Weekend Briefing No. 49

Welcome to the weekend. This has been an intense week. The price of oil continues to stay low, it was earnings season on Wall Street, Space X nearly landed its rocket (and released this explosive Vine), The Pope visited the Philippines, Chipotle had a shortage on pork, and of course, the tragic terror attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris killing 17.

Meanwhile, in northern Nigeria, an army of Islamic extremists razed the village of Baga, killing as many as 2,000 people. Then, later in the week, they used a 10-year-old girl as a suicide bomber. It barely received any media attention. Here’s an interesting piece on why that might be.



Big questions of 2015. Is the tech industry becoming winner-takes all? Will drones, artificial intelligence and driver-less cars reach the masses? What is going on with Amazon? Will the Internet of Things make us more vulnerable to hackers shutting down entire cities? These and other questions are at the top of Brad Grossman’s mind as we enter 2015. If you are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of leading-edge issues in our constantly changing culture, then you need to check out the Zeitguide, a yearly Cultural Almanac exploring the conversations and projections in every industry.


Running a start-up is not that hard, at least according to David Ulevitch, founder of OpenDNS. If you avoid the distractions – the parties, the latest trend and the blogs about who just raised a round at an insane valuation – and you focus on nurturing your business, then you just might find yourself enjoying the process rather than whining about how hard you have it. Read David’s post hereThanks to Chris Sacca for sharing this.


#dawnwall. This week’s epic free ascent of El Capitan’s Dawn Wall by Tommy Caldwell & Kevin Jorgeson is a historic feat – like running a 4-minute mile or winning every single major PGA tournament for a year straight. Whereas most of the world’s hardest climbs are far away from civilization, this climb could be comfortably viewed from a camp chair in Yosemite meadow, and due to perfect cell coverage the climbers were posting on social media the whole climb, allowing fans to follow their moment by moment progress. Check out this interactive 3.4 Gigapixel photo by the New York Times to get a scope of the wall and this in-depth article by National Geographic to learn more. Thanks to Eileen Wu  for sharing this story.


18 mistakes that kill start-ups. As a founder of Y Combinator, Paul Graham has seen his fair share of failed start-ups. But why do start-ups fail? Broadly, start-ups fail because they do not give users what they want. This list of 18 mistakes points out the answers to that question. Check out Paul Graham’s list of fatal mistakes.


5 social good business trends to watch in 2015. Recycling goes upscale. Reuse becomes aspiration. Take a look at the social good trends that will help companies market their brands this year in this Fast Company article.



Timeline. My favorite new app this week is from my buddy Jonathan Kalan. He’s a journalist who thought our news needed to be set in a historical context. So he built Timeline, which features original content by actual journalists, with current news hooks.  Timeline includes a string of events leading to the actual featured story. Most of these historical back stories, in the app, stretch back through decades and, sometimes, centuries. It turns every story into an epic. When you click into timeline mode, you can scroll back in time. The user interface is beautiful; that may be why it hit #1 on iTunes the day it launched. I’d highly recommend it, but don’t take my word for it, check out this Fast Company article about Timeline.


Elastic Heart. Sia does it again with her Elastic Heart music video. She may be creating the best music videos right now. She brought back the girl dancer from the Chandelier video, Maddie Ziegler, but this time she’s joined by Shia LaBeouf… in a cage. I know… sounds weird, but it’s the most intense and powerful music video I’ve seen in a while. I can’t stop watching (and apparently I’m not alone, as it has over 43 million views already). Thanks to my sister Karoline Westaway for sharing this with me.


Warby Parker’s annual report generator. I love how fun / quirky the team at Warby Parker is. This year, along with releasing their Annual Report, they allowed anybody to generate their own annual report. Apparently, my spirit animal is the American Bison and my Latin motto is Audentes fortuna iuvat, which translates to “Crushing it.” Generate your own annual report and share the results with me. I will share the best mottoes in next week’s Weekend Briefing.



The Weekend Briefing is a selection of the best stories from around the web about innovation and society curated by Kyle Westaway – author of Profit & Purpose and Managing Partner of Westaway & Co.

Join over 12,000 subscribers receiving the Weekend Briefing, and stay on the cutting edge of innovation & society. CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE.

I’m interested in your thoughts. If you have any story ideas, questions or just want to say hi, just hit reply to this email. I’m looking forward to chatting with you. If you have friends that would like the Weekend Briefing, please forward it along. They can subscribe for free here. Follow me on twitter and instagram for updates throughout the week.