two weeks. We really need health workers so have is as much as possible. If you have extra, please don't eat them.
And, in the meantime, we're ramping up all these factories. All these things make hand sanitizer mask and all the things that that will help slow the spread of this. So in a few weeks, I'll be enough for everyone or whatever that the actual reality of that situation is. I think that I'm a lot more optimistic about that, but you have to have you have to think it systems and processes you can't just hope, is not a strategy new, and how do you think about the failures of the free market here because it I have long been worried that, in a wild market should do everything that it can best do there's an a kind of. Free market, fundamentalism here and a libertarianism which imagines quite falsely that it can do everything in the best way and that we need not take in a regulatory or ignore other steps to produce them. Were correct for externalities that the market simply can't see and so
or now learning about all these things that we have outsourced to China rather often but two elsewhere for sound, market reasons, but with law the ability to pay these things ourselves in anything like a nimble way, and this goes to enormous, based life saving drugs, because two things ventilators and respirators. What are you think about Dell, Alba lesson we might learn here with respect to the things I want to be able to make immediately or have on hand always in a crisis like this. I think that you have to assume that, regardless of any precautions you take, there will be times when everything goes wrong away. You cannot imagine.
And I'm not a free market fundamentalist. But I am optimistic that in our at some point over the next month will be able to produce lots a mask. I am hopeful that at some point this year will be able mass produce enough tests over but abundance of that, and then hopefully we also start to keep a strategic reserve. That's where I think governments can really be really most valuable as when they can plan for the Strategic Reserve, the insurance, the things the tide over temporarily shocks that the system much. We do for oil. We should look at that for many, many other staples of well functioning society I was I It really surprised to hear. You know, there's by China, actually has a strategic pork reserve I guess they, just at some bureaucrats somewhere said that further harm you of society in a particular country so large, which is relatively retiring really relies on the citizens, be happy that access the fork is actually a key thing to keep society
running it in a harmonious way that they, they ve, built up the reserves there now. That's that's a funny example, but we can probably have all been woken up. Two things in our own lives that he's having a week or two in the pantry or might not be a bad idea and I think that's gonna be most hardest for companies, because we have this kind of culture, short, termism, stock by backs etc, and we really companies to build a lot more rainy day fund. And that is by running accompany while I go in and about its hard to make that case, because they often like invest as much as possible or return to shareholders, and I thought that if I do share responsibility that you take on in its active her director of these companies? So we need a way to incorporate the long term there but when we were in the longest, almost uninterruptible market from nine days till now, with maybe two thousand wanted to those Napier blips? Theirs,
relations, including myself. It never really experience at your downturn and that's why I think you may there analogy mortar world war to the nine eleven and, I think, that's a very, very applin. We are many generations removed from the amount of hardship society has had to go through and what will need to go through both in of action and personal harsher today. Yeah, that's interesting! Maybe if you can sell a bit more about the business case here. Another start ups that have a certain amount of runway. There's all this pressure to grow as quickly as possible, and hey, I gotta think a lot of businesses or going to em. Why they hadn't gotten so far out over their skis in an effort to grow, even businesses that are designed more or less like yours, where there Optimized for distribute work is just there's something about the current environment, where it's nice to know. You can make payroll for years if you're sitting on profits, whereas taking profit is
All too rare in Silicon Valley, write em is Amazon is the ultimate case of this. They warrant profitable for some like twenty years and then Jeff flip the switch and now it's become, perhaps among US honourable companies on earth, but the vote, You have been able to not get hooked up to profits. For years and years as you grow, that is now the the model of achieving it, cape velocity in Silicon Valley, and I gotta think this moment has some lessons to impart for business people. Certainly, an aspect which has often advice for people now take away five or ten percent of their income and put it away.
And I think businesses need to adopt something similar. I think all of us, as both consumers, as also is job seekers, should look to the businesses which today are having to do big, lay offs verses, those which are saying hey, even if our stores are close, we're gonna keep paying people apple, LULU, lemon it out. This does dozens of its apples, those other organisations that have adequately plant fur downturns like this or downturns in general, unexpected events in general and they deserve our patient, which both as customers as places where we choose to devote you know, a third of our life are, are working hours, some of our most valuable time. Half of awaken, I was goes to our job. Often
So I believe that we should try to donate. Our talents are put our talents donut you pay for it and by put your talents to where you feel most aligned with the way in which the company is run, there's a backdrop here as well, which is that the oil things that are going on have you talked about that. Much no no way are the fight between Russia, I'm in Houston,
I got an energy, let the other five between Russia and Saudi Arabia crashing oil prices in your hearing that companies here are gonna start too pretty meetly pull back on twenty thirty percent there, the workforce, because much of the oil traction we're doing the? U S is just not profitable at the price per barrel of oil and things that ETA dropping to so their having to do really really big PO box and very quickly and suddenly those are the type of things that do create supply shocks throughout the system, because now they're going to all their vendors and asking for an immediate ten percent drop out, there should have cost. Even disasters is like a net services going say: hey. Can you dropped ten percent offer and some of that option is to preserve its very real and that they need to bring their cost structures down almost immediately to survive here? The urban, the knock on effects of all of this? Her extraordinary. We have them and ourselves. This is all Beginning. I mean very early moment to be having
conversation in this will change week by week. Are you hopeful for a political change after this to think it'll shock people into it? cautiously hopeful. I'm I'm worried about many things. I'm worried about Biden can you see I'm worried about, ways in which social cohesion can fray seems guarantee defray under economic pressure and that that will just energize a kind of more toxic populism that we'll just ignore how we got the fact that, even now, this early trump thinks he can successfully rewrite there. Occurred and say that he's been this pandemic all along and has responded effectively to it? And this now just ass described as the the Chinese flew and, the model? The fact that I really do think we have to the whole China accountable for some
obscenely dangerous cultural practices. This is illegal the problem that requires global cooperation and simply putting this in was a xenophobic terms as a problem that of China, and of chinese origin. That's falling! to the demagogues playbook here and I could imagine Nino is certainly, as we will the plan or we begin to encounter the outrage of people who never found the plot politically. He I think that this could become. Rather, the utterly clarifying moment it should be, which is it matters when you hire dishonest and competent people, who, slow to react to obvious problems Show total unwillingness to prepare for them. I do worry that it could over into something fairly scary, in its early days, it's hard to see where it'll go I'll. One last question free and Yemen's for rapid Rapture,
I have a lot of colleagues for whom the mental anguish of this special uncertainty has been really tough and are starting to explore meditation mindfulness. What would you suggest to people for whom? This is a really stress? One, anxious time just be human and how they could use those tools near. Will that really is a software question on this past I think it important here as you probably know, I'm putting everything all the advice I have to give on that front into my my app waking up and occasionally some of that discussion hits the podcast. But it's really waking up as the place where people can find everything. I'm thinking. On a topic, and I am just about to release a lesson which are a prior put on the back ass to responding to that question where just how to think about meditation in the context of an emergency, and this is this? Is it
very strange emergency images for the natural think that you don't have, I'm to meditate in the midst of most emergencies, because here too, responding to them? But in the case of this one now argue that that's even a misunderstanding of powder, usually resources and in the case of an emergency but leaving that aside. In this emergency really worthwhile or finding is that most of us have sometimes more time on our hands and in a very real sense, more time on our hands and were forced into comparative solitude. An orphan shoved onto retreat by Mother Nature right now Many of us most of us, even so, is the perfect time to at your mind around this concept of men, they'll, training and clearly witnessing the mechanics of your psychological suffering interview. You will notice that most of your anxiety in response to this pandemic,
and the changes in your life that its enforcing most of its not useful, most of just toxic- and you know it who is contagious, emerges notice how I am around my family and when I haven't come at unwitnessed background level of anxiety pushing forward. All of my communication, I'm just in I'm- not good company in those moment from spreading, stress to the people who most need to reassured by, who I am and each moment not dimension, I'm also suffering in those moment so for me, Adaptation is eight, is not even so much ape formal practice in the former practice. This is how you learn the skill, but crucially, it's it's a learned, skill to be able notice. The difference,
tween being lost in thought and recognising thought themselves as they arise in the mind as its objects of consciousness, and that really is a a quantum for me a binary difference, my either you can do that or you can't and being aid to do that allows you to unhook from emotional consequences of any given pattern of thoughts of your thinking, terrifying thoughts about where all this could be headed. You know professionally, politically with respect Let know your own house or the health of the people, you love a lot of US are meditating on risk, a lot the time right now, which is to say we were attention, embedded, is very real threat to virtually everything, care about and we're on twitter and were reading the newspaper and were watching the news and we're having conversations with with other worried people and to this
have social contagion here, which. In part is necessary because we need to be motivated to a common purpose, but Hour by hour in your life, honestly. Ninety five bucks of the anxiety, any of us will feel today isn't helpful and an ability to notice thoughts arrives. You no notice notice the voice in your mind or the imagery that is captured your attention that sneaking up behind you in each moment end and seeming to become you write the thought my God, what's gonna happen to the down right of your weena, watching them the implications of the stock. At or in a worrying about your mom or whatever? It is a myth that, like is not to say, Shouldn t. About your mom. But every moment of thinking about your mom without knowing your thinking about your mom, simply just being identified with, as stream of thought.
The moment where you're producing anxiety to no good purpose and it's become The mood music to everything you subsequently do so inability to unhook from that and truly reset is a kind superpower, and it does mean some people can acquire it fairly quickly, but it really does only come with training. A minute is a skill, so, like you're, not gonna, stoutly learn to play the piano here. Even then I accidently learn how to do a push up correctly. Write me like you, do have to be done. These things so yeah I mean, is everything useful I have to say on the topic I do put into my app end. I now once again remind everyone- and I keep doing this- and people occasionally proved to me that its no possible not to notice us, but anyone for whom the price of a subscription to podcast were or my app is, a problem,
You know and you're the best judge of that you know you need only send us an email and you get everything for free. And many many people send that email right and there's no there's no means testing and there's no further questions about it. Did you send an email that you need a free membership on the waken up Amber subscription to us? and here is that Org for this park, as amended by this, and I'm putting many these part gas as I well with this episode outside the pay wall, because scene, I consider them p essays. Thank you for that by the way has been super here. We're talking about stuff that everyone should here but Anyone who has to think about increments of money that make it up our decision about whether or not to subscribe to Miami I guess you know if ten dollars a month or so dollars a month or if these are increments, that you have to sweat your precise. The person for whom this policy was created because I absolutely do not want to become a source of economic stress,
for anyone at any time. Frankly, but you know much less to I wanted at times like these, so I know many people who were subscribers or who have free hounds continually here. Other people complain about the fact that I have any my stuff a pay wall, and that opens the door to a larger debate about is how to monetize digital content and in a what adds have done to our economy and democracy, and here I have taken very strong positions on all that, but I just encourage people who hear people complain about this. Find them that they can always have the stuff for free if wages- an email and that's the best I can do given my business model cool. Thank you it was our everything and you mad. You too can send an email I'll, be no means testing over there in Houston. Thank you. I do find at that.
That my fulness of meditation is even more important. Things are tough. I've got their personal hardships are friends dying while it can really make a life changing different, so countless as my personal endorsement that everyone should explore it. There at SAM's up or something else. It also just a fundamental inside it here conceptual inside that everyone should have, and everyone can experience viscerally, which is all You have is your mind write me on obviously that I'm not saying the mind is divorce, a bowl from the body, but all you have the tools you have in each moment in real ship in. Responding to stress me, all you ve got is the Can't live an emotional tools you ve built for yourself over the course of a life than many of us both these tools or fail to build them inadvertently, We're, not aware of having made our minds by virtue of what we ve paid
pension to momentum and what we have been practising something. However positively. Every one of our lives and where we ve been ramifying our desires and our fear his and are concerned with a skills and an abandoned them, and you know it's worth: realizing that you can be delivered about this end, and really change your mind fundamentally fairly quickly. There many levels in terms of just learning new concepts and frames with which to view experience but mindfulness really, as I do consider unnecessary peace here and here again it's it's a practice so yeah or become what you do with your attention. So. I do recommend it, since there might be a lot of engineers are business people listening because of the topic, I will plug one books that I found help a lot of particular engineers reconnect with us we're more traditional meditations books didn't work.
It's actually from a guy who's, a Google, it's search inside yourself And it is, as a lot of metaphor, of like background processes and drops technical metaphor is essentially to be an introduction of meditation, so it can be a helpful frame for people to explore if they haven't resonated with like many of the other traditional meditation and trust, listen mad. Thank you for your time is great to get round. The bank has at last been enjoyed it in case anything
Transcript generated on 2020-03-26.