Weekend Briefing No. 116


Welcome to the Weekend

This week Facebook’s quarterly profit nearly tripled from the previous year, mostly because of mobile ads. They also introduced a new stock class to solidify its founder’s control. Berkshire Hathaway convenes its annual shareholders’ meeting. Warren Buffett will hold his “Woodstock for Capitalists” in Omaha, Nebraska. Yahoo will stream the weekend event live for the first time. And the NFL held their draft. University of California QB Jared Goff was the number one draft pick to the Los Angeles Rams.

Clampdown in China Restricts 7,000 NGOs

China took a major step on Thursday with President Xi Jinping’s drive to impose greater control and limit Western influences on Chinese society. They’ve passed a new law restricting the work of foreign nonprofits and their local partners, mainly through police supervision. The new law is the latest in a series of actions taken by Mr. Xi against the kind of Western influences and ideas that he and other leaders view as a threat to the survival of the Communist Party, such as an independent judiciary and media. Learn more in the New York Times (7 minutes).

The Risk Divide

There are critical moments in your life when you build your capacity for courage. This courage is built when you move out from the safety of other people’s brands and expectation to cut your own mark in the world. This typically happens when your foundation shifts to reveal cracks that can open you up for self-discovery and renewal. The tricky thing about developing psychological courage is that the strength only comes with the unraveling. Learn more in my friend Blair Miller’s essay on Medium (12 minutes).

Don’t Panic: The Truth About Population

In this video / article Hans Rosling blows up some misconceptions and misunderstandings about population growth. He convincingly makes the following points: 1) Population growth should hit a limit around 11 billion within the next hundred years, as the world equalizes in health outcomes. 2) In developed countries, a ratio near 2 parents to 2 children mostly exists. As a result of equalizing health outcomes, low child mortality, and family planning, family sizes go down, and population growth slows in a predictable way. 3) Current population trends are strong enough that by 2100, only ~10% of the world population will be in Western nations (North America, Western Europe) — Africa will quadruple in population and Asia will increase about 25%. Learn more at Farnam Street (14 minutes).

1400 Miles of Non-Driving in a Tesla

Right now, most households have two low-efficiency gas burning cars or trucks which were bought with loans and consume money around the clock despite the fact that they are sitting idle 94% of the time. In a very short time, most cars will run on solar-generated electricity and you won’t even want to own them – you’ll just summon one with your phone and it will come pick you up autonomously to drive you to your destination. You can answer a few emails on the way in to work, or have a beer on the way down to the pub. All of this will be cheaper than the way we do things today. A 1400-mile road trip convinced the author that the idea of gas-powered cars being driven by hordes of inattentive, slow-reacting humans will be suddenly and hopelessly obsolete. Learn more at Mr. Money Mustache (8 minutes).

Steve Jobs Reveals ‘Think Different’ Campaign

This 1997 video of Steve Jobs, in shorts and relaxed, during an internal meeting with Apple executives and managers, he briefly speaks about planned changes within the company (pipeline, products, distribution changes). He presents information about planned “Think Different” campaign, now legendary and iconic, with samples of TV commercial, outdoor, posters, and press ads. Watch Steve on YouTube (16 minutes).

Ready Player One

This week I’m obsessed with this novel. In almost every conversation I have about VR, people reference it, so I thought I’d check it out. I haven’t been disappointed. In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue to a $47 billion treasure hunt in the OASIS, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape. Buy the book at Amazon.

Bono & Eugene Peterson

Bono & Eugene Peterson have been friends for years, but it’s not often that you get to listen in on the rock star and theologian discuss the Psalms. The whole conversation is fascinating, but here’s a snippet on honesty in the Psalms. “The Psalmist is brutally honest about explosive joy and extreme sorrow he’s feeling. Why isn’t church music more like that? I find a lot of dishonesty in Christian art. I would love if this conversation would inspire honest Christian art. That truthfulness will blow things apart,” said Bono. Eugene notes that “the Psalms are not pretty, they are not nice. It’s not smooth, not nice, not pretty, but it’s honest.”  See the full conversation at Fuller Studio, jump to 8:30 if you want to skip the intro (21 minutes) H/t Sean Pfitzenmaier.

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.