"What is Mask-Aid ?": under the Mask-Aid™ logo, we're giving out KN95, N95 and Surgical-grade masks, to our local community. And preparing in kit-form (mask, nitrile gloves and sanitizer) for shipping across the wider Bay community during restricted travel time.
Our intent: to help the Bay Area community get back into doing what we do best here, starting with a front-line response.
And to help set a scaleable example, for other Silicon Valley companies to emulate, and exceed upon.
"What can I do ?": Silicon Valley, to make this actionable and scalable, we are “Open-Sourcing” the effort, please re-use our "sources" (i.e. mask suppliers in Asia, example kits & donations, Mask-Aid logo, donation legal waiver, and community connections), please add a little of your cash and sweat equity. The only conditions, and all that we ask in return is: that you help your community as efficiently as possible, on a not-for-profit basis, with zero product promotion involved - and leverage "the network effect", inspiring others you know, to brainstorm on same or better solutions, and take action.
Until solutions are more prolific, one other thing you can do to sleep better to sleep at night: "Stop looking at screens an hour before bed. The blue light emitted by phones, tablets, laptops and TVs messes with your body clock, making it harder to get to sleep". Couldn't have said it better myself.
Example #1: we’re dispersing batches of masks primarily to local shops, grocery stores, schools (yes, local schools are closed, but they’re still in the front-line preparing lunches for students), and colleagues in other companies that have supported us. So far including (in Alphabetical order):
- Cupertino High School, Lynbrook High School, Meyerholz Primary School, Prospect High School
- Garbage Collection (who tell me, they go through way more than they can get)
- Office Cleaners
- Patent Attorneys, and Lawyers
- PixelDisplay team, and their immediate families
- San Jose & Saratoga USPS Postal Workers
- San Jose Trader Joe's, WestGate Sprouts, Nob Hill Campbell, Safeway Los Gatos
Example #2: “Mask-Aid kits” in USPS Priority Mail box, to ship to the larger community we cannot reach during the shelter-in-place (no-travel) period, for a nominal fee (e.g. $1).
Example #3: acquired permission to begin offering at local weekend Farmers Markets.
However, this is California, wherein no good deed goes unpunished, absent a wavier... so, we're open to sharing our Legal Framework (waivers and release form) for donations.
"How ?": our partners and customers are predominantly in Asia, our business model is B2B. We’ve had an opportunity to learn from those who’ve bounced back quickly, and we learned a lot from Taiwan: saw it coming, reacted in a timely manner, secured what we needed early-on, and have been working at full-throttle during the Bay Area lockdown.
So, in addressing our local problem, we carved out some time to leverage our experience and connections and are opening up our "source-code". We’re not asking any business in return, no self-serving facile giveaway that locks-into buying some other product, we’re not providing any more than is minimally needed to protect the folks in the front-line (now!), not adding a new product revenue streams, we're not working on a home-brew ventilator project that is 4 months behind the science - we are still busy on our mission to light every pixel the world.
Also, to be clear: we are not using any CARES money for this – we did not apply for any of the government aid programs. But with support and blessing of our investors, and a bit more of our own sweat equity, we’re investing to distribute masks in our spare time, to those in our local community with the highest “surface contact area” and within reasonable bicycle riding range. As well as shipping kits via USPS Priority Mail boxes to the extended community of colleagues and ecosystem (rather than driving).
And with increased focus on health and safety; with more working from home and at night via portable devices; with more children studying remotely and students transitioning to online including colleges; with more movies watched online; and with the up-tick in gaming monitor purchases; All of these we take as reminders for us to continue staying focused on what we do best, for the longer term good.
"Why ?": making a healthier and safer experience is core to our mission. But we’re just a small scrappy Silicon Valley Startup, so efficiency is also at our core: we have to focus on helping in the most effective way possible, within our minimal budget.
Firstly, war-profiteering and the divisive politics of blaming and misdirection inspired this effort. Thomas Jefferson : "I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them". But save your political response for Election Day. Now is the time for corporations, as well as people, to take action.
Secondly, regardless of whether we believe masks are useful (fact check: paper in Nature detailing tests on coronavirus particle exhaled/coughed with/without masks, showing 100% reduction in transmission), the undeniable fact is : masks are now required at many places in the Bay Area and rest of the world, creating new social hurdles e.g. for simply getting the groceries, a basic human need to provide for family. This played out similarly in Asia, but there: government and companies took early steps to take of care of supply for the populous. Whereas, here in the US, folks are left to fend for themselves. Many cannot get or didn't know where to get masks. Some have hoarded them like toilet paper, shrinking supply. And others are selling them at an outrageous markup every bit as distasteful as "war profiteering" - now is time for gratuitous action.
Lastly, this isn't intended to be sustainable (for long), although the ROI is very compelling, and we're not looking for sponsors or donations. But if you were to focus on the math, and balance the sub-$1 cost of a proper mask (not those useless cloth things), versus the 2~6 weeks of unproductive misery to recover, or the damage an asymptomatic disease-carrier can cause: $30~40,000 hospital cost if things go sideways, the economics of protecting your own community contact surface area is very reasonable, even if your motives were entirely selfish. And, with the imminent end of lock-down, now is not the time for threatening to move operations, but it is a good time for constructive action, to scale getting the Bay Area living safely and productive again.
"Are there other options ?": absolutely. We're seeing other efforts spring-up e.g. "Get Us PPE" (#GetUsPPE), focused on sharing contacts, and picking up the slack to protect health care workers. Some HNWI are donating directly to hospitals. But PixelDisplay is focused solely on those with the highest surface contact area within our local community, which we believe to be an important prophylactic measure, before it gets to hospitals and health care workers (i.e. doing more preventative good before it overloads hospital resources and ventilators).
To quote a favourite Intel corporate value: "You own the problem, until you find a better owner".
Yes, we're encouraging competition, we're not experts at this, we are limited and fumble many things, please do the same/better in your community.
Conclusion: there it is, Mask-Aid ... go !
Special thanks: to our friends in China for supporting us to help our community (我们很高兴合作进行无蓝光科技的案子). And to our friends in Taiwan for letting us know early (Feb 5th), while government(s) were either inept or not sharing all they knew, or both (Feb 7th).
Note: this is a work-in-progress, the public FAQ is coming. Until then more news will be on social media, including LinkedIn.
Request to join, constructive feedback, and useful suggestions all welcome, send to firstname.lastname@example.org