Today at Collision conference Shaquille O’Neal made an appearance to promote Steady, a company that wants to help working Americans get a steady financial life. The company was founded by Adam Roseman a few years ago with the goal of making life more predictable for the average American. As nearly everyone knows, inequality has been increasing since the last recession and now companies like Steady are looking to stop that growth. Their platform helps people find work while also learning how to budget and other financial bits of wisdom.
Growing up in a single-parent home, Roseman saw first hand the daily financial struggles many Americans face. The vision for Steady came to Roseman after seeing the plight of his recently retired father. Like many Americans, his father found he didn’t have enough retirement savings and needed to work part-time to make ends meet. Roseman stepped in, suggesting his father look for flexible work opportunities that fit his needs, availability and interests. And through Steady, Roseman and his team hope to help millions more.
Earlier this month Run the Jewels released their most recent album and it’s the music we need for these crazy times. The band effectively captures the tensions felt by people on the ground experience racism, classism, and oppression from the police (and the state at large). Their anger isn’t the aggression of punk, which didn’t change much, it’s about realign the wrongs in society and doing something about it. One of the members of RTJ, Killer Mike, has been calling for radical change in the USA and people are starting to hear his message.
Here in June 2020, amid global protests triggered by the killing of a black man, George Floyd, by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, few artists in any genre have the necessary audacity, and authority, to run toward this chaos of dismay and rage and defiance, not away from it. This is the rap album this moment demands, in that at least for now, it barely registers as a plain old rap album at all.
Killer Mike—a thoughtful and forceful historian, an ardent Bernie Sanders supporter, the host of an adventurous Netflix talk show, and if we’re lucky a future firebrand politician—had in fact already risen to this occasion. On Saturday, after protests and riots swept across his hometown as they did virtually every major city nationwide, he gave a teary, devastating speech alongside T.I. and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. He expressed solidarity with the cops (“I’m the son of an Atlanta city police officer”) and the protestors both. (“I’m mad. As. Hell. I woke up wanting to see the world burn down yesterday, because I’m tired of seeing black men die.”) His voice wobbled, from the start, as he drummed on the podium, but his message was firm, a plea with the force of a divine command: “It is your duty to not burn your own house down for anger with an enemy.” Please watch this.
Before the pandemic too many people spent too much of the time working instead of living. Now, the opposite is true with employers in North America firing people left and right because companies didn’t save a rainy day fund. Indeed, some companies aren’t paying rent and getting away with it (unlike individuals). Maybe there’s a way to save jobs and our mental health. If we went down to a four day workweek we could see an increase in productivity in some jobs, while in other jobs it could open the door for more employment.
“The pandemic has created a moment for businesses to take stock and consider more radical reconstructions of the workplace. It is a time for experimentation and a reevaluation of what it means to be productive,” said Andrew Barnes, author of “The 4 Day Week” and co-founder of the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global. Barnes has emerged as a global ambassador of sorts for a four-day workweek, since switching his own New Zealand-based firm onto that schedule back in 2018 and finding it improved productivity and morale.
“By focusing on productivity and output rather than time spent in a workplace, the four-day week allows for better work-life balance, improved employee satisfaction, retention and mental health,” he said.
Walking is great! Most of us have heard that we should get 10,000 steps a day to maintain our health, but walking is more than just taking steps. Shane O’Mara in his book In Praise of Walking explores what walking is all about (hint: it’s everything that makes us human). It matters where we walk too, so be sure to get out into some nature for a meaningful walk instead of sticking to concrete.
O’Mara, a professor of experimental brain research at Trinity College in Dublin, writes in straightforward prose, methodically presenting research and studies in support of his thesis that walking has not only been crucial to human evolution but is essential to our health. Studies show that regular walking mobilizes changes in the structure of our brain that can increase volume in the areas associated with learning and memory. He dedicates a chapter to the science behind human navigation and describes how the selective memories of our wanderings are central components of our experiences and ability to make “maps of the world we have experienced.”
O’Mara argues that walking influences many aspects of cognition — how we think, reason, remember, read, and write. In particular, there is a vital relationship between movement of the body and the flow of thinking. “Since antiquity it has been recognized that a good walk is an excellent way to think problems through,” he writes.
Running away to join the circus is dream many kids have. In Cambodia joining the circus can be the best thing a kid can do, and they don’t need to run away to join the fun. Phare Ponleu Selpak is the circus program, after similar in style to Cirque du Soleil, for youth and functions in two Cambodian cities, Battambang and Siem Reap. What makes this Cambodian approach unique is the attachment to education beyond the circus. Youth who participate in the program get a full education alongside their circus training.
I’ve been to their performance at their school in Battambang, and trust me, it’s really really impressive!
“Cambodian youth are transforming their lives through art, breaking the cycle of poverty,” says Khuon Chanreaksmey. “They are discovering their own talents and realising that with hard work and opportunity anything in life is possible. The salaries they earn performing in the circus help support themselves and their families. Today’s artists are paving the way for the younger generations.”
Phare has fired imaginations around the world on its overseas tours. “Phare is amazing – its performers are so talented, especially since most of them are kids coming from the street, and obviously there’s a lot of hard work and creativity behind the scenes,” says Ravindra Ngo, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Cambodian Society, a non-profit organisation that promotes the country’s art and culture.