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It has been 10 years since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got married in a lavish ceremony watched by billions of people at Westminster Abbey in April 2011, and during their decade together they have been a fixture of support and love through their domestic and royal life.

They have formed a solid family, participated in hundreds of engagements, backed many charities, traveled around the world on official missions and survived the ups and downs of royal life — including the scandals around their royal family — with admirable discretion and poise.

Love, support and learning together

The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and was attended by 1,900 guests, including foreign royal family members and heads of state. Well-wishers from around the world also flocked to London to witness the spectacle and pageantry of the Royal Wedding.

“The wedding was watched by 17.6 million people in the U.K. and two billion worldwide, including thousands of royal fans who travelled to London to try and get a glimpse of the couple on their special day,” the BBC recalled.

As the prince explained in a BBC documentary; “Me and Catherine, we support each other and we go through those moments together and we kind of evolve and learn together.’

Discretion and glamour

Kate Middleton and Prince William, who are globally admired for their discretion, good sense and glamour, have three children: Prince George, who was born in July 2013, Princess Charlotte, who has just turned six and Prince Louis, who is three years old.

To mark their special anniversary, the Cambridges issued two new portraits taken by photographer Chris Floyd earlier this week outside Kensington Palace in which they appear happy and at ease.

Agreat family video montage

The pictures were also posted on the Royal Family’s social media accounts, along with a new video posted on their Instagram account thanking the public for their support and congratulations: “Thank you to everyone for the kind messages on our wedding anniversary. We are enormously grateful for the 10 years of support we have received in our lives as a family. W & C”

The video shows the family of five enjoying time at the beach and at the grounds of their family home, Amner Hall in Norfolk, laughing, playing together and toasting marshmallows over an open fire.

Topline

Maine lawmakers are considering creating a memorial for the state’s victims of the Covid-19 pandemic following a proposal from Democratic state senator Ben Chipman, joining the many communities around the world who are trying to figure out the best ways to formally honor those lost to a pandemic that is still far from over.  

Key Facts

Uruguay is leading the pack when it comes to the world’s first large-scale monument, with a $1.5 million project in place to erect a circular structure over the ocean that will be capable of holding 300 people. 

Leading candidates in London’s upcoming mayoral election have both signaled support for a permanent memorial in the city, while a blossom garden in east London’s Olympic Park already marks the anniversary of the first lockdown and a sprawling wall of thousands of hand-drawn hearts marking each life lost has sprung up.     

New York City is considering Hart Island as the site for a memorial—a 19th century public burial site that, in addition to potentially a tenth of the city’s Covid victims, already houses those who died during the Spanish Flu and the AIDS crisis.

In February, the small down of Codogno, Italy opened a monument in recognition of the country’s first case of local transmission and one of its first victims. 

In September, Brazil unveiled the Infinity Memorial in a Rio de Janeiro cemetery where many Covid victims are buried—the names of those who have died are to be etched into the 39-meter metal ribbon.

In addition to permanent installations, of which many more are expected to come, more ephemeral memorials have been deployed, including thousands of handmade felt roses in Los Angeles and President Joe Biden’s lights around the Lincoln Memorial in January.  

Key Background

Diseases rarely receive the kind of permanent commemoration afforded to those lost in wars or other tragedies. There are barely any monuments to the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, for example, which is believed to have infected a third of the world’s population and claimed at least 50 million lives, many more than World War I. Monuments to those lost in the AIDS crisis are perhaps an exception to this, with the Memorial Quilt being one of the most prominent examples.

Surprising Fact

Even those who assist in the eradication of disease are often sidelined in favor of military figures when it comes to commemoration. Edward Jenner, who developed the vaccination technique ultimately used to eradicate smallpox, was once honored with a special place in London’s Trafalgar Square. After the death of Prince Albert–Queen Victoria’s husband who was  a supporter of Jenners– the scientist’s statue was moved to a quiet place in Kensington Gardens. Politicians claimed Jenner’s achievements did not warrant a place among Britain’s military heroes.    

Further Reading

Maine eyes creation of COVID-19 memorial (AP News)

How Will the Future Remember COVID-19? (The Atlantic)

Hardly Any 1918 Flu Memorials Exist. Will We Remember COVID-19 Differently? (NPR)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

Want to celebrate Earth Day with your children, without the danger of sliding into existential dread? Try watching a movie. 

More specifically, a movie from legendary Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli, responsible for many of the most thoughtful environmental kid’s films in existence. Depending on your location, the majority of Studio Ghibli’s works should be available to stream on HBO Max, or Netflix (although, they’re worth renting too). 

It’s common for kid’s movies to have some kind of vague environmental theme, considering how many involve animals either escaping captivity, or attempting to save their habitat from bulldozers. 

But if you’re looking for a film that’s as boldly outspoken in its pro-environmental themes as Pixar’s Wall-E or Disney’s Avatar, you might want to check out one of these Studio Ghibli films:

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaä is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, in which the environment seems to be aggressively pushing back against humanity, the world’s forests having mutated into a poisonous biomass that threatens to engulf the remaining fragments of civilization. 

The film’s titular protagonist, Nausicaä, is pulled out of her comfortable, idyllic valley and drawn into a conflict between the world’s major powers (even the apocalypse can’t stop humanity from engaging in pointless conflict!).

The film is notable for its unique art direction, and the way in which the grotesque, oversized insects that litter the landscape are framed as sacred, unknowable entities. To counter the airborne poison, characters are often seen wearing masks, an interesting parallel to our current situation. 

Nausicaä is about finding hope in a seemingly hopeless situation, and implies that technology doesn’t have to be used to destroy, but to rebuild. 

Ponyo

A fantastic film for younger children, Ponyo is a colorful story of a little boy named Sosuke who befriends a magical fish, who soon evolves into a young girl. 

While Ponyo’s environmental themes aren’t quite as pronounced as the rest of the films on this list, the film opens with Ponyo’s father (an eccentric sea wizard), cursing how humanity has plagued and polluted his homeworld. 

The story focuses on the budding friendship between Ponyo and Sosuke, but sees their home, a small island in the middle of the ocean, threatened by rising tides, the result of nature becoming dangerously unbalanced.  

Ponyo is a film that celebrates the magic and wonder of childhood, while depicting its protagonists rising to meet the challenge of a climate change emergency. 

Pom Poko 

One of the most unique films on this list, Pom Poko follows a group of raccoon dogs (which aren’t quite the same as raccoons, and are considered magical creatures in Japanese folklore), during their struggle to save their habitat from land development. 

The film features plenty of narration, almost as though the viewer is watching a nature documentary, and contains some great sight gags, with the help of the raccoon dog’s shapeshifting abilities. 

What seems like a typical tale of adorable animals vs. bulldozers reveals itself to be a complex, surprisingly poignant tale of fighting a losing battle against modernity. 

The tribe of raccoon dogs are up against an unrelenting, faceless enemy, and are plagued by in-fighting and uncertainty, as the tribe’s tactics are repeatedly called into question.

Amusingly, one of the tribe’s greatest obstacles is their own slothful nature – they’d rather relax, than save their homeland. And who can blame them? 

Castle in the Sky 

An action-packed adventure film for all ages, Castle in the Sky tells a story of two strangers, Sheeta and Pazu, being pursued by the military as they search for a forgotten kingdom, floating in the sky. 

Much of the film’s environmentalist commentary is imbued into its setting; Pazu inhabits a village of poverty stricken miners, scraping their empty mines for the final flecks of precious metals. The fantastical world they journey through is, clearly, long past its prime, but beginning to rebuild a more sustainable existence after the collapse of an empire. 

The magical, dreamlike ruin of the Castle in the Sky, once they arrive, is haunted by the tyranny of its former inhabitants. In one of the film’s most memorable twists, the sentient super-weapons that still roam the castle grounds have evolved into something else entirely. 

Castle in the Sky tells a story of growth, bursting through the ruins of mankind’s hubris, contained within an adrenaline-infused, Spielbergian treasure hunt. 

Princess Mononoke 

The most pro-environmental film on this list, but also the least child-friendly, Princess Mononoke (rated PG-13) is best enjoyed by older kids, due to the presence of blood, gore, and depiction of suffering. 

It is, however, a remarkably insightful film that features no real villain, but simply a cast of characters with clashing objectives. The film’s protagonist, Ashitaka, is an indigenous tribe member cast out of his village after falling victim to a curse, and finds himself disoriented by the complexity of the outside world. 

His journey to find the source of that curse pulls him into the all-consuming conflict between civilization and the forest. But this film doesn’t sugarcoat the natural world, or vilify humanity; the forest is shown to be a brutal, unforgiving landscape, a place where the weakest members of society simply cannot survive.  

Human civilization, at its best, can care for the helpless. But the heavy demands of industrial civilization, and the arrogance of humanity, might be too much for the forest to bear. 

The film (rather boldly) suggests that mankind and nature aren’t ever going to find true harmony again, and that the best we can hope for, is compromise.

Co-founder and co-CEO Goldberg

Brent Goldberg

TickPick

Here is an interesting business case study: You run a small company in a space dominated by giants. Competition is vicious, digital advertising is ruinously expensive and you all compete for the same supply and the same consumers. Although you have raised $40 million in your first round, that’s tip money for some of your larger competitors. Almost every one of your competitors makes their money by adding a surprise mark-up at the check-out page, but you decided to show the true price to your customers up front even though the largest company in the business tried and failed at this model. You are growing, but so is everyone.

In the middle of March 2020, the Coronavirus comes and your entire industry freezes and stays frozen for the rest of the year. Much of what you sold over the past six months must be refunded to buyers even though you already paid the suppliers for the product. How do you survive?

I spoke with Brett Goldberg, TickPick’s co-founder and co-CEO. He’s smart, warm and unafraid to try new paths to success. We discussed the path he’s charted to pivot TickPick through the quiet until live entertainment resumes and ticket buyers return.

TickPick is an outlier. It competes with companies like StubHub, Vivid Seats, SeatGeek and Ticketmaster reselling tickets for concerts, theater and sporting events to consumers who missed the chance to buy those tickets when they were first put-on sale. StubHub, then a subsidiary of eBay, sold more than $5 billion in resale tickets during 2019. Vivid Seats, SeatGeek and Ticketmaster together sold about the same that year. Getting attention in competition with those guys is a lot like trying to catch the homecoming queen’s attention from your position as the water boy for the football team. It is possible, but it doesn’t really happen often. 

To some extent, TickPick is like the Jim Carrey’s Lloyd Christmas chasing Lauren Holly’s Mary Swanson character:

               Lloyd: What are the chances of a guy like you and a girl like me….ending up

together?

               Mary: Not good.

               Lloyd: Not good like one in a hundred?

               Mary: I’d say more like one in a million.

               Lloyd: So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

However, this is not the movies, it is real life and in real life TickPick has threaded the needle. They’re growing their business and their raising awareness of the brand. They made two smart acquisitions, purchasing failing competitors Rukkus and RazorGator. (Disclosure: I was the competing bidder for RazorGator.) These acquisitions expanded TickPick’s levels of consumer awareness.

TickPick’s model is different than its competitors. Their site is optimized to show the total cost of a ticket purchase, where other ticket resellers show a lower price initially, then add service fees at the checkout screen. TickPick’s task is to get buyers to compare final prices, rather than what’s the first price they see. It’s working, but anytime you ask consumers to pay attention, you risk losing them to an option which appears at first blush to be cheaper.

TickPick also made a decision which turned out well for them as the Covid-19 shutdown forced immediate changes to resale ticketing. Once it became apparent that shows were not going to resume quickly after the shutdown and that refunds requests would flood in as tours were postponed or canceled, most ticket marketplaces changed the terms by which they paid their suppliers. Previously, ticket brokers were paid for the tickets sold by the markets once those tickets were delivered. By April 2020, this had changed to payment will be made within 14 days after the event takes place. This change put the ticket suppliers in the position of having put out the money to purchase tickets upfront, then having to wait as much as 2 years until the show took place before they’d get paid. This change devastated the supply chain for tickets. 

TickPick decided they knew their suppliers well enough to trust them. So, they went the other way. They continued to pay their suppliers upon delivery of tickets which is move which will forever endear them to their suppliers, many of whom had few other options to recover the money they’d invested into tickets. 

TickPick once forgot to map a portion of Michigan thereby cutting off a good portion of the state. Once Michigan natives noticed, they were displeased. Social media scores for TickPick plummeted in that area. Brett Goldberg got onto a plane with to make things right. He took his medicine, threw an open bar event, and rallied those who came into supporting TickPick. See the story below:

Perhaps this is the major differentiator for TickPick: they’re willing to take a few chances and they’re willing to do things which others may not. Telling people the true checkout price upfront was a strategy which failed for StubHub during the year they tried. TickPick is making it work. Supporting your suppliers while things are tight is risky, but it pays off in the long run. And, understanding that the best way to fix a mistake is to own it is another path less frequented, but very well appreciated when correctly employed. Often, leadership is demonstrated by taking the path least traveled. Done correctly it can get you to your goal in front of the crowd who went the other way.