Out of the Crisis, a podcast hosted by myself, Eric Ries, highlights leaders from all sectors who are providing and coordinating relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. No one is more heroic than the healthcare workers and those on the frontlines treating the sick. But there’s also a role for others, particularly those in positions of privilege, to play in this crisis. As I’ve worked to make my own contributions, I’ve crossed paths with many different people and organizations offering their skills, expertise, and resources to get aid to essential workers and the sick. I created this podcast to share these inspiring stories in real-time, but also as a call to action. If you think you can help, do. If you want to help but don’t know how, the people in these episodes will guide you towards ways to get started. They’re helping to lead us through and eventually out of the crisis and offering tools for joining the effort.
Noah Smith and Brad DeLong: the cost of the crisis
We are now seeing how damaging our weak response to the pandemic was in the US. Both on human lives and on the economy. But, how much would it actually have cost, if we had completely shuttered the economy for six weeks and paid everyone to stay at home? Would it be cheaper and more effective than the patchwork responses we are seeing now?
These questions are not easy to answer, so I spoke to two economic experts Brad DeLong and Noah Smith. Brad and Noah don't agree on much, or really anything. However, they came together on one idea. We missed and are still missing a massive opportunity to save lives and save the economy.
Zeynep Tufekci (part two): How we get out of this mess and predictions for the future
After Part One, you should have a sense of Zeynep. If you haven't listened, it is worth going back and hearing her impressive background and history.
In part two, we changed our focus and started talking about the pandemic. We discussed her early work advocating for common sense policies, how we got our response so wrong, and what we can do now to begin the recovery. Given her history of being right, we should all pay attention to what she has to say.
Zeynep Tufekci (part one): from Turkey to Technosociology
Zeynep Tufekci may be the most important account on Twitter. The reason being she has a habit of being early on the defining trends shaping our world. The pandemic was no different. Zeynep was sounding the alarm early in 2020, calling for common sense policies advocated by public health officials. It's safe to say, we would have been better off if we had listened to her.
Zeynep's life is unique, and I didn't want to cut the fascinating stories she told me. So, I split this conversation into two parts. In this first part, Zeynep discusses growing up in Turkey, learning to code, and tricking IBM into hiring her.
Ron Klain: The Ebola Czar on COVID
Ron Klain may know more about government pandemic response than anyone in the US. This is because in 2014 Ron lead the response to the Ebola epidemic, resulting in only 18 infections and 2 deaths. Ron was talking about a need to response to COVID as early as January of this year, when he authored an op-ed in the Atlantic saying we had moved beyond the "if" COVID comes to the US to the "how bad will it be" phase.
Ron and I spoke about his experience as the Ebola Czar, how we should have responded to this pandemic, and how Ron thinks we can end the crisis.
Tomas Pueyo: The Hammer and the Dance
In these conversation, I have spoken with many every day people who managed to have a large impact in this crisis. Tomas Pueyo is, perhaps, the best example of this.
Tomas began to notice what was going on with COVID early in 2020. He realized that there was no comprehensive guide on what governments needed to do to flatten the curve. So, Tomas set out and wrote "The Hammer and the Dance" After an initial share on Facebook, this article eventually reached over 60 million people. Tomas and I spoke about how he got the data for the article, the impact it had on government responses and what it means for governments to use the hammer and the dance.
Bitwise: Retraining and reemploying American workers
There are two types of unemployment we are seeing right now. Unemployed caused by pandemic, and unemployment caused by the lockdown caused by the pandemic. This is a serious issue and will have long lasting impacts on our country if we don't act now.
Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin were already tackling the issue of unemployment, and job training, well before the pandemic. Bitwise, the company they founded, specialized in providing technical training to people in what they called "underdog" cities. So, when the saw the rampant unemployment, they sprung into action. I spoke to Jake and Irma about Bitwise, the organization they founded in response to the pandemic Onward US, and what more needs to be done to fight unemployment.