The Grey Swan Guild News Wrap — The Week That Was April 3, 2021 —

Photo by Andrey Zvyagintsev on Unsplash

Edition: #11 of Vol 1

These are the series of stories and headlines we are tracking in the Grey Swan Guild’s Global League of Sensemakers’ Newsroom. The selection and the news wraps are intended to shed light and a new lens on a complicated and complex world week.

It was a restrained set of April Fool’s Day pranks for brands in 2020 and 2021. Still, it is a good sign some of the big brands are having fun like Jack Links, Lego and Velveeta (Separately of course, but there’s always next year). We guess it’s too soon for advertisers to ride the edge of satire or sour jokes and risk cancel-culture backlash. Volkswagen missed; Duolingo the language training app hit a solid stand-up double and Porche slid into first. The Grey Swan Guild’s Nobel Prize for Sensemaking only surprised a few innocent fans in the bleachers in honour of all the opening day MLB games.

What follows is The Great, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of what we observed and analyzed this week. Also note, we will discuss many of these headlines and more on Clubhouse this Sunday, the podcast-meets-social media network that seems to have taken part of the world by storm with 13 Million downloads so far up from 600,000 this past December. It is clearly an exponential Unicorn with an R Value way above H1NI and COVID19. Join us on Sunday, April 4th, in the Grey Swan Guild Club.

This Wrap looks across the happenings of the week — from tiny cars exploding as a mass-market in China; Barçelona, In-person euro-concerts with dancing, contact tracing, and vaccine passports; April Foolishness History; getting into real black holes; The Hybrid Future of Work; tiny e-cars in China and very low-cost lithium batteries that don’t self ignite. (Search: Thank you Elon, lithium battery management patent)

But it’s not all opening day baseball, jokes, japes, jabs, with high efficacy vaccines and rollouts though.

Ugliness rears its head even after the Ever Given was freed by Digger. Horror shows with the murder of George Floyd on public trial; A first documentary of the Covid19 outbreak and quarantine of the Diamond Princess and the trial and other Ghislaine Maxwell awfulness.

If this week had a song, we are going to go with the quintessentially Canadian, and sweet-voiced chanteur, Hawksley Workman’s We Will Still Need A Song. We really do need our music on the advent of all of Easter, Passover, and increased restrictions across the world. London, Paris, Toronto are reacting to new surges in hospitalizations and cases by restricting activities ranging from curfews to closing non-essential businesses. We hope the best. Vaccines are not enough to carry on. — Source: Hawksley Workman’s Mind

Don’t let another tear be in your eyes
We can die in peace knowing we tried
To change our own ways
The poets let a generation down
And modern music could be a healing sound
It’s the only way
Only way

— From the GSG-Wrap Editors

The Great 😇

1.Fly like a butterfly Vicky and dance like no one’s looking. Barcelona may have mastered the post-pandemic era concert setup. Ticket holders must arrive with a negative rapid COVID test in hand before they gain entrance, and allow themselves to be tracked for two weeks after the show, ensuring contact tracing procedures are followed.

To get in, you couldn’t just turn up at the Sant Jordi stadium a few minutes before the start and get a ticket at the door. Fans had to download an app, input their contact details and book a time for a rapid Covid test on the day of the concert.

What will jam-band shows look like in the future? Will the parking lot have popup rapid Covid19 tests next to groups of people playing hacky sack? Have faith! People will find a way to have fun. (Search: Camping by Volcano’s in Iceland:Videos)

In the meantime, we hope the procedures tested in Barcelona will set standards for churches, bars, classes, schools, conferences, musicals, galleries, plays, dancing, sporting events, festivals and concerts in the years to come. Seems like a big-tent platform policy platform plank. We would vote for everyone in the tent. #gsgprediction.

To be successful, they’ll need to make access available to everyone — not just the privileged few that are vaccinated or have access to rapid tests. The great news is that humanity is exploring how to live in a post-pandemic world. Party on you beautiful people of Cataluna. Salut i forca al canut!.

— Source: Bloomberg News.

2.I See a Red Hole and I want to Paint It Black. People use all of their senses to experience the world, and life is richer because of it. Now scientists at NASA, working with musicians, have found a way to transform images made from x-rays used to explore black holes into vivid soundscapes. New pictures combing information from the Hubble and other advanced telescope to create new visuals of black holes and other galaxies far, far away.

Some telescopes reach into the radio part of the spectrum to penetrate the occluding clouds of dust between us and the center of the galaxy, while others study X-rays from high-energy black holes and supernova remnants. But the mind-blowing images we know and love are always rendered in full color — converted from invisible X-rays or radio waves to visible light so we can see the universe in all its splendor. Now, NASA has taken it a step further and converted light to sound.

The ability to explore a black hole or distant galaxy on a journey of light and sound seems like something out of the Twilight Zone. Hopefully, no one gets sucked into an alternate universe. 100 years ago people could only theorize that black holes existed via thought experiments. Technical advancements are propelling us quickly toward a future that may feel like an alternate universe for those that are paying attention. Time-travel anyone?— Source:

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

3. Joker’s wild. Nobody knows what or who started April Fools but it is certainly celebrated wildly and widely, and we think its because humans love the pure celebration of fun, whether that’s in the simple pattern of the court jester or elaborate fun festivals like India’s Holi, Israeli’s Purim and Ukraine’s Humorina or the Roman’s Hilaria. We grok that gowking around is as human as humans are. Jokes still come with anxiety and change. For instance there is some fanciful and some joking about the Pandemic and hoarding with the new Fluidmaster Toilet Paper Replacement, a non-smooth rock that wiped up the best of 2021 April Fools Pandemic Edition.

Roll-up of the best April Fools Pranks include the GREY SWAN GUILD NOMINATION FOR A NOBEL PRIZE. take a bow @Sean Moffitt. Other notables on the list include Velveeta cheese skincare; a 100,000 piece all-blue puzzle; Jacks Links Jerky Cologne and Legos that build themselves. It’s great to see companies willing to have some fun with their brands — even the Canadian Space Agency. Too Infinity and beyond. — Source: CNET.

The Good 😀

1.Baby you can drive my car if it’s electric. Forget Tesla: Millions of people in China are embracing tiny, off-brand e-competitors. Tiny cars come in a variety of styles and cost between $600 and $2,500. They are unregulated, don’t require a license to drive, and they solve a crucial problem: helping people travel short distances at a low price without the use of fossil fuels.

They’re also convenient for anybody who wants a car to pick up groceries or their kids from school: No tiny car is longer than 1.5 meters, and their speed tops out at between 40 and 56 kilometers an hour. They’re for the short trips of daily life, not for traveling from one side of the city to another.

Driving a tiny car is not without risks. The unregulated nature of the business means that there are no safety standards. But are they safer than scooters, bikes and motorcycles? If there is a crash, drivers are not insured. However, the risk is worth it for many because they do not require license plates, which means owners can bypass painful licensing processes. China could decide to start regulating this business at any point. Until then, the business model offers sellers a way to earn extra money, and buyers get a cheap transportation alternative to help manage the demands of daily life. Plus, you can customize them any way you want ’em and that’s the way you get them — Max Max or Rolls Royce anyone? — Source: Rest of World

2.Pressure drop, Battery Pricing pressure that is. A new study from MIT researchers found that the cost of Lithium-ion batteries have dropped 97% since being introduced in 1991, with more progress possible. While measuring a decrease in the cost of anything may seem straightforward, there are other dimensions to consider — like energy storage and size — that complicate things. We believe this is in the right direction lower-cost lithium means more batteries and lower-cost short-term storage. Add that to long-term sustainable massive scaled, long-term storage and energy costs could drop by a magnitude with a magnitude less impact on the planet compacted to the last decade. The study factored in these other considerations.

That broader analysis helps to define what may be possible in the future, he [Ziegler] adds: “We’re saying that lithium-ion technologies might improve more quickly for certain applications than would be projected by just looking at one measure of performance. By looking at multiple measures, you get essentially a clearer picture of the improvement rate, and this suggests that they could maybe improve more rapidly for applications where the restrictions on mass and volume are relaxed.”

People may ask, “Why is this important?” Policymaking and the adoption of electric vehicles are driven by an accurate understanding of costs. If the data are wrong, leaders will make misinformed decisions that affect the entire planet. — Source: MIT News.

Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

3.Ch-ch-ch Changes like we knew. There’s no arguing that the way people work has changed drastically in the last year — hello sweatpants in the home-office. Trends in the future of work rapidly developing. Some trends are positive, like more geographic freedom and more flexible schedules; others are troubling, like the fact that remote work benefits do not extend to lower-income jobs and women experienced higher stress and anxiety as they tried to balance home and work all in one place.

Long-term trends point to a hybrid work model where office use is focused on close collaboration, and remote work is used for focus time. Workers will have more choice about whether they are remote or in person, and people will go to redesigned offices that are organized for collaboration. This will take new integrated enterprise software, networked hardware and IoT to accomplish. Hopefully, the innovative tech companies out there are working on this opportunity. The big data automatically generated from this activity will be impressive and useful too. We will know who is zooming who.

To make hybrid work models successful, companies need to support remote workers through new technology solutions and collaboration models. People will be at a severe disadvantage if they are a voice in the room or a face in the corner.

Technology in the office will also need a bit of a reboot, to accommodate meetings so that people videoconferencing in from home feel on equal footing with those in the office. This will require better video hardware and software so that at-home workers don’t feel like they’re just a box on a screen.

Source: Vox

The Bad 😬

1.Signs signs everywhere the signs. The shift to digital in the post-COVID world is missing a lot of industries, and many don’t know why. The music & entertainment industries, the creator of experiences, appear to be tone-deaf. The old-school protesters really nailed it in the sixties after 4 wars and a few years of practice. Of course they could still throw a concert like Woodstock or SARS-stock back when we could all rock-out altogether. Today’s musicians are suffering because they are getting caught doing nothing about it or, on the flip side, they lucked on the innovations being made and have 1M followers on Tik Tok or Clubhouse because they were there first. There are also those, with no fault of their own, who are just blocked. In-person concerts & events are still being cancelled, but it is because they still don’t have a backup plan, or as we call it, a digital strategy, to hedge and possibly generate a bit of money and awareness. Think of it like having to do a small city tour after a dip in popularity. Or having to re-release on BluRay. Digital Music 3.0 is that move from the stadium and back the to concert hall or the rink. It’s a new medium that happens to scale way better though.

But, just like a vaccine that was created in that year, surely an industry as big as ‘entertainment’ could produce something that would innoculate it against massive crowd disruptions?

Not all are falling behind and those that succeed will profit. It is time to pivot and provide consumers with convenient digital experiences. Maybe corporate entertainment is too busy lamenting the last digital revolution that Napster started? — Source: Doyle Buehler, Editor and Grey Swan Guild Member

2.Yo Ho up she rises. How does one fight the sea, especially when it threatens expensive homes? Solutions are often focused on stopping disasters before they happen. These strategies fail — look at California wildfires. Rising water levels present a daunting challenge to protect property, but as long as government invests in prevention measures property values are preserved. California State Senator Ben Allen has a novel proposal to fix it: let communities buy the property and rent it to residents.

Within the span of a 30-year mortgage, more than $100 billion worth of American homes is expected to be at risk of chronic flooding. As the climate warms and oceans rise, narrow strips of sand such as the one Allen is standing on, will be submerged, leaving coastal communities — affluent and not — with the torturous question of how to adjust. Build sea walls? Dump sand? For how long and at what cost?

Time will tell if communities (and affluent property owners) find value in such an approach. However, old solutions may not be feasible and innovative thinking is the only way to avoid catastrophe #gsgprediction. — Source: NPR.

3.We love you just the way you are. Who doesn’t love technology? In a post-pandemic world, digital journies saved many companies, and growth will continue. The U.S. job market is rocketing forward. Unfortunately, job numbers and growth forecasts don’t tell the whole story. Leisure and hospitality jobs are not coming back, and workers in these industries may not love “digital journeys” that automate their job.

Government assistance buoys people that work in these at-risk sectors, but when the support vanishes, the white-hot economic recovery that is forecast could turn out to be lukewarm.

Eventually, the flood of support from Congress will wear off. Businesses that experiment with leaner staffs or automation may decide to stick with it.

This isn’t to say that automation or digital acceleration should stop. Far from it. It is important to consider adverse impacts and how to benefit groups that are suffering. It’s a bifurcated world, as it always has been— Source: The Washington Post.

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

The Ugly 😱

1.A Change is gonna come. Derek Chauvin, the police officer who pinned George Floyd to the ground until he dies last Memorial Day, faces three criminal charges over Floyd’s killing: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His trial starts this week with the opening statements were scheduled March 29. The 12-person jury selected by the court is composed of seven women and five men. The panel includes four Black people, six white people and two jurors who identify as multiracial. There is also a wide range of ages among the jurors, with the oldest person a Black grandmother in her 60s; the youngest are two people, a white man and a biracial woman, in their 20s.

— New York Time & NPR

2.#memorymaking the Diamond Princess cruise liner. Documentary. Story Telling. Horror Movies. This will be hard to watch at multiple levels.

3. You’re a cruel one, that’s a cinch. Ghislaine Maxwell Charged With Sex Trafficking of 14-Year-Old Girl

Term of the Week:

Return To-Office Coordinator

New jobs are created in the aftermath of the pandemic. One title caught our attention: “Return to office coordinator”. Note that for now, the role is remote (This role will be remote while Covid restrictions are in place.). We are sensing this is just a contract role that can be done virtually or be part of regular HR activities with a twist of tech and tech stack. #gsglexicon

— Source:Indeed

Meme of the Week —

April Fool’s didn’t go so well. Here’s the lowdown from your virtual Bloomberg back at your desk downtown. If you haven’t heard: VW’s U.S. arm claimed it was changing its corporate name to “Voltswagen”. Denied it was an April Fools’ Day joke. Then, admitted that it actually was an April Fools gone wrong.

VW’s gaffe is unlikely to be seen as an attempt to manipulate the stock market, but it’s a reminder that we now live in the meme-stock age where even bad jokes can add or subtract billions of dollars in market value.

Viral Video of the Week —

A young woman from the Navajo Nation is gaining fame on TikTok, after she posted a video of her shredding on the dry red sandstone magnificence of nature. Now, Naomi Glasses is hoping to raise awareness about life on first nations’ land covering the size of West Virginia. 1.4 M views and counting.

Image Credit: Teen Vogue

Chart of the Week:

Is this chart a sign of the countries doing the best in vaccine program or is it the tracking, by nation, of the largest and fastest jab in the arm for a person in world history? #gsgquestions #senesemaking

Grey Swan Authors: Book of the Week #promotion:

Hope is not a strategy. Digital is a strategy.

Using a simple seven-step approach that breaks down the critical elements of digital, best-selling author and digital strategy and digital transformation specialist Doyle Buehler uncovers the overarching strategies that each business needs to know to build a global digital business, in #Breakthrough, Unleash your remarkable brand value, influence, and authority.

For those just starting out, this book will help you identify the best brand value to deliver, guide you on how to extract that value, and then give you the critical strategies to grow it quickly using effective tactics and tools.

For those with existing businesses, you’ll learn how to use strategy to cut through the chaos, maximize your online impact and access the little-known but powerful tools and technologies the top disruptors use to create global presence and influence.

Doyle reveals the underlying digital patterns common to all successful online businesses — what they did right, what they did wrong, what they do differently, and the main roadmap and strategy to building an online business that can have the success it deserves.

Whether you are shifting your model to capitalize on the new, stronger, post-Covid digital economy, starting an online business or growing on an existing one to a larger market, #Breakthrough — Unleash Your Remarkable Brand Value, Influence & Authority is your complete how-to digital strategy guide for making it a success in the post-covid world, with the extreme shift to digital.

That’s the Wrap!

See you next week for Edition #12 !

The GSG Medium is The Message

Visit our Medium channel every Friday for a weekly wrap on the world’s biggest challenges and other fresh articles and points of view The Grey Swan Guild is sharing. Please drop by our Grey Swan Guild website ( for more publications and articles about how we make sense of the world ongoing and also the raft of possibilities to participate as a Sensemaker. Apply today.

This Week’s Grey Swan News Wrap Editor: Ben Thurman and Doyle Buehler did the heavy lifting. Rob Tyrie covered the musical score and Sean Moffitt, wave the last eyes on of the executive editor are the wrap writing team the guild and this week’s with help from @sylvia,and @agustin. Some of us will be on Clubhouse NEXT DATE: April 4th to discuss what we surfaced. Members & non-members please join us.

Grey Swan Guild — Making Sense of What’s Next

On April 16th, Grey Swan Guild is hosting The Day of the Swan — an all-day event focused on: our 1st year anniversary, a springboard for launch events in our second year, a platform for our members to shine and a forum for the greater community to scan through what we have been working on, thinking about and making sense of. Join us for the day and participate in advance with our LinkedIn group.

#NEW Coming Soon — And stay tuned for a new weekly column on our Medium Channel. We are experimenting with on Wednesdays: Humpdays. We will be going back to the Grey Swan Library and History Archives to do some memory-making about what our points of view were like last year and how views were either predicted or changed with new information.

Come join us:

Grey Swan Guild

Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges — curating and creating knowledge through observation, informed futurism, #sensemaking and analysis — the Grey Swan Guild Way 🦢




Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges & Next Grey Swans — curating and creating knowledge through observation, informed futurism, and analysis🦢

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