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Surely Very Big crisis

Welcome to my Pillow talk!




Your sight is blurry. You stare at the dizzying pattern of the spinning fan a little too long and sit up just enough to ponder some more, tracing the design on your quilt with stiff fingers. A few minutes more, you shock yourself into a cold shower with a few new ideas and put on your dailies. A quick joe and one key jingle later, you are on your way to the most uniform orchard selling the fruits of your labour under their branding.


A sigh seems like the only way to fill air into your end of the grid and a familiar tune on a digital book marks the start of yet another 24 hours. You wrestle with a chair that promises a hug from the back and find yourself looking at an artificial wall wondering how to make this better.


Your phone pings and it's a shopping website reminding you to spend some of the hard-earned cash you deserve. You've got the app and decide to do some harmless window shopping. After all, sometimes we need a break from work. You stumble upon a popular lip shade that you and your favourite movie star have in common. It's made by people who dress the Gods and have transferred this divine knowledge to you, so why not trust them? You add it to your cart, complete the cashless transaction, and marvel at how quickly you made the purchase. You write it off as a treat - a fortune cookie at the end of a Chinese meal - and call it an investment in yourself.

A few days later, we board a bus with people who look like life is happening to them. As we step into our homes, we feel no different. The only thing that brings us joy is the arrival of our long-awaited lip shade order. Without a second thought, we leave everything - including the door - open, locate the sharpest knife we can find, and rip open the package with the same anticipation as if it contained a million dollars. And viola! There it is, in all its glory a beauty in all the shades of celebration - champagne, gold and pink. After a relatively short admiration period spent on the packaging, we open the glossy lid and head to the mirror to try it on. Expectations now peaking, we put it on and look closely only to realise that perhaps this is what a person in the Great plague looked like. Washed out and dead in their dreams.


Next comes the inner dialogue, teetering between "I messed up" and "I did the best I could." After all, I invested just like they said - the ones who knew better in every possible aspect. Of course, if I had the time, I would have researched more and made a better decision. But let's be honest, that seldom happens.


You are unhappy. You need to fix this. So you sit with your phone with some balanced wine and attack the internet like an unbalanced human on a mission. You research for what seems like half an hour in procrastination time and three hours on an actual clock, to find that these same people who recommended the shade that suits everyone and that you should trust are now de-influencing you. Yes, new millennial term here. The ones who used it using filters are now showing their true colours by demonstrating that the lip shade is not for everyone and that your investment has been used by the company for nothing more than marketing the same to more people like you. Instead, buy this other lip shade with the same name and medium attached to its name. You're fuming with anger until a funny reel catches your eye and you decide to calm down by making a purchase - a lip liner that will change the color of your more expensive lip shade. But that's the best you can do at this point. Despite the recession looming around the corner (for a year?), you still decided to buy that lipstick. And now, it all feels like a complete waste.

The next day, as you head straight to the office building, you're secretly hoping for a compliment on that lipstick - it's the only good thing going on for you. But to your dismay, no one even notices it. The work stress is palpable and it feels like the eerie silence right before a game of Squid Game begins. Suddenly, someone announces that the doors are locked and there's a note - the company has gone bankrupt, citing that its bank is on the verge of collapse and everyone is out of a job. People are in shock and trying to process what just happened. After one drink, two curses, and three attempts at finding solutions, everyone goes off into their own worlds, clutching on to that one lipstick they didn't really need or even like.


Let's take a step back and compare the lipstick to a bank where you store your money. We try to spread out our money and investments to reduce risks and increase returns with little to no information. On some days when tax conversations loom in the workplace, we push ourselves to follow asset allocation advice from people with filters on the internet, hopefully without the funny doggy ears or the pear face. But even so, we believe that if we do the bare minimum, the banks will keep our money safe. While for the most part that is true, understanding the banking structure and its motives might benefit us.


So, you know how banks take your money and invest it to make a profit? Well, the thing is, you don't get a piece of that profit pie. But, if their investments go sour and they suffer losses, you're the one who's left holding the bag. This means you're the one taking all the risk, while the bank gets to enjoy the rewards. Fair, right? And, if the bank runs into financial trouble, your savings could be wiped out. So, it's possible for the bank to lose your money. And that is exactly the story behind all the mid-sized American banks and the chaos that led to bank runs for the last month.

It may seem pretty bleak right now, but there's another piece to the puzzle that makes this banking crisis unique. Let's take a trip back in time, about four years ago when everyone wanted to be a famous entrepreneur working out of a garage. The start-up industry was all the rage - people wanted to invest in them, work for them, and what I call ‘renegading in corporate.’ Start-ups were like Disneyland, where anything was possible, and the crazier your idea, the more successful you could be. But fast forward a few years, and start-ups were quickly thrown out of the box.


In the startup tech industry, they were booming, with the wealthy and banks investing in them like crazy, hiring everyone they could find, especially the misfits and troublemakers. They were speeding from garages to shiny glass buildings with an army of people doing everything and nothing. However, borrowing money to fuel this growth was becoming more and more expensive, and the banks and investors couldn't keep up with the pace of inflation and ultimately abandoned their maseratis' on those dead end streets.


The world suddenly came to an abrupt halt and threw us all into a chaotic no man's land, leaving us battered and bruised. Now that we're dusting ourselves off and trying to recover, there's one important lesson we need to take away from this: we're vulnerable when we rely on hearsay and misinformation. Sure, the banks will eventually recover with the help of big players like Credit Suisse did today, but what really matters is understanding what's going on without being bogged down by jargon and false alarms.


Knowledge is power, and it's up to us to intentionally seek it out and stay informed in red lipstick.


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