Weekend Briefing No. 111

Welcome To The Weekend

 Shalom. Since last weekend there have been two major terror attacks – one in Istanbul and one in Belgium. These attacks are becoming disturbingly common.

Today I’m writing you from Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. Not only a pilgrimage to participate in the ancient ceremonies of Good Friday and Easter, but a pilgrimage to try to understand what it means to be a peacemaker. Along with my friends at Telos, we’ll be meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. As our generation comes into more influence, we must take ownership for being peacemakers. We must seek shalom.

We often translate shalom as peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. It means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.


Commit to Making Our World More Whole, Not Just Safe

There are some whose response to the recent terror attacks is to argue that religion is so dangerous in the modern world that it should be rejected altogether. There are others who would argue that religion has provided us with the essential tools we need to become our best selves and that we reject it at our peril. Instead, we should seek sacred traditions and practices that will make us more fully human, which will allow humanity to flourish. We need more cohorts to cultivate fellowship and create a counter-narrative for the world to see and believe in. Learn more from a post by Jacqueline Novogratz (2 minutes).


Can Apple’s $1.5bn Green Bond Inspire More Environmental Investments?

Apple’s $1.5bn green bond, announced last month, will fund several initiatives, including the company’s conversion to 100% renewable energy, installation of more energy efficient heating and cooling systems, and an increase in the company’s use of biodegradable materials. A green bond, like a typical bond, is simply a way to borrow money, but it’s issued specifically to fund environmental projects. Will this be a new trend for corporations? Financial services company HSBC predicts between $55bn and $80bn worth of green bonds will be issued around the world in 2016. Learn more in the Guardian. H/t to Blair Miller for sharing this story (5 minutes).


Here Comes The Modern Chinese Consumer

Despite concerns about economic growth, the country’s consumers keep spending. Consumers are becoming more selective about where they spend their money, shifting from products to services and from mass to premium segments. They are seeking a more balanced life where health, family, and experiences take priority. The popularity of international travel is astounding among Chinese consumers, as is their adoption of trends such as mobile payments. Learn more in this report by McKinsey & Co. (8 minutes). Thanks to my friend Brad Grossman for sharing this in his weekly email #Ripouts by Zeitguide. I love it. Do yourself a favor and subscribe.


Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines

AlphaGo’s historic victory will be remembered as a historic event for deep learning. The power of deep learning is that it’s a way of using massive amounts of data to get machines to operate more like we do without giving them explicit instructions. Soon machines will be able to not only do routine and manual work, but also non-routine and cognitive work. So, what will this mean for employment and income? Learn more at Medium (14 minutes).


The 5 Types of Personal Projects (And How You Can Justify Pursuing Them)

1) The “crazy idea that could lead to a big future commission” project. Investing in a project to build your portfolio can catch the attention of future clients. 2) The “I’m getting myself unstuck from a rut” project. Pick up something new that allows you to escape your creative logjam. 3) The “I’m adding a new tool to my toolbox” project. Sometimes a personal project can be a stepping stone to a bigger project down the road. Learn more at 99U (6 minutes).


The Incredible True Story Of Renting A Friend In Tokyo

When I learned that friendship is rentable in Tokyo, it merely seemed like more Japanese wackiness, in a subset I’d come to think of as interest-kitsch. The Rent-A-Friend’s career mostly comprises the small, unremarkable acts of ordinary friendship: Shooting the breeze over dinner. Listening on a long walk. So why do they do it? So many people are good at life online or life at work, but not real life. For these people a dollop of emotional contact with a friendly person is powerful, she adds, even with a price tag attached. Learn more in AFAR (9 minutes).


You Won’t Believe How Nike Lost Steph To Under Armour

Because of Steph Curry, Under Armour’s U.S. basketball shoe sales have increased over 350 percent YTD. His shoe business is already bigger than those of LeBron, Kobe and every other player except Michael Jordan. The incumbent Nike had him and lost him to the upstart Under Amour. How did that happen? It turns out that it has a lot to do with mispronouncing his name, a power-point fail and an enthusiastic rookie. Read the full story and watch a video at ESPN (15 minutes).


About The Weekend Briefing

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 a part of your Saturday morning routine. Have a restful and thoughtful weekend.