FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 03.30.21


Dear friends,

It has been a challenging two weeks with gun violence on both sides of the country, including targeted victimization of Asian Americans. To learn more about these issues and how you can help to stop AAPI hate, I recommend the Smithsonian’s resource page, and in particular the work of its Asian Pacific American Center. National Geographic has also published an illuminating article on America’s long history of scapegoating its Asian citizens. In the eloquent words of Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution:

History is replete with examples of heritage and gender being used as an excuse to dehumanize and isolate people. Asian and Asian American women have long been the victims of objectifying and degrading stereotypes, based on notions of dominance over people, places, and bodies. Such objectification denies them their dignity, their agency, and their humanity, making them particularly vulnerable to acts of violence.

In postal news, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is unveiling the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation, as part of his 10-year plan for the U.S. Postal Service. Unfortunately, this includes longer first-class delivery windows, reduced post office hours, and higher postage prices. Your Avalon team will continue watching this closely and is prepared to address the impact of these changes for direct mail as they emerge.

On the tech side, I have been following Zoom’s post-pandemic strategies with interest. Of note, they are launching licensed video conferencing to other apps, so that companies can integrate an unbranded version of Zoom into their products. This is a continuation of growth strategies like OnZoom, the company’s platform for paid events, which currently includes donation functionality for 501c3s.

COO Kerri Kerr is reading and has been sharing insights from Cal Newport’s new release, A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Information Overload. One astonishing statistic is that the average worker has 75 minutes (total, not continuous) of time in their day when they are not also checking email or an instant messaging platform. According to Newport, this has “a heavy cost in terms of mental energy—reducing cognitive performance and creating a sense of exhaustion and reduced efficacy.”

All of that emailing can be quite stressful, so it’s important to relax at the end of the day. This article from Fast Company describes techniques for achieving three key states of relaxation after work: mind, body, and expectations. In particular, the writer emphasizes the importance of boundaries and explains how to use rituals and lists to close loops and mark the end of the work day.

Speaking of relaxation, I have a vacation coming up! In addition, many schools are closed the weeks of March 29 and April 5 for spring break. In order to create space for staff coverage during that period, Avalon is taking two weeks off from both our internal daily updates and this weekly dispatch. You will see me again in your inbox on Tuesday, April 20. Until then, enjoy the spring weather!

Take care,