A conversation on the U.S. election 2020 with former White House Official Videographer Arun Chaudhary

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Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

Yesterday I sat down with Arun Chaudhary, former (and first ever) White House Official Videographer during the Obama administration and former creative director for Bernie Sanders. He’s the founder of Committee, a political communications company focused on defeating the far right globally. For the members of the House of Beautiful Business, Arun ran a hugely popular and very lively WhatsApp group leading up to and during the US election.

Monika Jiang: You worked under Obama. You know Joe Biden personally. Is he really the decent guy people say he is? …

Three steps toward a more beautifully distanced workspace

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Last week Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced that nearly all of Google’s 200,000 employees and contractors would continue working remotely until July 2021. Facebook and Twitter made similar announcements back in May. As COVID-19 cases continue trending up across the globe, more and more businesses are reorganizing their workforces to work remotely long-term.

For companies like Basecamp, the move toward remote work is nothing new. “Self-isolation and a normal workday for us, they kind of look like each other,” says David Heinemeier Hansson, who has co-run Basecamp with remote teams for all of the company’s 21 years, and who will share more about his vision for the future of work at our hybrid gathering, The Great Wave, later this fall. …

What will we trade to still participate in the global economy?

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Six months into the pandemic, much of what we know about the coronavirus — how it’s transmitted, how to contain it, and how our immune systems react to it — still remains unclear. After a moment of brief hope, when countries began to reopen their economies, places like Barcelona, Melbourne, and Israel are now going back to lockdown after a surge of new COVID-19 cases.

If the current situation were to continue, one where we alternate between lockdowns and new outbreaks, with no vaccine on the horizon until 2021, two big questions must be answered: How will we reshape our societies and economies to allow them to recover? …

Make Distance Beautiful During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As many European cities begin to reopen, people around me are eagerly awaiting a summer holiday in one of the neighboring countries. While many parts of the world are still in lockdown mode or are going back to it, parts of Europe are privileged to even consider turning our longing for a salty sea breeze, a hike up to the mountain’s summit, and a tourist-free island into reality this summer.

Travelling will never be the same, and yet we cannot not travel, can we?

Last week, I went places, too. First, from Berlin to Amsterdam — where I’m sitting right now, in an apartment that is not mine, in-between Chinatown and the Red Light District — and then to the world. …

What we’ve learned about virtual gatherings

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In the zeitgeist of social distancing and lockdowns, our horizons for the days and months ahead have been minimized to the maximum. Our ability to plan and dream seems to have shrunk to fit within the walls of our homes. And so we become re-enchanted with things small and immediately available. But we have to keep our relationship with the world alive, or we’ll go mad!

So we venture online. We need human connection, to be seen and to see others. And in the midst of Zoom fatigue, our connections have to not just feel real, but be real, at least for a fleeting moment.

How do you do this? Is it even possible?

This week we celebrate the 25th edition of our Living Room Sessions, a new virtual program series we launched at the beginning of 2020 as part of our annual membership, House Residency. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, we opened up this offering to the public for free, and we will continue doing so until the end of May. For the past six weeks, we have zoomed into the possibilities of virtual gatherings becoming more intimate, mysterious, counterintuitive, and with that, more beautiful. …

Highlights from a recent House of Beautiful Business virtual Living Room Session

During this historic moment, for the first time in modern human history, all of us are fighting a common enemy. We are all facing adversity at the same time, and the question of how we can cope with it or perhaps even find opportunity in it — to transform ourselves and reshape the world — suddenly affects us all in a very concrete, immediate way.

The virtual Living Room Session on “Opportunity in Adversity” that the House of Beautiful Business hosted recently brought together five guests from diverse backgrounds to share their perspectives on this topic. We spoke with them about personal resilience, regenerative practices inspired by biological systems, and the strategies business leaders and organizations can apply in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. …

Recap of a House of Beautiful Business Living Room Session

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Photo by Dominik Bednarz on Unsplash

Yesterday, March 31, marked Equal Pay Day. In the face of the current global health and economic crisis expected to precipitate a drop of the global GDP exceeding that of the post-2008 Great Recession, with anticipated job losses for 25 million people, as U.N. officials reported last week, this symbolic day not only calls attention to the gender pay gap, but also spotlights some of the most vulnerable workers in our economy: those who make our lives convenient, sociable, and liveable — restaurant workers and Uber drivers, retail workers, the travel and tourism industry, and arts and culture institutions.

So far, much of the future of work discussion centers on the knowledge economy, ranging from the possible threats of automation and AI, the promise of the gig economy, remote work, self-organized teams, more responsible leadership, social enterprise, and purpose-driven business. But with large parts of our global population now forced to work from home for the first time, and amid a day-by-day changing reality in which leaders stand at the brink of either winning back the world’s trust or losing it for good, the question we wanted to address in our most recent virtual Living Room Session was a different…

Reading and telling stories keep our minds and bodies healthy.

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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz

By R. Teresa O’Connell

“There is no Frigate like a Book / To take us lands away,” wrote Emily Dickinson in 1837. Given that the poet spent much of her life inside her family home, we might look to her words for clues about how to survive social isolation.

As Dickinson knew back in the 19th century, stories can be a form of escapism. We leaf through a book, binge our way through a streaming series, or watch a film — and are transported by the narrative to an unknown world. …

A recap of “How To Be Alone With Yourself,” a House of Beautiful Business Living Room Session

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Currently one in five people globally is under lockdown, and many more are self-isolating in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Though modern technologies help us meet our need for social connection through new virtual social networks, blind dates with strangers, and dance parties, the sense of loneliness couldn’t be more apparent. It doesn’t help that around the world, we’re increasingly living in one-person households.

The rapid restrictions of the past weeks have brought social-and-business-as-usual life to a halt — and here we are, realizing how much we have been out of touch with one another, and with our own selves. …

In conversation with Easkey Britton, marine social scientist and founder of Like Water

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Legend has it that in the 1960s, Easkey’s grandmother, a hotel owner, returned to Ireland from a visit to California, determined to bring two Malibu surfboards back to her local beach, Rossnowlagh. The plan, such as it was, worked. Easkey Britton was the first Irish woman nominated for the Global WSL Big Wave Awards, holds a PhD in environment and society, and is the founder of Like Water. We spoke with her in light of World Water Day on March 22, and in reflection on the House of Beautiful Business 2020 theme “The Great Wave.”

Easkey, when did you start your relationship with the ocean? And how would you describe it today?

I grew up with a “blue heritage,” born into a surfing way of life on the Northwest coast of Ireland, to surfing parents and the beach on my doorstep. I heard family stories of our connection to the sea, and I have been standing on a surfboard since the age of four. My name, Easkey, has its origins in ancient Gaelic for fish. I’m named after a salmon river in Ireland that creates a beautiful wave where it flows into the sea; it is my father’s favorite surf spot. …


Monika Jiang

Making humans more human and business more beautiful. Head of Content & Community at The Business Romantic Society, hosts of the House of Beautiful Business.

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