Weekend Briefing No. 132

Welcome To The Weekend

This week a North Korea diplomat tasked with the responsibility of making North Korea look good, has defected. A group of treasure hunters believe they have found a legendary Nazi train filled with stolen gems and arms in southwestern Poland. Ford announced that, by 2021, it would have cars without steering wheels or gas pedals ― with the majority its self-driving revenue coming from car-share and e-hail programs.

Also, I’ll be doing a workshop at the new Apolis shop in Soho on August 24th on how to write a book. Come sip some whiskey with us and learn how to bring your book project to life.

The World Isn’t Falling Apart

… it just feels like it. News is a misleading way to understand the world. By it’s very nature it focuses on events that happened and not things that didn’t happen. Even if you compare events this year to a random year in the 1970s or 1980s, by every measure our world is much more peaceful. In fact, the rates of terrorism in Western Europe, were much higher from 1972 to 1992 than they were in 2015, and 2015 was a terrible year for terrorism. Learn more in Steven Pinker’s interview on Vox (7 minutes).

Peace Through Entrepreneurship

The US allocates only 1% of its federal budget to foreign aid, but only 1% of that 1% goes to support entrepreneurship. This is noteworthy because joblessness is one of the most significant root causes of the unrest/extremism, and entrepreneurship is a proven job creator. Our government has not adequately leveraged this American-as-apple-pie tool in its foreign policy. To elevate entrepreneurship, we should create a new U.S. government agency, purpose-built solely for economic development work. Learn more at Harvard Business Review (5 minutes).

Robo-Lawyers For The Homeless

The chatbot lawyer that overturned thousands of parking tickets is now tackling another problem: homelessness. Alongside a team of volunteer lawyers, he is using data gathered via the Freedom of Information Act to figure out trends in why public housing applications are approved or denied. The bot can create the best possible application for emergency assistance or public housing for each individual. Learn more at The Guardian (3 minutes).

Wind Tax

As one of the largest wind farms is set to come on line in Wyoming, a question arose: Who owns all of that wind? The answer the Wyoming Legislature came up with: we do. Introducing the wind tax. Supporters of the tax increase point to studies showing that Wyoming eventually could provide half of the wind power in the nation, but they also emphasize that it likely will not provide anywhere near the jobs fossil fuels have. The massive project will only provide 150 jobs.Learn more in the LA Times (4 minutes).

Bring Your Kids To Work

Patagonia offers on-site child-care, but what’s the return on that investment? They estimate that they recover 91% of their calculable costs annually in the form of tax benefits, employee retention (for the past five years, 100% of moms return to work after maternity leave) and employee engagement. They’re not alone. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., has estimated returns of 115% for its child-care program; global business consultant KPMG found that its clients earned a return on investment (ROI) of 125%. Learn more at Fast Company (5 minutes).

Change The World Rankings

Fortune just released its 2016 Change The World list, which ranks big companies that do well and do good. Topping the list was GlaxoSmithKline. This was a head scratcher for me until I looked deeper. Apparently GSK has made a calculated bet on intellectual property leniency in poor nations, releasing drugs from patent protection and thus lowering their prices, but they still don’t lose money. GSK has existed for 300 years. They think about how we can be successful, not just in the next year or the next two years, but in the next 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 years. See who else made the list at Fortune (7 minutes).

Science Questions From A Toddler

Kids ask great questions like… Q: How big is a fart? A: Somewhere between the size of a nail polish bottle and a can of soda. Q: Why do boys have wieners? A: Wieners exist because they make it easier to make babies. Go ask your parents where babies come from. Q: Why am I right handed? A: Because most of humanity – about 90% – is right-handed. See more hilarious questions and get the full answers at FiveThirtyEight (12 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. Basically… I help you sound smart at brunch.

Thanks for making the Weekend Briefing a part of your Saturday morning routine. Have a restful and thoughtful weekend.