Seeing Through Walls
I am back from vacation and almost done with the Jewish Holidays. I have dozens of notes and ideas to write about over the coming weeks. While I review everything, below are a few quick thoughts and updates.
Remote Work: Facts and Fiction
Nicholas Bloom has been mapping the evolution of remote work for two decades. An Economics Professor at Stanford University, his research paints a detailed and systematic picture of where and how people are working, how productive they are, and how their preferences change over time.
Later this month, I'll be hosting a live video chat with Nick about his recent research. Expect a data-driven conversation about what employees are doing, what employers should do, and what happens next. Click here to sign up. It's free.
The Opportunity in Your Backyard
Brad Hargreaves has a new newsletter about new ways to build and finance housing and other assets. Brad's recent post looks at Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). In plain English, ADUs refer to small housing units that can be built alongside an existing house — usually in the backyard.
Many/most American municipalities and states restrict ADU construction. But faced with severe housing shortages, some jurisdictions are now allowing — and even encouraging — the construction of new units next to existing properties.
In his post, Brad breaks down the economics of building such units and predicts that large investors and developers will start building them en masse in some parts of the country. Read his full post here.
Something to listen to
In case you missed it, I had a fun conversation with Proffessor Scott Galloway about the future of cities, inequality, scalable careers, TikTok, and the case for national service. You can listen to the whole thing here.
Scott has a great new book out, Adrift: America in 100 Charts. It highlights important economic, social, and political trends, with short and insightful commentary. I enjoyed reading it and think the format could lend itself to various other topics.
A Line in the Sea
During my vacation, I took my family to a lookout on the border between Israel and Lebanon. Two lookouts, actually. One, on a mountain that towers above southern Lebanon. From there, we could see the outpost I was stationed at as a soldier (more on that period, here).
The second lookout was at the beach, just south of the border. The white cliff in the picture is where I used to board the convoy into Lebanon. And the boat on the left side of the image is patrolling an invisible line that marks a the border in the sea.
That border was being renegotiated during our visit. For the first time ever, Israel and Lebanon reached an agreement concerning a tiny portion of their shared border. The impetus was the discovery on undersea natural gas on both sides of the line. The two countries had to sort out drilling rights, egged on by America and French diplomants and energy companies.
An agreement was reached. It is a minor agreement, and one that may not last long. And yet, it is meaningful. The good that can come of it outweighs the bad. And the bad is always the default option in the Middle East. So any opportunity to avoid it is worth a try.
Also that week, I was invited to give a talk in Saudi Arabia. Since I was vacationing in Israel, that didn't work out. There are no flights between the countries and a trip would have required special approvals that were hard to obtain while everyone was on holiday. But the invitation itself was meaningful.
Things are changing in the world. And they are changing quickly. We are forced to rethink a lot of what we take for granted about our work, cities, and countries. There are immense challenges ahead, but also heretofore unimaginable opportunities for peace and prosperity.
Have a wonderful weekend.