Pause or Fast Forward?

Well, it has been a few weeks. As we all reflect on how dramatically the world has changed in a few months and the overwhelmingly loss suffered by those at home and around the world, it is time for all of us to take a personal inventory.

There will be an end to this period, a time when we all move on. Decades from now people will talk about the pandemic in the same way we talk today about 9/11, when the Berlin wall came down, and my parents about the day we landed on the moon, and when JFK was shot. “Where were you?”, “How did it feel?”, and “What did people think?”

What I would like everyone to ask themselves is, “What did I accomplish during that time?” It’s part of that personal inventory. Did you pause everything? Or did you move it fast forward? Most of us are working form home which means more time with family, more time at home, less time running errands.

Time. It’s the one thing we complain most about not having. Take this time to invest in relationships. Relationships with family-near and far. The friend you follow on Facebook, but haven’t spoken with for 5 years, a neighbor, a co-worker.

The time spent during the pandemic can be your life paused or it can accelerate it forward. It is up to each of us.

Are you a “Tribal Leader?”

Seth Godin

When the screen flickers to life, so, too, does Seth Godin. A thin smile creases his face, framed by the colorful eyeglasses that have come to be known as the author’s most familiar physical trademark. “Pleasure to be here,” he says upon joining our video chat. “Pleasure to be anywhere.”

In fact, this is more than a pleasantry. Godin is not used to being merely anywhere, because he is most often found everywhere. He is the writer behind more than 20 books, many of them best-sellers. He is the speaker featured on countless Ted stages, his talks viewed by the millions on YouTube. He is a former Yahoo! executive, top blogger and podcaster, and, as of 2018, member of the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame.

Godin’s 2008 book Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us has long been established as a seminal piece on leadership. From his workspace near Manhattan, Godin revisits Tribes, how its lessons apply to companies navigating new, uncertain realities in business, the most important things leaders must do in times of crisis, and how to run an effective video meeting. “I did a Zoom training last week,” Godin says. “One guy showed up without a shirt on. It’s like, ‘You wouldn’t do that in real life. What are you doing?’”

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

For those who haven’t read your book, what is the abridged version of what a tribe is?

Godin: A tribe is a group of people who share a direction. Maybe it’s a culture. Maybe it’s a uniform. Maybe it’s a way of being. They probably have a leader. It’s really unlikely you have a tribe. I don’t have a tribe. 

A tribe could be everything from the kind of people who go to science fiction conventions, to the kind of people who become entrepreneurs, to the kind of people who keep track of how fast their cars drive. Tribal behavior is a fundamental human enterprise, and if you ignore that and try to talk to everyone, you’re probably talking to no one.

Seth Godin's revered 2008 book Tribes.

How does the idea of leadership come into play with a tribe? How does a leader emerge in a tribe?

Godin: So let’s be really clear: Leaders and managers are different things. Management needs authority. Management is what happens when you get to tell other people what to do. We need managers, otherwise we’d have no fast food, we’d have no Tim Hortons. We’d have lots of things missing from our world.

But leadership is voluntary. It’s voluntary in the sense that no one has to follow you, and you don’t have to lead. Leadership involves saying, “We’re going to go over there. I’m not sure it’s going to work. I’m not sure how we’re going to get there. Do you [still] want to come?” 

And that is how tribes choose to move forward. You don’t have any authority when you are leading a tribe, but you do, perhaps, have a voice. You can say this key sentence, which is one of my contributions to the world: “People like us do things like this. Members of this tribe do things like this. [They] follow this path.” 

So we can go down this long list of fast-growing or important organizations that got there because they don’t say to the whole world, but they say to a tribe: “You’re one of us, and this is where we are going.”

Let’s stick on that tact for a minute, because I think in this new reality of the way people are doing business and working together, perhaps companies are struggling with how to maintain leadership—not just management.

What are the most important things that a leader of a tribe must do in a time of crisis?

Godin: The word “crisis” has been misused by the media. A crisis, like the Cuban Missile Crisis, has an ending to it. You are on high alert, and then you’re not. Changes in the culture as we know it are not crises, they are chronic conditions. And chronic conditions demand chronic solutions.

So if you’re in a crisis, you need to do a few things. You need to be able to see people because they want to be seen—they feel disconnected and they feel alone. Second: What we count on from our leaders is not that you act like a toddler, not that you have a tantrum, and not that you are impatient.

What we ask for from our leaders is: Can you see the world in a slightly longer view than we’re inclined to do so? Because leaders [understand how to instill] stability, and they need to use that to help us go to the next level.

What we have to do as leaders is figure out what our chronic solution is. How will we choose to model behavior for the long-haul? Because it’s going to be a slog, and acting like it’s not going to be a slog is a mistake.

In Tribes, you note that a group needs only two things to become a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. 

If I’m a company that doesn’t necessarily have a shared interest—I have, in essence, a couple of people at the top, who have profit at the center of decision making, and a bunch of people that work for me—is there a new opportunity to create that intent, to create that shared interest because of the greater world circumstances right now? 

Godin: You totally nailed that. There’s a new opportunity to do it every day. What is the purpose of a Zoom call? If the purpose of the Zoom call is to take attendance—make sure that no one is taking the day off, get people to comply, and show that you have power—well, then you’ve really established what kind of organization this is.

If you cancel the Zoom call and send everyone a memo about what they needed to hear, and then do one-on-one conversations that go deep into what this person’s contribution [is] going to be, people will feel seen and [things] will change. This is a choice. It’s a choice that every manager makes every day. The choice to be a leader instead of a manager.

Seth Godin says new leaders can emerge in the face of crisis.

How do companies not make a time like this, where most people are more physically segmented than they ever have been, a time when we turn back into individual crowds and lose that sense of tribe?

Godin: I think what it comes down to is: What’s the dynamic of your organization? Is it a hierarchy? Is it a studio? Are people making promises to one another? I’m really fortunate. I work with seven extraordinary people. When we suspended operations three weeks ago and everyone started working from home, our output hasn’t changed one bit. Because we don’t depend on someone handing a memo to someone else and then down the chain. We depend on making promises to each other.

Companies for a long time bragged about how many employees they had, because kings brag about how many subjects they have. But going forward I think we’re going to see organizations bragging about how few employees they have. Those people who are insiders, you need to treat them like insiders, or you can’t expect that they’re going to act like the community that you’re hoping for.

Do you have the sense that some larger companies may begin to trim down staff with the idea that it won’t actually hamper their efficiency?

Godin: Well, I certainly didn’t invent any of this. I mean, Tom Peters has been writing about it since I was 22. If you look at what they did at W.L. Gore, the people who make GORE-TEX, every time one of their facilities got to more than 150 people, he would split the team and they’d have to open a new office.

There is no office W.L. Gore had with more than 150 people in it, because [they] knew that’s the maximum size for an organic tribe. 

There’s one other idea in Tribes where you explain Kevin Kelly’s riff that you need only about 1,000 true fans to become successful. These are the people that, if you’re a musician or somebody like that, they’ll travel for miles to see you, they’ll wait in line to buy your stuff. They’re the people that are the most loyal and devoted, and will very much help with the heavy lifting involved in spreading your message.

If I’m a company leader, how does that translate? How many people do I need spreading my message within a company to kind of have that similar effect?

Godin: What does it take internally in an organization as a leader [to have true fans]? Apple maybe had, at its peak, 1,000 people who would turn down a much better job to stay there because they were part of what that place was. When you talk to Susan Kare (pictured below) 30 years later, she still remembers the experience that the Mac was built by 13 people—13, that’s it. So you don’t need that many at all.

Famed Apple designer Susan Kare was a longtime advocate of the computer maker.

But most CEOs I know don’t have any [true fans]. If they have a few, it would be amazing. And [CEOs] think they can buy them. People are not for sale—that’s not how you get them. You get them by showing up for them in a way that makes them believe that their life is better if they show up for you.

What do you tell people when they ask, “How do I achieve fans within my own company, among my own leadership?”

Godin: I’m not sure anyone’s ever asked me that, actually. I guess what I would say is: Why? 

If you’re telling me you want to achieve [fans] so you’ll make more money, then I would say you should probably go run a factory instead. But if you’re telling me you want to do it because you feel a calling to see and connect and lead people, then you’re probably already doing it. 

The hard work is deciding why you want to do that in the first place.

In a time like this, of general unease about what the world is going to look like in the short-, medium-, and long-term, is this an opportunity for new leaders to spring up where they wouldn’t have otherwise done so?

Godin: Well, I’ll just remind people that Google and Shopify both came out of the dot-com bust. In fact, just about every important organization comes during a time of bust. 

During a time of boom, the market leaders, the tribal leaders—the leaders of every stripe have all the advantages.

But in a bust, they’re suffering because they’re trying hard to maintain the status quo. And so, if we look at Zoom—their traffic is up 20x in the last month. They didn’t wish for this to happen. But suddenly there’s a new important software company on the horizon.

As an individual, the question is: Will you build something that’s optimized for the year 2018, or will you build something that’s optimized for the year 2021? If you want something for 2021, now would be a really good place to start.

Tribes was published in 2008. Now, certainly most of the work that went into that book was done before the recession hit. But I’m curious about the role an economic collapse had on leadership at that time as you saw it.

Godin: We had a bit of clarity for a little while that leadership and money weren’t the same thing. We saw people like Jack Welch called out as the fraud he was. And suddenly, [when] he wasn’t making as much money, everyone said, “Oh, he must not be a leader anymore.”

Those things aren’t the same thing. Looking at the Forbes 400 as an indicator of anybody’s skill is probably a mistake. So in this new cataclysmic moment, I think we’re going to need to ask ourselves the simple question of: Who would miss you if [they] were gone? 

Because there are lots of things that are going to be gone [in a recession]. And if they’re not going to be missed, well, that’s probably good riddance. But if you do something that’s important to people, they might find a way to help you persist.

Seth Godin has spent a lifetime on the public speaking circuit, lecturing about leadership.

You’ve prefaced my natural followup, which is something of an unpleasant one. As we stare down the barrel at another looming recession, it’s been 12 years now since the last one began. What do you imagine will be different in terms of tribes and leadership as we head into a possible recession in 2020?

Godin: Well, first, there’s no doubt there’s going to be a recession. I think there’s a wonder if it’s going to be a depression. I hope not. Are you playing a game that depends on basis points and making money, or are you focused on how you can be of use to people?

Because there’s never been a time we’ve needed your help being of use to people more than right this minute. So instead of worrying about macro trends, I think, find your smallest viable audience. Ten people, 500 people, 50,000 people, and be of service to them. That will be enough.

You’re of course known as an author and a speaker, but you have plenty of direct corporate leadership experience yourself—most notably, as a vice president for Yahoo! (author’s note: Godin served as the web giant’s VP of direct marketing from 1998-2000.) Do you have a sense how you might be approaching leading a company team in a time like this?

Godin: In organizations of scale, people want reassurance. Investors want reassurance, employees want reassurance. [But] uncomfortable as it may be: Reassurance is futile. There is never enough reassurance. You can’t keep telling people everything is going to be okay because, by their definition, it’s already not okay.

What you can do is say, “We have a plan for right now, and we’re going to replace it with an even better plan as we get smarter.” And: “Resilience is what we’re going to focus on, and there’s going to be shared sacrifice, and we have a chance to make things better.” Because that’s all true, and leading with truth is really powerful because you don’t have to keep checking your story. You can simply describe where you are and where you’re going, and use that to help others help you move it forward.

You run your own course called altMBA. It’s this four-week intensive online workshop that’s turned out executive alumni from companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, Google, IBM, LinkedIn…the list goes on.

Either from your own presumptions or from first-hand talks you’ve had with people at these companies, what are they going through right now? What are their unique considerations at a time when workplace functionality has likely never been more different?

Godin: What we are hearing over and over again, with 4,500 graduates around the world, is people work in organizations where all these skills are scarce. They work in organizations where people have done the spreadsheets, where people have the easily measured skills, and where people go to meetings six or seven hours a day to avoid taking responsibility. 

And [that] can be replaced. It can be replaced by people taking responsibility and not waiting for authority, and [by] people who choose to lead. What we found is, if you show up like that at work, you’re either going to get promoted or someone’s going to hire you away because this is the scarce resource of our future. In uncertain times, what we value the most are people who know how to be resilient in uncertain times.

Let’s finish here with some talk about the Zoom call or the video chat. You have been an outspoken chronicler on your blog about appropriate video chat etiquette and appropriate video chat behavior. 

I have not exactly split the atom here by suggesting that the video chat is now going to be something companies rely on even more heavily than they have in the past. Can you give us a look into your go-to rules for a productive Zoom meeting or video chat?

Godin: Well, the most important one is to cancel it. If you are simply trying to deliver information, you should send an email. You should even record a video and send it to people to watch in their spare time. 

If you’re not going to cancel it, that’s because it’s a conversation. And if there’s more than four people on the call, you can’t have a conversation. So, therefore, you have to have breakout rooms. You have to have a posture that says, “We’re here to do something right now. We’re going to get it done as quickly as we can and then go on to the next thing. The thing we’re going to do is, we’re going to make a decision. We’re going to learn to understand something, we’re going to surface misunderstandings, and then we’re going to move forward.”

And we have a meeting hygiene problem. I did a Zoom training last week. One guy showed up without a shirt on. It’s like, “You wouldn’t do that in real life. What are you doing?” Don’t eat on the call. Make sure you don’t have backlighting. 

There’s so many simple steps to take to present yourself the way you [should] present yourself. If it’s important enough to have the meeting, it’s important enough to do it well.

If I’m the one who has called a meeting, what should be my appropriate rules of engagement? What level of expectations should I set, or what are the things that I absolutely must accomplish for any video call to achieve max effectiveness?

Godin: They’re all different. It’s like [how] there are no rules for what makes a good email. There are just rules to what makes a bad one. 

But here’s what I have found. One: Multitasking works really well in a digital setting because you have a chat window. Using the chat window for people to contribute, before it’s their turn to talk, is really helpful.

Number two is: The Amazon method of everyone reading the memo before the meeting starts or as part of the meeting is really strong. Because if you don’t have a memo, don’t call a meeting. If you don’t have something we’re trying to decide, don’t call the meeting. What’s this for? Be really clear about that.

And number three is: Someone should be in charge and someone should call on people. This whole idea of “come off mute when you have something to say” just leads to all these people hesitating to come off mute. Whereas, if it’s “type in the chat if you’ve got something to say and I’ll call on you”—if you gave me a good hint [that you want to speak]—now someone is leading the thing.

At Harvard Business School, [when] they do a case study class, the professor doesn’t just sit in the corner waiting for people to talk to her. She calls on people. She drives the conversation forward. It’s a skill. And so is running a Zoom meeting.

The idea of FaceTime or Skype or Zoom is certainly nothing new. But I think you could clearly make the case that—at least in terms of the business world at large—we are perhaps still in the early days of the video chat being relied upon for quite literally every personal interaction between colleagues at work.

You blogged about this idea on Mar. 18. You said, “We have a chance to reinvent the default and make it better.” What direction do you think the video chat takes as more innovation comes into play—as we have an even greater need to improve this medium that is very much having its moment right now?

Godin: I think should get longer or shorter. if I have five minutes to talk to Jason, I’ll use it well. Whereas, if we have to fill in time because we have to spend an hour, it will get worse. 

On the other hand, if I have a four-hour coworking session, where five of us are all on-screen doing our work on our laptop and someone has a notion and they speak up, it’s like we’re in the office together again. 

If I say, “Oh, I got to start checking my email”—that would be rude in [a five-minute] call because we have a very specific function. But, if we were on all day, it’d be different.

About the Author

Jason Buckland is a content marketing manager at Shopify Plus. His feature writing has appeared in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Playboy, Time, the Toronto Star, and elsewhere.

Brand Leadership and Times of Crisis

John Chambers on Brand Leadership in Times of Crisis
A Conversation with Business Legend John Chambers on Brand Leadership in Times of Crisis BILLEE HOWARD

Amidst the COVID-19 worldwide catastrophe, brands and their leadership have been left reeling in the wake of never before seen levels of anxiety and fear. As a result, many themes that emerged as critical before the crisis only continue to rise in importance as the world continues to find the mettle and courage to push forward. 

If customer experience was the new battle ground before the pandemic, it is even more acutely the case now with companies needing to figure out how to strike the right tone with consumers and employees alike, in ways that advocate for their every need in today’s extraordinary times. If CMOs, and the new class of marketing executives we have seen crop up in recent months ranging from CXOs to CGOs to CROs, needed to work more closely with CEOs to take more overall responsibility for the enterprise before the coronavirus crisis, that notion will only continue to prove more true in the weeks and months ahead.

With all that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to talk to a business icon who is regarded as one of the greatest CEOs of all time, and has weathered more than his fair share of crises. For my latest column, I had the privilege of speaking with John Chambers, current CEO and founder of JC2 Ventures, former CEO of Cisco, author of the recent book Connecting the Dots, and counselor to some of the world’s leading companies, big and small. We spoke about everything from the importance of not losing sight of customer experience in times of crisis, to best practices senior leadership should keep in mind while doing their best to navigate the choppy waters ahead. Following is a recap of our conversation:

Billee Howard: John, such a pleasure to speak to you during these difficult times. One of the things you talk about in your book is how setbacks can only make us stronger. I’d love to start the conversation with the number one piece of advice for senior leadership that you can share amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

John Chambers: My number one piece of advice is to have a replicable crisis management playbook that has been effective before and that you can adjust to your current strategy. Within that replicable playbook, the first step should always be don’t hide – be visible, be transparent. Do not be afraid when you have to say, “I don’t know,” if you don’t know something. This is where your credibility is so important. You’ve got to know what you know and know what you don’t know. 

The second step is to be realistic. You have to be able to honestly assess how much damage was created by the market and how much was created by your own company. A number of companies had bumps going into this issue that they already needed to fix, and this crisis clearly compounded them. The big question should be how much was internally created and how much was external? The majority will be external this time around. 

Number three would be outlining the three, five, seven major programs or platforms you’re going to use to get through this crisis. The best leaders will paint a picture of what the company looks like twelve or eighteen months out and map out a plan of how to get people to that North Star. 

Howard:  That’s super helpful and not surprisingly, you set up many of the other questions that I have for you. Everyone is rightfully focused now on supply chain issues. However, the reality is that customer experience was the ultimate battleground before COVID-19 and, whether it’s through the lens of consumers or employees, it’s still going to need to be very, very important as the crisis plays out. How should people be viewing CX right now? 

Chambers: Crisis management on the one hand actually allows you to get closer to your customers, but more often than not, it pushes you further away from them and does damage to the relationship. If you watch what is on the CEO’s mind about where they’re going to invest right now, and that means in time, energy and resources, it’s a reverse order compared to what we saw just two months ago. Two months ago, the CEO was focused on growth, innovation and then probably cost savings. Today, it’s cost savings, it is sustaining revenue streams via renewals and existing customers. Innovation in most situations is going to get pushed back. 

The thing about customer experience is it’s got to be front and center, no matter what. I have four startups in this area and all four of them are doing remarkably well, at least so far. They may or may not make the numbers this year that they could have achieved six months ago, but so far, our customers are not only hanging in with them, they’re staying very committed and turning to them for guidance with their own businesses. 

What this means is, even though every company is slamming on the brakes, cutting expenses and freezing key opportunities, CX is an area that is still very hot, and I think it will continue to be throughout the crisis and onward. 

Howard: Another area I’d love to explore is before the crisis, CMOs and the new class of marketing executives like CXOs, CGO’s and CRO’s, were all being tasked with more responsibility and working more closely with the CEO than ever before. How should that approach and that alignment play out now? 

Chambers: Boy, that’s a great question. I think what you’re going to see is that companies that were running effectively as a team before will continue to do so. That said, the CEO will likely become even more of the team leader because decisions must be made so fast. You can’t wait for consensus from the entire team anymore. It’s probably too late by the time you get every person on board with every single decision. As the CEO, you’ve got to discuss it as a team but ultimately be the one making the calls. You also have to outline what each person in your group is going to do and how the team is going to work together toward the common goals. I would encourage people to actually write those ideas down. 

Marketing can play a huge role here. Now might be the time to consolidate your marketing platforms and simplify them in terms of the overall approach. For marketers, I would focus the interface on the idea of how you can help the CEO save costs. How can you help them protect existing revenue streams? How do you help minimize churn and how do you help them grow with existing customers? That’s where the logical growth will occur. While most CEOs are saying “I’d like to think about growth right now,” what they are really thinking about is survival assessment – and that starts with insulating existing customers. 

CEOs will also lean more on marketing leaders, as crises tee up a chance to establish a brand that is a leader. If you look at what Cisco did during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, most high-tech companies pulled out of the region but we did the reverse. We doubled down and sent one of our best sales leaders into the region. As a result, a year later, we were number one in brand and in market share in every major Asian country. Marketing has to be front and center in all these crisis management decisions, while also playing a key role in running communications with your employees, your customers, your partners and the media. 

Howard: Thank you, John, for that terrific guidance. Another thing that you mentioned in your book, which I’m very passionate about, is the whole idea of purpose, not product. Purpose has been something that has been very top of mind for the last several years, but now more than ever, it seems that purpose needs to be done through a greater lens of authenticity. Leadership really needs to step up and figure out the right path forward around it. What are your thoughts? 

Chambers: The ability to sell outcomes during a downturn is huge. So, if you’re selling a product, a faster box, or a really cool software, you’re going to have trouble during this downturn, at least for a while. No matter how innovative it is, if you’re not selling outcomes – cost savings, making employees more effective, or helping the world through the crisis somehow – you’re much less likely to be successful. 

I hope that corporate social responsibility, where the responsibility to get a financial return for your shareholders and to do good for society are both top priorities, continues to be strong and actually gets stronger in the wake of this crisis. One of my startups, BloomEnergy, is a great example of how this can work. They’re using this time period to actually utilize their manufacturing line to refurbish ventilators for the state of California and to really make a difference. In short, I hope the answer is business leaders will actually become even more focused on the full benefits they can bring society. I tend to worry, however, having seen this movie so many times before, that when you start to deal with survival, unfortunately, sometimes the benefit to society and corporate social responsibility don’t emerge as top of mind as we might like them to. I hope on I’m wrong on that, but most people go in saying “we want to do good for society,” but when it becomes survival mode, it’s interesting how goals change. 

Howard: Thanks for your candor on that topic. I think we’re going to move from non-stop talk about transformation to a dialogue around hope for broader reinvention, after things settle down a bit. What does the path to reinvention look like from your POV?

Chambers: CEOs will reverse, as we talked about earlier, going from growth and innovation, to cost and protecting existing revenue streams. Innovation in many companies will be pushed further down the line.  I do think there’ll be companies that are the exception, maybe ten percent, who will say, “I’m going to innovate now and break away.” They may be companies that were airlines, or hotels, or transportation, or others that you may not have expected. I don’t think that will be the majority of companies, however. 

It hasn’t changed. I think companies who lead in good times and bad focus on market transitions. The create disruptive business models, and they combine that with innovation and new technology. That’s where you see true leadership. I think, unfortunately, if your company primarily provides innovation to companies right now and the benefit is two, three or four years out, your sales are going to take a real challenging hit over the next couple of quarters. It doesn’t mean that you won’t come out of it, but it’s not going to be easy. Customer-driven listening will always be the best path to uncovering what you should and should not do, and I think brands need to get closer to their customers now, more than ever, to hear what they’re saying. The best roads to reinvention will be found in listening and serving customers.

Public Enemy #1

Warmer weather is unlikely to significantly impede the spread of the novel coronavirus, a National Academies of Sciences (NAS) panel told the White House on Tuesday.

About a dozen members of the Academies’ Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats published the report, addressed to Kelvin Droegemeier, head of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Their report found that while studies of how temperature and humidity affect the virus’s transmissibility are not yet clear, previous research suggesting a connection were flawed.

“There is some evidence to suggest that [the coronavirus] may transmit less efficiently in environments with higher ambient temperature and humidity; however, given the lack of host immunity globally, this reduction in transmission efficiency may not lead to a significant reduction in disease spread” without efforts such as social distancing, the report states.

No such seasonal aspect has been observed in other coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS, the report noted.

The report found various issues with data quality in existing research including the “estimates of reproductive rate, assumptions about infectivity period, and short observational time windows.” It also found they failed to account for factors like geography, per capita income, access to testing and the quality of local health care systems.

Both President Trump and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have suggested warmer temperatures may slow the spread of the virus, although Fauci has noted that without effective mitigation, another outbreak could occur in the fall.

“I think it very well might,” Fauci said, when asked in March whether the virus could have a seasonal cycle. “And the reason I say that is that what we’re starting to see now in the Southern Hemisphere, in southern Africa and in the southern hemisphere countries, is that we’re having cases that are appearing as they go into their winter season.”

The NAS cited similar cases, noting, “Given that countries currently in ‘summer’ climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed.”

Probability vs Statistics: Which One Is Important And Why?

Majority of students are still not able to distinguish between probability vs statistics. Probability and statistics are the related areas of mathematics. We use them for analyzing the relative frequency of events. But there is a vast difference probability vs statistics. Let’s start with the basic comparison

Probability deals with the prediction of future events. On the other hand, statistics are used to analyze the frequency of past events. One more thing probability is the theoretical branch of mathematics, while statistics is an applied branch of mathematics. 

Both of these subjects are crucial, relevant, and useful for mathematics students. But as a mathematics student, you should know that they are not the same. There can be a lot of similarities between them, but they are still different than each other.

You should see the difference because it will help you to interpret the relevance of mathematical evidence correctly. Lots of students and mathematicians do not get successful all because they were not able to find the difference between probability vs statistics. Let’s dig into the differences based on a few points:-

Probability vs Statistics

Table of Contents


Definition of Probability

It is the branch of mathematics and analyzes the random phenomena that the event will occur. The outcome cannot be determined before the event occurs. But there are always several possible outcomes.

Probability is all about analyzing the actual outcomes. It lies between 0 and 1. Where 0 stands for impossibility and 1 stands for certainty. The higher the number of probability close to one, the more chances that the event will happen.

Definition of Statistics

Statistics is a branch of mathematics. It is used quantified models and representations for a given set of experimental data. Statistics is having lots of methodologies to gather, review, analyze, and draw conclusions from any collection of data.

In other words, it is used to summarize a process that is used by the analyst to characterize the data set. Statisticians use statistics analysis for gathering and evaluating data. It is also used to summarize the data into mathematical form.


Example of Probability

In the case of probability, the mathematicians would see the dice and think that “Six-sided dice? They will also get a prediction that the dice will likely to land, and each face will equally face up. After that, they will also assume that each face will come up with the probability ⅙. 

Example of statistics

On the other hand, the statistician will assume the same dice scenario with different assumptions. In this case, the mathematicians will see the dice and think that “Those dice may look OK, but how do I know that they are not loaded?

For this, he will use the methodology to watch a while and keep track of how often each number comes up. Then he will decide that observations are consistent with the assumption of equal-probability faces. Once he will gain confidence enough that the dice are fair. 


Types of probability

There are 4 significant types of probability

Classic Probability

It is the first probability approach. In this approach, we often use the coin tossing and rolling dice. We calculate the results by recording all the possible outcomes of the activities and record the actual occurrences.

Let’s understand it with a solid example if you are tossing a coin. Then you will always have only two possible outcomes, either heads or tails. But if you toss the same coin 10 times, then you will have 20 outcomes, and you will record each outcome every time. 

Experimental Probability

It is different than the recent one experimental probability is based on the number of possible outcomes by the total number of trials. For example, when we toss a coin, the overall possible outcomes are two, either heads or tails. On the other hand, if the coin is flipped 100 times and it lands on tails 30 times. Then the theoretical probability is 30/100.

Theoretical Probability

Theoretical probability is an approach that is based on the possible probability of the possible chances of something will occur. For example, suppose that we have dice and we want to know its theoretical probability that it will land on the number “3” when we roll it.

In dice, there are always 6 possibilities because a dice has 6 numbers. So if we want the dice land on the three number, then you have 1:6 chance of it landing on 3. 

Subjective Probability

Subject probability is also known as personal probability. Because it is based on a person’s own personal reasoning and judgments. In other words, it is the probability of the outcome that a person is expecting will occur. There is no formal methods or calculations for subjective probability.

Because it is based on a person’s knowledge. For example, suppose that you are watching a football match. And during the match you the home team will win the match. Your decisions may be based on facts or opinions regarding the game of the two teams and also the likelihood of the team winning.

Also Read

Types of statistics

There are two types of statistics


In descriptive statistics, the statistician describes the goal. In this, we use numerical measures to tell about the features of a set of data. besides, the descriptive statistic is all about presentation and collection of data.

It is not as simple as it appears to statisticians. The statisticians need to be aware of designing experiments, choosing the right focus group. They should also avoid the biases to get more robust results from the experiments. There are two types of descriptive statistics.

Types of descriptive statistics

  • Central tendency measures
  • Variability measures

Inferential Statistics

Inferential statistics is not easy statistics. It is more complicated than descriptive statistics. It is produced through complex mathematical calculations. These calculations are quite helpful for scientists.

And allow them to infer trends about a larger population based on a study of a sample taken from it. Most predictions of the future are made with the help of inferential statistics. Statisticians need to design the right experiment to draw the relevant conclusions from his study.

Types of inferential statistics

  • Regression analysis
  • Analysis of variance (ANOVA)
  • Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA)
  • Statistical significance (t-test)
  • Correlation analysis


Probabilistic Model

We use this model to incorporate the random variables and probability distributions into the model of an event or phenomenon. We know that the deterministic model provides only a single possible outcome for an event.

While the probabilistic model, we have a solution in the form of the probability distribution. These models are beneficial because they aware us from everything about a situation that we may miss without these models.

Here is an example, suppose that you have life insurance. That is based on the fact with certainty that you will die. But you don’t know when you will die. 

Statistical Model

A statistical model is a kind of mathematical model. It includes the set of statistical assumptions concerning the generation of sample data. It represents the data in an idealized form and the data-generating process.

Statistical modal also specified as a mathematical relationship between one or more non-random variables as well as random variables. Statistics model has also derived all statistical hypothesis tests and all statistical estimators. 


Uses of Probability

Probability has something to do with every change you may create. In other words, it is a study of things that something might happen or not. Probability is a crucial part of our life.

We use it many times in a single day without thinking. We use it most of the time, usually without thinking about it. Everything from the weather forecasting to our dying chances in an accident all is the probability.

  • Probability helps us to get an idea about the weather forecast. In this, we select some of the forecasting condition and then apply the probability to eliminate the one which has more chances to happen. 
  • It is also helpful in cricket. Do you know how? It helps in getting the estimate batting average of the batsman. Let me explain it with an example whenever a batsman comes out to the cricket field for its batting. The statistics analyze its average based on the matches it played. It also counts the match he is playing and calculates the average on the basis that it will be no out in this match.
  • It is quite useful in Politics. Don’t you know how? Success in political elections is based on the number of different things. Probability helps us to get the estimation from these factors individually and combined to estimate the most deserving candidate to win.
  • Probability is always helpful in flipping a coin or dice. We use both of these in various situations. Probability always let us know how many times the particular event can happen. 
  • It is also helpful for insurance. There are various kinds of insurance. And all insurances are depended on multiple factors. Probability helps the company to calculate how many chances that insurance holders have to claim the insurance. 

Uses of Statistics

Statistics keep us informed and alert about what is happening all around us. Statistics is a crucial part of our life because our world is full of information. And all this information is determined mathematically by Statistics Help. It means that statistics are helpful to get correct data. Here are the several uses of statistics in our daily life. 

  • Research is impossible without the help of statistics. Because statistics offers various methods that help the researcher to do research more effectively, they use their statistical skills to collect relevant data from multiple sources. And then perform some statistics methods on the data to get to the conclusion. 
  • Statistics is also helpful in the financial market. It plays a crucial role for investors and traders. It helps them to calculate which share or bond has more market value. Based on statistics, they make their investment strategy.
  • Statistics also has its importance in the field of medical science. The scientist shows a scientist must show a statistically valid rate of effectiveness of the drug. It also helps in determining the effect of any disease among humans and animals. 
  • Every industry is using statistics daily to perform various operations. One of the major concepts for every industry is quality testing. Every company makes many products daily. And they also do not want to compromise on quality. The company can’t test every single product. For this, they use statistics sample to check the quality test of the entire batch. 


Statistics and probability are significant parts of mathematics. But as statistics students, you need to know the difference between these two terms. There are lots of similarities between these two. But it is a lot different than each other.

Now you may be sure about the difference between probability vs statistics. So get ready with the answer whenever someone is going to ask the difference between probability vs statistics. 

If you are a statistics students and needs probability assignment help as well as probability homework help, then we are here to help you. Get the best statistics homework help from the experts at nominal charges. Submit your work now!What is Probability?

It is the branch of mathematics and analyzes the random phenomena that the event will occur. The outcome cannot be determined before the event occurs. But there are always several possible outcomes.What is Statistics?

Statistics is a branch of mathematics. It is used quantified models and representations for a given set of experimental data. Statistics is having lots of methodologies to gather, review, analyze, and draw conclusions from any collection of data.

Unintended Consequence of Deregulation in Texas

A disaster was brewing last month in the Texas electricity market. The coronavirus pandemic was spreading, stores and offices were closing and people were losing their jobs. Texas consumers were flooding the phone lines at the Public Utility Commission complaining their power was getting shut off because they couldn’t pay their bills.

The commissioners called an emergency meeting in mid-March and praised utilities for suspending service disconnections for non-payment. But it turned out the disconnection moratorium exacerbated the problem facing the Texas power market because electricity sellers had no way to force customers to pay their bills.

Something had to be done, or the big Texas experiment of electricity deregulation that started two decades ago couldn’t withstand the financial strain as hundreds of thousands of Texans lost their jobs and couldn’t pay their bills.

Traditionally integrated utilities that generate and sell and distribute power in other states can halt disconnections and then petition regulators to recover the losses during the next rate case.

But the deregulated parts of Texas that includes Houston and Dallas don’t have that option. Retail electric providers — a group that includes NRG Energy, Vistra Energy and Direct Energy, which together sell more than two-thirds of the power in Texas — have no way to recoup their losses.

Energy experts predicted that many smaller electricity providers operating on thin margins couldn’t survive the financial fallout, and consumers would get shifted into more expensive power plans if their own providers went out of business.

If the dominoes of bad debt cascaded as expected, the competitive electricity market was facing industry upheaval and bankruptcies, according to regulatory filings.

The commission voted on March 26 to start a temporary emergency fund for financially struggling Texans in the deregulated parts of the state, to be funded by a special fee of 0.033 cents per kilowatt hour. That works out to an extra charge of 40 cents for residential customers who use 1,200 kilowatt hours of electricity per month.

Qualified consumers whose energy portion of their bills is 4 cents or less per kilowatt hour will likely receive a full subsidy, while customers who pay more than that will receive a partial subsidy. Retail electric providers can prevent customers who sign up for deferred payment plans from switching to new providers until their bill is paid. The program is slated to last one month, but can be extended if necessary.

Commission Chairman DeAnn Walker told the two other commissioners during discussion of the program that she understands she is asking for something extraordinary, but with so many people suddenly unemployed, the market couldn’t withstand several months of a moratorium on disconnections because no money would be coming in.

“I thought this was a reasonable balance to try to address the needs of the people who are losing their jobs with the needs of the market,” said Walker. She said she acquired a new nickname around the commission as she grappled with the fallout of the coronavirus: Worst Case Wanda.

In one sense, the emergency program is neighbors helping neighbors down on their luck, a temporary reincarnation of Lite-Up Texas, a program that helped low-income Texans pay summertime electricity bills that was eliminated by the Texas Legislature four years ago.

But it also averted — at least for a while — the financial distress of retail electric providers who need to know they’ll be paid at least partially so they can continue to provide power. The emergency payments will keep everyone afloat for at least a month. And then we’ll see what comes next.

L.M. Sixel writes about the economy and the workplace for the Houston Chronicle. She writes a weekly column called “Working” that appears each Thursday. She started her newspaper career at the Beaumont Enterprise. Before that, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s degree in economic history from the London School of Economics.

Free HBO for April

Looking for free shows to watch? Streaming services are stepping up and offering more choices to people staying at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The biggest streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Disney+, offer free trials. Others are offering more freebies for the time being to help encourage everyone to slow the spread of COVID-19 by staying on their couch and watching TV. Here’s a list of options:

— HBO Now (free shows unlocked)

HBO unlocked more than 500 hours of premium content on Friday, April 3, including every episode of acclaimed TV series “The Sopranos,” “Veep,” “Succession,” “Six Feet Under,” “The Wire,” “Ballers,” “Barry,” “Silicon Valley” and “True Blood,” and a small handful of movies and documentaries. To get yours, get the app for HBO Now (the standalone HBO streaming service) or HBO Go (for pay-TV subscribers), and you’ll see content that is “Stream for Free: No Subscription Required.” Visit for more.

Notes: Variety reports the free content will be available for a “limited time,” so binge-watch “The Wire” quickly. (If you don’t finish your show, you’ll still be able to via HBO Max, a new streaming service for $14.99, scheduled to launch in May.) Also, note that some HBO hits like “Game of Thrones,” “Westworld” and “Euphoria” are not being offered for free at this time.

— CBS All-Access (free trial for 60 days)

Slashfilm reports CBS All-Access is now offering a two-month free trial, so you can finally check out “Star Trek: Picard,” Jordan Peele’s “The Twilight Zone” reboot, “The Good Wife” and more — including some movies and CBS broadcast shows. To get your free trial, go to, sign up for a CBS All-Access account, enter the promo code GIFT for a free 30-day trial. After your account is created, go to and, under “Subscription & Billing” info, enter another coupon code, ENJOY, to get 30 more days for free. After the trial, fees start at $5.99 a month.

— Amazon Prime Video (free 30-day trial, plus SXSW Film Festival)

IndieWire reports the SXSW Film Festival is moving online after South By Southwest was canceled due to coronavirus. Amazon Prime Video will offer movies from filmmakers who opt in to be available for free as part of the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection for 10 days. (A launch date has not been announced yet, but all you’ll need is an Amazon account.) Also, if you don’t have an Amazon account, you can get a free 30-day trial at and watch shows like “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Jack Ryan,” “The Boys” and “The Man in the High Castle.” After the trial, Amazon Prime (which includes free shipping on most online orders) costs $8.99 a month or $119 a year.

— Disney+ (free 7-day trial)

Disney Plus is a hit with families trying to keep their kids entertained at home, and Disney has tried to help by offering more content sooner, including recent theatrical releases “Frozen 2” and “Onward.” Other titles include “The Mandalorian,” Marvel movies, all of “The Simpsons,” and a slew of films from the vault. Disney+ costs $6.99 a month, but you can get a free 7-day trial (if you haven’t already). Visit for more.

— Netflix (free 30-day trial)

If you’ve never tried Netflix, you can get a free 30-day trial at The streaming service features thousands of movies and TV shows, including originals like “Stranger Things,” “Fuller House,” “Tiger King,” “GLOW,” “Bird Box,” “You,” “Murder Mystery,” and “Black Mirror.” After the trial, Netflix monthly fees start at $8.99 per month.

— Hulu (free 30-day trial)

If you’ve never tried Hulu, you can get a free 30-day trial at The streaming service features lots of binge-worthy TV shows from broadcast television, plus originals like “Castle Rock,” “High Fidelity,” “Casual,” and the Syracuse-shot “Big Time Adolescence.” After the trial, Hulu monthly fees start at $5.99 per month.

— Quibi (free 90-day trial)

The new streaming service, focusing on “quick bite” shows for watching on mobile devices, launches April 6 with 50 original shows including a “Punk’d” reboot, “Murder House Flip,” Chrissy Teigen’s “Chrissy’s Court,” Sophie Turner’s “Survive” and Liam Hemsworth’s “Most Dangerous Game.” A 90-day free trial is currently available, and after that it costs $5 a month with ads or $8 without. Visit


Other options to watch free movies and TV shows (some with ads, no trial subscription needed) include VuduYouTubeCrackleIMDb TVTubitvPluto.TVShout! Factory TV and Hoopla (with a library card number and pin).

* * * * *

Note: In most cases, free trials require a credit card to sign up, and you’ll have to manually cancel your subscription before the trial ends to avoid getting charged. Also, free trials may not be available if you’ve previously gotten a free trial from a streaming service.

Top 5 Habits of Good Friends

Let’s face it. Keeping in touch is hard work. Even though we meet so many cool people through our lives, it’s difficult to be constantly caught up on how their lives are going. This is the case for most of us, even despite the fact that we genuinely want to know. Various social channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn help us implicitly catch up with our contacts. If we are lucky, we may catch a relationship status change or some major accomplishment among the stream of other junk. However the vast majority of the time, we either miss an event we care about or there is simply no event. Our favorite people become suppressed by meaningless clutter.

Social media overload buries the people that we actually care about under “the most recent” information; instead we rely on in-person interactions to strengthen our ties. In-person interactions are great, but as our lives enter new phases in new cities, this becomes increasingly problematic.

Still, I can think of more than a few friends who seemed to solve the problem of keeping in touch without in-person interactions. These friends are surprisingly good at reaching out and catching up from time to time. They share a set of qualities that are smart ways to improve how we keep in touch. These are the top five things we can all do to stay in touch better.

5. Start with the Simple Things

When we normally want to stay in touch with someone, chances are that they want to stay in touch with us too. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s just too awkward to send a message without a reason. One way that I’ve noticed that my contacts get around this problem is by sending simple things:

  • Memes
  • Interesting Articles
  • Weird/funny Videos

When we receive simple content, it doesn’t matter so much as to the actual content that is received. The content might give us a quick laugh or spur us to share it. But this isn’t a meaningful event in any sense. On the contrary, sometimes I look at the content and have no idea why it is in my inbox.

What actually matters is the person who sent the content. They might have sent it because that they think we would find it fun, or perhaps they just want to catch up. Either way, this is a great way for them to stay in touch with people that they care about.

Keeping in touch with friends with simple content is a low-hanging fruit. It’s a quick method to renew a conversation with a recent contact. However, when thinking about people that we haven’t spoken to in a while, this kind of content may not be enough. When sending simple content, it is important to remember all of the people that we want to stay in touch with. We should make sure to send to a new mix of people as frequently as we can manage.

4. Send Memories

Resurfacing happy memories that we shared with our contacts is a great way to get back in touch again. However, it takes a lot of work to remember a specific event with a specific person from an unclear amount of time in the past. Facebook and Twitter have started to address this by resurfacing posts and photos that happened an integer amount of years ago. These resurfaced posts are convenient methods of reconnecting, but they may not encompass the most important memories.

Contacts that stay in touch well are very good at remembering important memories or funny events from the past. They take initiative to capture photos, or they write in a journal about their experiences.

For contacts that we really care about, it is certainly worth saving our memories more formally and storing information in an organized manner. In turn, when we feel that we need to get back in touch with one of our contacts, we can easily resurface a funny memory from the past. A poor memory should not keep us from joking with our contacts about circumstances from the past. To stay in touch in the future, it is important for us to take initiative by saving snippets of information as they occur.

3. Send Contextually Relevant Content

Relevant messages are the most natural type of message that our friends who are good at staying touch send. This kind of message requires us to follow current events — both personal and public — and to connect these events in meaningful ways to the people that we want to stay in touch with. Many of us do this already, but those who are exceptionally good at staying in touch are able to do this effectively using a few smart strategies:

They send differentiated and personal holiday wishes

When holidays come around and it’s time to send out that “Happy New Years” message to some contacts, they make sure to take the time to catch up on their contacts lives and use the opportunity to spur a great conversation.

Their birthday wishes have extra pizzazz

Their birthday wishes include a message that makes us laugh or smile, and they might even include a collage of images to resurface old experiences. We can immediately see and appreciate the extra energy put into each message.

They send articles and content that align with their contact’s interests

Our friends who are good at keeping in touch do a good job remembering which contacts are interested in what. Their friends are on the top of their mind, and they have an impressive ability to keep track of what we care about. The content that they ultimately send restores a bond in our relationships: it lets us know that our friends care about what we care about.

2. Send Handwritten Catch-up Messages

Handwritten messages are not obsolete. Sending postcards or letters to friends is an approach used by people who are good at keeping in touch to reconnect with contacts who they haven’t spoken with in a long time. Even though email is convenient and fast, sending handwritten messages exhibits a willingness to nurture a relationship that email cannot portray.

Here’s a digital postcard for the readers that have made it this far (

My grandmother used to have me hand-write email messages to send to her relations in Nigeria, and I was always so annoyed when she asked. However, the true value is clear to me now after receiving handwritten mail from some of my dearest friends. Handwritten letters have personality, emotion and are a great way to reconnect with a contact that we haven’t spoken to in a while.

It is important to remember that technology is just a Medium (is this meta?), and that strong relationships can be built without it. I sometimes find myself wondering how frequently people stayed in touch with contacts in distant places before the Internet.

1. Genuinely Care

The most important habit of friends that are good at networking is that they actually care about us. These friends are there for us whether we are up or down. They will reach out to us and ask if everything is going okay with no intention of gaining something for themselves. They are ready and willing to put in work for little-to-nothing in return. These friends are keeping in touch with us because they genuinely want to know about our lives.

Staying in touch with friends should not be a chore; rather, it should be exciting and desired. We should want to bring our friends along in our journey, but more importantly to follow them in theirs. Every relationship is a building block for success and happiness. I sincerely believe that it is important to cultivate each one. Being able to adopt a few key steps with our important contacts will naturally lead to joy within ourselves and our friends.

As a good friend told me once:

“ We have small ships and big ships, but the best ships are friendships”

Sam is a recent graduate of MIT. He’s a co-founder of, which augments our ability to keep in touch with contacts using artificial intelligence. He is excited about the future of AI in applications like messaging platforms and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Death of the Handshake

With each passing week the virus takes a heavy toll. Norms and rules of human behavior are being re-written every day in our society. In the same way that 9/11 changed the way we traveled by air, COVID will change how we work, socialize, behave with our families.

“The handshake is such a terrible idea, from an infectious disease standpoint,” says Dr. Mark Sklansky, a self-described germaphobe and also professor and chief of pediatric cardiology at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.

What will become of the handshake? The most common form of greeting between those newly introduced and best friends in the west. It has been well accepted despite very common knowledge that it is not a very healthy way to great. Will the Western world accept a new way to greet?

Fist Bumps? Elbow Bumps? What will be the new social etiquette. Do you have a favorite alternative? Fist bumps are a good step forward but I just don’t know if I can get into a fist bump in a professional work environment.

My vote: