Weekend Briefing No. 105

Weekend Briefing No. 105 | Searching For Love, Build A Company To Last 100 Years, Global VC Map, Women Leadership = $$$, Robot Cockroaches


Welcome to the weekend & Happy New Year!

This week people around the world are getting haircuts, buying new clothes, and stocking up on treats to fête the lunar new year which marks the start of the Year of the Monkey.

In New Hampshire, Donald Trump raked in the votes from the US’s first presidential primary, with Ohio governor John Kasich coming in second place. Bernie Sanders trounced Hillary Clinton with 60% of the votes to her 40%.

The US Supreme Court halted Barack Obama’s climate plan. It ruled that the US president’s plan to cut emissions by 32% by 2030 should not pass until all legal challenges were heard. The plan was a major part of the US pledge at the Paris climate talks.

A huge discovery could reaffirm Albert Einstein’s genius. A team of US physicists is expected to announce the discovery of clear, unambiguous evidence of gravitational waves, 100 years after the physicist first predicted their existence. The team’s work could earn them a Nobel Prize, if it holds up.




How did searching for love become a second job? OKCupid’s users send 51million messages every week. The average Tinder user spends 10.5 hours per week on the app. For the millennial generation, online dating is the norm. Finding love is no longer the product of serendipity, or even boozy nights out, but regimented, analytical, ruthless searches for perfection. Is this just the way love will happen in our generation? Or is this search for perfectly optimized companion actually a way to protect us from true intimacy? As one guy put it, “I want to believe I’m being proactive in my dating life, I know in my heart of hearts that’s BS.” Read a great piece and watch the series of videos at the Seattle Times. Thanks to Pete Armstrong for sharing this.

Build a company for the next 100 years. In every industry, there are two kinds of companies: companies that create arbitrary value or companies that create real value for the world. The formula for creating real value in an industry is simple: leverage decentralization to offer products and services that are 10x more affordable + 10x better. Centralized institutions acquire and retain their power by making what they offer inaccessible to most. This drives up costs and makes participation highly exclusive. Decentralized institutions create value by making their offering accessible to all. This drives down costs and makes participation highly inclusive. Once that value is accessible to everyone then that centralized institution is displaced and loses its power. Read more in this post by Michael Karnjanaprakorn.

Where startups raised around the world in 2015. The venture capital world is not just Silicon Valley; it’s global. Mattermark took nearly every 2015 funding event and mapped it by city onto an interactive globe. So, if you want to see where capital was deployed around the world, this is your lucky day. See the interactive globe at Mattermark. It’s actually pretty fun!

Women in leadership = $$$. Companies pondering the incentives for increased gender diversity in their executive ranks may need to look no further than the bottom line. Having women in the highest corporate offices is correlated with increased profitability, according to a new study of nearly 22,000 publicly traded companies in 91 countries. An increase in the share of women from zero to 30 percent would be associated with a 15 percent rise in profitability. The study found that female C.E.O.s did not significantly underperform or over perform when compared with male chief executives. Women representation on boards does not make an impact on profitability. Learn more in the New York Times.

Robot cockroaches to the rescue. If you were trapped beneath a pile of rubble, a large robotic cockroach might be the last thing you’d hope to see scrabbling toward you. However, two researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, seem to think that such a contraption could be the ideal way to reach survivors buried under debris. They built a device called a compressible robot with articulated mechanisms (CRAM) from several folding exoskeleton-like plates. They speculate that its malleability and strength could make it ideal for exploring collapsed buildings. Learn more at MIT Technology Review.




Quartz.  I’ve been a fan of Quartz from day 1! They just released a news app that will change the game. It’s an ongoing conversation about the news, sort of like texting. They send you messages, photos, GIFs, and links, and you can tap to respond when you’re interested in learning more about a topic. Each session lasts just a few minutes, so it’s perfect for the train, elevator, grocery store line, or wherever you have a spare moment to catch up on the news. Learn more at Quartz.




Not a dream. This Tesla video might be the most powerful advertisement since Apple’s 1984 commercial. The combination of a passionate voice over from Nikola Tesla himself and stunning, surrealist cinematography will leave you with chills. Watch it on Vimeo.




What is depression really like? If you have a friend or family member suffering from depression, it can be hard to understand. In a piercing letter to his brother, Vincent van Gogh captured the mental anguish of depression in a devastatingly perfect visceral metaphor: “One feels as if one were lying bound hand and foot at the bottom of a deep dark well, utterly helpless.” Learn more at Brain Pickings.

The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy. From the Marx Brothers to ​The Simpsons, Richard Pryor to Amy Schumer: 100 bits, sketches, and one-liners that changed humor forever.




The Weekend Briefing is a selection of this week’s top stories on innovation and society, curated by Kyle Westaway – author of Profit & Purpose and Managing Partner of Westaway.


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