03.01.21

Huawei dabbles in electric cars

BY Fast Company Contributor 3 MINUTE READ

Chinese electronic giant Huawei plans to make electric vehicles under its own brand and could launch some models later this year.

Chinese electronic giant Huawei plans to make electric vehicles under its own brand and could launch some models this year, four sources said, as the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, battered by US sanctions, explores a strategic shift.

Huawei Technologies is in talks with state-owned Changan Automobile and other carmakers to use their car plants to make its electric vehicles, according to two of the people familiar with the matter.

Huawei is also in discussions with Beijing-backed BAIC Group’s BluePark New Energy Technology to manufacture its EVs, said one of the two and a separate person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The plan heralds a potentially major shift in direction for Huawei after nearly two-years of US sanctions that have cut its access to key supply chains, forcing it to sell a part of its smartphone business to keep the brand alive.

Huawei was placed on a trade blacklist by the Trump administration over national security concerns. Many industry executives see little chance that blocks on the sale of billions of dollars of US technology and chips to the Chinese company, which has denied wrongdoing, will be reversed by his successor.

A Huawei spokesman denied the company plans to design EVs or produce Huawei branded vehicles.

“Huawei is not a car manufacturer. However through ICT (information and communications technology), we aim to be a digital car-oriented and new-added components provider, enabling car OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to build better vehicles.”

Huawei has started internally designing the EVs and approaching suppliers at home, with the aim of officially launching the project as early as this year, three of the sources said.

Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group who led the company to become one of the world’s largest smartphone makers, will shift his focus to EVs, said one source. The EVs will target a mass-market segment, another source said.

All the sources declined to be named as the discussions are private.

Huawei could turn to Changan for its EV plan. Changan CS 15 EV400 pictured.

Chongqing-based Changan, which is making cars with Ford, declined to comment. BAIC BluePark did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Growing EV market

Chinese technology firms have been stepping up their focus on EVs in the world’s biggest market for such vehicles, as Beijing heavily promotes greener vehicles as a means of reducing chronic air pollution.

Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs), including pure battery electric vehicles as well as plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, are expected to make up 20% of China’s overall annual vehicle sales by 2025.

Industry forecasts put China’s NEV sales at 1.8 million units this year, up from about 1.3 million in 2020.

Huawei’s ambitious plans to make its own cars will see it join a raft of Asian tech companies that have made similar announcements in recent months, including Baidu and Foxconn.

“The novel and complicated US restrictions on semiconductors to Huawei have slowly been strangling the company,” said Dan Wang, a technology analyst with research firm Gavekal Dragonomics.

“So it makes sense that the company is pivoting to less chip-intensive industries in order to maintain operations.”

In the United States, Amazon.com and Alphabet are also developing car-related technology or investing in smart-car startups.

Huawei has been developing a swathe of technologies for EVs for years including in-car software systems, sensors for automobiles and 5G communications hardware.

The company has also formed partnerships with carmakers such as Daimler, General Motors and SAIC Motor to jointly develop smart vehicle technologies.

It has accelerated hiring of engineers for car-related technologies since 2018.

Huawei was awarded at least four patents related to EVs this week, including methods for charging between electric vehicles and for checking battery health, according to official Chinese patent records.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Reuters

This company wants to make trampoline desks a thing

BY Fast Company Contributor 4 MINUTE READ

For many people who suddenly had to switch to remote work, the one-year work-from-home anniversary is coming up fast. A year in, workers are still trying to figure out the best home-office setup. Some of us have graduated from couch to desk. Others, concerned about too much sitting, switched to standing desks. But one company says even standing is not enough to combat our sedentary lifestyles. The solution? Trampolines, apparently.

For many people who suddenly had to switch to remote work, the one-year work-from-home anniversary is coming up fast. A year in, workers are still trying to figure out the best home-office setup. Some of us have graduated from couch to desk. Others, concerned about too much sitting, switched to standing desks. But one company says even standing is not enough to combat our sedentary lifestyles. The solution? Trampolines, apparently.

Bellicon is a maker of mini-trampolines, or “rebounders,” principally for fitness workouts known as rebounding. But the company has also tried to make trampolines a central part of work well-being. For office workers, that could mean taking breaks from the desk to rebound or, better yet, working at a standing desk while constantly bouncing.

This isn’t about turning us into full-fledged trapeze artists and the office into Cirque du Soleil. It’s about small exertions, allowing us to continue bouncing for hours. “Rebounding is like an environment,” says John Hines, Bellicon USA’s director of communications. He says to think of it like being in a pool and gently paddling. “I could sit here all day if I was just sort of paddling around, floating about.”

It’s a reaction against our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, which our hunter-gatherer ancestors would supposedly have found unnatural, “10,000 years ago, when lunch meant charging meals with a spear instead of a credit card,” reads Bellicon’s workplace brochure. “What we’re really trying to do,” Hines says, “is get back a portion of the activity we would have had 200 years ago, and then 10,000 years ago. Nobody sat for hours a day unless you were dying. We essentially act like we’re seriously ill or dying.”

Before the pandemic, Bellicon was on a mission to persuade workplaces to rid themselves of the desk chair, which it calls “the most dangerous device in your office,” and replace them with mini-trampolines. It suggests different configurations: mini-trampolines at each desk in an open-plan environment; meeting rooms with trampolines around a table; perhaps rebound stations so employees can fit in a quick “micro-workout” while the coffee is brewing or they’re on the way to the bathroom. Now, it’s even easier to set them up in a home office. They’re lightweight and small enough to stow away at the end of the workday.

Hines laments that the pitch to offices never took off—a shame, because of the many fitness benefits. “It’s really unknown,” he says. “It’s not in the canon of exercises.” Many resources agree rebounding is good for conditioning: It engages many muscle sets and gives a good cardio workout with the potential to burn fat. Besides, in Hines’s personal experience, it’s simply a “euphoric,” mood-boosting experience. He says he felt less lethargic and more productive when he used his rebounder regularly at the office. “I felt there was a spring—we use bungees—but there was a spring in my step,” he says.

The company claims a long list of additional health benefits, starting with improvements in bone strength, which has some scientific support, and it touts its endorsement from the American Chiropractic Association. Other weighty claims include: “Gentle g-forces dramatically increase lymphatic circulation, cleansing your body of toxins, viruses and bacteria”; “lubricates joints and reduces symptoms of arthritis”; “boosts your metabolism and circulates oxygen to your brain more efficiently than anything else.” While a handful of studies found some tenuous evidence for these claims, there’s little consistent scientific support overall.

A NASA study published during the height of the “rebounding craze” of the early ’80s is the most frequently cited by pro-bouncers. It showed that physical output was greater from jumping on a trampoline than running, thanks in part to the g-force. But a 2015 New York Times health column said newer studies have disagreed with that conclusion. “By most estimates,” wrote the columnist, Gretchen Reynolds, “rebound exercise is, at best, aerobically mild, requiring less effort than bowling and about the same as playing croquet.” (Reynolds did not list any sources for this assertion.)

Still, the company is insistent on its claims that rebounding “protects you from disease,” making a financial argument that businesses can therefore save on healthcare costs. Bellicon claims average healthcare costs at about $12,800 per employee per year and cites an average of 14 sick days. If rebounding “counteracts the multitude of health problems,” then investing in a trampoline pays dividends, it says. The Bellicon workplace model is priced at $459, less than the cost of two sick days per employee, which it estimates at $720.

For now, the company is still working on getting the message out—which includes eradicating one of the sticking points. “The biggest problem is that a fitness trampoline looks like a child’s toy,” Hines says. “A lot of people can’t get past that, and they don’t realize that what they’re really seeing is a gravity-generating device.”

____________________________________________________________________________________

Article originally published on fastcompany.com.

02.26.21

5 hidden Google features you need to know about

BY Fast Company Contributor 3 MINUTE READ

For a tool most of us use every day to find stuff on the web, Google has more than a few helpful tricks up its sleeve that aren’t super apparent unless you know where to look.

Here are a few I’ve found recently that have saved me countless clicks, spared me visits to garishly designed apps, and generally made things a little less complicated.

ORDER UP SOME FOOD

There are enough food-ordering services out there that you might starve before flipping through them all to find something you want.

Instead, just navigate to orderfood.google.com, and you’ll be presented with a map of nearby restaurants that offer pickup and delivery.

Google pulls in listings from popular apps and services and lets you browse by category if you’re in the mood for a particular style of food.

Once you’re ready to order, you can do so via a clean, easy, very Google-like interface instead of being shuttled off to a third-party app or site. I’ve actually found it easier to use than just about any other service out there. So check it out the next time the fridge is empty or you don’t want to mess up your kitchen.

SEARCH WITH A FRIEND

My wife and I are planning a trip to the Bahamas next year, but our cabin fever has gotten so out of control that we’re already researching bars, restaurants, beaches, and stuff like that.

In the past, we would have texted links back and forth to each other and, come time for the trip, forgotten just about everything. Not this time!

Using the Google search app (Android, iOS), we can create collections to house all our findings.

I created a “Bahamas Trip” collection (here’s how) and then invited my wife as a contributor. Between now and our trip, we can add interesting sites, photos, videos, and other fodder to our collection (here’s how), then revisit them once we (finally) reach our destination.

For those of you keeping score, my prospects for a dynamite pale ale don’t look too good. Send any recommendations my way.

FIND SOMETHING TO WATCH

When it comes to entertainment, we’ve got an embarrassment of riches at the moment, and things won’t slow down anytime soon. The problem is finding something you want to watch that also happens to be available on one of the dozen or so streaming services you regularly use.

For that, just type “what to watch” into Google and you’ll get a nearly endless list of shows and movies to choose from. From there, you can drill down by category, select just shows or movies, and—best of all—click the “Edit your services” button in the upper-right corner to select the services you subscribe to.

By default, you’ll see stuff in your chosen genre that can be rented. But there’s a “free” option among the genres that then shows you the titles that are available as part of one of your subscriptions.

Select that along with the genre or genres that interest you and you’ll get a much better selection of titles that you can stream without spending any extra money.

FOLLOW STOCKS

Now that we’re all GameStop millionaires, it’s time to diversify our portfolios, right?

Even if you regularly use a single brokerage firm, Google’s finance portal—finance.google.com—is quick, easy, and clean.

You can follow all the stocks you own by searching for their respective ticker symbols and clicking the blue Follow button in the upper-right corner of each one’s summary search result.

Once you’ve got everything squared away, a quick visit to Google Finance gives you a bird’s-eye view of your gains and losses, shows you upcoming earnings calls, and serves up financial news headlines.

FIND FLIGHTS

Like the aforementioned food-ordering features, Google’s flight finder—flights.google.com— just does flight searches better, more cleanly, and less annoyingly than other flight-search sites.

Flight info is pulled from 300-plus travel sites and can be presented based on what’s best from a price-to-convenience standpoint. There are also helpful little extras such as information on seat features—legroom, outlets, Wi-Fi, and the like—and price predictions to help you decide whether to buy now or wait a bit.

If the latter makes sense, you can view additional flight dates and prices from a straightforward calendar grid to see if other days are cheaper, or just let Google track the prices of your trip for you, sending you an email once things start trending downward.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Article originally published on fastcompany.com.

02.24.21

The amazing images NASA’s Perseverance Rover is sending from Mars

BY Fast Company Contributor 4 MINUTE READ

The mission to search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet has been years in the making. Now, pictures of the rover’s perilous descent and perfect landing offer the first clues about the place they’ve chosen to explore.

In one photo, the rover’s wheels sit atop an expanse of reddish dust pocked with pebbles. In another, there’s a cluster of small rocks full of spongelike holes.

That dark feature in the distance – could it be a cliff face? Did these deposits form from a volcanic eruption, or are they sediments left behind by vanished water?

In the 24 hours since NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Thursday, scientists and engineers have been ecstatically scouring every image it sends back to Earth. The mission to search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet has been years in the making. Now, pictures of the rover’s perilous descent and perfect landing offer the first clues about the place they’ve chosen to explore.

Over the coming days and weeks, engineers will begin to deploy the sophisticated cameras and other instruments that can reveal the composition of the rocks and the history of the surrounding landscape. It will take years, if not decades, for scientists to determine whether life ever dwelled here.

For now, they’re happy goggling at the pictures.

Scientists were rendered almost speechless by the image taken from the rover’s rocket-powered descent stage Thursday, mere seconds before it gently lowered the robot to ground.

In the photo, the rover dangles from four cables, its six wheels poised barely 20 feet above the rocky surface. An electronic umbilical cord spirals up to an unseen spacecraft, while plumes of dust puff upward at the vehicle’s approach.

“The clarity, and just – the reality of it,” Pauline Hwang, strategic mission manager for the rover’s surface operations, said at a news briefing Friday. A veteran of four Mars missions, Hwang has seen her share of landings. But this was the first time a camera had captured some of the “seven minutes of terror” that occur between the second a spacecraft enters Mars’ atmosphere and the moment it touches down.

“We just – it was just – it was unbelievable,” Hwang said. “All of us just gazed in awe last night.”

NASA on Friday also released an image taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a satellite positioned above Perseverance’s landing site at Jezero Crater. It shows the faint bright blur of the spacecraft hurtling above the vast desolation of the Red Planet.

Early images taken by the rover’s engineering cameras depict the robot positioned on relatively level ground.

“When I look at this image, first of all, I feel a great sense of relief,” Aaron Stehura, the entry, descent and landing flight system engineer, said Friday. “I see a landing site that looks relatively safe.”

The spot has tremendous scientific significance. The rocks beneath the rover date back more than 3.5 billion years, to the time when Mars had a thicker atmosphere and liquid water on its surface, said deputy project scientist Katie Stack Morgan. Back then, a sprawling river delta spilled into a lake that filled Jezero Crater. If any microorganisms swam in those waters, their fossils might be preserved in the sediments that accumulated in the delta.

When Perseverance’s first images came down overnight, “our chats just lit up with the science teams saying, ‘Look over here,’ ” Stack Morgan said Friday. “We’re picking out different colours and tones and textures, trying to figure out what these rocks might represent.”

And they’re already debating what route the rover should take to reach the cliffs of the delta.

“Between us and the delta, we have a lot of interesting science to do,” Stack Morgan said.

Landing on Mars is notoriously difficult; about half of all missions to the planet have failed. But Perseverance is the ninth NASA spacecraft to reach the surface of the Red Planet. It is also the second mission to use the ambitious “sky crane” technique.

Perseverance’s voyage will be better documented than any other interplanetary mission in NASA history. There are 19 cameras on the rover, plus four more on parts of the spacecraft involved in Thursday’s entry, descent and landing. NASA expects to release video of the terrifying landing process in the days ahead.

Microphones affixed to the rover were set to record the spacecraft’s arrival at the Red Planet and capture sound throughout its mission. Stehura said Friday it’s not yet clear whether the microphones captured audio during the descent.

Perseverance’s machinery is in good condition, Hwang reported Friday. Engineers have released the high gain antenna it will use to communicate with Earth. Soon, they’ll command the rover to raise its head (called the mast) and start photographing its surroundings with more powerful cameras.

Once the rover has gotten a software update and a clean bill of health, it will drive to a flat spot that can serve as a landing pad for the small, experimental helicopter that hitched a ride on the robot’s underbelly. Engineers will spend about 30 days testing out the helicopter, named Ingenuity – the first-ever experiment in controlled, powered flight on another planet.

Then, Perseverance will spend at least the next two years traversing the landscape in search of potential fossil-bearing rocks, which it will collect and store in sterilized tubes. NASA and the European Space Agency are in the early stages of designing follow-up missions to retrieve the sample tubes and return them to Earth, where they can be studied in state-of-the-art laboratories.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Author: Washington Post. Article originally published on iol.co.za.

Here’s what will happen to your WhatsApp account if you don’t agree to the new privacy settings

BY Fast Company Contributor < 1 MINUTE READ

WhatsApp is updating its privacy policies, and if you don’t agree to the changes by May 15, you’ll see some limitations on your account.

WhatsApp is updating its privacy policies, and if you don’t agree to the changes by May 15, you’ll see some limitations on your account.

“For a short time, you’ll be able to receive calls and notifications, but won’t be able to read or send messages from the app,” the Facebook-owned messaging service warns.

You’ll still be able to accept the changes after that date, but the company’s policy on inactive accounts will apply as usual, which implies you could see your account deleted after 120 days of nonuse.

The privacy update is controversial since it includes sharing some data, such as your phone number, IP address, and “information on how you interact with others” with WhatsApp parent Facebook.

If you don’t like the new privacy policy and simply want to be done with WhatsApp, you might want to export your settings and chat history from the app so you don’t lose them. To export your settings and account information, go to the Settings menu and tap Account, then Request account info.

To get your actual messages exported from the app, use the app’s manual backup feature, available on both iPhone and Android. Messages generally are just stored in the app, not on WhatsApp’s servers, so make sure to run the export before you get a new phone.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Article originally published on fastcompany.com.

02.23.21

How to prevent another GameStop disaster

BY Fast Company Contributor 4 MINUTE READ

The mind-numbing inanity of last week’s GameStop hearing on Capitol Hill in the US was just as predictable as the worthless result.

The mind-numbing inanity of last week’s GameStop hearing on Capitol Hill in the US was just as predictable as the worthless result. Of course members of both parties wanted in on the media frenzy surrounding Robinhood and WallStreetBets, the Reddit forum where thousands of amateur investors mounted a historic campaign to pump (and dump) the stock of a left-for-dead video game retailer.

Talking heads on CNBC were alarmed, and so the House Financial Services Committee ordered hearings, subpoenaed witnesses, and played for the cameras at every turn. By the end of last Thursday’s spectacle, the consensus was clear: We learned absolutely nothing.

Not surprisingly, US Congress focused on the wrong culprit. Yes, Robinhood’s marketing as “the platform for the average investor” ended up conflicting with their treatment of the average investor once they had to stop taking GameStop trades, making them look like greedy hypocrites. (Fast Company has a brief explainer here.) And yes, the use of Reddit and Twitter to drive market forces and propel certain stocks is new and a little scary.

But Robinhood, Reddit, and Twitter were all using their platforms in the exact ways they were intended: to spread and drive information and access. If there’s a villain in the GameStop saga, it’s the federal regulators—in this case, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—who failed to notice that the world was changing and didn’t bother to update the rules accordingly.

By definition, regulation will always lag behind innovation. Regulators can’t know what rules are needed until an entrepreneur first thinks of the new idea, turns it into actual technology, turns that technology into a business, and then starts selling its product or service. But once that happens, it’s not necessary to wait for a debacle before updating the rules. In the case of GameStop, the two-day settlement requirement meant that Robinhood couldn’t keep taking trades absent raising more capital.

That two-day waiting period made sense in a previous era—one before blockchain and the cloud. But that waiting period still exists because of inertia and complexity—and, historically, because it produced extra revenue for brokerages—not because it’s technologically necessary. Real-time settlement is not only feasible, it would have prevented all of the harms caused to Robinhood’s investors. The SEC knows that, but it didn’t act on it. That was a mistake.

GameStop is but one example. Take something more significant like self-driving cars and trucks. Even though autonomous vehicles offer vast potential to save lives, time, and money, the government and the industry are in a state of mutual paralysis. The U.S. Department of Transportation, under the Trump administration, simply refused to deal with the issue. Rather than creating a regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles, they did nothing. That means interstate autonomous travel is largely illegal and the ability to introduce self-driving cars and trucks to the market is extremely limited. It’s impossible to fully develop and deploy autonomous cars and trucks if you can’t test them in all situations, and especially if they’re never allowed to cross state lines. As a result, nothing happens. That isn’t helping anyone.

Technology and regulation can’t each develop in completely separate vacuums. It’s not the role of government to predict which technologies will and won’t work, but once a technology in a regulated industry—finance, insurance, transportation, health care, or education—starts gaining traction, public servants can’t pretend it isn’t happening. There’s nothing prohibiting regulators from learning about new technologies in their field, seeing what has momentum among investors and consumers, and then intelligently acting on these new developments so that the laws address the market as it exists today, not as it was 10 years ago.

Nor does the process have to be painful. There’s no rule of nature that decrees that every interaction between startups and government has to be hostile. Startups gain traction when consumers want to use their products. Once consumers have voted with their wallets, that should be a clear signal to regulators that their constituents want to be able to use whatever this new product or service is.

At that point, rather than just telling the startup that they can’t operate because the law never contemplated their approach—to selling insurance or taking online bets or letting people use electric scooters—it’s incumbent on regulators to figure out how to make it work. In other words, take the time to reach out to the startup in question and work with them to figure out how to update the laws. Threatening them because they didn’t seek your permission is counterproductive. Telling them that the market is not a reflection of what the voters want is disingenuous. Trying to shut them down because the entrenched interest being disrupted gives your boss (i.e. the politician who appointed you) money is corrupt. Pick up the phone or send an email or a text or a DM and say “let’s figure this out together.” It’s not that hard.

Startups that treat the government as the enemy and refuse to participate in the democratic process are wrong to do so. And regulators who imperiously lord their power over startups for no good reason are kind of pathetic. When either party behaves that way, it defeats the underlying purpose. Startups don’t spend time and money to develop a new idea just to have it stopped because of regulation. Regulators don’t serve in office just to prevent anything new from happening.

Everyone, on both sides, is supposed to want to use their talents to make things better, easier, faster, and cheaper. Now that everyone’s focused, we’ll probably see action from the SEC to permit real-time settlement and prevent another GameStop. But it shouldn’t have come to this. And for the thousands of other technologies out there beyond real-time settlements, it doesn’t have to. A little mutual respect, a little willingness to swallow your ego, and some hard work can solve the problem. There’s no excuse not to do it.

_______________________________________________________________________

Article originally published on fastcompany.com.

02.19.21

Here’s how to know when quitting your job can be a good idea

BY Fast Company Contributor 4 MINUTE READ

Learn the art ’strategic quitting’

Generally, society tends to prize that workers should never quit. The idea like “never give up,” and “stick it out” are common phrases meant to encourage people to just keep going.

As far as maxims go, they are not wrong. Resilience is crucial to success. However, I’d like to draw a distinction between sticking it out for the sake of not giving up or not wanting to look “wrong” and sticking it out because you are 100% committed to what you have chosen, because it aligns with your values and strengths.

If it’s for the sake of the first reason, I’d like to introduce the idea of “strategic quitting.” Seth Godin talks about this in his book, The Dip, when there is nowhere to grow, it’s time to get out and reallocate your resources. Quit quickly, until you find the thing that you love and are committed to 100%, and then, stick it out, until you become the best in the world.

How does that work in a business context? Decide on a goal and vision that you are 100% committed to. I mean the big picture goal, about what impact you want to have on people. Then, be prepared to change and pivot the steps you take on the way, to get there. If you’re constantly on the treadmill, and not getting the results you want, change the how.

For me, quitting was a matter of what made the most sense for me, at a unique inflection point in my life.

As I strode through Heathrow airport, in Spring 2019, on my way to catch a flight to Istanbul, my mobile phone rang. “We did it.” The voice on the other end of the line said. My startup co-founder. “He’s going to invest into the business.” At a time when I should have been elated at huge investment, my heart sank. The few months prior to that phone call, I had actually started to regain my sanity, after more than two years of chronic stress, anxiety and near burnout. It meant that if we took the investment, I was tied to my startup for the next few years.

A month after that phone call, I shut down my business. Other people found it hard to understand. They said, “You’ve put so much time and money into this”; but “look at everything you’ve achieved so far.” Listening to them, I still felt it wasn’t right. At that point in my life, I had founded two startups—the first one, still flourishing today, with my co-founder at the helm; and the second, I started a tech startup on my own, determined to prove that I could do it. And, like many decisions in my life, up until that point, it was done for the wrong reasons.

I strategically quit, so I could find what I really wanted. What I could become best in the world at and create maximum impact, and through that a profitable business. So, how do you know when to strategically quit? Start by asking yourself some priority-aligning questions.

ARE YOU TRYING TO PROVE A POINT?

Ever since I remember, I was always trying to prove something to someone. If someone told me I couldn’t achieve a certain grade or get into a certain school; I would go to tremendous lengths to prove them wrong. Most of the time, I did prove them wrong, through sheer force of will.

I didn’t realize how much I took that conditioning forward—everything became about proving to myself and other people that I COULD do something, regardless of whether it made me happy. For leaders, that might look like not wanting to be seen to be wrong or a failure. That is not the best basis for career or business decision making.

In trying to prove a point, I did not stop to ask myself, if this is what I wanted and whether it was the best decision.

ASK YOURSELF, ARE YOU NOT ACHIEVING WHAT YOU WANT BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT FULLY COMMITTED—OR BECAUSE YOUR APPROACH IS WRONG?

The “always on” hustle culture that we live in says that, if we’re not getting the results we want, we need to try harder. In fact, constant “busyness” is worn like a badge of honour. It’s the only addiction that people actually celebrate.

How often do we look at the reasons WHY we’re not getting the results we want? Often, that involves taking a step back from doing. Get off the treadmill and look at what’s really going on.

When you are great at something and love doing it, you naturally want to do it more and become better at it. You have the drive to be best in class.

Ask yourself, are you not achieving what you want, because you’re not fully committed, or because you need to change the HOW you get there?

IS YOUR HEART IN IT?

My heart was never in my tech startup. I did it to prove I could, I did it for the prestige, I did it to make money, I did it because other people had done it.

None of those reasons were good reasons by themselves. The way I talked about it, should have been a clue for me. I was always one foot in, one foot out, of that treadmill.

I’m not saying that if your heart is in a project, that it will be 100% smooth sailing. It won’t be. But at least, you will always know your why for engaging in a new undertaking. And that powerful why, can carry you through the hard times. When you’re all in, you’re committed. You find the best way; pivot the steps you take. When you’re really committed to something, you’ll overcome what’s blocking you.

It’s not easy to walk away from a success-laden commitment, but with the right understanding, it may be the best step for you to move forward.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Article originally published on fastcompany.com.

02.18.21

In his own words: Bill Gates gives us 3 lessons from Covid-19 we can use to fight climate change

BY Fast Company Contributor 5 MINUTE READ

In this excerpt from his new book, the philanthropist explains how the struggle against the pandemic can help guide us as we work to end global warming.

As of February 2021, COVID-19 has killed more than 2.2 million people around the world. The pandemic has changed the way we work, live, and socialize.

At the same time, 2020 also brought new reasons to be hopeful about climate change. With the election of Joe Biden as president, the United States is poised to resume a leading role on the issue. China committed to the ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2060. In 2021, the United Nations will gather in Scotland for another major summit on climate change. Of course, none of this guarantees that we’ll make progress, but the opportunities are there.

I expect to spend much of my time in 2021 talking with leaders around the world about both climate change and COVID-19. I will make the case to them that many of the lessons from the pandemic—and the values and principles that guide our approach to it—apply just as well to climate change.

HELPING OTHERS IS NOT JUST AN ACT OF ALTRUISM—IT’S ALSO IN OUR SELF-INTEREST. WE ALL HAVE REASONS TO GET TO ZERO AND HELP OTHERS DO IT TOO. TEMPERATURES WILL NOT STOP RISING IN TEXAS UNLESS EMISSIONS STOP RISING IN INDIA.

First, we need international cooperation. The phrase “we have to work together” is easy to dismiss as a cliché, but it’s true. When governments, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies worked together on COVID-19, the world made remarkable progress—for example, developing and testing vaccines in record time. And when we didn’t learn from each other and instead demonized other countries, or refused to accept that masks and social distancing slow the spread of the virus, we extended the misery.

The same is true for climate change. If rich countries worry only about lowering their own emissions and don’t consider that clean technologies need to be practical for everyone, we’ll never get to zero. In that sense, helping others is not just an act of altruism—it’s also in our self-interest. We all have reasons to get to zero and help others do it too. Temperatures will not stop rising in Texas unless emissions stop rising in India.

Second, we need to let science—actually, many different sciences—guide our efforts. In the case of COVID-19, we are looking to biology, virology, and pharmacology, as well as political science and economics—after all, deciding how to distribute vaccines equitably is an inherently political act. And just as epidemiology tells us about the risks of COVID-19 but not how to stop it, climate science tells us why we need to change course but not how to do it. For that, we must draw on engineering, physics, environmental science, economics, and more.

Third, our solutions should meet the needs of the people who are hardest hit. With COVID-19, the people who suffer most are the ones who have the fewest options—working from home, for example, or taking time off to care for themselves or their loved ones. And most of them are people of color and lower-income people.

In the United States, Black people and Latinx people are disproportionately likely to contract the coronavirus and to die from it. Black and Latinx students are also less likely to be able to attend school online than their white peers. Among recipients of Medicare, the COVID-19 death rate is four times higher for those who are poor. Closing these gaps will be key to controlling the virus in the United States.

Globally, COVID-19 has undone decades of progress on poverty and disease. As governments moved to deal with the pandemic, they had to pull people and money away from other priorities, including vaccination programs. A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that in 2020, vaccination rates dropped to levels last seen in the 1990s. We lost 25 years of progress in about 25 weeks.

Rich nations, already generous in their giving for global health, will need to be even more generous to make up for this loss. The more they invest in strengthening health systems around the world, the more prepared we will be for the next pandemic.

In the same way, we need to plan for a just transition to a zero-emissions future. People in poor countries need help adjusting to a warmer world. And wealthier countries will need to acknowledge that the energy transition will be disruptive for the communities that rely on today’s energy systems: the places where coal mining is the main industry, where cement is made, steel is smelted, or cars are manufactured. In addition, many people have jobs that indirectly rely on those industries—when there is less coal and fuel to move around, there will be fewer jobs for truck drivers and railroad workers. A significant portion of the working-class economy will be affected, and there should be a transition plan in place for those communities.

Finally, we can do the things that will both rescue economies from the COVID-19 disaster and spark innovation to avoid a climate disaster. By investing in clean-energy research and development—R&D—governments can promote economic recovery that also helps reduce emissions. Although it’s true that R&D spending has its biggest impact over the long term, there’s also an immediate impact: This money creates jobs quickly. In 2018, the U.S. government’s investment in all sectors of research and development directly and indirectly supported more than 1.6 million jobs, producing $126 billion in income for workers and $39 billion in federal and state tax revenue.

R&D isn’t the only area where economic growth is connected to zero-carbon innovation. Governments can also help clean-energy companies grow by adopting policies that reduce the Green Premium and make it easier for green products to compete with their fossil-based competitors. And they can use funding from their COVID-19 relief packages for things such as expanding the use of renewables and building integrated electricity grids.

The year 2020 was a huge and tragic setback. But I am optimistic that we will get COVID-19 under control in 2021. And I’m optimistic that we’ll make real progress on climate change—because the world is more committed to solving this problem than it has ever been.

When the global economy went into severe recession in 2008, public support for action on climate change plummeted. People just couldn’t see how we could respond to both crises at the same time.

This time is different. Even though the pandemic has wrecked the global economy, support for action on climate change is just as high as it was in 2019. Our emissions, it seems, are no longer a problem that we’re willing to kick down the road.

The question now is this: What should we do with this momentum? To me, the answer is clear. We should spend the next decade focusing on the technologies, policies, and market structures that will put us on the path to eliminating greenhouse gases by 2050. It’s hard to think of a better response to a miserable 2020 than spending the next 10 years dedicating ourselves to this ambitious goal.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Here’s how scientists are using AI to predict the next coronavirus

BY Fast Company Contributor < 1 MINUTE READ

Scientists have used AI to figure out where the next novel coronavirus may emerge.

Scientists have used AI to figure out where the next novel coronavirus may emerge.

The team of researchers used a combination of machine learning and fundamental biology as their artificial intelligence algorithm predicted more potential hosts of strains than have been detected.

The study was published in the Nature Communications journal, and Dr. Marcus Blagrove – virologist at the University of Liverpool – said: “We want to know where the next coronavirus might come from.

“One way they’re generated is through recombination between two existing coronaviruses – so two viruses infect the same cell and they recombine into a ‘daughter’ virus that would be an entirely new strain.”

The algorithm was first tasked with finding biological patterns to predict which mammals could be susceptible to coronavirus.

This revealed links between 876 specials and 411 strains of coronavirus.

The predictive step looked at specials able to harbour several viruses.

Dr. Maya Wardeh – lead researcher – noted how she used biological knowledge to teach the AI to find patterns.

She said: “We were able to predict which species had the chance for many coronaviruses to infect them.

“Either because they are very closely related [to a species known to carry a coronavirus] or because they share the same geographical space.”

____________________________________________________________________________________

02.17.21

Blackberry to make a comeback with new 5G devices

BY Fast Company Contributor < 1 MINUTE READ

US-based startup OnwardMobility has announced its agreement to release a new Android-based BlackBerry smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard and 5G support in the first half of 2021.

Under the terms of the agreement, BlackBerry has granted OnwardMobility the right to develop, engineer, and bring to market a BlackBerry 5G mobile device.

“BlackBerry is thrilled OnwardMobility will deliver a BlackBerry 5G smartphone device with a physical keyboard leveraging our high standards of trust and security synonymous with our brand,” John Chen, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We are excited that customers will experience the enterprise and government level security and mobile productivity the new BlackBerry 5G smartphone will offer”.

Earlier, Chinese company TCL reached an agreement with BlackBerry to manufacture BlackBerry-branded devices in 2016 and this partnership is set to expire at the end of August, paving the way for OnwardMobility to step in.

“BlackBerry smartphones are known for protecting communications, privacy, and data. This is an incredible opportunity for OnwardMobility to bring next-generation 5G devices,” said Peter Franklin, CEO of OnwardMobility.

However, no other information regarding the device has been shared as of yet and it is not clear if this will be a flagship device or just another mid-ranger.

BlackBerry exited the business in 2016 following years of declining sales due to the rise in popularity of the iPhone and Android smartphones.

________________________________________________________________________