The Profile: The real-life James Bond & the king of videoconferencing
Good morning, friends.
It feels like the entire world came to a grinding halt last week.
The reality of the coronavirus outbreak set in, and the collective worry was palpable. Colleagues began working from home, friends were texting about cancelling events, and family members in Bulgaria became concerned about their flights to the United States.
The distress has reached such high levels that the World Health Organization issued guidance for protecting your mental health. It advised to seek out information updates at specific times during the day because “a near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed.”
Uncertainty exacerbates feelings of powerlessness. Washing your hands somehow doesn’t feel like enough. That’s why we rush to the stores to stock up on supplies, wear face masks, and chug Vitamin-C supplements. Most importantly, we isolate ourselves from fellow human beings.
And that’s exactly what makes this period so anxiety-inducing. Normally in the wake of a crisis, people band together to offer comfort to complete strangers. But with coronavirus, offering a hug or a caring touch can make things worse. Social isolation is the best medicine for our physical well-being, but not for the mental.
This newsletter is about highlighting people’s humanity. I’ve written before about our instinctive need for human connection. And beyond the horror and tragedy of this pandemic, there’s one thing that continues to give me hope about society: Our ability to find (and create) collective joy in the face of utter chaos.
The best example of this phenomenon is Italy at the moment. Italians are currently under house arrest as the country attempts to prevent contagions and battle the virus. People are out on the balconies, playing music and singing with their fellow neighbors. Even on lockdown, they found a way to connect.
In Iran, medical staff dances in full scrubs to lift patients’ spirits.
Yo-Yo Ma created a “song of comfort” to help ease people’s mental anguish.
In the U.S, this man said, “I’m a garbageman, I can’t work from home and my job is an essential city service that must get done. It’s a tough job, from getting up pre-dawn to the physical toll it takes on my body to the monotonous nature of the job, at times it’s hard to keep on going. Right now though, right now I am feeling an extra sense of pride and purpose as I do my work. I see the people, my people, of my city, peeking out their windows at me. They’re scared, we’re scared. Scared but resilient.”
I’ll leave you with this quote from Fred Rogers:
“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.”
Hope each of you is staying safe and maintaining a good spirit.
— The real-life James Bond [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The king of videoconferencing
— The best climber in the world
— The medical professionals on the frontlines
— The glassblower-turned-billionaire
— The nanny of our childhood
— The famous newlywed who found God
— The Silicon Valley darling that imploded
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PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The real-life James Bond: Daniel Craig was only 37 years old when he was cast as the world’s most famous spy. Now, he’s 52, and he feels twinges of arthritis. “You get tighter and tighter,” Craig says. “And then you just don’t bounce.” In this profile, we learn about how he studied for the part of 007, what he did to inject emotion and morality into the character, and why he ultimately triumphed as Bond. (GQ)
“I wanted to inform the part and say that’s what he is. He’s kind of a fuckup. Because this job would fuck you up.”
The king of videoconferencing: Zoom, the video and audio conferencing company, had its biggest day last week as Covid-19 swept across the nation, leaving people quarantined at home working remotely. Now, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan has decided to give away his platform’s video tools for free to any K-12 school affected by the coronavirus. Here’s how Zoom has become one of the most in-demand software tools for the work (or study)-from-home economy. (Forbes)
"I think after this crisis is over, people will realize that to work at home probably is not bad.”
The best climber in the world: Adam Ondra is probably the best indoor climber in the world, probably the best outdoor climber in the world, and certainly the best combination of the two. Now, for the first time ever, a climbing event will debut in the Olympics … but it’s speed climbing, which Ondra hates. He’s about strategy, not speed. And as soon as the Olympics are over, he vows to never do the speed wall again. But first he has to get there. (New York Times)
“No matter what happens, I can come back to my rocks and do what I was used to doing. I can come back to what makes me happy.”
The medical professionals on the frontlines: Two young medical professionals who worked long hours on the front lines in Wuhan were some of the first to come down with fevers. Within weeks, both were in hospital beds, hooked up to IVs or oxygen machines. One recovered. The other did not. This profile delves into the devastation left behind in the wake of Covid-19. (The New York Times)
“I felt like I was walking on the edge of death.”
The glassblower-turned-billionaire: Jim McKelvey is one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. He’s a 54-year-old billionaire who has started six businesses including payments firm Square, whose market cap hovers at around $33 billion. His newest venture? He’s taking on fake news, clickbait, and the overload of online ads. (Forbes)
“I just want to live in a world where quality earns more money.”
The nanny of our childhood: If the name Fran Drescher doesn’t ring a bell, her iconic, nasally voice yelling “Mistuhhh Sheffield!” definitely will. She was Fran Fine from the 90s show The Nanny. In more than 25 years, it has never not been showing somewhere. Drescher, now 62, is a whole new woman — a cancer survivor, a marijuana evangelist, and a political opinionator. Take a look at what she’s up to in 2020. (New York Magazine)
“I went through a lot of trauma in high school. And watching you really got me through a lot.”
The famous newlywed who found God: Hailey Bieber’s life revolves around modeling, church, and her new husband Justin Bieber. At only 23 years old, Hailey seems quite grown up. As a kid, she saw her dad struggle with addiction, and, as an adult, she helped Justin deal with the same. But her first year of marriage to one of the most famous singers on the planet has been anything but smooth. (ELLE)
“It was months of me being a new wife trying to help him figure out what was wrong and what was going on.”
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The Silicon Valley darling that imploded: What happened at athletic apparel startup Outdoor Voices? Things seemed to be going so well. In this investigation, we learn about what happened behind the scenes of the seemingly booming startup. The report claims CEO Ty Haney was pushed out after clashing with more experienced male executives, highlighting a generational and gender divide within the company. What a wild ride. (The New York Times)
“Too often when ‘experience’ walks in the door, that ‘totally possible’ mind-set is gone.”
— Casey Neistat’s branding genius
— Barbara Walters’ life of firsts
— Jay-Z’s rise from poverty to superstardom
— Raoul Pal’s predictions about the economy
— Brandon Stanton’s storytelling process
— Tom Brady’s road to the greatest of all time
— Charlene de Carvalho’s legacy building
— Gayle King’s year of grace
AUDIO TO HEAR.
Casey Neistat’s branding genius: At age 17, Casey Neistat was a high school dropout, a dishwasher at a restaurant, and a teenage dad. Way before YouTube was a thing, Neistat saved up enough money to buy a camera and an iMac and began making home movies with his newborn son. With a whole lot of persistence, Neistat managed to defy the odds and build a successful career while also becoming one of the biggest names on YouTube, with an audience of nearly 12 million.
“I didn’t ask to be as lucky as I am. I have a debt. And that debt can only be paid through hard work.”
Barbara Walters’ life of firsts: Barbara Walters exudes confidence. Her career speaks for itself: She was the first woman to co-anchor The Today Show and she’s interviewed every president and first lady since Richard Nixon. In this podcast episode, she shares her interviewing techniques, how she got her big break, and what she’s learned from five decades in the media business.
“Luck is very important, but you have to know what to do with it.”
Jay-Z’s rise from poverty to superstardom: Jay-Z’s life could’ve gone in many different directions — and the “self-made billionaire” path wasn’t a likely one. In this master class, Jay-Z shares what he thinks about true excellence: it’s easy to achieve success once or twice, he says, but maintaining it is what separates the good from the great. He also offers personal revelations about integrity, failure and taking responsibility for everything. This is a really good one.
"Belief in oneself and knowing who you are, I mean, that's the foundation of everything great."
Raoul Pal’s predictions about the economy: Raoul Pal, the CEO of Real Vision Group, discusses the current economic environment and how the coronavirus could be the accelerant to a global slowdown. He makes some spooky predictions that have rang true in the last week. This is an educational and important listen.
“He who has cash in a recession is king.”
VIDEOS TO WATCH.
Brandon Stanton’s storytelling process: Ever wonder how the photographer behind Humans of New York manages to capture people at their most vulnerable? In this TEDx Talk, he explains why mainstream news doesn’t actually reflect reality, but rather, our interests. Here’s why Stanton chose to photograph regular people living regular lives, and why those stories are way more exciting than the ones we hear about in the news.
“When you go to sleep at night, know that the world outside your window isn’t nearly as dangerous or violent as the world inside your TV.”
Gayle King’s year of grace: Gayle King and Oprah have been friends for 40 years. In this interview, King discusses why she and Oprah clicked at such a young age, how she navigated divorce early in her career, and her thoughts on the backlash over her interview with former WNBA player Lisa Leslie after the death of Kobe Bryant. What an interview.
“Help comes from unexpected places.”
Tom Brady’s road to the greatest of all time: In the midst of the uncertainty of where Tom Brady will play in 2020, I want to resurface this documentary about his beginnings. Brady was selected with pick number 199 in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. This documentary tracks Brady’s path to becoming one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Today, he has a Super Bowl ring for every quarterback picked before him in the draft, but still feels like he has more to prove. (It pairs well with this profile.)
“It’s not a chip on my shoulder. It’s just that feeling of, ‘Maybe nobody wants you.’”
Charlene de Carvalho’s legacy building: Charlene de Carvalho was a 47-year-old stay-at-home mother of five when her father died and left her the family business. Not a big deal until you realize that meant running Heineken, which employs 73,000+ people. Carvalho had 10 days to make a choice: continue living comfortably as a housewife or run the world’s No. 3 brewer with no prior business experience. She chose the latter, and she’s now one of the wealthiest women in the world. (It pairs well with this profile.)
“I am a very shy person. I don’t crave attention, and I don’t crave the limelight, but my husband said, ‘You have a responsibility to do this.’ So I had to get over it.”
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