Weekend Briefing No. 128

Welcome To The Weekend

This week Turkey’s attempted coup failed, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used the opportunity to dismiss and/or detain 50,000 judges, military personnel and civil servants including teachers that he suspects may support the opposition. The Republicans held their Trump party in Cleveland.
And… yet another week of gun violence. Police officers were shot and killed by a black man in Baton Rouge, and an unarmed black man, who was assisting an autistic patient, was shot in North Miami. This last month, I can’t stop asking myself: What is going on?

Why I Am A Racist

I’ve spent the last couple weeks grappling with my white privilege, implicit bias and systemic racism, I think this post is on point. I am uncomfortable with, ignorant of and distant from racial inequalities that exist in my country. Until I can acknowledge that I feel uncomfortable talking about racial inequality, I will never be able to get over myself enough to be a part of the solution. I have friends, coworkers, neighbors, mentors and family members who are people of color, but I am still distant from the racial inequalities that mark their lives. The responsibility for my privilege isn’t on me; but the responsibility for what I do with it is. Read more at Huffington Post (7 minutes).

Race & Justice

Human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America’s unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness. Watch his TED Talk (23 minutes).

Paying It Forward

I remember the first time I attended SOCAP, the leading impact investing conference. I was an early stage social entrepreneur and I didn’t have the money to fork out for a ticket. But I entered a contest online and won a free ticket. The experience took me out of my little bubble and exposed me to the broad array of people and ideas in the social enterprise and impact investing space. Now, it’s your turn. Enter to win the ultimate SOCAP experience including 2 tickets and a bunch of other cool stuff at SOCAP (featured briefing).

Funding Female Founders

Start-ups led by women generate higher returns – companies with a woman among the founders performed 63% better than ones founded just by men, and female tech entrepreneurs generated a 35% higher return on investment than their male counterparts. And yet, researchers at Babson College found that over a two-year period, companies with a female CEO received $1.5 billion in venture capital dollars, while companies led by men received $49.3 billion. What’s going on here? Learn more in the LA Times (4 minutes).

(Billion) Dollar Shave Club

Unilever has acquired Dollar Shave Club (DSC) for $1 billion in cash. Unilever initially wanted a minority stake in the company, but then ended up making the offer to buy it outright. DSC CEO, Dubin has a long-term agreement with Unilever to let him continue running DSC as an independent business. The VC returns are quite nice, their last round was raised at $630 million valuation. How long before we P&G (owner of Gilllete) comes knocking at DSC’s rival Harry’s door? Learn more at Fortune (3 minutes).

Thiel & Trump

Peter Thiel grew up in Cleveland, from his perspective, opportunity was everywhere. Because in 1968 the world’s high tech capital wasn’t just one city. All of America was high tech. Our government was once high tech too. But today our government is broken. Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks the newest fighter jets can’t fly in the rain, and government software doesn’t work. That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan Project. We don’t accept incompetence in Silicon Valley and we must not accept it from our government. Instead of going to Mars, we’ve invaded the Middle East. It’s time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country. Watch his full speech on YouTube (6 minutes).


For the past five years, Costuros, a 44-year-old Marin County executive coach, has led an annual trip to South America for entrepreneurs keen on “leveraging the healing power of ayahuasca.” Where ayahuasca retreats typically identify as places for deep healing and spiritual growth, Entrepreneurs Awakening also promises benefits such as “a new level of innovative thinking” and “increased tactical clarity.” Indeed, it’d be hard to conjure an exercise more disruptive than sacramental mind expansion. Go down the rabbit hole at California Sunday Magazine (10 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.