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.
Eren Bali of Carbon Health on public health, Covid vaccinations, and working as a unified society to problem solve
Eren Bali arrived in Silicon Valley from Turkey in 2010 hoping to relaunch Udemy, his online education company. He spent a few years working at the tech startup Speed Date before following through with his original plan, after which Udemy went on to be enormously successful. When his mother became ill and Eren spent some months accompanying her to doctors in order to get the right diagnosis and treatment, he had a realization that led him to his true mission.
Now, as CEO and founder of Carbon Health, Eren is leading one of the country's fastest growing healthcare startups. It's mission is to provide really high quality healthcare to the entire population, with a special focus on underserved demographics. A provider of low-cost health clinics across the country, Carbon Health was also on the frontlines when the COVID pandemic hit--and even understood what was coming long before most people in the U.S. did. They pivoted to monitoring patients for COVID, then testing. Ultimately, the company partnered with the City of Los Angeles, and as Eren recalls, "seven days after the original handshake and launch into a scheduling website, we helped launch Dodger stadium, which was the single largest mass vaccination site in the country." From there, Carbon Health fully reinvented themselves as a full-stack public health company.
Brian Armstrong of Coinbase on cryptocurrency, being mission-oriented, and institution building
A few weeks ago, Coinbase , which facilitates buying, storing and purchasing cryptocurrency and also operates a cryptocurrency exchange, went public. It was one of the year's most successful IPOs so far, and has been heralded as a "landmark moment" for cryptocurrency's entrance into mainstream investing.
Just before the IPO, I had a far-reaching conversation with co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong as he approached this major milestone for the company he co-founded back in 2012. We talked about a wide variety of topics, including what the decline in public trust of institutions means for companies, how to codify company culture and intentions, remote work, the concept of the ICO--initial coin offering--and his side company, ResearchHub, which he founded to counter his belief that "there's a crisis happening in scientific research, that is just slowing down human progress."
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.
I am so happy that Eric Ries has returned to this wonderful podcast. He restores our faith in the goodness of humanity and we always learn something from him and his guests.
Timely, meaningful, conscious content...thanks for doing this and keep it up!