Weekend Briefing No. 130

Welcome To The Weekend

This week the 2016 Olympics opened in Rio. The US added 250,000 jobs in July, smashing expectations two months in a row. Uber was acquired by its dominant competitor in China and was also kicked out of Taiwan. Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega named his wife as his running mate. And… apparently, Kanye West now wants to design for Ikea.
Here are some fresh tunes for August.

To B Or Not To B

As a lawyer for social entrepreneurs, I’ve spent the last 5 years helping people to decide whether or not the benefit corporation – a new class of corporation designed for companies blending profit & purpose – is the right legal structure for them. After hundreds of those conversations, I’m excited to announce a new interactive online tool I created to help entrepreneurs decide if they should be a B Corp. It’s in Beta right now, and I was hoping you could help me test it. If you have a few minutes this weekend, will you go through the process then shoot me an email with your honest feedback? If you don’t have a social enterprise, just create your dream social enterprise in your mind and go through the process anyhow at Should I Be A B Corp? (6 minutes).


Using drones for delivery isn’t a new idea—just ask Amazon. While U.S. regulators have given commercial delivery via unmanned aircraft a hard time, a drone startup called Zipline is proving itself in Rwanda to deliver life-saving meds to rural communities. This apparently caught the attention of DC, as the startup was approached by the White House after it announced the project in Africa, in the hope that the same technique could be used in rural parts of the U.S.—including Smith Island in Maryland and some Native American reservations. Learn more at MIT Technology Review (4 minutes).

AI Wealth Management

Machine learning high-flier, CognitiveScale, is taking on wealth management: “In Financial Services wealth management, trillions of dollars will change hands in the next 6-8 years, being passed down generations, and the new benefactors of this wealth are demanding a more personalized relationship with their investment professionals.”  Their CEO added later in the post that one private bank client is using its products to serve 10x the number of customers that would otherwise be possible. Learn more at CognitiveScale. (6 minutes) I found this from my friends and office mates at the Financial Revolutionist. If you like FinTech, you should subscribe to their Weekly Briefing.

Tech On Top

As of this week, the five largest companies in the US (in terms of market cap) are now all tech companies: Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. ExxonMobil, which has been in the top five every year since 1980, dropped out when it’s market cap fell to $356B — $8B less than Amazon’s $364B. Just for some perspective… These were the five largest companies in the US 10 years ago (2006): ExxonMobil, General Electric, Microsoft, Citigroup and Bank of America. Learn more at Fortune (4 minutes).

Winter Is Coming

Snow Ventures is the House Stark of Silicon Valley, reminding everybody that this sunshine won’t last forever. After working at big banks and in VC’s the firm’s founder saw plenty of parallels between the VC world and the over-leveraged investment banks of the mid-2000s. So, the firm bets against publicly traded stocks that are exposed to the startup market and overvalued. He wants to short the startup market in the same way Michael Burry of Scion Capital shorted the real estate market in The Big Short. Learn more at Snow Ventures (6 minutes).

Connected Continent

The number of smartphone connections across Africa has almost doubled over the last two years, reaching 226 million. Selling prices have dropped from an average of $230 in 2012 to $160 in 2015, according to a report published by GSMA on Africa’s mobile economy. Within that five-year period, the monthly use of mobile data will increase from 0.3 GB to 4.3 GB. Operators have recorded data traffic growth of more than 50% in 2015. Learn more at Quartz (4 minutes).

Asexual Millennials

According to the new report, 15% of millennials have not had sex since turning 18, up from 6% in the early 1990s. Although millennials are more accepting of extramarital sex than earlier generations, they reported fewer sexual partners than any group since the 1960s — an average of eight, compared with 11 for boomers and 10 for Generation X. Why is that? Some young people speak disparagingly of “catching feelings.” But others are just apathetic. “It’s not like I’m saving myself for anything; it’s more like, I’ve been busy.” Learn more in the Washington Post (6 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.