My Favorite Coronavirus Story

I hope this is true. Crain’s New York and other are reporting that the coronavirus pandemic is having a side benefit that I find wonderful (if true). All the dogs and cats in New York and the NYC area have been adopted.

via: Crain’s New York | “Of all the shortages created by the coronavirus pandemic—the toilet paper and the hand sanitizer and the bottled water—the oddest of them all has to be dogs. Oh, and cats too. That’s right, in the New York city area, the epicenter of the disease, there is suddenly a run on pets. At least of the adopted or fostered kind. Muddy Paws Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society are reporting shelters they work with are either all out of or almost out of cats and dogs after a surge in applications of as much as 10-fold in the past two weeks.

I will say emphatically that having our dog at our feet all day brings some comfort to me.

(Getty Images)’

PS: I wonder if our dog, Button, is looking up to us and saying, “why are you people at home all day — why aren’t you out there getting me dog food.”

Your Story (About Surviving a Global Pandemic) Starts Now


(This was published yesterday on Hammock Inc.’s weekly one-article newsletter called Idea Email. The people on the screen are not hired models. They are hired actors. Actually, they are real people who used to come to a Nashville office daily. Except for the one who lives in Birmingham. Oh, and you can subscribe to one of two flavors of Idea Email. To subscribe to the original Idea Email (general marketing ideas), click here. To subscribe to the Healthcare Idea Email (healthcare marketing ideas), click here.)


Many years ago, Hammock Inc. published a corporate magazine for a fast-growing company with more than 30,000 employees. Because much of the company’s growth came from acquisitions, it was a challenge for employees to keep up with all the things the corporation was becoming.

Inspired by National Geographic‘s issue-long photo feature, “A Day in the Life of America,” we suggested creating a corporate version. We told the company’s story through hundreds of photographs in locations across the country—all taken on the same day.

Our not-so-subtle message was this: “We’re all in this together, no matter where we are or what we do.”

Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, that message still rings true: We’re all in this together, and this worldwide health crisis will become a part of your company’s story—and its future.

Start creating your company’s story now.

> Ask your employees to use their smartphones to take photographs and short video snippets of their new home workspaces, video conference screens full of faces, and four-legged “co-workers.”

> Use FaceTime or Zoom to host short video or audio interviews with employees, clients and suppliers to learn how they are interacting and working in a new work-from-home environment. Ask people how they’re staying connected in the age of social distancing or ask working parents how they’re managing conference calls while homeschooling. These interviews may never be a “marketing thing,” but they may become a pillar of inspiration for future employees.

> Ask team members to write guest posts on your company’s blog about their day-to-day routine. What does the work day look like now that the daily commute is only from the bedroom to the makeshift desk in the dining room? How many cups of coffee are consumed every day?

> Take screenshots of humorous exchanges between team members on Slack or Basecamp, or save emails with kind remarks from clients and customers. Archive both the dramatic and the mundane.

Two years ago, Hammock produced a documentary to commemorate an organization’s 75th anniversary. It took nearly a year to collect the snippets of video and photography necessary to tell the organization’s story.

In the end, the most inspiring parts of the documentary were about the “little” things shared by former employees. Almost all of these stories had never been shared.

Capture your company’s story. Today. This week. It doesn’t matter if you use an iPhone camera or an expensive Nikon—just archive as much as possible. These stored memories will one day become a significant part of your company’s history.

Today, you are living the story of your organization’s history.

Today, you are creating its future.

(Photo from Hammock’s weekly Monday morning meeting)

Is it Okay to Ride a Bike During a Pandemic?

Riding a bike is like washing your hands. You should do lots of it to keep from getting caught in a pandemic.

Until yesterday, it had rained 40 days and 40 nights in Nashville.

The office has been remoting for two weeks.

Today, the sky is blue and the temperature is in the high 70s.

No way am I not going to ride my bike a long, long way.

(…)

So I did.

It was wonderful.

Before leaving, I noticed that on the bicycle-web there were lots of questions and debates about the protocol of riding a bike outside in a pandemic.

That’s like wondering if you should wash your hands with soap.

Here are my rules on riding a bike in a pandemic.

  1. Don’t ride near anyone.
  2. Stay far, far, away from anyone.
  3. Don’t ride close to me. I won’t crash but you might.
  4. Ride alone.
  5. Stop writing a list and go outside and ride.

(Back from riding. Here’s my report.)

It’s okay to ride, as long as you wash your hands. I experimented for 20 miles.

I didn’t see many people on bikes.

I didn’t see many people in cars, either.

A Google Taxonomy of Covid-19

Coronavirus information and resources (COVID-19)

Google has removed the smallDo the Five” front page GIF. A Google marketer, Joshua Spanier, Google’s global marketing VP for media, had earlier explained the reasoning behind the Do the Five focus and said then that Google would change the message and tone depending on how the “context” changed.

The new small link on the google home page now takes the user to a table of contents page — one that should give SEO folks a hint to what Google designers think is a good taxonomy.

The design is very simple and focused on how fast it can get you to the information you want. More Wikipedia than New York Times.

In other words, SEO is not just about who gets the user to the page. It’s about what is most helpful.

Help, not hype.