Florida and Texas are the new and improved Sweden: short shutdowns work best

From March to early May 2020, the U.S. caught up on ventilators, PPE, and testing.In May there was a juncture: continue the “flatten the curve” strategy, or attempt to suppress the virus with an extended shutdown.States that continued with the “flatten the curve” strategy and re-opened had a lower unemployment increase and a similar death rate as states with extended shutdowns.
Sweden is much maligned for not implementing a complete shutdown, resulting in a much higher COVID-19 death rate than itsneighbors Norway and Denmark, albeit a lower death rate than many other European countries. Almost half of Sweden’s 6,000 deaths came from not sufficiently protecting nursing homes. Sweden’s GDP contracted significantly but outperformed most of Europe since Sweden had far fewer business closures.
The U.S. coronavirus response was much looser than most European and Asian countries, many of whom had strict shutdowns where people could rarely leave their homes. Within the U.S., there were various …

The Coronacceleration: The move to digital money and digital gold, while Bitcoin tracks the stock market

This post was also published on LinkedIn Pulse. A series on the latent trends that have been accelerated by the CoronavirusBitcoin advocates have long claimed that Bitcoin was the ultimate hedge against fiat currencies printing unlimited amounts of money. We just experienced this scenario: the U.S. Federal Reserve is buying “unlimited” amounts of debt, and the U.S. Treasury is spiking its debt load to $25 trillion while promising to pay almost nothing in interest.

Bitcoin should be spiking relative to the U.S. Dollar due to the debasement of the world’s primary reserve currency. What has actually happened is that the stock market has risen, and Bitcoin has followed the stock market. Inflation increases asset prices and Bitcoin is clearly now a dollar-based asset, much like a tech stock. Especially over the past year, the same type of people that trade Bitcoin also trade tech stocks, and yesterday’s Bitcoin halving had the zeal of a tech stock split. It is now evident that printing tran…

The Coronacceleration: De-urbanization and the redistribution of technology companies

This post was also published on LinkedIn Pulse. A series on the latent trends that have been accelerated by the CoronavirusPopulation density and hygiene are the two most important factors in the spread of respiratory illnesses. In a post-Coronavirus world, people are going to be more incented to avoid dense urban centers that were experiencing typhoid outbreaks even before the Coronavirus.
The acceleration of Millennials moving to smaller citiesThere was already a trend, especially amongst the Millennial generation, to move from dense urban centers such as New York, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area to smaller emerging sunbelt cities such as Austin, Raleigh, and Nashville. This trend will accelerate as newly unemployed people move to cheaper locales or back home with their parents. Less densely populated, relatively clean cities are much less likely to be shut down due to future “second wave” outbreaks. Small businesses in smaller sunbelt cities will mostly survive a relatively short shut…

The Coronacceleration: The transition from mass to personal transport and travel

This post was also published on LinkedIn Pulse. A series on the latent trends that have been accelerated by the CoronavirusAfter the widespread fear of a pandemic, people are not going to be inclined to get into a crowded train or other mass transit, and will orient towards more personalized transportation whenever possible.

In just the past few years, consumers had already flocked to personalized transportation. Uber and Lyft quickly infiltrated the public consciousness as on demand taxi service. Uber Pool and Lyft Line were introduced shortly afterwards which enabled users to form dynamic carpools, beginning to replace public transportation for a set of more wealthy riders. Lately, on-demand electric bikes and scooter rentals have democratized on-demand, highly personalized transportation.

Adding bike lanes for personal electric vehicles and dedicated lanes for carpools is a much cheaper and flexible alternative to restructuring roads or building tunnels to accommodate new or upgraded…

The Coronacceleration: A deepening mistrust in experts as we live through the five stages of model grief

This post was also published on LinkedIn Pulse. A series on the latent trends that have been accelerated by the CoronavirusExperts and scientists use hypotheses and models to define their outlook and predictions, which usually are developed, tested and refined over long periods of time. Models can have profound policy implications far beyond experts changing their opinion from don’t wear masks and then to wear masks. With the Cononavirus, we are seeing an unprecedented acceleration of hypotheses and models changing in near real time, leaving heads spinning.

The initial Coronavirus models overestimated the death rate by underestimating asymptomatic carriers, and also overestimated the hospitalization rate. The moment that it was clear there was a flawed model was when New York said they needed 30,000 more ventilators and the Federal government said they didn’t. Epidemiologists are scientists, and scientists work with models that are constantly refined. The Governor of New York later sai…

The Coronacceleration: Online-everything will drive growth for developing nations

This post was also published on LinkedIn Pulse. A series on the latent trends that have been accelerated by the CoronavirusThe most obvious Corona acceleration is the online-everything trend. Over the next decade, companies were already on their path to a digital transformation to enable most consumer and business transactions online, and with everyone suddenly at home, the trend has rapidly accelerated into the present.

The online-everything trend is particularly relevant to emerging countries. Similar to how most of the developed world skipped landlines and went straight to mobile telephony, developing countries that were well on their way to copying Western structures will consider skipping the present and going straight into the future.
Financial servicesEven in the West, many financial services were still in a “come on down to the branch” phase for many interactions including mortgages and wealth management. With these types of interactions no longer possible, consumers have flocke…

How to manage global data under CLOUD Act governance

This post was also published with the Industry Association of Privacy Professionals. It’s common knowledge that the U.S. government, with a subpoena or warrant, can compel companies to disclose data about companies and individuals. All governments have some type of legal capability to request data from information providers.
What is surprising to many, even those of us in IT, is that with the 2018 Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act, the U.S. government can compel a U.S. company that is hosting data in another country to comply with such information requests. For example, if a Malaysian company is hosting data in Amazon Web Service’s Singapore region, Amazon will have to comply with U.S. subpoenas and warrants to disclose the data.
The CLOUD Act was passed to amend the Stored Communication Act of 1986, after Microsoft took a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to not disclose data that was stored on a Microsoft server in Ireland. There are also similar laws in other countr…

Building a global cloud with lessons learned from WeWork

We couldn't build a global cloud that would go bankrupt without massive infusions of cash. We had to apply lean and agile methodologies to our global data center build-out.
At InCountry, we face the herculean task of building a global data storage and processing cloud with points-of-presence (PoP) in every country in the world.  To make it even more challenging, we need two redundant facilities in each country and to be compliant with each country’s specific regulations. Our customers would then be able to store and process data in any country with our multi-tenant offering or use dedicated hosts with our single-tenant offering.
Building fixed infrastructure across all of these countries would quickly add up. There are 193 countries in the United Nations. With two redundant facilities in each country, that’s 386 facilities. With an average annual hosting and bandwidth contract of $100,000 per facility and an average set up cost of $50,000 per facility and, we were looking at almost …