Or why 2021 will be Jazmine Sullivan’s breakout year.

Photo by Michal Vavro on Unsplash

Yes. Your question is totally valid. You’re asking ‘why is he writing about Jazmine Sullivan?’. It’s because what Jazmine Sullivan is doing with her new album ‘Heaux Tales’ (Must Listen) is what every startup/business that wants to get big must do to give itself a chance of success.

I’ll get to Jazmine Sullivan and why I think her new album will be her biggest and 2021 will be her year. But first a couple of points.

Bill Gross, famous for being a legendary investor, gave a Ted Talk a few years ago where he claimed timing is by far the…

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A few things I’ve learned over this year/decade(?) that we’ve just experienced:

  1. Never underestimate the capacity of people to…(fill in the action, good or evil).
  2. We, our society, have collectively lost our capacity to take or handle uncomfortable feedback.
  3. Our systems are complex but we, collectively, mistook them for just merely complicated.
  4. Our capacity to discount the long term benefits of our present-day actions will be our undoing.
  5. We are all, almost at the same time, coming to the realization of how little is within our individual control.
  6. Sometimes, money is actually the solution.
  7. The US is the home of…

There are a few issues that water systems are having to deal with in the midst of the COVID pandemic. These issues aren’t particularly new, COVID19 has just highlighted difficulties the industry was already facing and might have been reticent to address.

  • Increased water usage: Most of the country’s (and world’s) population have had to shelter in place. While sheltering in place we are advised to wash hands, which means using more water than before, and this is increasing the need for water utility operators to increase service levels.
  • Reducing staff size: Compounding the issue of increased water usage in…

Deceitful headlines…

It was announced a couple of weeks ago that the ~20k children who suffered from the 2014 lead water contamination in Flint will receive $480M in the settlement. The total amount of compensation is $600M but only 80% of that amount will go to children who were under the age of 18 when the crisis was discovered. This amounts to $24k per child in Flint.

I don’t know about you, but $24k to address the toxic and permanent effects of lead sounds like a pretty insulting amount to me. It shows how little we care about the kids of Flint…

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

Say what you will, and I’m not discussing the politics of this situation we find ourselves in with the pandemic, the prevailing facts suggestt we’ve botched our fight with COVID19. Those same facts also suggest that our systems — public health, governmental, technological, — are actually more fragile than we thought. The tech advancements we’ve made gave us a false perception of our underlying conditions.

And it wasn’t like we didn’t know this pandemic was coming. Dennis Carroll, a scientist who used to be with the CDC and USAID, along with a few collaborators shared in a paper they published…

Photo by Vladyslav Dukhin from Pexels

Sadly, we’re just hitting wildfire season for 2020. We’ve come to expect fire disasters every year, but this time, in the midst of a pandemic, the impact is more severe for the residents of affected towns. Unfortunately, when the fires end there will be a longer-lasting tragedy as a result of drinking water contamination, caused by the fires. We have the technology and tools to address wildfire disasters, but we fail to address the connected but unintended consequences.

As at the time of writing this, over 60k people displaced, 154k customers are losing/have lost power and, 2M acres of land…

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Pexels

Short stories provide completion. The great short stories provide completion but also leave you with a lingering sense that you’ve just read/heard something that shifted something for you. I’m sure this has been said about other times in our history but the short story absolutely feels like the form for now. The short story has so little time to grip you and, in the words of Ali Smith, consumes you and the great ones do. It might be in the very first line or knock everything else you’ve read in the previous paragraphs with one like at the end.


Photo by Nathalie Désirée Mottet on Unsplash

To say it’s been a testing time since the last issue is to understate things a little bit. What’s been positive in the midst of all the craziness are the conversations I’ve had with friends, family, and some of you subscribers who’ve also been struggling through this period but see a positive future. It might not seem obvious that there is much good going on right now with COVID19 cases rising in the US and America finally having to reckon with some of the systemic issues it’s been sweeping under the giant carpet. …

I shared an email with Varuna’s investors and advisors a few days ago and the response was positive enough that I realized it was time to share it with a larger group of people. The responses were along the lines of

What can I do because I didn’t know, haven’t used my voice or wasn’t listening before?’.

So we’re sharing a list, which we will continue to update, that helps them start to do the work towards equity and justice for black people in America. Find below

  1. An opportunity to Sign up here and commit to hiring more black employees…

Photo by Joseph Rosales on Unsplash

At the risk of sounding insensitive, rushing through the now, I want to believe that on the other side of this period we are going through will be a lot of positive. Because this period we are in is probably the worst most of us have ever witnessed. And it hurts particularly for marginalized and oppressed groups.

But what I see is a future where the majority of us will work together in recognition of our shared humanity.

  • Empathy will be a shared approach to living in the world.
  • Family will become more central to our identities. And I mean…

Seyi Fabode

Co-Founder Varunaiot.com | Curator at PolymathicMonthly.com

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