Weekend Briefing No. 299

Welcome to the weekend.

I’m looking to add a stellar digital marketer to my team. Who is the best person in the digital marketing space (specifically SEM and Social) that you know? The position would be a part-time gig, so it would be a good side hustle. If this is you or someone you know, I’d love to chat. Shoot me a note.   

Prime Numbers

99.8 – DeepMind’s AlphaStar AI system is now ranked above 99.8 percent of active players in the official StarCraft II online league.

11 11 percent of Americans dressed up their dogs for Halloween

10 Delivery is now 10% of McDonald’s UK

Capitalism is Dead. Long Live Capitalism.

Here’s a snippet from a long-form interview of Yvon Chouinard in Fast Company. FC: In the past, you consulted with folks at large companies, such as Walmart, and came away not so convinced of their actual ability to pursue sustainability. If we’re looking to create a better version of capitalism, what do you think should be done with publicly traded companies? YC: You’ve got to reinvent capitalism altogether. It leads to a whole bunch of poor people and a few extremely rich people. Ultimately, capitalism is going to lose its customers. There won’t be anybody to buy the product because everybody is going to be so poor. The whole thing is going to crash before the next election, probably. We’re going to get another huge recession, and everybody’s going to lose out on their stocks. There we go again. It’s a system that’s got to change. The whole stock thing is dependent on growth. Look at Amazon. Amazon doesn’t make a profit. They don’t pay any taxes. Nothing. But they’re growing like crazy. It’s all growth, growth, growth—and that’s what’s destroying the planet. I’m dealing with that myself. We’re a billion-dollar company, over a billion, and I don’t want a billion-dollar company. The day they announced it to me, I hung my head and said, “Oh God, I knew it would come to this.” I’m trying to figure out how to make Patagonia act like a small company again. Fast Company (11 minutes)

Should I Launch a Startup?

This is a letter by Graham Duncan to a friend that’s contemplating launching a fund, but I think most of the advice is broadly applicable to any startup. He thinks these are the key questions: (1) Are you ready to fully own the ambiguity of a new initiative? (2) Is your spouse fully on board? (3) How will you accelerate the process of building trust with new partners? (4) How will you protect the climate within your skull? (5) How are you going to source enough good ideas? (6) What are you compulsive about? Is it possible to put that at the center of the platform’s activity? (7) Are you really focusing on what you’re going to value over the long term? Graham Duncan (13 minutes)

Pentagon & Climate Change

According to a new U.S. Army report, commissioned by General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Americans could face a horrifically grim future from climate change involving blackouts, disease, thirst, starvation and war. The study found that the US military itself might also collapse. This could all happen over the next two decades, the report notes. The two most prominent scenarios in the report focus on: (1) The risk of a collapse of the power grid – Increased energy requirements triggered by new weather patterns like extended periods of heat, drought, and cold could eventually overwhelm an already fragile system. (2) The danger of disease epidemics – Climate change is introducing an increased risk of infectious disease to the US population. It is increasingly not a matter of ‘if’ but of when there will be a large outbreak. Vice (12 minutes)


You want a weekend pickup? Check out this video, it’s surprisingly joyful and human. James Corden is desperate for a ride back to Los Angeles and connects with Kanye West, who is traveling with his Sunday Service choir by airplane. Fly along in this 30,000-foot Carpool Karaoke, as James asks Kanye about his church, marriage with Kim Kardashian and what lyric he knew would make him famous. And sing along to “Jesus Walks” and other Kanye West music. YouTube (20 minutes)

Project Possible

On October 29, Nepalese climber Nirmal Purja reached the summit of 26,335-foot Shishapangma in Tibet, finishing a season that saw him summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in just six months and seven days. With the summit, the 35-year-old handily broke the previous fastest time of just under eight years, set by South Korean Kim Chang-Ho in 2013, and became the 43rd person in history to climb all 14 8,000-meter peaks. Purja used supplemental oxygen, while Kim did not. It’s hard to overstate how huge this feat is. I would say it’s almost as impressive as free soloing El Cap and more impressive than breaking the 2-hour marathon. This feat will likely not be repeated in our lifetime. Outside (5 minutes)

Notice When You Are Happy

Kurt Vonnegut wrote: But I had a good uncle, my late Uncle Alex. He was my father’s kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life-insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well- read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So, when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” So, I do the same now, and so do my kids and grand-kids. And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” A Man Without A Country (168 minutes)


Long time readers of the briefing know how obsessed I am with sleep. Men who sleep five hours a night have significantly smaller testicles than those who sleep seven hours or more. In addition, men who routinely sleep just four to five hours a night will have a level of testosterone which is that of someone 10 years their senior. So, a lack of sleep will age a man by a decade in terms of that critical aspect of wellness. And we see equivalent impairments in female reproductive health caused by a lack of sleep. We’ve all pulled all-nighters. It turns out, it’s a bad idea, it reduces performance by 40%. Sleep deprivation shuts down your memory inbox, and any new incoming memories are just being bounced. You can’t effectively commit new experiences to memory. TED (19 minutes)


Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum. Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America. 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 Charlie Hammond.

Should We Work Together?

This newsletter is my passion project. I hope it helps you gain deeper insight and equips you to create meaningful impact in the world. Many readers have asked about how we can work together. I run a law firm for startups. We try to keep it simple by structuring our engagements in two ways: (1) On-Demand Counsel – Flat fee, per project engagements. No billable hour means no surprise legal bills. (2) General Counsel – A simple monthly fee for all your day-to-day legal needs. It’s like getting a subscription to your own general counsel. If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit for the firm. Click here to schedule a call.   

Weekend Wisdom

Just keep in mind: the more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.Epictetus