I have a huge head. Literally.
Figuratively too, but literally for sure.
I have to find XXL fitted baseball caps, which is damn-near impossible, so I usually wear a visor instead. Fortunately, I have the hair to pull it off.
When I was a kid, my dad said I looked like an orange on a toothpick. Yes, Mike Myers later stole that line in So I Married an Axe Murderer. No, we never sued.
I had gigantic ears too. A taxicab driving down the street with the doors open, according to my loving father. Honestly, as I think about it, it’s a wonder my head is still so figuratively big, given how hard my dad tried to keep it in check. Damn I miss him.
My mom was the counterweight. She told me my head was only big because it had to hold my giant brain. Moms are the best.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because we’re starting a podcast, of course.
People have lobbied us to do it for years. I always said no. The airwaves are so crowded.
And it felt cliché. Can you really call yourself a Gen X tech entrepreneur if you don’t have a podcast nowadays? You can cut the self-indulgence with a knife.
But I’m finally convinced we have something distinctive to add. That the general tone and ethos of this email will travel well. Most importantly, that the insights and perspectives we share will make a difference.
We’re calling it The Dumbest Guy in the Room, riffing on the notion that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. Naturally, the guests will be the smart people, VIPs across every industry you can think of. Each episode will focus on different insights or trends in our data, with one or more experts bringing a viewpoint.
We start recording in a few weeks, with the first episodes dropping before spring. For now, I’m practicing – I’ve only ever been on one side of the Q&A table before. So, I’m doing simulated interviews with friends and listening to a variety of podcasts for ideas. I’ve never been a big podcast listener, so it’s all new.
Anyway, thought you’d want to know. I hope you’ll listen and tell your friends when it launches. Then, tell me how much you love it.
We wouldn’t want my head getting any smaller.
Here’s what we’re seeing:
Rich people don’t get COVID, apparently. As a general rule, the stats I’m most cynical about often turn out to be the most prescient. This one could win an award. I’ve told you repeatedly that rich people are getting richer during the pandemic. No surprise, they’re also far less worried about getting the virus – and even less likely to say they’ll get vaccinated. Maybe because they’re lucky to work safely from home. Or maybe because they think they have such great healthcare that they’ll be fine if they get sick. Or maybe they’re just entitled assholes with an immortality complex.
People are waking up to misinformation, finally. The percentage of Americans who are “very concerned” about COVID misinformation has climbed 25% since the beginning of the pandemic. What that means, implicitly, is that people are realizing there is actual misinformation out there – and that’s a big step. Until people stop trusting everything they read just because it affirms their existing beliefs, we’ll never get anywhere. Slowly but surely, people seem to be wising up. Concern gets higher among older populations – which tells me younger, more web-savvy people are better equipped to tell the difference.
Telemedicine continues to grow but so do the gaps in satisfaction. Overall usage of telehealth increased another 2 percentage points in December as more people stayed home – and got sick. Unfortunately, while adoption of virtual doc visits continues to rise, satisfaction with the services is falling. Maybe these latecomers are more scrutinizing. Or maybe the service providers can’t handle the rapid growth. But one thing’s for sure, there are huge differences depending on where you live. People in rural areas are not loving telehealth. Seems like a pretty important problem to solve.
However, people will be flocking to their doctor to get a COVID shot. Willingness and overall confidence in the safety of a COVID vaccine is rising fast – especially in the last month. Lots to read here about improving attitudes among Americans regarding a vaccine, when they plan to get one and where (the doctor’s office, mostly). Rite Aid customers are the most likely to want to get their vaccine in a drug store. Most people want the Moderna vaccine over the Pfizer one. Most importantly, the overall progress is promising.
We’re seeing a ton of people aiming to get healthier in 2021. I guess we all excused a bunch of slothy behavior in 2020 – drinking on Tuesdays, wearing sweatpants for staff meetings, etc. But hope springs eternal, and Americans are committing to eating healthier and exercising more in the new year. The Mediterranean diet is all the rage by the way. Personally, I’m fascinated by the 3% of Americans who said – “Fuck it, I’m going to eat less healthy this year.” Way to own it, folks.
I’ve never eaten a meatless burger and I’m fast becoming a minority among my Gen X peers. I just can’t get excited about the idea of meatless meat. Call me barbaric or whatever. I mean, I’ll eat tofu or go a few days without eating any meat at all. But a meatless burger doesn’t compute. Meanwhile, the trend keeps picking up anyway. Over one-third of Gen Xers and Millennials have tried plant-based meat, with a sizable group still planning to try it. Maybe I’ll come around. I’m just not seeing it.
People are warming up to the idea of driverless cars. Maybe a little taste of dystopia is making us acquiesce to our future robot masters. Or maybe quarantine is just making us realize that driving a car was never all that awesome to begin with. Or maybe it’s something else. All I know is that the percentage of people who aren’t interested in owning or cruising in a driverless car has fallen like a Terminator from the sky since 2019. I’m all in.
Two more studies this week:
- Americans are mixed on going cashless and the trends among younger consumers are somewhat counterintuitive;
- Concerns over income inequality keep getting worse and worse because of COVID. We keep watching this daily and we keep not liking what we’re seeing.
These were our most popular questions this week:
- Do you typically purchase travel insurance protection when booking a major vacation or trip?
- Are you a fan of the ‘Police Academy’ film franchise?
- Orange juice: pulp or no pulp?
- Favorite dinosaur?
- Which late-night TV host do you prefer the most?
Answer Key: Never; Of course I am; No pulp, ew; Triceratops; Any Jimmy or James
Hoping you’re well.