Friday, April 17, 2020

Thriving for Today - despite covid

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ― Viktor E. Frankl

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”― Victor Frankl

Dr Victor Frankl was Jewish and a holocaust survivor - including surviving the now famous and terrible Auschwitz.  He wrote a famous book about his survival called "Man's Search for Meaning".  It is a must read.

In it he spoke about those people who died.  Those people who said to themselves (and others) "we will be out by January 1" were the ones that died.  I read people saying this covid crisis will be over by X.  I am not so sure.  I think it will not end on a day.  I think it will be gradual.  And there is a high likelihood it will take much longer than expected.

We have life during covid.  Seek to maximize that.  Living in the past or the future can negate the value of the now.  Our lives are still good - even now.  Much of what people are suffering from are the effects of covid - not actually covid.  For example - I do not know anyone who has died from covid.  I only know a friend of a friend who has it bad.  Everything I am dealing with is the reaction in the economy, in business, in the change in my daily routine.

I speak about cherishing the moment but I, too, think a lot about the future.  In business, I think about Danby.  As people spend more time at home, they will need more fridge space.  They will entertain more and need more wine coolers.  And freezers are already in short supply.  Of course our hotel and academic sales will be down.  

For ShipperBee, I see more ecommerce and more shipping.  It is difficult to sell now because no one wants to change couriers but the future looks bright.

Of course much of Man's Search for Meaning spoke about purpose.  Purpose is the reason people survive and thrive.

One secret to happiness is gratitude.  When we compare our situation to the holocaust, we can realize how grateful we should be.  

Make the most of the day.


And one thing people can do to help save the world is here.  I have eaten that way for years and enjoyed it and do not feel any hardship.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Ventilators - How Danby Appliances got to Where We are.

Covid is the crisis of our time.  The only thing I like about it is it is not people killing people - rather it is the whole world against the virus. It is uniting.

As the virus unfolded, I could see the need for ventilators.  So perhaps 7-8 weeks ago, I put the Danby designers and engineers on figuring out what we could make.  The design criterion was - something we could start production in 2-3 weeks with parts that are readily available in Canada.

As an impatient entrepreneur, I just wanted to do it.  Quickly we realized that we simply did not have the capability to do this design.  So we started to bring in other people and companies to help.  One of the first people was highly energetic Rick Jamieson of ABS Friction.  He even calls himself Chief Engergizing Officer of this project.  He has been amazing at driving this project forward.

He brought in one of my other YPO friends, Scott Shawyer from JMP Solutions and one of his friends Paul LHeureux of Crystal Fountains.  Both of these companies would prove invaluable. 

Due to the urgency, we followed (and still are) different paths.

On the design our own path, Crystal Fountains stepped up and using their awesome rapid prototyping, designed and build a design from an open source.  I was very impressed with Crystal Fountains staff's speed, quality and professionalism.   It is not a true ventilator but a ambulatory bag pusher.  It is less invasive than a ventilator.   If someone shows up at a hospital and needs a ventilator and none is available, this is a perfect solution.  It can also reduce the time spent on a ventilator by weaning someone off the ventilator and on to this unit.  This video will give you a full idea of what this unit is.

These units are in production now and ready to ship.  We just need names of hospitals that want them.

Our second path was to produce an open source Medtronic design.  To do this, we again needed someone with medical production and expertise.  This spawned the relationship with Baylis Medical. 

This press release on the Baylis site says it all.    We will be building thousands of these units.  The advantage of them is they are professional, well tested units.  health professionals know how to use them.  And they will have a life far beyond Covid and can be use in hospitals for years.

We still have a third path but we have not announced it yet (partly because it is not completely nailed down). 

So we are a work in progress trying to solve the ventilator shortage for Canada.  And after that, we will turn our energies to the world need.

The need for ventilators will be huge in Africa (unfortunately).  See this Atlantic article.

Stay safe.  And go wash your hands.