The exponential function, , has the unique property that it is its own derivative. As increases, not only does the value of the function increase, but rate of increase increases—and the rate at which the rate of increase is increasing, increases; and that rate too is increasing, ad infinitum.
As I’m writing this, San Francisco has just announced a shelter in place order, quarantining most people in the city to their homes. The staggering acceleration of exponential growth is very salient right now.
A brief personal timeline:
- Thursday, March 5: First cases of Covid-19 announced in SF.
- Saturday, March 7: Despite some trepidation about potential risks, I attend a concert at Public Works. It’s at capacity.
- Monday, March 9: I start working from home instead of going into the office.
- Tuesday, March 10: I go to bar trivia with some friends. People seem unsure whether they should hug or shake hands.
- Wednesday, March 11: Trump announces suspension of travel from Europe. I begin an email thread with subject “Repatriation” with my parents, who are Seville, and my sister, who is in Paris.
- Thursday, March 12: I go out to dinner (for what would be the last time) with my wife and two other couples. No handshakes or hugs.
- Sunday, March 15: My wife has a board game night scheduled with her work team and their partners—eight people. A few hours before, we feel decide to play Jackbox over Zoom instead.
- Monday, March 16: San Francisco announces shelter in place order. All non-essential businesses are closed and residents are ordered to remain in their homes.
Going from a packed concert to actively avoiding being in the same room with other people in eight days. There were many moments along the way where I had the thought “this might be the last time I do this for a while”, but I didn’t expect the retreat to be so swift or complete. There were so many times in the last two weeks that I felt like I had adjusted to a new normal, only to realize that reality had already leapfrogged past me.
It’s abundantly clear by now that this pandemic will be one of the major historical events of my lifetime. So much changes each day, both externally and internally, that it’s hard to remember where we were yesterday. I want to hold on to these moments for posterity, whether they be good or bad. Plus being quarantined for who knows how long, it might be cathartic to have an outlet for thoughts and concerns about this turbulent world.
So here I am, another guy on the internet with a blog.