MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (September 11, 2021)

Fortunate to have the opportunity to remember the victims of the September 11th terror attacks on air, alongside Elmer Kim and John Northcott.  On the 20th anniversary of the attacks that changed the world in many ways, this human tragedy is also a business story.  I recall the details of that day so clearly, and one of the things that I thought about was the many people who were simply going about their day to earn a living: the morning commute, getting a coffee, moments at their desk, greeting a colleague in the hallway, boardroom meetings “first thing”.  Others were travelling for work in the skies above; too many would not reach their destination.  As a career business person, I have done all of these things, often without a second thought.  How tragic it is that thousands of people would have these “normalcies” be the last moment of their lives.

September 11th gives me the feeling every year that the carefree days of Summer are gone in an instant, a door that slams shut with profound sadness.  We remember the victims today and every year on this day.

We also discussed the business news of the week, including Canadian economic developments and the global semiconductor chip shortage.

It is always positive to see the economy add jobs and beat expectations, however, given the realities of COVID19, it is difficult to know if this is merely a point on the curve or part of an overall growth trend.  The pandemic, unfortunately, continues to be very much a part of our communities and business environment, and as the Fall weather cools, the importance of taking recommended steps to combat COVID19 should not be lost.  Our economy is depending on Canadians to do the right things, to avoid cycling back to the days of business closures and other setbacks, as nobody wins when this happens.  Businesses are not measured by peaks and valleys, but rather, by the ability to survive over the long term; this is extremely difficult to achieve when the surrounding community is not healthy.

Related to this point, although it might sound like an obvious statement that companies need products and services to sell in order to be financially viable, the ability to do so in our current world is anything but a given.  Many companies are unable to get the materials that they need in order to manufacture products, with a prominent example being the semiconductor chip shortage,  This situation is multifaceted, as it is impacted by the high demand for technology, as well as geo-political and logistical factors.  Although not every situation can be resolved in the short term, business leaders need to bring creative solutions, as well as procurement options and strategies to manage customer expectations.  Having said that, the reality is that many consumers will simply have to wait until the shortage dissipates and expect to see higher prices, while businesses look for other options to resolve their own inevitable financial challenges.

Thank you for watching.  Today is a good day to do something to help others; we can all make a difference.

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (September, 2021)

It’s the Federal Election edition of the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, talking all things business, alongside Jeanhy Shim, Rubina Ahmed-Haq, and Hillary Johnstone (personal finance, business, and the roof over your head, we had it all!).

With so many topics in play, we focused our discussion in the areas of the economy, jobs, and affordability.  Here are a few comments about the issues facing Canadians, businesses, and the days ahead.

It’s hard to imagine a strong economy without COVID19 being well under control, at a minimum.  A healthy society is an important foundation for a healthy economy, and it is a reasonable concern that Canada will not have the ability to truly move ahead until the days of the pandemic are in the rear view mirror, making this effort Job #1.  In the absence of doing so, communities face the risk of an ongoing cycle of relaxing measures and opening businesses, only to have to reverse course a short time later.  This is very difficult not only for Canadians, but also for business leaders who are trying to reach a point of some stability within their company.  Those who have been in business understand that “normal” times are challenging enough; the uncertainty and additional measures associated with COVID19 have left many companies in a precarious position, with others having closed up shop altogether (evident by driving around and noting all of the vacant storefronts).

This situation directly relates to jobs, as companies only need staff members when there is sufficient demand from the marketplace (customers) and they are able to operate (regulatory).  The third component of this equation is supply, in that companies need to be able to procure the necessary materials to deliver products and services.  Times of COVID19 have resulted in a global supply chain glut, making many products and manufacturing inputs significantly delayed or unavailable; the semiconductor chip shortage is one example.

There is also a shift occurring in the labour market as a whole, as people consider where work is available, as well as the type of role that they want to pursue.  Factors such as the increase in remote/flexible work environments, as well as the stress associated with front line sectors, such as healthcare, have led to shortages and hiring challenges; expect demand for education and training to increase in the coming months, as Canadians re-think their careers.  In the case if remote workers, this has resulted in some interesting developments in the housing market, as location is no longer reliant on the daily commute.

From a consumer perspective, the cost of so many things continues to rise, including food, household items, and housing.  While wage growth has not kept pace even in normal times, the gap between the super-wealthy and lower to mid-level workers has continued to increase, to a point of ridiculousness, in some cases.  The intent, obviously, should not be to have all people earning the same amount of money, but rather, to manage wage levels carefully (at the business level) and ensure that the tax system is fair (at the government level).  There have been too many situations of wealthy corporations and people paying little to no tax, while lesser earners pay their fair share.  Canadians also have good reason to question why some at the top of corporations received large bonuses, while being slow to increase employee wages and/or taking COVID19 business financial support at the same time.

This is the backdrop of the Federal Election, and as a business person, I first look for good ideas, with the source or party being of lesser relevance.  It is less than ideal to see party platforms that bring a “piecemeal” approach to policy, as people do not live their lives in this manner, nor do businesses operate this way.  This approach also raises the question if anything truly “gets fixed”, as opposed to utilizing one short term approach after another.  There also tends to be a disconnect between policy and implementation, with the latter being much more challenging than many in the political realm appreciate.  Experienced business leaders understand the importance of solutions that can be readily implemented and resolve problems, an important part of the foundation of a sustainable company going forward.

Thank you for watching, and remember that it’s important to vote to ensure that our voices are heard.  Ballots can be cast by mail this time, just apply to do so by September 14, 2021.

Celebrating 4 Years on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (August, 2021)

Gratefully celebrating four years of regular appearances on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, broadcast nationally and streaming globally!  Our panel reviews the week in business every Saturday morning after the 10 AM news (Eastern Time), discussing a wide range of topics, including breaking news, on the fly.  Here’s just a sample of topics upon which I’ve provided commentary over the past four years:

COVID-19 has resulted in those in the media continuing to report from their home studios, and I have not been in studio since March, 2020.  In the meantime, CBC News Network has been streaming globally, bringing our work to a new and broader range of viewers.

The collage photo for this post includes a throwback to some in studio times, while we all continue to do our best to stay safe and informed (as the “hair and makeup” room takes on a remote life of its own).  Sincere thanks to everyone at CBC News Network and our audience for watching; I am grateful to do my part in bringing the news to you!

IMG_1899

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (August, 2021)

Call it the Olympic edition of the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Elmer Kim and Chris Glover.

As the Tokyo, 2020 games come to a close, here’s a quick take of our topics:

  • Canada’s July Jobs Report.  Although Canada added 94,000 jobs in July, this fell short of expectations.  What path is our country currently on?
  • Canada’s Big Trade SurplusJune saw a hefty $3.2 billion trade surplus, the most significant since 2008.  What is behind this number and is it as simple as rising oil exports?
  • Canada About to Open its Border to the US.  As the border re-opening nears, there is a mix of interest and concern.  What might the implications be?

My commentary on the Weekend Business Panel over the past year has been consistent in expecting the COVID19 recovery to take time, with progress being anything but a straight line.  Although economic forecasts might consider jobs at a highlevel, it is important to remember that employment actually occurs on the front lines of business.  Companies only need people if they have goods and services to sell and customers that are willing and able to buy.  COVID19 has caused a host of disruptions, including at the supply chain, regulatory, financial, and operating levels.  It is also likely that employees who have choices (often those with an abundance of skill and experience) are reconsidering how they will work going forward.  Although applicability can vary by business type, many companies still have work to do in order to retain their best staff members, or risk losing them to employers with more flexible and organized work arrangements.  Expect this type of movement in the labour force to continue.

Although oil and energy exports contributed to Canada’s trade surplus in June, so did a decline in imports, something that can have a ripple impact.  When companies are not operating, they don’t need a lot of things; the same is true for consumers who have been inactive in areas such as office work, travel, events, kids’ sports, and so on.  Couple this with the much reported global logistical glut and plenty of questions arise about what the coming months will look like, in terms of areas such as business growth and consumer spending.

And, finally, although sectors such as tourism and events have been hard hit by the pandemic, it is a fair question as to how much benefit Canada’s border re-opening to some vaccinated Americans will bring.  With most of the Summer travel season in the rearview mirror, COVID variants circulating in the US, and some provinces doing away with mask and other safety mandates, it is understandable why many people are concerned.  It is also important to remember that vaccines are not yet available to children under the age of 12 years and their protection is critical.  As a business advisor, I can appreciate the significant experience and professional credentials that are required in order to fulfill my role.  Conversely, when those in the science and medical fields who specialize in pandemics and related areas express concern, it is wise to listen to their advice.  It will be interesting to see what the coming weeks and months will bring (hopefully, safety will prevail).

As always, thanks for watching, and see you again soon, CBC!

 

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (July, 2021)

Summer begins with a busy news week on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Jennifer Hall and Mark Warner.  Here’s an overview of the topics we discussed:

As we weather the Summer heat, watch wildfires, and observe changing ocean levels, the topic of climate has become a daily consideration.  Advancing the target for all light-duty vehicles sold in Canada to be electric, from 2040 to 2035, raises issues beyond that of consumers.  Electric vehicles are part of a larger infrastructure, a system that includes manufacturing, charging, and maintenance, as well as the need to create a sustainable industry.  Integral to this is the ability to design vehicles that meet consumer needs well into the future; this includes all of the necessary parts, inputs, and expertise to make planning a reality.  Anyone who has an implementation background will recognize that this is not easy and requires a significant amount of effort and ability in order to achieve.  In the case of electric vehicles, the question isn’t “should we?”, but rather, “how?”.  This is a big, ongoing question that needs to be resolved in a robust and comprehensive manner.

As we greet Summer, 2021, everyone is understandably tired of living in a world of COVID19; but, here we are.  Vaccination has certainly helped to set the stage for communities opening up and returning to some form of normal, but the reality is, we are not there yet.  At the time of this writing, Canadian vaccination levels are approximately 70% (one dose) and 30% (two doses), raising the question: where is everyone?  In the US, although the double dose rate is higher (approximately 47%), it is concerning that only approximately 55% of Americans have received a single dose of a COVID19 vaccine.  It has been widely reported in the US that science and medical professionals are concerned about the percentage of Americans that will be vaccinated at all, given the relatively high degree of those who are either hesitant or resistant, making the question of what the “ceiling” could be of relevance.  Given that Canadians have worked hard to combat COVID19, for the most part, any considerations around opening the border should ensure that vaccination records of entrants can be reliably tracked; the health of our communities and economy are dependent on these types of reasonable safeguards.

And, finally, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos moves to the Executive Chair role and other ventures, including Space exploration through Blue Origin, living in times of COVID19 is a reminder of the value and importance of online shopping and logistics.  In contrast to the delivery trucks of days gone by, the use of technology to connect with consumers is an important difference, although there is still work to do in perfecting the model.  An important component is the role of workers in this new economy, many of which lack employment security and pursue various jobs to make ends meet.  There has always been an understandable income gap between business leaders and staff members, however, the times we are living in have pushed this to extremes, with the impacts being increasingly in full view.  Further, it is disappointing that diversity was not brought to the CEO role going forward; a missed opportunity to send an impactful message to both customers and staff members.  We are at the point where important questions should be asked about the world that we want to live in, with the experience of COVID19, perhaps, contributing to the prominence of this consideration.

Thank you for watching, and see you again soon, CBC!

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (May, 2021)

Lots to talk about on the May Day version of the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Mark Warner and John Northcott; here’s an overview of our chat:

  • The Sick Leave Debate, as the pandemic has been part of our lives for over a year, the federal and provincial governments are still wrestling with the issue of sick leave.  Where does this leave the workforce?
  • Rising Capital Gains Tax in the US, as the Biden Administration looks for ways to pay for its initiatives, could a proposed significant capital gains tax increase impact Canadian companies?
  • LL Bean Ventures into the Canadian Outdoors, with plans to open additional stores, what might be behind this decision?

It’s disappointing that the issue of sick leave is so far from resolution, 14 months into the pandemic.  This issue should be considered in the context of the range of work structures within the modern Canadian economy, ranging from a relatively small segment that have comprehensive benefits coverage (such as the public sector), to those in the entrepreneur or contract worker segment, who have little to no coverage and are far from job security.  Bottom line: COVID19 is a contagious disease that can only be stopped with the cooperation of everyone involved, and when people are sick, they should not be going to work.  Economic realities are something that need to be fully appreciated, in that many people simply cannot afford to opt out of the work day without compensation; this is why a well designed sick leave program is so important, especially, in these challenging times.  Everyone needs to get together on this issue in order to arrive at a feasible solution, including workers, employers, provincial, and federal governments.

Those who are familiar with the capital markets pertaining to startup and early stage companies in Canada will recognize that it is a challenge to find funding to launch and grow a business.  Although Canada has made strides in the volume of available capital, it has historically been behind the levels of other countries.  It is important to recognize that capital at the early stages carries a higher level of risk, but is integral to creating jobs, economic growth, and innovation in Canada.  This is why the potential for a significant increase in US capital gains tax rate is so concerning, in that it could impact the level of investment activity, including in Canadian companies.  It is no secret that there is inequity in the tax system and that ultra-high net worth individuals likely do not pay their fair share, relatively speaking (a complex issue to be resolved). As this proposed capital gains tax increase is a recent development, it will be important to monitor how this situation develops.

And, finally, US retailer LL Bean has proven to be popular in Canada, in a year when being an outsider was on the menu for many.  Plans to open an additional four stores runs against so many of the online retail stories we have discussed, although LL Bean has been well established in this area and catalogue sales for years (the catalogue still comes to my mailbox, by the way).  Being outside is, perhaps, one of the few ways we have to get together in times of COVID19, and it will be interesting to see if this trend continues into the future.  In the meantime, LL Bean footwear has been a favourite of mine for years; I wear them every day.  Here’s a couple of styles from my collection, including the classic Bean Boot and an ankle version in a “short run” cherry red colour (similar to a limited edition, where products are featured in different colours in small quantity).  I also have a couple of other pairs that are too dusty to be photographed at the moment!

IMG_4866

Thanks for watching, and see you again soon.  In the meantime, Spring is here, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine!

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (April, 2021)

Always grateful to get to “talk on TV”; this time, alongside Mark Warner and John Northcott for the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel.  In a very busy news week, here’s an overview of the topics we discussed (along a planes, trains, and automobiles theme):

 

The Air Canada/Air Transat potential merger has been in the works for some time, well in advance of the days of COVID19.  With European regulators expressing competition concerns that the parties were unable to address, the deal was called off late this week, leaving Air Canada and Air Transat to consider their own business issues in what is still very much a COVID19 world.  In Canada, the limited number of air travel providers and relative lack of competitiveness have been longstanding concerns for consumers, particularly on some routes.  It will be interesting to see how Air Transat, in particular, moves forward, perhaps, creating an opportunity to bring some new parties into the industry.  Related to this point, although vaccines are now very much a part of the recovery story, it is difficult to determine when the travel industry will begin to see some meaningful gains and stability.

Those who work in the financial services area understand the challenges of the regulatory aspect of the industry, albeit necessary, in terms of standards, risk management, and consumer protection.  Efforts to create a national capital markets regulator in Canada have long been discussed, and with the latest initiative announcing an effective halt, it is difficult to know if and when this objective will be achieved.  Failure to have a national regulator not only leaves Canada out of step with the rest of the G7 countries, it keeps what is already a challenging area for funds and companies fragmented for the foreseeable future.

With a global pandemic that has left many companies decimated and people out of work, President Biden’s announcement of “a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago” could be just what is needed.  Targeted at a broad range of infrastructure projects, as well as green energy, internet, and housing, the plan could create millions of jobs, use an abundance of supplies, and bring current a number of areas that tend to get delayed, in light of funding shortfalls and other priorities.  Despite Buy America provisions, large countries that embark on large projects tend to need more than they alone can produce, something that represents an opportunity for Canada.  In the meantime, there are a number of steps that need to evolve, including review and passage of the legislation through Congress; not a given, in times of narrow Democrat majorities.

And, finally, Volkswagen learned the hard way that April Fool’s jokes aren’t always funny, with a less than ideal execution of its announcement to change the name of its American business unit to Voltswagen.  The bigger miss is the Voltswagen marketing campaign that could have been; I can see it all in my head.

Thanks for watching and see you again soon, CBC!

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (February, 2021)

Always great to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel to discuss “the week that was”, alongside Mark Warner and John Northcott.


Here’s an overview of the topics we discussed.

As Canada is in the midst of its coldest months and a number of provinces have put enhanced COVID19 restrictions in place, is it really that surprising that a significant number of jobs continue to be lost?  With job losses in January reaching 213,000, industries that have been impacted include hospitality, retail, tourism, and other services.  Although it is a reasonable expectation that the recovery from COVID19 will not be a straight line, what also comes to mind is how many companies might have simply closed up shop after Christmas or at the end of 2020, resulting in permanent job losses.  This situation relates to a range of factors, including the abundance of small businesses that have delayed the succession process, companies that are no longer competitive, and those who have simply had enough, in terms of trying to operate in a COVID19 world.  Keep in mind, these will be permanent job losses, and consider this important question: what does it take to “grow” a job?  The simple answer is a lot of time, effort, and money; ask anyone who has built a business from scratch, starting with their own job.

Anyone who has been following the GameStop trading saga should keep some basic lessons in mind: speculative trading is risky and can result in significant losses, as was seen this week.  For those who only see the upside, remember that for many investors, it is something that occurs only in theory, as timing the market is next to impossible (don’t confuse hindsight with real time).  Perhaps, more importantly, is the need for regulators to catch up to scenarios where social media plays such a significant role, given that financial services is such a highly regulated industry (ask anyone who has ever worked in it, as the penalties can be significant).

Developing content is something that takes far more time, effort, and expertise than most would appreciate (for example, ever written a book?), and one of the biggest venues is the credible news media.  Australia plans to take a bold step in requiring companies such as Google and Facebook to pay local media companies for content, given the significant imbalance between these two sectors.  While these companies have claimed this arrangement is unworkable, the unimpacted Microsoft has indicated support for the plan, as well as a willingness to step up its Bing search capability, in the event that Google follows through with a reduced presence in the area.  A bit of the clash of the titans, perhaps, but it will be interesting to see where other countries go with this train of thought.

And, finally, as Jeff Bezos plans to step down from the CEO role, it is disappointing to see Amazon miss an opportunity to bring diversity to this position, particularly from a gender perspective.  The vast majority of large tech companies are led by men, representing significant wealth at both a corporate and leadership level.  There are qualified women to lead companies, including at a CEO and Board Chair level, and in 2021, we should not be having this same conversation over and over again, in terms of how underrepresented female leadership is.  Customers and employees are watching, and a lack of diversity is noticed more than many would expect; obvious oversights have long memories.

Thank you for watching, and see you again soon, CBC!

 

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (January, 2021)

Another busy news week and a historic political week ahead make it a great time to be on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Elmer Kim and John Northcott.

Here’s an overview of the topics we discussed:

  • Airline job and service cuts.  As the days of COVID19 march on, Canada’s airlines continue to struggle, with unprecedented declines in demand.  What do the latest service and job cuts mean for the airline industry and when might recovery begin?
  • Office space vacancies reach record highs.  The pandemic has changed how many companies operate, leaving their office space needs in question.  What can we expect to happen in the days ahead, in terms of office vacancies?
  • Biden stimulus plan announced As Inauguration Day will take place in the week ahead, what could the Biden stimulus plan mean for those in the US, as well as Canadians?

In the early days of the pandemic, Canadian airlines saw demand for their services decline in excess of 95%, and the ongoing strategies to combat COVID19 have meant little improvement for the travel industry.  We have seen numerous stories about staff cuts and flight decreases over the past several months, with the latest impacting more small centres.  Given that Canada is a geographically large country, air travel is essential, while at the same time, businesses must make decisions that are in the best interest of the sustainability of the company.  We haven’t seen as much collaboration between government support initiatives and the airlines as would be ideal, recognizing that both parties have to “give a little” in order to get to a solution.  Top of mind for many Canadians is the ongoing challenge of receiving refunds for flights that were cancelled due to the pandemic, as well as the relative fairness of potential funders wanting to understand how support would be used, in advance of providing it.  With a traditional high traffic travel season upon us, it will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds.

The expectation of increased office vacancy rates is another topic that we have followed on the Business Panel over the past year.  COVID19 has changed the manner in which many Canadians work, with a significant increase in remote arrangements.  As businesses consider their need for office space going forward, the outcome will have a lot to do with the type of company at hand and the competitive landscape within the sector in which it operates.  Remember that office space represents “overhead” and can be costly, creating a situation where some businesses might not be as competitively priced as those who have decided to continue their operations on primarily a remote basis.  Landlords are on the other side of the equation, and could face an abundance of empty office space with a low potential to find new tenants.  Of interest, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo raised this issue in his State of the State address, with the objective of introducing legislation to convert office and commercial space into housing.  As urban centres may be poised for their next evolution, governments should take notice and act proactively.

As Inauguration Day nears, President Elect Joe Biden announced his administration’s first stimulus plan, covering a wide range of areas in need of support, including financial assistance, protection from eviction, food security, childcare, tax relief, small businesses, healthcare, COVID19 vaccination and testing, and a $15 per hour minimum wage.  It is a tall order to provide help where little has been received for months, while COVID19 rates have been devastating across the US.  Some might say that this $2 trillion stimulus plan is too costly, however, the past number of months and concerning events of January 6, 2021 make it clear that the US has a choice to make.  In an economy that has left many behind, arising from a complex mix of technology, education, and business evolution factors, as well as a significant wealth gap, something has to change.  It will be interesting to see what 2021 will bring, in terms of much needed recovery and hope.

And finally, here’s a look at the first time I “met” Joe Biden.  Here he is, walking with his family on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009; Vice President Biden.  This photo is from a series that I captured from my vantage point on the Parade Route, witnessing history pass right in front of me.  The Bidens were excited, animated, as they walked, and I remember this day very well (including conducting a live interview with CBC Radio and, later, a video segment for TV from the National Press Club).  It’s hard not to recognize the sheer privilege of witnessing history first-hand, something that might just be one of the most important things that we can do in life: actively observe what we see, learn, remember, and pass our knowledge to those that follow.  We can all play a role in documenting our time here.

Thanks for watching, and see you again soon, CBC!

IMG_1193 small

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (December, 2020)

It’s a great day to be on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, especially when you get to talk about the business of Space!


Alongside Mark Warner and John Northcott, here’s an overview of what we discussed:

As the end of the Fall nears and Winter is upon us, it’s no secret that Canada still has difficult days ahead, in terms of COVID19.  With the announcement of a number vaccines and as planning for distribution unfolds, many Canadian businesses are still struggling, especially those that are classified as small.  The CEBA program thus far has allowed businesses to obtain a $40,000 loan (of which $10,000 is eligible to be forgiven) and the announcement this week provides an additional $20,000 that can be obtained, 50% of which is eligible to be forgiven.  These loans can be used to fund certain business expenses, and to date, almost 800,000 businesses have been approved for a total loan value of $32 billion.  These loans can be the difference between companies surviving and not and are important for Canada’s economy; just think about all of the jobs that are associated with 800,000 companies.

Speaking of funding, Canada is experiencing a savings boom, with $170 billion in excess funds on deposit.  What is important to remember here is that the profile of Canadians underlying this statistic is varied, as are the reasons for the money.  High income Canadians who haven’t travelled or made major purchases represent one group; another is the urban employee who hasn’t incurred the expenses associated with commuting to work; as is the front line, essential worker who hasn’t had time to shop.  There are also small businesses that have accessed loan programs, such as CEBA, on a “just in case basis”, which adds to their bank account balance.

There is a forgotten group, however, that likely does not have a large bank account, due to reduced hours or somewhat lower revenue levels, with limited options for support, or perhaps, who are simply doing what they can to earn a living.  The point: the profiles of individuals and families underlying this statistic are not the same, and help is still needed.  COVID19 has been a very difficult period for many, something that is evident in what can be described as a “quietness” among people; on email and social interactions, for example.  It is evident that people have had a lot going on in their lives, on a work, personal, and family level; it is important to keep this in mind.

On another topic, those in the business world who have worked at senior levels understand first-hand how difficult it can be for women and minorities to reach the executive and governance office.  The NASDAQ has taken steps to mandate at least some diversity on the Boards of listed companies, to address a wrong that should have been corrected long ago.  Bottom line, most of these companies, and many others, have had decades to satisfactorily address this area and have not, despite the fact that, gender diversity, for example, has been proven to yield better performance.  This is a story that I will be watching closely, along with similar recommendations for TSX companies.

And finally, what’s more fun than Space?  As China lands a lunar probe on the Moon, it is a reminder that humans are explorers at heart.  As technological advancements in areas such as the Spacex program, research, communications, and life in Space continue, it is exciting to see significant investment being made to generate even more of an impact.  An interesting project is Starlink, poised to bring highspeed internet service to remote locations, including in Canada.  Conversely, large telecommunications companies, for the most part, have been less than ideal in addressing what has become essential infrastructure.

At any rate, it would be a lot of fun to do some work with companies that are in the business of space (feel free to be in touch with opportunities!).  In the meantime, there’s always memories of cars in space.

Thanks for watching, everyone!