Weekend Briefing No. 142

This Week By The Numbers

$22 million – The quarterly profit reported by Tesla this week. This is coming on the heels of 12 straight quarters of quarterly losses. It’s only their second profitable quarter ever.

17 – The number of states where “ballot selfies” are illegal. If you are voting in one of these states, keep your phone in your pocket. Unfortunately, the list includes my home state of NY.

9% – The percent of Twitter workforce that was laid off this week as they are trying to cut cost to achieve profitability in 2017.  

Dating App Fatigue

Q: What value do dating apps actually provide? A: A pocket full of possible connections that you can carry around to ward off despair. But the sense of infinite possibility online has real-world effects. 1) It lowers the stakes. If doesn’t work out, well, it was only a stranger. This is how “chill” becomes the default setting for dating. Chill asks us to remove the language of courtship and desire lest we appear invested somehow in other human beings. 2) It facilitates our culture’s worst impulses for efficiency in the arena where we most need to resist those impulses.   It seems foolish to sink too much time into any one person if it doesn’t seem exactly right because that would be a waste of time. So you end up spending a little effort on a lot of people, and I think this is where the burnout comes from. Because it adds up to feel like you’ve done a lot of work, but you’re still left with nothing. Dig deeper and watch the video at The Atlantic (16 minutes).

Baby Unicorns

This week Forbes released its list of 25 startups they believe will be unicorns – private companies at a $1b+ valuation. The list includes: Boxed – basically Costco on an app. ClassPass – subscription service that allows customers to sign up for unlimited exercise. (Also the bane of every workout instructor in the city.) Doppler Labs – maker of a miniature computer for your ears that it hopes will become as ubiquitous as the iPhone. See the whole list at Forbes (4 minutes).

Embrace The Entrepreneurial Journey

In her talk at Stanford, Jane Marie Chen, co-founder and CEO of Embrace Innovations, describes how her social-enterprise startup’s infant warmer for premature and low-birth-weight babies came into the world. She discusses how optimism fuels the drive to overcome setbacks big and small, how Embrace has expanded into retail to support its humanitarian efforts, and explains why we should “choose to see the world through the lens of beauty.” I’ve been a fan of Jane for a while and wrote about Embrace in Profit & Purpose check out her video at Stanford (35 minutes).

Stop Looking For A Job

That’s the unexpected advice from a professor to her MBA students. But, full time jobs are disappearing. Instead of preferring full-time employees, many firms now actively avoid them, and look for ways to build their business models and run their firms with as few full-time employees as possible. Additionally independent workers are much more satisfied and engaged in their work. So, stop looking for a “job” and create our own engaging and satisfying work. Learn more at Harvard Business Review (5 minutes).


50,000 cans of Budweiser. That was the first delivery of an autonomous 18-wheeler this week. Unlike Tesla’s Autopilot, Otto’s system offers true ‘Level 4’ autonomy. Once the rig hits the interstate, it is entirely capable of the job at hand, letting the human deal with paperwork, thumb her phone, or even catch a few Z’s. Watch a video of the drive at Wired (4 minutes).

10 Learnings From 10 Years

Brainpickings is my favorite destination for insightful curation. I aspire to be half as good as Maria Popova some day. After 10 years, she created a list of 10 nuggets of wisdom. Here are a few: 1) Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like. 2) Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. And SLEEP! 3) Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time. the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. Read the entire list at brainpickings (8 minutes).

Social Network

Friendship isn’t always as serendipitous as it might feel; according to new research, there are just three ways people typically structure their social lives. 1) Tight-knitter: You have one dense group of friends in which nearly everybody knows one another. 2) Compartmentalizer: You have two to four “clusters” of friends who don’t know each other. 3) Sampler: You have one-on-one friendships, rather than groups of friends, and don’t rely on friendships for a sense of belonging. Which type are you? Learn more at Quartz (3 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.