Hey, I'm Dan! I invest in startups at Madrona and write the DL, a weekly newsletter about tech in the Pacific Northwest

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How Seattle Businesses Came Together to Fight COVID-19

I think we should spend this entire conversation talking about COVID-19, and what’s very likely to be coming down the pike here in Seattle -Thomas Lynch, February 25th Fred Hutch Board Meeting


Fortune wrote a fantastic article last week on how Seattle came together so quickly to respond to COVID-19 in Washington. It’s a long read, but great look into how the tightly connected business community, public health organizations, and local officials worked together to share information and make rapid decisions.


Back on February 25, there was only one case of COVID-19 in Washington, but Trevor Bedford and others at the Hutch were so concerned about the COVID-19 threat that a last minute addition to the agenda became the sole focus of the Hutch’s board meeting.


Later that same day, Challenge Seattle, a group of CEOs of the region’s largest companies, held a dinner meeting where the president of Kaiser Permanente briefed the CEOs of Weyerhaeuser, Zillow, REI, and others on the COVID-19 threat. Afterwards, there was “absolute shock around the table.”


Five days later, Challenge Seattle hosted its first COVID-19 crisis call open to other local businesses, and many of the city’s largest employers like Amazon and Microsoft decided they should respond in the same way on decisions like work-from-home policies. Later that week, Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia all announced their campuses were closed, but they would continue to pay vendors and hourly employees.


It is awesome to see the level of coordination and teamwork that has gone into our region’s collective response to COVID-19, and if you want to read further, there are more great stories about Starbucks, Boeing, Alaska Airlines, Nordstrom, and even Madrona in the full article.


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