Unsettled Saturday

Your weekly world wrap-up.

Matt George

Welcome friends, to Unsettled Saturday! Your weekly wrap-up of the Unsettled Media Podcast Network, the Unsettled Newsletter, current affairs, and what’s happening closer to home.

This week we are celebrating the great & powerful Kelly & Paul Carline for their contribution to making great content. Thank you, Kelly & Paul!

Today is a particularly special Unsettled Saturday for me at Unsettled HQ. Why? Because I woke up this morning a full-time entrepreneur. It’s now my full-time job to amplify the best Maritime Minds every week! It feels fantastic to take back my time and build this business, including a very special project coming from some community movers called Turning Point. Every step of the way we will celebrate our subscribers that keep the work going. We will produce special content for those paying to do so, like monthly Q&As, community boards and guest content. If you know of incredible Canadian products that would be the perfect brand partner, don’t sleep! Reach out to us and we will spread the word (looking at you Moosehead marketing team).

What happened on the Podcast Network?

Growing Pains with David Campbell

Eric Cook, CEO of the Research & Productivity Council came through the virtual podcast studio to join David Campbell and I on the Growing Pains podcast. We did a deep-dive into RPC’s mission, COVID-19, the mining sector and the Northern Corridor initiative. We also talked about how we don’t celebrate our wins or innovation in Atlantic Canada anymore. On Twitter recently, we asked listeners about what other uncomfortable truths are out there. The most common answer? We tend to knock those who stick-out down a peg. We cut our tall poppies. How can we change that and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation post COVID-19?

Eric has graciously agreed to make 5 copies of his new book available to listeners who want them! Reach out to me at matt@unsettledmedia.com and we’ll make sure you get your hands on one.

PS: Look to the Canadian North for some seriously interesting socio-economic discussion in the next decade. Climate change is opening up shipping routes and everybody wants a piece.

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What happened on the Newsletter?

The Atlantic Canadian Corona Corps

Scott Galloway of the NYU Stern School of Business recently wrote a piece called the “United States Corona Corps.” The idea was to bring back national service as an avenue to mend the wounds that have appeared so deeply in modern-day America. What if we led the country by instituting the Atlantic Canadian Corona Corps? An army of tech-enabled students and young, healthy unemployed people who work in 1 of 5 divisions: testing, contact tracing, health innovation, government innovation and entrepreneurship.

What changes and what stays the same?

Last week the great Dr. Herb Emery was on the Growing Pains podcast and we discussed what changes and what stays the same after COVID-19. There are many who think this is the impetus to shrink supply chains, re-examine who is truly essential in our society, make deeper social connections, and re-think the nature of work. Let me say at the outset, I am not one of the converted (neither is Herb). I wish we would do all of these things. But will we? It begs the question, what changes and what stays the same?

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What happened in the Podcast World?

Dell launches a ‘Podference’ in support of small business!

As far as I can tell the modern internet is comprised of creators and curators. It’s next to impossible to have a unique idea (the creators) but you can package ideas in a way that really blows your audiences hair back (the curators). I love that Dell is spending the entire month of May bringing together the medium’s top names to give direction to small businesses in what is becoming the year (era?) of COVID-19. Who’s going to be at the party? Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg of Pushkin Industries, the one and only Walter Isaacson and Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin of Skimm.

Kara and Scott really hate ride-hailing & Elon Musk

I’ve wondered since the outset of this thing, who is going to buy what? Slack, Zoom and others are now sitting on a mountain of new money and everything on the global menu is on sale. In the ride-hailing/food-delivery world, Uber thinks GrubHub looks tasty. Scott doesn’t think it would be allowed to go through because it basically gives Uber 90% of the market. This is the monopoly era though, no? It’ll probably go through. Kara and Scott also don’t like Elon because at this point, he’s ignoring lock-down measures put in place by Alameda County. Scott chalked this up as a loss for Governor Newsom. Enjoy the Pivot podcast.

The Pomp is pomping out good podcasts. Get it?

Almost everyday this week Pomp gave us a new show. Some might not like his style but his credibility is in stone; 50,000 newsletter readers and Josh Wolfe and Balaji Srinivasan on the podcast in the same week. Josh came on the show to talk about investing in frontier technologies and Balaji discusses decentralization and crypto.

Boyd Varty is back from 40 days and 40 nights in a tree, and it made for an incredible audio project

40 Days and 40 Nights is everything this medium can be: raw, unedited, unique and real. It’s easy to have an okay podcast but a really good podcast feels like a guilty pleasure. As if someone is having a conversation with someone else, or themselves, that you weren’t invited to but somehow you’re able to listen. Boyd Varty, a lion tracker and life guide, spent 40 days and 40 nights in a tree-house in South Africa to reconnect with nature and retreat from organized society during COVID-19. Boyd, I listened every night and I continue to listen even-though you’re home. Thank you for this project and thank you for immortalizing it in audio.

This American Life wins a Pulitzer (sorry for being late Ira)

The immortal Ira Glass gets a Pulitzer! Dig back in to This American Life’s archives and listen to some of the great American stories. Like this one, one of my favorites. Ira and his team were early pioneers and they deserve the award.

What are we reading?

Jeff Bezos told shareholders they “may want to take a seat”

What is Jeff up to now? The amount of money that this man can re-invest into R&D is bananas compared to everybody else and he’s flexing that muscle during COVID-19. Four billion dollars worth of profits are going back into the business to create what Scott Galloway called “The Fourth Unlock” of the last 20 years of American business: the vaccinated supply chain. “I believe Amazon will offer Prime members testing at a scale and efficiency that makes America feel like South Korea (competent). The “vaccinated” supply chain, as tested and safe as possible, will create a more muscular and immune fulfillment organism, offering stakeholders paramount value — real and perceived.”

I can’t decide where I fall on the Entrepreneurs vs. Civil Servants debate. Government is often slow, lacks innovation, and is bordering on incompetent but big-business wasn’t elected and has its own priorities. What do we need in a crisis? Speed, reach, and technical expertise. It should be government that prepares for a crisis and then deploys the solution, but what happens when they don’t or didn’t? The answer is, people like Jeff Bezos are going to flex whether we like it or not.

Seoul’s Radical Experiment in Contract Tracing

South-East Asia was Ground 0 for this particular Coronavirus. In the early days in South Korea, 7,000 of the first 11,000 confirmed cases originated in Daegu. The New Yorker’s Max Kim went to Daegu to dig in to their radical experiment in contact tracing and attended a “Coronavirus Disease Response Meeting.” What the experiment amounts to is a privacy invasion for the greater good. Take all of those statements with a grain of salt, as many South Koreans are. “The National Human Rights Commission of Korea issued a statement calling for stronger measures to protect individuals from being outed.” It begs the question, what should we give up as an individual to protect the herd?

An Irishmen always pays his debts

Sixteen years after they arrived in what is now Oklahoma, the Choctaws tried to rebuild their lives. At a tribal meeting, they heard of families struggling to survive Ireland’s infamous Potato Famine. They took up a collection, pooled together $170 and sent it to a group collecting money in New York.

This is one small part of a really neat story of solidarity coming out of COVID-19.

About 24,000 donors from Ireland have given roughly $820,000 in an online fundraiser operated by Native American volunteers to buy food and supplies for families on the Hopi and Navajo reservations in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.

An Irishmen always pays his debts.

What are we watching? Sports.

One of the greatest scenes in documentary history

The Last Dance on Netflix will be watched on repeat by generations. Episode 7 begs the question, what constitutes a life? The freedom to choose. The freedom to chose how to live, who to spend time with and what to work on is ultimately what every single one of us is after. Even if we’re told when to show up, how to dress, how to speak and when to leave, each of us knows in our hearts this was never how we were supposed to organize and it eats away at the untouched part of us. It also begs the question, what do we trade for greatness? What is the price we pay? Michael Jordan paid a price, but he won everything in the process. The final scene of that episode will go down as one of the best scenes in documentary history. I watched it on repeat somewhere in between wanting to go for a 10-mile run and sit in silence, reflecting on my life. The dramatic music begins, a montage of all of his incredible moments plays, and Michael is asked what he gave up to become the greatest team-sport athlete of all-time. It ends with one of the best monologues I’ve ever seen from one of humanity’s most enduring figures.

It’s who I am.

There is a price that comes with discovering who you really are if you’re Michael Jordan. But more importantly for the rest of us, what is the cost of never discovering it at all?

The incredible story of an unlikely hero of the Parkland, Florida school shooting

I’m not sure what’s pulling me towards sports documentaries right now. Maybe, subconsciously, I miss sports more than other aspects of normal life. Beyond The Last Dance I’ve also watched Match Day - Inside FC Barcelona more than once.

How good is John Malkovich? While he is legendary, he’s only #4 in my books (behind Tony Bourdain, Mike Rowe and Liev Schreiber).

Anyway, within the story of Match Day is the amazing story of Anthony Borges, a former up and coming soccer star in Florida and unlikely hero of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting.

What happened in Culture, Business & Tech?

Elon isn’t playing- and Ted Cruz is excited about it

As David Alston and Marcel LeBrun reminded us in this episode of Growing Pains, we have to trust that businesses have the capacity to respond to changing parameters safely and quickly. Adaptation is key to the success of any business. BUT we have to balance that confidence with an understanding that the communicability of this particular virus is extremely high. Where to strike the balance? It’s complicated.

Something meaningful is happening with Bitcoin and it’s confusing

The ‘Halvening’ is upon us! What does that mean? I have no sweet clue but you can reach out to the good people at the Atlantic Blockchain Company for more! It has something to do with the amount of Bitcoin available, proving that the system can be ‘moderated’ and ‘controlled.’ Satoshi, please help.

Everybody who thought cruises would go away was 600% wrong

Being on a COVID-infested floating prison is the place in my mind that cruise ships have inhabited. I went on one once and it was boring. It was like a resort (boring) that you can’t get off of whenever you please (also boring). The best part is landing in a port so why not just be on land full-time? That’s where I’m at. But apparently many people, specifically the old and wealthy, disagree with me completely.

Quibi is…not good…

If you were only betting on the leadership team of a company, you’d bet the farm on Quibi. Katzenberg and Meg Whitman are heavyweights in the industry and they bet $1.8B on mobile, short-form content. Now, moving past the fact that we already had that (YouTube), Quibi could be seen as a bet worth taking to satisfy our content cravings in the ‘in-between’ moments of life; waiting in lines, etc. but what happens when those don’t exist anymore? I watched 5 minutes of Lebron’s education documentary on my phone before turning to HBO on my 65” screen. It wasn’t that the content was bad, it wasn’t. It actually introduces some really cool opportunities to shoot content made for the small-screen. I get the creative part of all of it but the numbers speak for themselves. We didn’t ask for it, it’s going to get smoked and it’s likely dead on arrival.

It’s finally time for Amazon to flash their wallet

Apparently Jeff and his merry Amazonians are looking to buy AMC while it’s cheap. I’ve thought constantly about what changes and what stays the same after COVID-19 goes away (if it goes away) and there are some clear winners and losers. I don’t think people stop going on cruises or flying. Not going to happen. And we certainly won’t stop going to restaurants or pubs. But the movie theater is a tough one. I’m a passionate movie-goer. I love the movies. Always have. But now I have a 65” TV, Apple TV and movie theater popcorn is on Skip the Dishes. Am I going to go out of my home and spend $50 all said and done on a movie date? I’m not sure I am. Let’s see what happens.

What happened closer to home?

New Brunswick is in Phase Orange

All cases of COVID-19 have recovered in New Brunswick, as per the powers that be. On to Phase Yellow? Time will tell.

RBC’s Deficit Prediction is….bad. It’s bad.

My partner in podcast crime David Campbell wrote a blog post last week about RBC’s daunting deficit predictions for NB.

Robert Jones at the CBC has been doing some solid reporting on the data related to Covid-19 in recent weeks.  His story this morning on the forecasted NB budget deficit is sobering.  He is reporting the Bank of Nova Scotia is forecasting a $1.19 billion budget deficit for the provincial government this year.

I had to prove I’m human. With a strange twist.

We’ve all had to prove we’re human once in a while right? You either tick a box, enter in an alpha-numeric code or select boxes on a 3 x 3 grid that have a bicycle, or a cross-walk or a street sign in them. Notice how they’re always roads? Do you ever think about why that is? It’s because what you’re actually doing is helping train Google’s fleet of autonomous vehicles. They’re outsourcing it to all of us which is brilliant. Have you also noticed it’s getting way better? It used to be that the street sign made up 3 or 4 boxes. Now it’s the corner of 1, maybe 2. It’s getting way better. You’re a good teacher.

I was prompted with one this morning that was strange. I had to choose which one of the boxes showed….stairs? It was the front of a home with a nice set of stone stairs, maybe NYC. Now, much like 7 years ago with roads, the stairs took up 60% of the entire grid. The AI is clearly un-schooled on these new images. What’s Google up to?

Don Mills made an appearance on Huddle’s new podcast

Huddle’s new podcast continues to improve! Don Mills joined Mark Leger on the show to talk about what happens next in Nova Scotia.

Final Words

What could we become?

Could Atlantic Canada become a world-leader in the era of COVID-19?

We have an education minister dubbed The Virus Whisperer, we flattened the curve faster than most and we had the province with no know active cases faster than any other.

We now have the opportunity to institute the Atlantic Canadian Corona Corps and truly become a world-leader. We can use this time to innovate, improve processes and develop new technologies to completely re-tool an economy that currently doesn’t feel like a 21st-century leader.

What could we become?

What a ride,