CODEX

Almost every industry will be “Pelotonized” in the post-pandemic world

Photo Credit: Robynne Hu | Unsplash

The great science fiction writer William Gibson famously noted that “the future is already here; it’s just not widely distributed yet.” I think that I’ve seen the future, and in it, everything will be “Pelotonized.”

Let me explain.

For those of you who haven’t jumped on the hottest at-home fitness trend of this pandemic-cursed year, Peloton is a high-tech stationary bike with a 24” touchscreen TV bolted onto it. The monitor allows the rider to access content — both live and on-demand video workouts — where an instructor teaches in much the same they would in a spin studio. …


The cascading crises of 2020 have demonstrated the enormous weight of bad news. Here are some strategies to help you cope in case the worst is yet to come.

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a constant stream of dismal news. To make matters worse, bad is much stronger than good, unfortunately.

What do I mean by that? Grim headlines have a disproportionately large influence on your mood and mindset. We pay much more attention to scary or sad stories than we do happy ones.

There is a good evolutionary reason for this. We are hypersensitive to these…


Credit: Pixabay

Tom Brady is the model of what a modern leader should be. Believe me, as a Dallas Cowboy fan(atic), it pains me to write that. However, I’ve come to realize that quarterbacks like Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Dak Prescott combine timeless virtues of sacrifice, courage, and leadership by example along with Nate Silver-like data processing skills. To succeed on the football field these days, QBs have to be one part Achilles and one part algorithm.

Let’s look at the traditional tool kit first. The demands on leaders evolve, but some elements remain constant. A team — or an army —…


I’ve written before about the Reinvention Portfolio framework that I’ve developed to help people plan for a long and fulfilling life. It’s a new mental model that brings together a mix of ​largely​ ​intangible assets that will help you renew yourself and ​be resilient​ to ups and downs.

Revitalization Assets are an important part of the Reinvention Portfolio. They provide you with the energy and motivation to transform yourself when required. Think of ​friends and​ ​family​, but also personal ​health​ ​and​ ​fitness as restorative resources. …


The successive health, economic, and social crises of this year underscore the need to be prepared for uncertainty. Follow this Five-Step Playbook to be Future PROOF.

22 years ago, I was staying at a friend’s house in San Diego and I couldn’t sleep. In perusing his bookshelf for something to distract me, I stumbled on a book about a once-in-a-century hurricane … and proceeded to stay up all night devouring it in one sitting.

That book was “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger (later made in a movie with Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney). In addition to detailing the almost…


Work in sprints to manage your energy

One of the books that changed the way I live and work is the insightful and aptly named “The Way We’re Working isn’t Working” by Tony Schwartz.

The book preaches the gospel of strategically managing your energy and attention levels. Humans are not machines; we need to balance energy expenditures with restorative breaks in order to get optimal performance​ from ourselves (and our teams). This is especially true today when the majority of us are performing knowledge work. ​Does anybody think that they’re as good at spotting errors in a spreadsheet after doing it for four hours straight?

Since I…


So many aspects of lives operated on autopilot until recently. Not anymore. The second and third-order effects of C-19 are — for good and for ill — breaking centuries-old habits. The Coronavirus just pressed CTL-Alt-Delete. Let’s embrace this fresh start.

Almost exactly 5 years ago, back in season 5 of “Game of Thrones” (sidebar: doesn’t it seem like a lifetime ago that we had the luxury of being consumed with a mere television show?), the putative Queen of the Seven Kingdoms Daenarys Targaryen lamented the stasis of Westerosi society and proclaimed:

“Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell — they’re all just spokes on a wheel. This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.”

It occurred to…


We live in the world C-19 has permanently changed. We need to pivot now from a crisis mindset to a coexistence one. Next, we’ll need to figure out how to capitalize on it.

Mindset Shift

In early March (after SXSW was canceled and before the NBA shut down its season) I opined that 2020 was going to be another “Year without Summer”. I compared this moment not to the 1918 Pandemic, but to the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia that led to years of tumult and irreversible changes in society.

In early April, I noted that we were reaching “the end of the beginning” of this crisis and that we had entered into a funhouse mirror version of reality that I called “the Upside Down”. It was a reference to the Netflix show…


The Upside Down

I’ve been thinking a lot about how this current phase of the pandemic — and the one that follows — will change us. Unfortunately, I don’t think that we are close to returning to normal. We are instead, to borrow a Churchillian turn of phrase, reaching the end of the beginning. But what comes next?

A lot of people are referring to it as a “new normal”, which is a term I’m sure we’re already sick of (along with “flattening the curve”, PPE and “social distancing” — as well as certain leaders’ overuse of the word “tremendous”, but I digress…


Are you surprised that the whole US economic system has essentially collapsed in a matter of weeks? I am.

This is an enormously disruptive shock, to be fair. But the speed with which the health of the American economy has gone from healthiest in history to gasping on life support has been astonishing and totally without precedent.

I am a student of history. As such, I’ve been looking at this moment through a long term lens in order to learn from past precedents. At this juncture, I’ve settled on 1929 and the start of the Great Depression as the most…

Ion Valis

Strategic Advice for Work and Life | www.IonValis.com

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