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Help with a remote design sprint guide? Plus personal notes from Seattle

March 24 · Issue #42 · View online
Design Sprint Newsletter
Hey there,

Man, I hate the coronavirus.

1. Can you help us make a guide for remote design sprints?
My co-author John Zeratsky and I are trying to figure out how to be useful, and we know lots of people are suddenly working over video. We want to create a remote design sprint guide, but we don’t have extensive experience with remote sprints ourselves. So we’d like your help:

If you have tips or tricks for running remote/virtual/online design sprints, 👉please fill out this form. 👈

You share your best advice, we’ll interview some experts, and then, together with our friend Jackie Colburn, we’ll curate and organize what we learn into an online guide. Of course, we’ll share it with this newsletter once it’s done.

2. Resources for self-employed/freelancers
If you’re self-employed and your business is hammered by the economic meltdown, here is a useful list of resources. Don’t be dissuaded by the term “artist"—this is very practical stuff for anybody who is self-employed.

3. Matching donations
John and I are matching contributions (up to a total of $5,000 USD) to a few organizations:

If you’re able to donate to one or more of these organizations, please email your receipt(s) to and we’ll match your contribution. (Let me also say that if you don’t feel like you can donate right now, definitely don’t feel bad about it.)

4. My personal notes on coronavirus, asking for lockdown, and coping with lockdown
This is almost certainly oversharing, but here are a few personal notes about my life in this strange world of pandemic.

I live in Seattle, which was the first epicenter in the USA. About a month ago, my older son came down with what we now believe was COVID-19 (testing was not available, which is another story). He’s okay now and getting better every day, but I mean, he got really sick. Had to go to the hospital several times with difficulty breathing. It was scary, and also astonishing. I kept thinking, how can he be so sick with this? He’s so young and healthy and at the time when he first got it nobody thought coronavirus was spreading in our city.

It didn’t make sense. But it turns out that although it’s true that some people are more susceptible to coronavirus, anyone can get a serious case. And even if it doesn’t seem to be in a community, it might already be spreading invisibly.

So my first note is just to say wow, this thing is real and it is nasty, and please keep up the social distancing to protect others and yourself. I learned tonight that a friend of a friend of ours died from coronavirus yesterday. This isn’t just a thing on the news happening elsewhere.

If your local government or the leadership at your company aren’t taking coronavirus seriously, please write to them (sample email below). I emailed our mayor and governor, because even though I know they don’t personally read it, I am pretty sure their staff tallies up the trends. I imagine some leaders are sincerely struggling to make decisions—I mean, I’ve seen many CEOs in design sprints struggle to make decisions, and that was just business stuff! Giving leaders our opinion and asking for strong action and clear restrictions is one small but important way we can help.

By the way, if you need to convince anyone of the importance of social distancing ASAP, this is by far the best article I’ve seen illustrating why it matters and why we need strong action right away. The article is long and at first kind of depressing, but stick with it—it is ultimately very encouraging. Highly recommended.

My next notes are about, you know, dealing with the day-to-day. My family and I have been quarantined for almost a month now. Here are some of my daily strategies for not totally freaking out:

  1. Getting outside (staying six feet away from everybody, of course)
  2. Cleaning up for fifteen minutes (although if you could see the room I’m in you would laugh but it actually is cleaner than before)
  3. Calling my mom everyday because she always cheers me up
  4. Trading off "news reading duty” with my wife. Whoever is on duty reads the news that day and gives the other person the gist, and the other person commits to not reading the news at all. When I don’t do this, I read WAY TOO MUCH and am overcome by anxiety.
  5. Reading local news way more than big news, because it tells me stuff I need to know rather than constantly trying to stress me out
  6. Reminding myself that staying home is being helpful, even if it doesn’t feel like it. To make it concrete, I picture my close friend who’s an emergency room doctor at a hospital that’s running out of protective supplies. By staying home, in some very small way I’m helping her, because distancing helps stem the flow to hospitals.
  7. Reminding myself that my work may not be so useful to society at the moment, but the world is going to come back and when it does, damn it, it’s going to need me again!
  8. Allowing myself to enjoy the calm moments when I can. This is hard. But this time of my life is… well… a very real time of my life. Nobody hit the pause button. These hours count, too. And I don’t want all of them to just go by in a blur. So when I notice something sweet—moments with my kids or my wife or just the birds starting to chirp outside again—I try to notice it, enjoy it, and not feel guilty. I think that my friend at the ER, the one who’s fighting for all of us, I think she’d want me to do that, too.

Yeah, okay, that was oversharing for sure. Just so you know, somebody on the internet (me) is hoping you are well and wishing you the very best. Thanks for reading.



P.S. Here’s that short email you can send to your boss and/or government leader:

“Please require strict stay-at-home for our [company/city/state/country]. You must act now to save lives. This data analysis explains why.”
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