Coverage of last week’s presidential debate unfolded in a predictable way: who won, who lost, who had click-friendly “moments.” But while the event had less noise than its predecessor, it was still very much like the first debate, given how many subjects that truly matter to American voters were left off the table. In fact, the debate had little to do with our country’s economy for the next two decades — which is a major miss. It is also why the majority of Americans tune politics out — and, frankly, hate Washington. And not to put too fine a point…


When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States, the workplace for many Americans dramatically changed overnight. Running a business from the kitchen counter quickly became the new normal. Businesses and companies throughout America have quickly learned to adapt to what has become the new normal in the American workforce. And while many businesses and corporations have hoped for a return to pre-COVID practices, the reality for many has become clearer: at least until we develop a successful vaccine that can fight this virus, the evolution of the new normal in the American workforce is here to stay.

As companies across…


Businesses are faced with a new challenge: they must balance the need to achieve profitability, while also sustaining a healthy productive work-life balance for their employees.

A growing amount of research has shown that working from home has the potential to become a valuable business strategy — especially when it comes to productivity, diversity, and profitability.

When employees work from home, they’re able to skip the extra coffee breaks, the long commute, and the distractions that come with working in an office space. The outcome? …


Zoom fatigue seems to be everywhere these days. Constantly dealing with frozen screens, software crashes, and poor internet connections is not only exhausting — it’s also inefficient. Now, problems that would have taken 20 minutes to solve over the phone are stretched out to last an hour-long Zoom meeting. Additionally, research has shown that video calls are actually more draining than face-to-face conversations and making it harder for employees to find a work-life balance — leading to what I call “Zoom burnout.”

To make things worse, many companies are now using various technologies to monitor employees — tracking the words…


Signs of the earth’s resilient muscle memory in April and May were on display more than ever in recent memory. Porpoises swam in the notoriously filthy Grand Canal and reefs off of the Italian coast showed signs of life; smog lifted so that the peak of Mt Kilimanjaro was visible for miles around and, the wonder of wonders, the ocean was clear on the Jersey Shore. And while each of these instances is beautiful and comforting, it’s what each represents that’s more important. It meant that cruise ships weren’t dumping refuse into the Venetian Lagoon; that exhaust from several continents…


My NEW OpEd in Rivard Report ‘How Big Corporations Scored Coronavirus Relief Funds and Small Businesses Lost Out’: while policymakers were right to move swiftly and aggressively to help those in need from the economic downturn, lobbyists in Washington jumped into the fray.

And what came next was all too predictable: investment firms managing billions got Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, as did more than 45 major law firms, along with elite, Washington private schools that have educated the children of presidents. Some 300 public companies received $1 billion in stimulus.

If we want to save millions of jobs, protect…


Leading a company during a time of crisis (or multiple crises) isn’t just about making the right decision. It’s also about concentration and focus.

As I write this, I’m talking to my business partner and reading about an early-stage startup that seem promising. I’m also reading numerous articles about racial injustice, protests, and COVID-19.

Which is problematic.

According to studies, the human brain can truly focus on just one task at a time. It screens out distractions that make it harder to accomplish what we’re already doing. That’s why multitasking is not only counter-productive, but it can lead people to…


WhatsApp

Venmo

Groupon

Instagram

Uber

Pinterest

Slack

Square

Cloudera

Common link?

They ALL started during the last recession.

Successful startups can — and — will launch during this downturn. There are four primary reasons why:

(1) Talented engineers, coders, product managers, designers, creatives, and others are suddenly out of a job — and many will devote themselves to new ideas.

(2) As a result of the pandemic, health care, e-commerce, logistics, delivery, alternatives to traditional, commercial real estate and more represent opportunities ripe for disruption and transformation.

(3) For those founders who can secure funding right now — they’ll have…


This is exactly why policymakers need to step in and create a government reinsurance backstop for viral pandemics as well as other rare but catastrophic events. Trying to retroactively insert pandemic insurance into business interruption contracts — which specifically excluded these risks — won’t work. Especially since the total surplus for auto, home, and business insurers in the U.S. is roughly $800 billion, while COVID-19 losses will run into the trillions.

By the way, putting in place a government reinsurance backstop for viral pandemics will help stimulate the economy today — by giving business owners and lenders the confidence to start back up, and to scale.


The momentum is building for federal legislation that broadens reinsurance to include viral pandemics. More than a dozen retail trade groups signed a letter backing the “Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020” (PRIA).

The devil will be in the details, as it is for any legislation.

But as I wrote in a recent OpEd in Morning Consult (https://lnkd.in/eQXgrWD), President Trump and Congress must act to create a federal backstop for pandemic exposure, modeled after the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act that was passed after 9/11. …

Mark E Watson III

Mark E. Watson III is the founder and principal of Aquila Capital Partners. From 2000–2019, he was CEO of Argo Group, an underwriter of specialty insurance.

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