Weekend Briefing No. 131

Welcome To The Weekend


This week a North Korean and South Korean gymnast took a selfie. I suppose this is the teenage version of diplomacy. This weekend, 25 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee announced a new project called the WorldWideWeb on a usenet group. DJ Khaled’s “Major Key,” which features Drake on its current hit single, “For Free,” is No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart, knocking off Drake’s “Views,” which has topped the chart for 12 nonconsecutive weeks.

From time to time, I’m going to feature some content from a project I’ve been working on called the Westaway Review – a collection of articles on best practices for social entrepreneurship. The (mostly) long-form articles are designed to be extremely tactical. The articles are written by leaders in the social enterprise space on wide range of topics including capital, management, marketing and legal among others. Check out this first story as an example of what to expect. Hope you like it!

Giving My Company Away


Bud Caddell reached out to me because he wanted his company NOBL to become worker owned and controlled. We worked together to restructure their company to better serve their mission and clients. Why did he do it? 1) Greed. Being worker-owned and controlled will create more value for our clients and ourselves. This isn’t an opinion, it’s a fact backed by a growing body of research. 2) Anti-Greed. Being worker-owned and controlled will curb my impulse to use the company as my personal piggy bank. 3) Purpose. Being worker-owned and controlled will better serve our purpose: to expand access to meaningful work. 4) Responsiveness. Being worker-owned and controlled will make us more responsive to change. Learn how he restructured and see their operating agreement at Westaway Review (11 minutes).

A Low Growth World


The United States is adding jobs at a healthy clip, but that is happening amidst a backdrop of a long-term trend of much lower growth. In the United States, per-person gross domestic product rose by an average of 2.2 percent a year from 1947 through 2000 — but starting in 2001 has averaged only 0.9 percent. Over long periods, that shift implies a radically slower improvement in living standards. This shift in living standards is crucial to understanding the rise of Donald J. Trump, Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and the rise of populist movements across Europe. Learn more at the Upshot (7 minutes).

Investment in Social Enterprise


A recent large-scale study of investment in social enterprises, based on a survey of 36 social investors and 286 social enterprises in developing economies proved some things that I see anecdotally:  1) Social enterprises can have a positive impact on poverty reduction. 2) The share of nonprofit organizations in the portfolios of social investors has sunk, funding in for-profit (and dual-entity) social enterprises has increased greatly. 3) Social entrepreneurs who get funded  are part of the educational elite. Learn more at Stanford Social Innovation Review (5 minutes).

Virtual Reality & Clean Water


Charity: water continues to innovate how they engage people around the issue of clean water.  They’ll be sharing the new Virtual Reality film, The Source, and inviting the public to put on a VR headset and meet Selam, a 13-year-old girl in Ethiopia. Thanks to a generous donor, every viewing of the film will unlock a $30 donation and give one person clean water. The goal is to bring at least 10,000 people clean water by the end of the three weeks. If you’re in New York, stop by Brookfield place between now and 8/28. I’ll be volunteering on the afternoon of 8/15 come say hi. Learn more at charity: water (2 minutes).

Corporations & Startups


A lot of it is “corporate innovation theater,” a way for corporate sponsors to give themselves a halo of innovation and good PR, while soaking up a bunch of good ideas from startups and delivering little in the way of mentorship. A new study on the state of startup/corporate collaboration from MassChallenge and imagination shows that not only are corporates more eager to work with startups, 23% see it as “mission critical, and 82% said it’s at least “somewhat important.” Most importantly, 67% of those responded that they wanted to work with earlier stage startups. There’s the fear factor of a company like Uber being worth more than the majority of Fortune 500 companies. Learn more in this report by MassChallenge (18 minutes).

Snapchat Streaks


Is it really the case that humans feel a greater bond when they are away from their friends and lovers? Baboons and bonobos spend more time repairing relationships when they’ve grown apart. Now the first large-scale evidence has emerged that humans do this, too. A new study analyzing cell phone data found a clear increase in the duration of calls between people when the time since the last call was greater than average. In other words, people spend more time catching up when they have been out of contact for longer. Learn more at MIT Technology Review (4 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.