The Grey Swan Guild News Wrap — The Week That Was Friday, June 18th, 2021.
Grey Swan Guild — News Wrap Edition: #22 of Vol. 1
These are a series of stories and headlines we are tracking in the
Grey Swan Guild’s Global League of Sensemakers Newsroom. Here is The Great, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of what we observed this week.
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What can we expect, not expect, some time frames, some offshoots, and some unexpected occurrences? What’s next? Let’s talk freedom.
The theme of The Wrap this week is freedom — freedom from COVID restrictions; acknowledgement of the struggle for freedom; and new limits on freedom in some parts of the world. Freedom is like a waving flag.
In the U.S. large parts of the country celebrated an end to COVID restrictions and their fireworks marked the occasion. Canada reduced restrictions, opened internal borders and Shanghai is open for business. Juneteenth became an official holiday, and indigenous people fought and won a legal battle for land use in the most humane of ways. These trends are countered by the ongoing vaccine crises in India; new lockdowns in Russia; and persistent unrest in Myanmar. It’s not all NFTs and music festivals. Coca-Cola is getting slide tackled and EA got its pocket’s picked and speaking of picking, Colorado is being picked for the good and the bad.
We still need to get our jiggy on and celebrate the great and never cease fighting to challenge the Ugly and build together.
Why not join us on Sunday, June 20th at 8am (PST) 11am (EST) / 4pm BST on Clubhouse to engage with your every patient and covid resistant Grey Swan Guild Wrap Editors, including Sylvia Gallusser, Sean Moffitt, Agustín Borrazás, Rob Tyrie, Ben Thurman, Louise Mowbray, Doyle Buehler and Antonia Nicols.
The Great 😇
1.Free. Free at Last. 155 years after freed slaves first celebrated emancipation in Texas, Juneteenth was officially recognized as a Federal holiday this week. It’s sad that it took this long. Maybe the traumatic events of 2020 were enough to break down barriers and influence change in ways that we are only beginning to understand. One sure sign is the fact the Senate unanimously passed the bill that makes Emancipation Day a Federal holiday while overcoming objections from republicans that held fast even last year. Some might argue that it’s an easy political win after a year of political turmoil, but it’s progress regardless.
Legislation to formally recognize the end of slavery was introduced last year by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats, after the death of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Neither measure, however, received a vote on the floors of their respective chambers. The lawmakers reintroduced their bills earlier this year, with each receiving broad bipartisan support.
2. Old Man River, finally. Like it or not humanity is bound to the natural world. The decision to co-exist in nature or try to dominate is made at our peril. Should the model change or is it better to treat nature as a commodity? Recently in Canada, the Muteshekau Shipu river was granted legal personhood and moves to protect the rights of indigenous communities and challenge strongly held western values — one of which is the idea that nature is a resource to be used. The beauty of this is that few laws have to be created that are specific to rivers and streams and a bunch of technical environmental things. Such new things are hard to create as law. The flow is clear and deep.
These values influence the ideologies at the root of our biodiversity and climate crises. These ideologies justify the transformation of rivers, forests and the atmosphere into commodities and private property at our own peril. Recognizing natural entities as legal persons and enshrining their rights in law is a promising legal innovation.
Canada is not the first to take this step. New Zealand took similar action in 2017. More forward-thinking innovations like this are needed to replace the ways that have been dominant since the industrial revolution.
3.Outdoor concerts are bouncing into view. In DC, on June 11, restrictions on indoor music clubs ended, the music played and crowds were dancing. One sweaty patron said what we all know. It’s all about the base. “The thing I miss the most about live music is when you can feel the bass through your body — that’s the one thing I love about concerts,” she says. There weeks ago the was a full-blown 10,000 fan rock concert in Shanghai at Mercedes Benz Arena where progressively larger concerts are being staged this summer. More jump up and dance was happening in New York City, Buffalo, and there is a full summer concert series in Rochester NY, on Ontario Beach. Music to our ears, even for the concerts like the Foo Fighters at Madison Square Gardens which has a full vaccine requirement to get in.
1.Psycho Therapy. Freedom to choose a career is amazing, but what happens when we make a choice we later regret? Some people are paralyzed by choice, and fail to act as a result. What we don’t realize is inaction is one of the biggest regrets in life. 1/3 of Americans live in regret of their decisions in life. Ugh.
…the deepest regrets, the negative feelings we remember for years or even a lifetime, come not from the things that we did and wish we hadn’t but from the things that we didn’t do.
The Ramones said it well when they said, “Should I stay or should I go?” Maybe it doesn’t matter as long as we learn from the choice that we regret. Regret can be the message that pushes us forward to get better. After the traumas and restrictions of the pandemic, millions of people will change the way they live. We think that shouldn’t beat themselves up too much if working from the chalet, cottage, cabin or camp doesn't seem to be the nirvana they were seeking. Focus on love mo re and less on regrets. And while you are at it, take a road trip to Colorado, you won’t regret it.
2.Help us Obi-wan. Catching up with other jurisdictions like Israel and the UK, the number of people that received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine passed 70% last week in New York and the governor ended most remaining COVID restrictions. It’s cause for celebration as some people have the opportunity to return to normalcy.
Gov. Cuomo made the announcement after the CDC reported 70% of New Yorkers age 18 or older have received at least the first dose of a vaccine. That was the threshold Cuomo said would trigger the relaxing of most restrictions. The CDC says 50.3% of all New Yorkers are fully vaccinated.
There’s reason to party, but only for a minute. Then we have to face down more problems. There are new variants and large swaths of people in 3rd world countries that remain unvaccinated. When Han Solo yelled, “Don’t get cocky kid…” to Luke, he was right. Who knows if there’s a Death Star waiting for us too?
3.Who ya’ gonna call? At home that is. There has been “clear labour vs. management” and “company vs. company tension” as the word goes back to work. Wall Street masters of the universe C-levels at places like Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Blackstone, want to go back to the desk and ball & chain. This has folks clearly riled up on both sides of the push-pull. Silicon Valley and Ottawa Valley are still thinking differently as new balanced policies roll out that have mixes of hybrid options for certain rolls. This week Deloitte played a masterful card in the war for hot knowledge working talent. They have stated they are letting 20,000 consultants in the UK are free to decide where they will work from (of course we are sure the billable hour goals will still be the gold standard promotion.
“Once the Government has lifted all of the COVID-19 restrictions and we’re back up to full office capacity, we will let our people choose where they need to be to do their best work, in balance with their professional and personal responsibilities. I’m not going to announce any set number of days for people to be in the office or in specific locations. That means that our people can choose how often they come to the office, if they choose to do so at all, while focusing on how we can best serve our clients.”
In the policy, they were not preventing people to work in the office — they are letting staff decide. The flex trend is settling nicely and we will not see this as polarization in 2022, it will be choice, options and style of work. Is that the future?
The Grey Zone🤔
1.Bend me shake me any way you want me. Do you like buttons and zippers and denim? We won’t judge anyone’s fashion choices. With more stores open, and people buying for renewed social interaction, purchases point toward comfort and colour. Corporations are coercing people back to the office, but after wearing sweat pants for 15 months, office attire may take an interesting turn. Will we see Hawaiian shirts and shorts? Let’s get funky and have some fun — just leave the flip-flops at home if you’re headed to an all-day executive meeting.
The bottom line: “After the pandemic, people want to be happy and so I think that is what is translating into what people have been wearing,” Wright said.
2. Do you ignore the hand that feeds you? Sponsorship is a multi-billion dollar industry and a high-stakes battle on getting profiled alongside sports and entertainment excellence. In recent weeks, the spotlight has shone brightly on superstars across the tennis and now soccer worlds. Should athletes be able to snub or ignore sponsors if they want to? Are athletes talking out of both sides of their mouth — wanting the cash but not the commitments that come with it? With the already controversial Tokyo Olympics coming up, will this issue run square up against the global-scale, five rings colossus?
Italy’s Manuel Locatelli has become the latest star to sideline a sponsor at the Euro 2020 football championship, following similar moves by Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba. On Tuesday, Portugal’s Ronaldo moved bottles of Coca-Cola out of shot at a pre-match press conference, instead of holding up a bottle of water, prompting the drinks giant’s share price to briefly drop purported by more than $4B. Ronald is media saavy and earns millions of dollars from brands. This is the brand guide for Herbalife which has a large sponsorship deal with El Bicho.
Later that day, France’s Paul Pogba placed a bottle of Heineken on the floor as he spoke to the press. A day later, Locatelli copied Ronaldo, firmly placing a bottle of water on the press conference table and moving away from two bottles of Coca-Cola. Players in the UEFA tournament are now being threatened with fines by the organization. These sponsorships are worth millions of dollars to UEFA and the players and there are contractual obligations to have those placements.
Is this more of individuals pushing back on brands they are not aligned with? Or are we all becoming aware of what brands mean on the large stage and seemingly casual product placements are becoming unwelcome?
3. Sometimes we can be undecided about the power and utility of freedom. It too can be a grey area. If we pursue freedom, are we really free? Guild Member Ken Streater wrote about freedom in the publication Grey Swan Wave 2 in the winter of the third wave of the pandemic in the US. We love that Ken combines liberty and community as what makes a better world.
Speaking of liberty and community, the two are inseparable. This is because liberty is relative to other people — or even one other person. What difference does it make if you have complete liberty if there is no one else around? In this regard, “Give me liberty or give me death” is an interesting goal. Complete liberty may as well be death, because you can only truly experience liberty in a society, with other people. It’s all relative. Some degree of obligation to others makes absolute liberty impossible. That is, unless you only want to share it with the birds and the bees. Complete liberty would be very lonely. How about this instead: “Give me liberty or give me love.” In other words, one needs to choose between complete freedom and companionship. Could you make this absolute choice? Or would you rather have some liberty and some love? Because some degree of freedom is a price you pay for the connection and obligation to others. Liberty, love, death, and community are intricately intertwined. Read the whole “Point of View” here and more from the Grey Swan Guild Wave 2 Publication . 🦢
The Bad 😬
1.Working in a coal mine. Who doesn’t want equal pay and fairness in hiring? Some corporations outside of Colorado, that’s who.
In January, a new Colorado law mandated that companies must disclose the pay range for open positions. If everyone knows what a job pays, it’s harder to discriminate. Not everyone loves the perceived administrative burden.
At Johnson & Johnson, roles recently posted for a commercial finance senior manager and a senior manager in operations include this caveat: “Work location is flexible if approved by the Company except that position may not be performed remotely from Colorado.”
It seems like employers are leaning in to take advantage of a new deal with employees living in lower-cost albeit beautiful locations with high bandwidth. If the trend continues there overall there should be better savings, lower-wage inflation and happier workers. It should be interesting to see what happens here in the free market. At this point polarization is increases. Supply and demand will rule in knowledge worker salaries.
Is this the reason Mr. Gorman, of Morgan Stanley executive fame, called out Colorado this week too in his unveiled threat? Is he seeking to segment pay schedules and establish different pay for the same work?
“None of this ‘I’m in Colorado and working in New York and getting paid like I’m in New York’. Sorry, that doesn’t work,” Gorman said.
This calls out the nature of pay. Are employees paid for work and do they have a separate allowance for living in expensive cities? This is kind of like hazard pay in the military. If you jump out of airplanes, you get paid more. It is transparent though that the case. Benefits should be transparent or the legal beagle will certainly sniff out unfairness. We expect contracts will change.
What’s interesting is that the law only requires a company to disclose pay if they have an office in the state. Are companies reading the fine print? Other states have implemented similar rules. Before the dust settles, we’re likely to see some litigation on the topic. Stay tuned, pay is being rethought by labour and management
2.Water, water everywhere and not a… er, or not if you live in the western U.S. Almost half of U.S. states are facing drought conditions in 2021. Low water levels in reservoirs and low soil moisture endanger wildlife, drive up produce costs, and increase the risk of wildfires. Eight states are in the midst of the two most severe types of drought.
Although drought hasn’t struck all of the U.S., the dry conditions can create ripple effects throughout the country because agriculture and other industries are connected nationwide.
Although the causes that lead to droughts are complex, evidence tells scientists that climate change is an important factor. Like it or not, people in drought conditions will face water restrictions no matter the cause.
3.Look out the window Eric. In a new episode of celebrities behaving badly, Eric Clapton takes the stage to rant about the dangers of the COVID vaccine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, and the decision to get vaccinated should be a choice. The problem with someone like Mr. Slow Hand is their influence is vast and people are prone to interpret opinions as facts, even when there are few facts to prove what they’re saying.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, a spokesperson for the MHRA, the UK governmental body overseeing the vaccine, declined to comment on Clapton but reiterated that “over 56 million doses of vaccines against COVID-19 have now been administered in the UK, saving thousands of lives through the biggest vaccination programme that has ever taken place in this country.
Should Mr. Clapton stick to playing guitar and his own feelings?
What’ll you do when you get lonely?
And nobody’s waiting by your side?
You’ve been running and hiding much too long
You know it’s just your foolish pride… — Layla
The Ugly 😱
1.We didn't start the fire. Coups are known for extreme violence; oppression; and extinguished freedoms. Add specific threats to schools in Myanmar. The country faces extreme turmoil as it contends with political unrest. Military forces are arresting people en masse. Since May 103 schools were targeted in attacks the include improvised explosive devices and firebombs.
While schools have been set on fire or bombed, it remains unclear who is behind the attacks. The military blames the anti-coup movement, but resistance fighters told independent media in Myanmar that they only target the military and would not harm civilians.
2. Tears are not enough. In London, Ontario, a family on an evening walk was brutally struck with a truck and murdered by a 20-year-old man, leaving a grandmother, father, mother and daughter dead. Their 9-year-old son survived with serious injuries. It was premeditated and he has been charged with hate crimes and terrorism.
One day after the June 6 attack on five pedestrians, the London Police Service moved quickly to charge the alleged attacker with four counts of first-degree murder. London police said that it was a premeditated act, motivated by hate, and the victims were targeted because they were Muslim.
The trial will be a lightning rod with issues around anti-Muslim racism and freedom to practice religion and freedom to not practice. The community and all faiths have rallied and are calling for the end of violence. A GoFundMe campaign has already raised almost $950,000 from over 16,000 donors.
The alleged killer has also been charged with terrorism, the first charge of its kind in Canada. There is a publication ban on the court proceedings. The world and all those who believe in freedom will be watching.
3.I hear you knocking and you got in. There has been yet another example of a massive cybercrime. This is complex. “Gaming giant Electronic Arts has had a massive data breach. Bad actors have stolen over 760GB of data and even worse source code, debugging tools and API Keys that allow anyone with programing know-how to exploit the services in games like FIFA, The Sims, Battlefield and Madden. There are 9 Million users of FIFA21 Soccer. A year subscription for the Ultimate version costs $99. EA earns $2.7B annually from virtual goods. The thieves have posted an offer of data and access to games for $28M. $28M? Wait. What? The company has claimed this has no effect on the business in a written statement. This is curious. The API Keys, Tools and data are disruptive to operations. Period. Even if they can close off things with rapid actions — it will distract the technical and security team, that an impact on future releases and revenue. There will be client data and possibly financial information that has been copied too. Bad actors could siphon millions in virtual goods. That list of 9M users, segmented is a huge value to competitors and other businesses. Loss of their source code makes them vulnerable to other attacks and that code, in competitors' hands is a problem as well. Could this be the next level of corporate espionage and active attacks on competitors? The bad actors may not even know they were engaged and funded by some other software entity. This needs investigation. As always, “follow the money” is a good algorithm to see who benefits and how.
It seems that there are regulations and laws that are missing when material problems that affect consumers and shareholders can be waved off as if they don’t matter. This seems like it may be an abrogation of a responsibility that is not against the law. It’s time for more changes here and more transparence to protect companies, shareholders and consumers. Unfortunately, this is not a national problem, it is a global threat to many economies if not all economies. Watch for large governments to create a pithy one-line policy that will change the economy and the threat. Think “War on Drugs:” or “Brexit” — this will indicate a new construct that will have a broad impact on more than a billion people. At a minimum, the FBI has to investigate EA and the bad actors. Not quite a grey swan but on the way there.
The Wrap Tapestry are the threads of the week woven in the patterns of happening. It’s not always clear what imagery will unfold, but it is useful to see them on the wall. Memes, Charts, Pictures, Maps, Videos, Haiku, Documentaries, Art, and other collected digital objects, everything together is a tapestry.
Meme of the Week
Who says romance is dead. This particular Time cover is real.
Chart of the Week
Ouch — in the largest drop since October, the markets are looking volatile. If you thought it was about inflation, think more. There such a thing as a “Quad Witch”, which is worth watching as a new piece of sensemaking lexicon. A quadruple witching is a session when stock index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single stock futures expire. In general, the market and individual stocks see much higher volumes during witching sessions.
Speech of the Week:
Someone should really collect the Class of 2021 Valedictorian Speeches. They are from the heart and have a vision politician should heed. Some things change and some things stay the same. When you read them you can but help remember your own graduation and can see the contrasts. The pandemic class of 2021 is special and the frosh are still lovingly panned between Uber Eats memories. Here’s one from the Aryan A, valedictorian of the EF Academy. There is no mention of sunscreen, but unprecedented is mentioned a lot. These speeches and student graduation addresses will be some of the most focused storytelling of the pandemic. Yet another natural experiment. Gather them.
Unprecedented is defined as never done or known before, and I’m sure all of you have heard this word countless times over the last year, being normalised into a word that correlates directly with COVID-19. But here, my intention is to connect this word with all of you; you are unprecedented, you are a high school class that has done something never known before. You see, all of us have had a roller coaster ride; from week-long quarantines to distance learning, masked classes to countless pending Google Classroom assignments, brunch check-ins to Monster-fuelled all-nighters and numerous other things.
All of our crazy roller coaster rides have been unprecedented, never seen before in the history of education, let alone at EF Academy, because let’s be honest, every batch that graduates from EF Academy is a special one. Maybe not the underclassmen we so lovingly dislike. More…
The Sense Making Lexicon — Terms of the Week
Myocarditis — A painful inflation of the heart. An unusual, treatable problem, and now a symptom in teen boys linked to mRNA vaccine that has people concerned of course. Covid 19 is and will be one of the most studied diseases in history.
Hoʻopono pono — Wikipedia definition (Jun 18, 2021) — (IPA [ho.ʔo.po.no.po.no]) is a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. The Hawaiian word translates into English simply as correction, with the synonyms manage or supervise, and the antonym careless. Similar forgiveness practices are performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditional Hoʻoponopono is practiced by Indigenous Hawaiian healers, often within the extended family by a family member. There is also a New Age practice that goes by the same name . [The pattern is deliciously clear. Repeat out loud, “I love you… I am sorry… I forgive you and Thank you”. IFF repeated, the context and usefulness will sort themselves out. Words have power. Words change minds. // Editor]
Photo of the Week
Boating anyone? With the extreme drought in the west, low snowfall totals, and water shortages, you may not need a boat for too much longer.
Video of the Week
Gentleman, Jon “oh so New York” Stewart was back with Steven Colbert, mastering the anxiety of the free world with the beautiful release of comedy. Live with a studio audience sharing the same rarefied air.
Rachel Boynton’s Civil War (or, Who Do We Think We Are) — Juneteeth Ready
That’s the Wrap! Your thoughts?
Why not join us on Sunday, 11 at 8:00 (PST)/11am (EST) /4pm (BST) on Clubhouse to engage with your favourite Grey Swan Guild Wrap Editors, including Sylvia Gallusser, Sean Moffitt, Agustín Borrazás, Rob Tyrie, Ben Thurman, Louise Mowbray and Antonia Nicols.
See you next week for Edition #23 where we will ponder and ruminate on the week that was, what it means for the future, and Wrap all up with a bow for the reader.
The GSG Medium is The Message
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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 Guild is sharing. Please drop by our Grey Swan Guild website (greyswanguild.org) 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.
This Week’s Grey Swan News Wrap Lead Editor and Sensemaker: Big Ben Thurman, with help from the glad hands and minds of the GSG Editorial Team: Sylvia Gallusser, Sean Moffitt, Louise Mowbray, Rob Tyrie, Doyle Buehler, Agustín Borrazás and Antonia Nicols.
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