It doesn’t matter how you view the pandemic. It doesn’t matter if you believe in crowd immunity, if it’s political, or whose fault it is. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s an imposition on your freedom. What matters is whether or not you can get medical treatment when you need it. It matters if you die of an appendicitis or can’t get your broken leg fixed. It matters that the hospitals are overwhelmed and you can’t get in for “regular” medical issues. And that’s what’s coming – and in some areas, it is already here.

Every time that happens, the authorities have to shut the economy down. It matters that you can lose your job, hurt the economy, and really lose your freedom, not just by having to wear a mask, but by being ordered to shelter in place again. These developments are happening regardless of your opinions.

Sure, looking back there’s plenty of folks to blame, but that doesn’t matter now. The only thing that matters now is that we increase our hospital capacity and follow the European lead – short-term pain for long term gain: Super cautious reopenings with disciplined mask wearing and social distancing. It can be done. It has been done. But not so in the USA.

It’s getting harder to face our European friends on international Zoom calls because we look like fools for our lack of resolve, our selfishness, and our lack of discipline. Our national behavior of repeatedly filling up hospitals and getting closed down is undermining our credibility on other levels. Why should others listen to us when we continue to damage our own health and economy?

Where we live in Northern California, we have seen the community pull together to fight, contain, and rebuild after huge climate-caused and out-of-control wildfires. One, in our region, was the size of the city of Sacramento driven by 90 mile-per-hour winds that destroyed more than 6000 structures.

We could have blamed the power company, the utility oversight body, or even the oil companies for raising the temperature. We could have, but it wouldn’t have mattered. What mattered was getting the fire under control – and fast.

We could have whined and belly-ached about our loss of freedom when the firefighters closed down our freeway and evacuated us, but we all knew we had to cooperate to overcome the threat. There’d be time enough for blame and politics later, but now we had to save our lives and our economy, and everybody knew it. The result? Short-term pain for long-term gain. We got the fire out and are rebuilding our communities.

That’s what we have to do now, with the same conviction and the same resolve. They say, “Only fools fight in a house on fire!” No matter what our opinions may be, let’s all at least agree that overwhelming the hospitals is something we must work together to prevent. This virus is spreading like a wildfire! Let’s not go out and set new fires by not wearing a mask or social distancing. Until we have a proven vaccine, the authorities will continue to shut down the economy and order us to shelter in place every time that red light goes off on their dashboard indicating that the hospitals are filling up.

A country’s reputation is ultimately defined by the determination of its people. If we show ourselves to be foolish while overwhelming our hospitals, we will certainly look that way to others. We can tell you from being in business for decades, “It takes many years to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute!”

Compassion should be driving our resolve to put out this “fire”! As the song say’s “…and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.” Where is the brotherhood these days? But if all you think about is yourself, why foolishly lose your health, your economy, and your international reputation? Others have controlled this wildfire. We can do this!



Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact