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Long-Term & Short-Term. Throughout my career I've collected nuggets of wisdom and trained my mind to identify problems in business processes. As is often the case, these nuggets don't always come from the most obvious places. There are nuggets I've saved from people I hate (lots of them) as well as those that for most all other things are idiots, but we all have some wisdom in us. In this case, I suspect the wisdom was someone else's wisdom often repeated. Humans gravitate toward the short-term at the expense of the long-term. In almost every circumstance the long-term is better but we overvalue the short-term...even when it directly hurts the long-term.


Let's take an example far from this crisis. The amount most people save for retirement is ridiculously small. While most will say they can't afford to save, I suspect that for many there is also a lack of discipline mixed in as well. We don't want to save up, we want to borrow so we can have now. We eat food that we know isn't healthy because of the short-term joy it brings at the expense of our long-term health. While as "amateurs" we seem to get it wrong if left to our own devises, businesses rarely get it wrong. Professional sports, for example, take every precaution not to bring an injured player back too early for fear of a re-injury that makes the long-term worse. Today's politicians look more like the undisciplined and short-sited than they look like fact based professionals. We are opening too soon. We are bending to pressures that are not in society's best long-term interest. We're letting the kids manage the household budget and they are driving up the credit card balance with massive quantities of junk food.


Quick Takes.



New Math. I like numbers. I'm no math whiz but especially now it seem that numbers bring a sense of order to an otherwise order-less world. I dream about numbers. Sometimes I look at numbers one day only to see the same numbers completely differently the next day. Numbers are the pieces in a puzzle and figuring out how they all fit together.


First Number. New York is likely to see 1500 people per million die. That's the worst in the country. New York has done antibody tracing and discovered that 15% of the population showed anti-bodies. That means that 85% have not yet been exposed. Let's add an assumption. First assumption: We do a less than an adequate job social distancing. That produces two likely consequences. Something like 90% of the public eventually gets it or 6 times what have gotten it so far. And while spread slower than in New York, that means that instead a risk of 1500 people per million dead, we're looking at 9000 people per million dead. That's a whisker shy of one in one hundred. That's 3 million dead. Again the assumptions aren't that dramatic. We are clearly opening up despite the fact that the risk hasn't lessened. 3 million dead is one in one hundred.  If you have 500 Facebook contacts you are likely to lose 5 friends to the virus. Numbers offer clarity. They offer control. But today they offer little comfort. 


Quick Takes.

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