Weekend Briefing No. 297

Welcome to the weekend. 

We’re refreshing the brand slightly by cleaning up our typefaces. If you have an opinion, shoot me an email and let me know what you think. 

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Prime Numbers

1:59:40 Eliud Kipchoge broke the 2-hour marathon

19 – The global whiskey market is projected to grow 19 percent through 2023 to $147.6 billion.

40 – Thom Yorke has revealed that he wrote 30 or 40 different versions of ‘Paranoid Android’ after discussing the reissue of Radiohead’s iconic album ‘OK Computer’.

1619: Land of Our Fathers

In this final episode of 1619, we explore the history of black farmers. The history had been something like this. Black farmers got really good at specific crops. Year after year after year, they would farm the same crops for white landowners, and they got really good at it. So it was just a matter of time before a younger black farmer would say to himself, what am I doing? I do the same thing over and over again. The white farmer gets rich on my skill. Why don’t I just go down the street and lease 100 acres, 200 acres and do it for myself? You know, very American, very logical. The problem was that was frightening to the white farmer in the South for three reasons. One, there goes my labor and my skill. Two, here comes a new competitor. And three, what about me? You know, what about me? What about my rights, my interests? I’m going to talk to the county committee about that. That county committee is the local USDA authority that decides whether a farmer gets his annual crop loan. A pattern began to emerge – if black farmers do get a loan, they get a lesser amount than a white, with more restrictions than a white, and later in the season. In the 1990’s black farmers filed a class action lawsuit against the USDA for discriminatory practices. Even though the government did not publicly admit wrongdoing, it ended up paying out nearly a billion dollars to nearly 16,000 farmers — the largest amount of money the government has ever paid to settle a discrimination case. But it’s still an unresolved issue. Similar practices are still occurring today with a black farmer named June Provost. 1619 (78 minutes)


The California Consumer Privacy Protection Act’s broad privacy requirements are entirely new to the United States—and with a compliance deadline of January 1, 2020, the clock is ticking. Here’s how you know if your company needs to comply: Are each of the following true? (1) Your organization collects Personal Information from Consumers, or another organization collects it for you. (2) You determine what to do with that Personal Information. (3) Your website is available in California. Are one or more of the following true? (4) You have annual gross revenues in excess of $25,000,000. (5)  You annually buy, share or receive, or sell the Personal Information of more than 50,000 consumers. (6) You receive 50% or more of your annual revenue from selling Personal Information. If you answered yes to both questions above are not currently working with an attorney, feel free to reach out and we can design a strategy and implement it before the end of the year. I’m only taking clients on this issue until November 1st. Shoot me an email or schedule a call to discuss. Click here to schedule a call.

Nobel Prize

Twenty-five thousand children around the world die of preventable causes every day. How should the developed world respond? With more aid? In her TED Talk, Esther Duflo, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics this week, showed a graph that plotted the billions in development aid given to Africa in recent decades, along with the continent’s G.D.P. per capita over the same period. Aid had risen sharply; G.D.P. had not. But the statistics revealed nothing about cause and effect, Duflo said. Without this money, Africa might have turned out better, or worse, or the same. “We have no idea,” she said. “We’re not any better than the medieval doctors and their leeches.” She has brought rigor to development economics. She’s combined the thought of doing good science, and the thought of doing good. And she is in large measure responsible for the emergence of a new, and fashionable, strand of academic study that combines these instincts. TED (16 minutes)

New Capitalism

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, says it’s time for a new capitalism — a more fair, equal and sustainable capitalism that actually works for everyone and where businesses, including tech companies, don’t just take from society but truly give back and have a positive impact. What might a new capitalism look like? This requires that they focus not only on their shareholders, but also on all of their stakeholders — their employees, customers, communities and the planet. Fortunately, nearly 200 executives with the Business Roundtable recently committed their companies, including Salesforce, to this approach, saying that the “purpose of a corporation” includes “a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.” As a next step, the government could formalize this commitment, perhaps with the Security and Exchange Commission requiring public companies to publicly disclose their key stakeholders and show how they are impacting those stakeholders. Skeptical business leaders who say that having a purpose beyond profit hurts the bottom line should look at the facts. Research shows that companies that embrace a broader mission — and, importantly, integrate that purpose into their corporate culture — outperform their peers, grow faster, and deliver higher profits. Salesforce is living proof that new capitalism can thrive and everyone can benefit. We don’t have to choose between doing well and doing good. They’re not mutually exclusive. New York Times (9 minutes)

Start Us Up

The Kaufman Foundation just launched a bipartisan plan for policymakers that is focused on creating new jobs and leveling the playing field for startups and small businesses. America’s New Business Plan puts the ambitions and can-do spirit of everyday Americans first through a four-part entrepreneurship plan that ensures anyone with an idea has access to the opportunity, funding, knowledge, and support to turn it into a reality. (1) A level playing field and less red tape. (2) Equal access to the right kind of capital everywhere. These funding streams must extend beyond the coasts and reach deep into the heart of America to serve communities that lack access to capital and populations that are underrepresented as entrepreneurs. (3) The know-how to start a business. (4) The ability for all to take risks. Becoming an entrepreneur means leaving behind the stability of a traditional job, and with it benefits such as health care and retirement savings. Most importantly, it often means forgoing a stable salary — a daunting proposition for anyone. startusupnow.org (18 minutes)


You’ve heard of SMART goals, but have you heard of FAST goals? Frequently Discussed. Goals should be embedded in ongoing discussions to review progress, allocate resources, prioritize initiatives, and provide feedback. Ambitious. Goals should be difficult but not impossible to achieve. Specific. Goals should be translated into concrete metrics and milestones. Transparent. Goals should be public for all to see. MIT Sloan Review (18 minutes)

Da Vinci’s Bridge 

In the early 1500s, Leonardo da Vinci designed a hypothetical bridge for the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. It was rejected. Over 500 years later, an MIT team has recreated the design with a model and have showed that it would have worked. Da Vinci’s design incorporates architectural techniques that would have not been seen for another 300 years. Popular Mechanics (5 minutes)


Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell. How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn’t true? Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology, and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland – throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since his number one best seller, David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times. Amazon

About the Weekend Briefing

A Saturday morning briefing on innovation & society by Kyle Westaway – Managing Partner of Westaway and author of Profit & Purpose. Photo by Joey Banks.

Should We Work Together?

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Weekend Wisdom

In the darkest night I’ll. I’ll search through the crowd. Your face is all that I see. I’ll give you everything. Baby love me lights out. Baby love me lights out. You can turn my light down. Beyonce