Why we should stop drinking from the syphon during Covid-19 Times

A not entirely serious look back at an extraordinary year 2020

Hopefully, this year will go down in the history books as "the Corona year." Hopefully, because only "one" year. Presumably, however, the road to a new normal, where we can once again engage personally around the world, meeting and hugging people, is still very long.

Learned something again

The world is practicing "social distancing," lockdowns, and wearing mouth-to-nose coverings to prevent the spread of the virus. After initial shock, we have gradually learned many things about this virus. For example, scientists examined apartments of affected people in a hotspot in Weinsberg, Germany. The result: hardly any viruses on the door handles. Hardly any viruses in the air. But plenty of the dangerous Covid-19 viruses in the wastewater. With this knowledge, something can be done. Stop drinking from the siphon, for example. Or stop washing vegetables in the toilet. Another lesson learned. The chief medical officer in Canada, Teresa Tam, has pointed out that the risk of a Covid-19 infection during sexual intercourse is lowest, if you are the only person present. That is an important piece of science! I am inclined to add that this finding might only true, if you have disinfected your hands before engagement. Well, since I'm not a scientist, and it's just a guess, I'll leave it there.

People need people

Working from home has been another risk mitigation measure. And with that has come new requirements regarding how to work, and how to lead. Many of us are now experts in telephone and video conferencing. It has worked amazingly well, this remote leadership thing. After not being able to physically come together in our team, we retired a wonderful colleague this year with a global video conference. We also held a joint virtual Christmas party across countries. To tell you the truth, I was pleasantly surprised myself at how emotional such virtual events can be. Nevertheless, my conclusion after a year of field testing HomeOffice is: people need people. Creativity and innovation lag behind when people can't meet in person. Company buildings where people meet also have an effect on employees and the energy level at which they work. Architectures and spaces influence our ways of thinking.

This should make us think

What else? Yes, that's right: Johnny Depp and his ex, Amber Heard, got into a mud fight in court over the summer. Was she actually beaten? And if so, by Johnny Depp, or after all by „Tesla- Elon“, because ... he supposedly had a thing going with her too, right? Electrifying. Amber allegedly dropped her defecation in Mr. Depp's bed, so he said. Because he was late to her party. Amber´s response? It wasn't me! It was ... the dog. Yeah, right! While the rest of the world is fighting a pandemic, and thousands of people are dying, celebrities are arguing about who shit (excuse my language) in whose bed? That should give us pause for thought.

Hallelujah for a new energy discussion

Some businesses are "Corona pofiteurs," while many others are struggling to survive. Restaurants. Coaches. Florists. Corona bailout packages have been launched. Sums of money beyond imagination. And with the money, new technology grants have been set in motion. Hydrogen is supposed to come. Hallelujah! Are battery cars really so CO2 neutral and sustainable? Well, I read that a large part of the electro-hybrid company cars are returned after the leasing period with the charging cables still in their original packaging. Well, that's true sustainability, isn’t it? Charging cables that can be reused indefinitely because no one uses them! Joking aside: we need a technology-open and critical discussion for two different problems in the context of mobility: how do we reduce our CO2 emissions, and how do we improve the air quality in our cities. These are two different issues that are all too readily lumped together. From my technical point of view, hydrogen produced from renewable sources is the only alternative to solve our CO2 problem on this planet and at the same time to maintain a stable energy supply. The emerging critical discussion in the matter of battery mobility is for me an absolutely positive side of the past year.

Prominent points will disappear

The stock markets have crashed and are already back at all-time highs. The Wirecard fraud case has impressively shown how control systems can be undermined if only there is enough criminal energy and people look the other way for long enough. Many of our administrations and large organizations have shown how much they struggle if things happen for which there are no rules, processes and paragraphs yet. Instead, information, opportunities and risks have to be evaluated, responsibility assumed and decisions made. Even artificial intelligence is said to have found its limits when airline bookings collapsed and the automated systems tried in vain to attract customers with price reductions. Switching to manual mode was the order of the day: if you have to travel now, you pay premium prices. As prominent as all these points were this year, they will disappear from my personal attention radar very quickly.

Cultivating relationships across borders

Another thought, however, will bear with me for a longer time: the concern about the increasing polarization of society, further fostered by the Covid-19 crisis. Fronts forming within the US after the presidential (des)election. Demonstrations in Germany by Corona deniers and so-called "Querdenker“. Growing distance and trade wars between the major economies of this world. I think: Right now we have to stay in dialogue with each other and cultivate personal relationships across borders! Right now we have to keep our own egos in check again and again and look for compromises which are sufficient for all! Also for our planet! We owe that to our children and grandchildren. This will not be easy. We can succeed together. Let's take up the challenge together!

And one more thing:

I, too, now have gained a little more gray hair in the past year. But that's a small price to pay for all the wisdom we have gained over the past year, right?

With this in mind, I wish you all a healthy, peaceful and successful year 2021!

Yours truely,

Bruno Hartmann


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