Weekend Briefing No. 166

Prime Numbers

$35 MM – Jeff Bezos isn’t the highest-paid Amazon employee. Amazon Web Services boss Andrew Jassy pulled in more than $35 million in stock and salary last year.

$11,000 – If you had somewhere to be last weekend and booked to fly with Delta Air Lines, there’s a decent chance you either arrived late, never made it, or had to fly another carrier — all thanks to lingering cancellations and delays brought on by a storm. Yet Delta’s nightmarish weekend was a windfall for some frequent fliers, like one family who scored more than $11,000 by choosing to not fly Delta.

1 – Only one African country issues foreign currency bonds that aren’t junk. South Africa was recently downgraded, leaving only Namibia with an investment-grade credit rating.

Help Me Win A Webby

Before I sat down with our designers and developers to completely redesign our website, I spent a solo weekend contemplating what our firm stood for. The outcome of that weekend (which was heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey) contained a few clear conclusions: 1) The social entrepreneur is the hero, not us. We’re just here to be the wise adviser on their journey. 2) To that end our core values are: Experience (almost a decade focused on the social enterprise sector), Empathy (remembering how hard – technically, financially and emotionally – it is to be a social entrepreneur), and Clarity (making the complex as simple as possible). Our team worked very hard to create a site that embodies those core values… and we think, is raising the standard for law firm web design. We’re so honored to be nominated for a Webby, but we’d really love to win it. Currently we’re in second place by only 1%. This is the last weekend to vote, so we need your help to rocket past the leader and win the Webby. It would mean a great deal if you voted and after you vote, share on social media. Thanks. Click here to and select Westaway to help us win a Webby! If you're in New York we're celebrating our nomination with a bourbon and chocolate tasting. Click here to RSVP.

Echoing Green

This year 2,879 social entrepreneurs applied for the prestigious Echoing Green Fellowship. Soon the winners will be announced, but I like to look at the data of the applicant pool as a snapshot on the sector. So, here are some stats I find interesting: 1) Organizational Structure. 41% are organized as non-profit, 29% for-profit, 17% hybrid, 13% undecided. 2) Top 5 Issue Areas: 24% Poverty Alleviation / Economic Development, 23% Education, 13% Environment, 10% Healthcare, 10% Food and Agriculture. 3) Top 5 Target Populations: 1) 31% Economically Disadvantaged, 26% General Population, 18% Youth, 10% Women & Girls, 7% Racial Minorities. Learn more at Echoing Green (4 minutes).

How to Build a Seed Pitch Deck

How do you structure your deck for a seed round? One investor says your slides should go in this order: 1) The Problem 2) The Solution 3) How it Works 4) Traction Graph 5) Use Cases & Customers 6) Testimonials 7) The Team 8&9) Market and Vision 10) Projections and Hiring 11) Closing and Appendix. The deck is critical but it’s only the start of the conversation. Don’t try to squeeze every detail into your slides. If you keep it simple and concise, you’re more likely to hold an investor’s attention and get them interested in your startup. Learn more at Westaway Review (4 minutes).

What If Scale Wasn't The Goal?

What would happen if you created something noteworthy and didn’t worry about scale? Giacomo ‘Peldi’ Guilizzoni, the founder of the wireframing software company, Balsamiq, has done just that. Unlike many founders who hit on something that’s working then rush to raise funding to scale, Balsamiq has chosen to take a more measured approach- consistently growing revenue and profits year after year. Each year Peldi takes $1M out personally, socks away 18mo of runway for a rainy day, and pays out 15% of profits to Balsamiq’s 25 employees (this number grows by 2–3 new hires per year). He says, “We aren’t some kids from the Bay Area Hacker News crowd hoping to grab a winning lottery ticket. As a product person I want to spend the next 40–50yrs honing and perfecting this craft. I’m Italian. We measure things in generations, not quarters.” Learn more at Strong Words (4 minutes).

Inside the Plant

How did you spend your summer vacation? One NYU grad student spent his summer working at an iPhone manufacturing plant in China. A large portion of his summer was spent screwing exactly one screw into iPhone casings, over and over, for about 12 hours a day for about $400/month. When asked if he thought this sort of production could be done in the US, he said: “If it really happened, if factories actually really moved to the US, I won’t see it create a lot of jobs. I would see workers getting replaced by a lot of machines, because a lot of the work I see in the factory can actually be done by machine. The only reason why we do it [manufacture in China] is because the labor is even cheaper than the machine.” Get the insider’s perspective at Business Insider (10 minutes).

Why We Choose Narcissist

Many studies show that companies lead by humble leaders outperform those lead by narcissistic leaders. If humble leaders are more effective than narcissistic leaders, why do we so often choose narcissistic individuals to lead us? Our psychological states can also bias our perceptions of charismatic leaders. High levels of anxiety make us hungry for charisma. As a result, crises increase not only the search for charismatic leaders, but also our tendency to perceive charisma in the leaders we already follow. In a time of crisis, it’s easy to be seduced by superheroes who could come and “rescue” us, but who possibly then plunge us into greater peril. The paradox is that we may then choose to support the very leaders who are less likely to bring us success. Learn more at Harvard Business Review (6 minutes).

To Accomplish More, Work Less

Almost every ancient society shared the view that work and rest were complements to one another. The Greeks saw rest as the pinnacle of civilized life. Rest is not something given to you to fill in the cracks between work. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it. When you do things like go for a long walk, your subconscious mind keeps working on problems. The experience of having the mind slightly relaxed allows it to explore different combinations of ideas, to test out different solutions. And then once it has arrived at one that looks promising—that is what pops into your head as an aha! moment. While we work 8 or more hours a day, most of that is just busywork. Effectiveness and total hours worked are two different things. Learn more at Farnam Street (5 minutes).

About the Weekend Briefing

The best articles on innovation, impact, and growth distilled into one email every Saturday morning by Kyle Westaway – author of Profit & Purpose and Managing Partner of Westaway.

Thanks for making the Weekend Briefing a part of your Saturday morning routine. I love putting it together every week and love hearing your thoughtful insights. Feel free to shoot me an email with any feedback or suggestions. If you like what you’re reading, I’d be honored if you share it with your friends. Have a restful and thoughtful weekend.