I don’t give our team enough credit.

I mean, I do. I just don’t do it enough here.

I often joke that a CEO’s primary job is to overpromise and take credit. That’s this email in a nutshell. I get all the glory, spinning up a self-indulgent prologue, condensing somebody else’s research into a couple sentences, then passing off the insights as my own.

I just used the pronoun “I” seven times in 65 words. See what I mean?

Our team knows they deserve the accolades. As I’ve told you before, I can’t even take credit for hiring them. Someone else did that.

By every measure, CivicScience is thriving right now – even though over one-third of our people didn’t work here pre-pandemic. They’ve never been in our office. We’ve never met in person.

They’re still crushing it.

It helps that our data became essential in the fever pitch of COVID. CEOs of the biggest companies in the world started asking for us by name. All because a bunch of talented and hardworking people, many quarantined in their homes with toddlers tugging at their legs, delivered the goods in a crisis.

But guess who gets to parade in front of those CEOs and hog the spotlight? This guy. The one who did none of the real work.

We preach three pillars of workplace culture here: Opportunity, Life Balance, and Mutual Respect. They guide everything we do.

Opportunity and life balance mean different things to different people. Some people work so they can pursue opportunities outside of work. Others are obsessed with their jobs. We support all of them, as long as everyone’s expectations are clear.

Mutual respect is the equalizer. It flattens the organization. It reminds us that every job here is indispensable. It means I’m no more important than anyone else. Because you can’t do your job if I don’t do mine.

It also motivates us to help one another. Because we all do better when we each do better.

If only our country was like that.

Individualism and tribalism are diseases. They convince us that prosperity is a pie with finite slices. They make us fear boogeymen and “the others.”

We’ll eventually recover from the wounds were suffering right now. I don’t know how or when. But I do believe it will happen.

People will step up. Everyone will come together.

And you can guarantee a bunch of empty suits will run around taking credit for it.

Here’s what were seeing this week:

Consumer confidence ticked up again. This looks like more than a blip, as our Economic Sentiment Index this week hit an elevation it hasn’t touched since the early days of March. Optimism for the overall U.S. economy and confidence in major purchases really drove the increase this time around. It’s worth pointing out that people are a little tenuous when it comes to their personal finances – we’ll need to keep an eye on that as the holiday shopping season approaches.

New car purchase intent is looking as promising as we’ve seen it in a long time. Dovetailing improved consumer confidence, the number of Americans who say they are likely to buy or lease a new car in the next 90 days jumped a staggering 33% from August to September. The biggest increase is happening among city-dwellers – by a rate of over 2:1 more than those in rural areas. Expectations of a drawn-out pandemic, the lagging appeal of public transportation, and the demise of ride-sharing (for now) have all conspired to push urbanites into the new car market. Fascinating.

The NFL is in for a rocky patch, but they’ll be better off in the long run. I wrote about the trials and tribulations of the NFL this week, as it weathers another wave of political controversy wrapped inside a global pandemic. Just like the last time, though, the league will end up stronger – and the fanbase younger – on the other side.

Americans are all over the place when it comes to vaccines. First, the good news. The percentage of U.S. adults who are planning to get a flu shot (or already did) is way up year over year. It’s up across the board but most notably among Gen Z. At the other end of the spectrum, however, confidence and intent regarding a COVID vaccine are sliding in the opposite direction. In just the past 60 days, the percentage of Americans who say they’re likely to get a coronavirus vaccine fell 9 percentage points. The number who said they would get the vaccine as soon as it’s available fell from 45% to 28%. Vaccine confidence overall has plummeted. That and lots of other flu shot and vaccine insights here.

The vast majority of people are creeped out by location tracking on their phones. A remarkable 77% of U.S. smartphone owners would prevent any apps from tracking their location if it was easy to do so. The numbers are slightly lower among iPhone users but only by a few points. Expect to hear more and more about this issue.

Vaping is going up in smoke, especially among the younger crowd. Between the flu shots and now this, it seems like today’s 20-somethings are way smarter than I was at their age. The declines are particularly significant in urban areas. I guess inhaling chemicals into your lungs while a deadly respiratory virus spreads like wildfire isn’t prudent. Who knew?

We published a boatload of other stuff this week:

Here were our most popular questions this week:

​​​​​Be careful with that third one.

Hoping you’re well.