Weekend Briefing No. 107

Weekend Briefing No. 107 | Bill Gates & Climate Change, Uber Is China’s Next Social Platform, What’s Next In Computing, Microfinance, Adaptable Leadership


Welcome to the weekend.

This week Mark Zuckerberg extolled the virtues of social connection in virtual reality, “what people care about is interacting with another person.” This, he believes will drive widespread adoption of virtual reality.

President Obama makes one last push to close Guantanamo Bay.

We found out (with 95% probability) that the 20th-century rise was faster than any of the previous 27 centuries.




Bill Gates’ equation to solve climate change. (It’s P x S x E x C = Co2, in case you’re wondering.) In 2015, the world emitted 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide to produce energy. How can we ever reduce a number like 36 billion tons to zero? The world’s population is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050. As more of the population pushes into the middle class, they will be consuming more stuff. That stuff requires energy. Most scientists agree that by 2050 we’ll be using 50% more energy than we do today. Because population, services, and energy will increase, there needs to be a technological breakthrough that will allow us to create energy without carbon emission. Bill Gates will walk you through the math in the videos from his annual letter.


Uber is the next social platform in China. I don’t like driving,” said the 33-year-old Chinese Uber driver, “but I like to talk to people.” Though Uber is getting crushed by competitors, Uber has carved out a special place in China. To many upper-class Chinese drivers, Uber acts more like a social platform than a ride-sharing app. It helps connect them to new friends. Uber is filling an empty niche created in an upwardly-mobile generation that finds itself far from extended families, many have no siblings and few cousins because of China’s one-child policy. Generally, so few relatives their own age. Learn more in Quartz.


What’s next in computing? In the modern semiconductor era, the focus has shifted from standalone CPUs to bundles of specialized chips known as systems-on-a-chip. Soon these chips will cost less than a dollar. It will be cost-effective to embed a computer in almost anything. You bundle that with artificial intelligence, which is coming into its golden age, and you have autonomous vehicles, virtual reality and augmented reality. These are all in their “awkward adolescence” but will comprise the next wave of computing according to Chris Dixon. Thanks to Henry Poydar for sharing this with me.


Microfinance from the client’s perspective. A recent report from the Smart Campaign on microfinance in four countries – Georgia, Peru, Benin and Pakistan – found that clients are generally satisfied with their financial institutions. Many respondents described the important and beneficial role microfinance plays in their lives. However, some troubling themes arose that damage client trust, such as inadequate explanations of loan terms, lack of redress mechanisms and opportunities, and disrespectful treatment. Learn more in NextBillion.


Three mindsets to be an adaptable leader. 1) The Gamer Mindset challenges us to apply courage and willpower — and also optimism and creativity — we have when playing fictional games to real world problems. 2) The Beginner’s Mindset is rooted in openness, being childlike and curious. It’s about asking “what if” and “why not”, and not being dismissive. 3) The Growth Mindset empowers you to take risks because mistakes and setbacks aren’t reflection on themselves — just on their preparation and current ability, which are adaptable. Learn more in First Round Review.




The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. Michael was kind enough to send me an advance copy and I must say, I was a bit skeptical. But I’m really digging it.  Don’t take my word for it, Brene Brown says, “Coaching is an art and it’s far easier said than done. It takes courage to ask a question rather than offer up advice, provide an answer, or unleash a solution. Michael shares seven transformative questions that can make a difference in how we lead and support. And, he guides us through the tricky part – how to take this new information and turn it into habits and a daily practice.” Get your copy at Amazon. And check out my instagram to see the 7 questions.




Life on Mars… in Hawaii. In a white dome on a bare mountain, a space architect, an engineer, three scientists and a doctor are testing the longest NASA-funded Mars simulation in history.


Three views of marriage. The psychological view focuses on analytics. The romantic view focuses on passion. The moral view focuses on higher purpose. Learn which matters in David Brooks’ New York Times column.




The Weekend Briefing is a selection of this week’s top stories on innovation and society, edited 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.