Friday 27 March 2020

ARTICLE 10 - Part 3: An Outbreak of Terrible Communication & Leadership

“We engage in a microscopic war against parasites that could annihilate us.”

-From Episode 15 of the Podcast-Audiobook
(Originally Published April 14, 2019)


Viable Underdogs concerns itself with anything that is a Type 1, or global, issue. You can check an outline of all Viable Underdogs books and materials in this post. As always, I strongly recommend starting with the book, Renegades of Disruption, first:
Book Links & Other Viable Underdogs Material

This is Part 3 of our continuing series that compares the ongoing Coronavirus Crisis to other crises like Sustainability. Here are links to Parts 1 & 2:

Part 1

Part 2

UPDATE: April 4, 2020: A report that outlines Taiwan's strategy and other info have been included at the end of the article.


At the end of Part 2 in Uncage Human Ingenuity, I mentioned my concerns about our inability to communicate global messages. Here was the exact quote (typo and all):

“Not so much due to the Sustainability Crisis, but it became more and more apparent that our ability to communicate global messages [and] ideas was compromised. This is a profoundly significant notion that can carry dire consequences.” **

Compromised Communication

As outlined throughout a lot of the research presented within Viable Underdogs, our ability to successfully communicate is compromised. The book, Uncage Human Ingenuity, displays this on the subject of the Sustainability Crisis, and Parts 1 and 2 of this article display this on the Coronavirus Crisis.

Even the fact-checking website, Snopes, is having trouble keeping on top of the high level of misinformation and disinformation on the ongoing global crisis:

I have mentioned fact-checking websites like Snopes ( as far back as EPISODE 8. Snopes is a popular resource used by responsible journalists to verify their information prior to publishing (Shah, D., 2019).

The high level of misinformation means there is far, far too much noise which vastly decreases the success rate of my second launch attempt (See 
Article 9 - Part 2). This is the reason that I will likely have to proceed with the second stage in this launch, but I’ll be updating all of that in an upcoming article.

There are no shortages of individuals and organizations that appear to trivialize the impacts of the ongoing Coronavirus Crisis. After all, if you’re a healthy individual, the odds lean very heavily you’ll survive exposure to this virus. However, this is a very shortsighted opinion to hold since a global crisis of this magnitude has the potential to create unforeseen consequences:

-It can create chaos throughout many global supply chains, including our ability to globally ensure adequate (and crucial) supplies of food and water. Although some still enjoy the luxury of easy access to clean water, there are more and more water shortages occurring globally. (See References section)

-It can initiate a massive global recession (or depression) on a similar magnitude of the Crisis in Economics that occurred in 2008. As a reminder, some experts are suggesting our ability to absorb another such global economic crisis is also compromised (Stewart, E., 2018). Even if our economic systems can absorb the impacts of this crisis, it leaves them far more vulnerable from future problems, which will increase in severity and frequency if the solutions I present are not implemented in a timely manner.

-It causes massive strain on Healthcare systems, many of which, according to Harvard Business, are also already in crisis (Harvard Business Review. 2018). This means that access to crucial life-saving emergency services can be heavily restricted or even removed if the Healthcare system fails in a particular region.

-It causes massive disruptions to everyday life, particularly in extreme cases, where governments are left with little alternative but to enact some form of heavy military or police enforcement to ensure the general population adheres to quarantine protocols. 
-It also causes many issues that can compound one another. I provide an example of this later in the article with the company, Airbnb. 

Here’s another example of an economic factor that many nations, like Canada, are quickly attempting to reactively deal with:

This article, released by the Department of Finance Canada says the following about the current Employment Insurance system:

“The EI system was not designed to process the unprecedented high volume of applications received in the past week.”

Though I commend the Government of Canada for its overall response (it has responded much more quickly and effectively than other nations), this is still indicative of reactive thinking rather than proactive thinking. Once again, if a strategy had been created prior to the crisis occurring, then problems such as these could be mitigated to a large degree and possibly even prevented from occurring altogether.

This type of global crisis is a no-win scenario for every individual, organization, business, and nation on the globe. Our economics and supply chains are so interdependent that no entity is insulated from the impacts of a crisis of this potential magnitude. However, our communication system is compromised, which means that not every individual, organization, business, and nation on the globe has successfully received this message. If they did, then there would not be conflicting messages on the current severity of the crisis. Just ask the fact-checking website Snopes I mentioned earlier. They can’t even keep up. If that isn’t further evidence of a compromised global communication system, I don’t know what is.

Are your associative barriers low enough to understand that this extends to more than just Sustainability and Coronavirus into every Type 1 (Global) problem? At the end of the article, I’ll explore this in a bit more detail.

Why isn’t everyone getting the message?

As you’ll notice in Parts 1 and 2, there are several factors that compound one another to result in this compromised global communication, but one of the largest contributing factors goes back to a story you’re likely familiar with:

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

For those who many not know they story, it’s basically about how the more people are exposed to deception, the less likely they are to take action when it’s actually necessary. Regardless of where you reside on the political spectrum (See 
Article 1: The Fall of Journalism), you’re likely aware of just how polarizing and inaccurate many global news sources have become. Many of them are constantly ‘crying wolf’ with clickbait-type stories and create unnecessary amplification of many issues (See: Article 12 - Part 2). 

The more these types of click-bait type stories are run, the greater the possibility that the general public reacts the same way as they do when the wolf is actually present - by not taking action. This is otherwise known as Outrage Fatigue.

Outrage Fatigue

Outrage Fatigue was briefly mentioned in the books, Uncage Human Ingenuity and Renegades of Disruption, and it basically means what the name implies. Much like the townsfolk crew tired and fatigued at the deception of the boy who cried wolf, so too is the general public tired and fatigued at the the deception behind the click-bait nature of modern journalism. Here’s an article that explores this idea in greater detail:

Update on the Strategy Presented in Part 2

In Part 2 of this article, I recommended the attachment of ‘stickied’ type notes from organizations and individuals from all 5 Roles back to the organization in charge to correct communication and clarify leadership. As always, I am not alone in this idea. Some businesses and organizations have already taken it upon themselves to do exactly this. Reddit has done this (but directs their audience to the CDC), and even Spotify and Tinder is also doing this within their apps:

To clarify, I provide these examples to show that most organizations would likely participate in the opt-in system I propose. The strategy I propose would also ensure far more consistency and would ensure that these are uploaded far sooner than what occurred in this crisis.

Another entity I would add would be streaming services like Netflix, due to the large amount of exposure some have on platforms like these.

The World of 2002 vs. the World of 2020

There are some major differences in our world in the short time between the last time the world faced a similar global threat in the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003.

Tourism in an age of Globalization

If we compare the global tourism statistics from 2002-2003 (during the SARS outbreak) to the statistics of 2019, then one thing becomes evidently clear:

According to The World Bank,the number of international departures grew from about 760 million in 2002-2003 to 1.56 billion in 2018. So, there was double the tourists traveling around the world at the start of the Coronavirus outbreak than there was at the start of SARS.

This statistic does not account for another crucial factor; the increase of international departures from developing nations like China:

The previous article cites COTRI (China Outbound Tourism Research Institute) and the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) for the data it includes. According to the article, the number of Chinese tourists has increased from 16.6 Million in 2002 to 149.7 Million in 2018 - about 9 times the amount of tourism in 16 years. The speed of globalization is compounding our ability to address these types of crises. A major contributing factor easing the spread of viruses around the globe is international travel and work.

This means that in less than 20 years, two major problems are compounding the challenges behind these microscopic threats: compromised global communication and historically unprecedented rates of international tourism. With this in mind, it makes sense that tracking any travelers at the very start of an outbreak would help in mitigating the damage caused by this style of Type 1 problem. This is why phone apps are already being proposed as a strategy to deal with this:

In order to proactively deal with this type of crisis, the minute the outbreak is known (In the case of Coronavirus this was in December, 2019), anyone currently traveling internationally could download an app similar to this style to better track the spread of the virus. This level of tracking would likely mitigate the majority of the damage caused by the virus.

There are two approaches that can be attempted with this app: One is mandatory, the other is an opt-in system. At international customs, many countries have removed some of the freedoms that are present within the nation itself (Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 2018).

When I leave my country, I do so knowing there are inherent risks and sacrifices. One such sacrifice is a certain level of privacy and freedom I am afforded within my nation’s borders. Knowing this, adding in a phone app like this could be added to the loss of privacy a person can expect when they travel internationally. However, this could also be released as an opt-in system. After all, the greater the economic toll (not to mention the loss of life) this crisis takes on the world, the more likely the general population will want to prevent a reoccurence. After all, as Rama Nemani likes to remind us of what should seem obvious: “Once people realize there is a problem, they tend to fix it.”

If the current trends and statistics are any indication, international travel will only increase over time, which means the risks and collateral damage of viral outbreaks will increase as well. Knowing that this is another style of no-win scenario, then it is more than likely that the majority of international travelers will download and use such a tracking app of their own accord. After all, it’s much better to do that than it is to quarantine yourself at home for possible months on end.

There are a lot more specifics to this type of proactive approach that I would like to elaborate on, but this will have to wait for another time.

Back to the Economic Impacts

As I have repeatedly stated, the communication of the Coronavirus Crisis is rather compromised. This creates a whole range of problems, one of them being that the average person may not understand the level of urgency based on different factors that Type 1 global problems can severely aggravate. This won’t be a popular opinion, but mitigating the financial impacts of the crisis is just as important as mitigating the loss of life. If the crisis continues to be managed and communicated as terribly as it has been, then you’ll unfortunately soon learn about these economic factors. It’s appearing more and more likely that this crisis will have financial impacts similar to the 2008 Economic Crisis. This is troubling given that some experts don’t think our global economy has a much greater tolerance for the amount of abuse we continually subject it to. Even if we are able to absorb the possible trillions in financial damages, what about the other crises that are still ongoing like Sustainability?

We’re choosing a high-risk strategy where we are constantly rolling the dice for the fate of our planet. While I applaud the metaphorical cojones our species has in engaging in this high-risk behaviour, it will eventually lead to our downfall. Here are a few articles I encourage you to read if you are unfamiliar with the interdependence of our global economic system:

There were also articles previously mentioned in Parts 1 and 2:

And here’s another example, mentioned earlier in this article, of a global problem that can further compound existing economic issues:

Airbnb is a global organization, which means that any Airbnb host that depends on the funds they make to either support themselves or pay off their mortgage have now lost that source of income (Givetash, L, & Kane, L., 2016). If further economic stresses then impact their main source of income, then it’s likely there will be foreclosures soon occurring if those hosts cannot afford to pay their bills for the length of the crisis.

This leads to an unpleasant dilemma that governments and taxpayers already faced in the 2008 Economic Crisis - whether to approve financial assistance and other bailouts to these types of businesses. Airbnb has already contacted the U.S. Congress seeking financial assistance and tax breaks (Eaglesham, J., Grind, K., & Rana, P., 2020). If this crisis worsens, the number of businesses doing the same will also likely increase.

Other Type 1 Problems

Viable Underdogs initially targeted the Sustainability Crisis as the first Type 1 problem that should be corrected due to the scale and magnitude of its worst-case scenarios. However, this does not mean that there are not other crises that can occur, nor more severe problems that can arise. Here’s a short list of other Type 1 problems (and once again, I would like to remind you that all of these problems can be addressed - assuming anyone decides to hire me for my Type 1 Consultancy services - I’m already repairing the first one as a freebie to prove my expertise - however, it only works if you decide to participate in the ‘repair’ by forwarding this ‘altruistic chain letter’):

Compromised Global Communication

Our ability to globally communicate during crises is compromised and we have also lost the ability to successfully communicate the possibility of national security threats. The Podcast-Audiobook and Uncage Human Ingenuity diagnose and repair this communication problem (But this requires YOUR help by sharing these ideas on your online and offline networks).

Deepfakes and Other Rapidly Advancing Technology  Like A.I.

We can not currently effectively communicate long-term crisis messages to the general public, such as our Sustainability Crisis. We also cannot effectively communicate national security threats like Deep Fake Technology:

I strongly encourage you to read the article and research this technology on your own time. This tech could have global consequences since anyone could make a video of anything their warped imaginations could conjure up. Take a moment to see how creative you could get. ;)

Epidemics / Pandemics

I assume there’s no need to go into more detail.

Coronal Mass Ejections

Solar storms have the potential to wreak havoc on the world’s global electric infrastructure. Such storms have occurred in the past, but the damage caused were rather minimal compared to a worst-case scenario:

This is troubling given that one study placed the probability of such an event occurring before 2024 at 12%:

12% is a significant number when the consequences of such a disaster are considered; some experts suggest that damages could cost trillions and take years or even decades to repair the problems caused. Here’s a 2018 report (written by the United States Government Accountability Office) indicating that the risks are not yet fully understood, and the technologies that could be used to limit geomagnetic interference are not ready to be deployed:

Volcanic Eruptions

This was already mentioned in Part 2 of this article.

And here’s yet another example of a story that some outlets needlessly ran in a click-bait way (much like the A.I. story we covered back in Episode 8 of the Podcast-Audiobook):

So while the threat of a supervolcano erupting is rather low, there are still real consequences of volcanic eruptions like the one that occurred in Iceland back in 2010:


I won’t elaborate here, but I encourage you to check out the two Viable Underdogs books: Uncage Human Ingenuity and A Type 1 Unfreeze-Chain Letter. Here’s a list of problems that are already global crises:

*Air Quality
*Environmental Degradation
*Global Water Shortages
*Water Quality


This will be covered in greater detail at a later date, but evidence of problems in our global economic system can be identified in the 2008 Economic Crisis:

Other areas that have Type 1 considerations are nuclear war, space exploration, virtual reality, automation, etc., but I think that’s enough to cover in this article. As a reminder, it’s not my intent to needlessly create fear or panic. All of these problems have many solutions that could be applied to mitigate or eliminate the crises that can result. I mention these types of problems to remind the world of the need for Type 1 thinking, Type 1 Diagnostics, and Type 1 Consultants. All services I am currently offering, but I can only present my ideas and strategies if you’re 'buying' what I’m 'selling.'



UPDATE: Here's a link to a report that outlines Taiwan's overall management of this crisis. Although Taiwan is one of the closest regions to the source of the pandemic, it has been one of the countries that has managed it the most effectively. Strategies such as these could be "blueprint copied" and redistributed to any other region that wishes to implement a similar strategy. More details about blueprint copying will be posted in the future:

Cole, L. (2020). Macdonald-Laurier Institute. How Taiwan is leading by example in the global war on the COVID-19 pandemic. 

And here is a video from Bill Gates regarding his thoughts on the current overall management of the crisis. Gates has been actively involved with this field for years and has been quite vocal on how unprepared we are:

If you search online, there are many more videos and papers that Bill Gates has been involved in. 


**[as stated, there will be a better edited version of Uncage Human Ingenuity that will be released in the future. It’s just very challenging to proofread and edit your own work].

These first 3 sources pertain to the global water crisis. Though, if you research sources on your own, you’ll find much more information (try to find them from more than role like I have done here with the Role of Government and the Role of Information):

Cassella, C., (2019). Science Alert. Nearly 25% of the world’s population faces a water crisis, and we can’t ignore it.

United Nations (N.D.). United Nations. Water.

World Water Council. (N.D.). World Water Council. Water Crisis.

Apple warns coronavirus will hurt iPhone supplies. (2020). BBC News.

AFP (2020). France 24. ‘Selfie app’ to keep track of quarantined Poles.

Brown, D., Jones, L., & Palumbo, D., (2020). BBC News. Coronavirus: a visual guide to the economic impact.

Cousin, M., Hong, J., Orlik, T., & Rush, J. (2020). Bloomberg. Coronavirus could cost the global economy $2.7 Trillion. Here’s how.

Crockett, M. J., (2018). The Globe and Mail. Modern outrage is making it harder to better society.

Department of Finance Canada. (2020). Government of Canada. Government introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses.

Eaglesham, J., Grind, K., & Rana, P. (2020). The Wall Street Journal. Airbnb racks up hundreds of millions in losses due to Coronavirus.

Givetash, L, & Kane, L. (2016). Maclean’s. Airbnb says over half of Vancouver hosts use income to pay rent, mortgage.

Harvard Business Review. (2018). HBR’s 10 Must Reads On Strategy for Healthcare. Harvard Business Review Press.

Houser, K., (September, 2019). Futurism. Deepfake Pioneer: “Perfectly real” fake vids are six months away.

Kamer, F., (2020). Futurism. This MIT and Harvard-built app could slow the spread of Coronavirus.

Klemetti, E. (2017). Discover. No, NASA isn’t going to drill to stop Yellowstone from erupting.

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. (2018). Government of Canada. Your privacy at airports and borders.

Phillips, T. (2014). NASA. Near miss: the solar superstorm of July 2012.

Phillips, T. (2010). NASA. Solar shield - protecting the North American power grid.

Robitzski, D. (2020). Futurism. A growing number of countries tap phone data to track COVID-19.

Robitzski, D., (2020). Futurism. Even Snopes has been overwhelmed by Coronavirus misinformation.

Shah, D., (2019). BBC News. Snopes: how do you survive 25 years debunking fake news?

Simchi-Levi, D., & Haren, P., (2020). Harvard Business Review. How Coronavirus could impact the global supply chain by mid-March.

Stewart, E., (2018). Vox. How close are we to another financial crisis? 8 experts weigh in.

Smith, O., (2019). The Telegraph. The unstoppable rise of the Chinese traveler - where are they going and what does it mean for overtourism?

United States Government Accountability Office. (2018). Technology Assessment: Critical Infrastructure Protection. Protecting the Electric Grid from Geomagnetic Disturbances.

The World Bank. (2018). The World Bank. International tourism, number of departures.

Wolverton, Troy. (2020). Business Insider. Airbnb hosts are furious that the company is sticking them with the cost of letting guests cancel due to the coronavirus crisis.

There’s a cool updating graph on this site that shows the difference in travel over the last couple decades:

Your Mileage May Vary (2019). How international travelers have change in the past 20 years.

Solving the Global Communication Crisis

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