Weekend Briefing No. 115

Welcome to the Weekend

I’m always working hard to make sure that you love the Weekend Briefing. That means both content – serving you up the essential ideas of the week – and design. You may notice that we slightly tweaked our design this week. We did this for two reasons: 1) to make the email more readable and 2) to make the look and feel more consistent across platforms.
That leads me to an exciting announcement! Last week the Weekend Briefing went live on Medium. I just got word this week that Apple has accepted the Weekend Briefing as a publisher on their native iOS news app called News.  So, if you have an iPhone or an iPad, open up News, search for Weekend Briefing and subscribe.
Lastly, you’re pretty amazing. I’m blown away by how intelligent and open you are. From Brooklyn to Boulder to Boston to Jerusalem, I continue to run into subscribers who are psyched about the Weekend Briefing. Thank you for taking time to share your ideas with me. The community continues to grow – we’ve added over 4,000 subscribers this year – and we want to continue that momentum. It would mean a lot to me if you could encourage 2 or 3 friends to subscribe.  
Ok… enough about that. Let’s get to the good stuff.

The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup

At the beginning of this year, an obscure company in the suburbs of Florida completed what may be the largest C-round of financing in history: $793.5 million. That astounding sum is especially noteworthy because this company, Magic Leap, has not released a beta version of its product, not even to developers. Virtual reality overlaid on the real world is called mixed reality, or MR. (The goggles are semi transparent, allowing you to see your actual surroundings.) As Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz puts it, “Ours is a journey of inner space. We are building the internet of presence and experience.” Immerse yourself in the story at Wired (27 minutes).

Life and Death in Gaza Captured In ‘Watershed’ VR Film

On the surface, My Mother’s Wing is about a woman coping with the loss of her two children after an Israeli airstrike bombed an UN school. She attends support groups and frets over her surviving children’s psychological fragility. Beneath the surface, however, it is about identifying the factors that contribute to cycles of violence, and how to disrupt them. Created by my friend and Weekend Briefing subscriber Gabo Arora for the UN, this VR film is pretty powerful. I just saw it this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. Learn more in Wired (2 minutes).

New 3-D Printing Technique Makes Ceramic Parts

Ceramics are some of the hardest materials on Earth. They can withstand extreme temperatures, and some are impervious to friction, scratching, and other mechanical stresses that wear out metal and plastic. It can be difficult to make complex shapes out of the materials. Chemists at HRL Laboratories in Malibu, California, may have gotten around that problem by developing ceramics that can be made in a 3-D printer. The result: ultra-strong objects that are impossible to make using conventional methods. Learn more at MIT Technology Review (5 minutes).

Remaking Social Media for the Next Revolution

“Five years ago I thought the Internet was a power that was granted to the people and that would never be weakened, said Wael Ghonim, a Google executive in Cairo who helped launch the Egyptian revolution, “but I was wrong.” Social media offered a decentralized way for those who are not in power, or in control of media, to broadcast and communicate. But the new Egyptian government learned how to use it to broadcast misinformation and propaganda, and online dynamics helped create a polarized environment as well. Learn more at the MIT Technology Review (9 minutes).

The Munger Operating System: How to Live a Life That Really Works

Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, drops some wisdom. 1) Be reliable. Unreliability can cancel out the other virtues. If you’re unreliable it doesn’t matter what your virtues are, you’re going to crater immediately. 2) Concentrate experience and power into the hands of the right people – the wise learning machines. 3) Use setbacks in life as an opportunity to become a bigger and better person. Don’t wallow. Dive deeper at Farnam Street (14 minutes). H/t Michael Karnjanaprakorn.

How to Make Sure Your Kids Have ‘Grit,’ Backed by Research

1) Don’t Praise Ability or Intelligence: That promotes a fixed mindset. Compliment effort, process and choices. 2) Respond Positively to Failure: They need to know that failure isn’t bad, it’s a tool for improving. 3) Don’t Just Say “Try Hard.” Help Kids Set Goals: Blind repetition doesn’t work. Help kids strategize. 4) Teach Growth Mindset in All Areas of Life: There’s no area where they cannot improve with hard work. Learn more in TIME (10 minutes).

Instagram’s White Savior Barbie Neatly Captures What’s Wrong with “Voluntourism” in Africa

“We take so much for granted in America. Pumpkin spice lattes. Chick fila. Ugg boots. Yoga. I will never view my rights the same way after hauling my own water today. This is the reality of so many poor Africans. I even broke a heel! And also it broke my heart.” This is some brilliant instagram satire. Savior Barbie highlights well-intentioned but naive volunteerism (or “voluntourism“) is at best ineffectual and at worst harmful to the developing countries it’s meant to serve. Check out @barbiesavior.

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.