Weekend Briefing No. 118

Welcome to the Weekend

This week in Brazil Senators voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and began an impeachment trial against her. The Cannes Film Festival opened Wednesday night with Woody Allen’s latest film, “Café Society.” Drake’s new album, “Views,” opened at No. 1 on Billboard’s chart, and had a streaming tally that more than doubles the record of 115 million, set a week ago by Beyonce’s “Lemonade.” Oh yeah… and NASA announced that they had found 1,284 new planets.


Last week when I put a call out for Weekend Briefing Ambassadors, I thought we’d get a dozen or so responses. Instead we got 74 applications for the first cohort of Ambassadors! We were blown away (and a little flattered) not only by the quantity of people, but the quality as well (We had one actual US Ambassador apply). I had the tough job of selecting twenty to be our first cohort.
Thanks for everyone that applied. Read the last story to see who was accepted into the Ambassador program. We’ll have other cohorts in the future, so if you didn’t get it this time, there will be opportunities in the future.


Hyperloop One

This week Hyperloop One had its first real world test and announced an $80 million Series B round of financing. This year at Summit at Sea I was pretty blown away when I heard the founder Shervin Pishevar talk about his for the Hyperloop—a futuristic magnetic levitation transportation system that promises to make it possible for people or cargo to travel at 750 miles an hour. The ultimate promise of the technology? It’s immediate, safe, efficient, and sustainable read more in MIT Technology Review (7 minutes).

Two Things About Poverty

1) Poverty is not just “real life” but without money. A life lived in poverty is always about scrambling. Day after day, week after week, year after year, a life lived in poverty corrodes the people who have to endure it. It erases hope, self-respect and even fleeting moments of peace of mind. 2) Poverty is often part of a system, not an event. Learn more from Seth Godin (3 minutes).

Nike’s Sustainable Business Report

Nike (profiled in Profit & Purpose) has set a moonshot challenge to double their business while halving our environmental impact. As a part of that goal, they have new targets for FY20, including: 1) Zero waste from contracted footwear manufacturing sent to landfill. 2) Sourcing 100% of products factories that demonstrate their commitment to workers and environment. 3) Creating products that deliver maximum performance with minimum impact. 4) Reaching 100% renewable energy by the end of FY25. Learn more at Nike (8 minutes).

The Art of Being Heard

Communication is not just about what you say, it’s about the reaction it causes in the listener. So take into consideration these four meta models: 1) Towards v. Away. Any action can be described as moving away from something or towards another. Like a glass half full or empty, how you see that movement has ramifications. 2) Internal v. External Reference. Decision-making is based either on an internal guide or external standards.  3) Specific v. General. Do you want an overview or highly detailed account? 4) See, Hear, Read, Do. What medium of communication resonates most with you? Learn more at First Round Review (21 minutes).

Responding to Bad Press

You may have seen some negative press this week about my friend Meredith Perry’s company uBeam. Her lead investor Marc Suster put out a thoughtful response. He notes: 1) that the former uBeam engineer never questioned the viability of the technology. 2) The technology works. The question is can it work over distance and in a cost effective manner. 3) The team is stacked with seasoned and smart leaders. 4) Meredith Perry is amongst the most driven, committed, hard-working and smart entrepreneurs with whom he has worked and if this for some reason fails, he’ll support her next venture. I couldn’t agree more. Read more at Both Sides (6 minutes).

You Are What You Love

At the highest level, our lives are directed toward some telos, or vision of the good life. Whether we are aware of it or not, we’re all oriented around some set of goals. As David Foster Wallace put it, “In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships.” Some worship money, or power or popularity or nursing or art, but everybody’s life is organized around some longing. The heart is both a driving engine and a compass. Learn more in the New York Times (6 minutes).

Does This Dress Go With My Gun?

Now with lucrative overseas exports blocked by sanctions, Kalashnikov, the manufacturer of the world’s most popular assault rifle, is trying to boost domestic revenues by launching a line of casual, “military style” clothing and accessories. The company’s marketing execs said the apparel will capitalize on “the rapid growth of patriotism in Russia related to the theme of war,” according to the BBC. By the end of the year, there will be 60 new Kalashnikov retail stores throughout the country. Learn more in Quartz (4 minutes).

Weekend Briefing Ambassadors

John Simon, Total Impact Capital. Michael Johnson, Bucknell University. Ivellisse Morales, Ogilvy. Rachel Dearborn, Tides Foundation. TJ Loeffler. Alicia Darvall, B Labs. Jessica Asperger, URBAN626. Doruk Onvural, Skadden Arps. Whitney Wortman. Buddy Teaster, Soles4Souls. Alfred Vernis, Social Innovation Institute. Yonatan Glaser, Israel Partnerships. Tony Carr, Halloran Philanthropies. Esha Chhabra. Jane Hadjion, Engineers Without Borders.  Freddy Law, Education for Good. Niklas Wallis, Church of Finland. John Housholder, AhSo Designs. John Galloway, 40North Design. Susana Claro, Stanford University.

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.