Weekend Briefing No. 126

Welcome To The Weekend

This has been a heartbreaking week. US police fatally shot two black men in 24 hours: Philando Castile, who was stopped for a broken tail light in Falcon Heights, Minnesota and Alton Sterling a 37-year-old who sold CDs and DVDs outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge. After watching the videos, I am outraged. Then yesterday waking up to the news of snipers killing 5 officers in Dallas, I was shocked and angry. My first thought is that things are spinning out of control. I don’t know how to make sense of what’s happening in my own country. My heart breaks.

Long-term Commitment

News flash: the typical worker now stays at a job six months longer than the average worker did a decade ago. Surprisingly, the data actually shows that there is no disappearance of long-term jobs, no crisis of opportunity for the young, no replacement of regular jobs with short-term stints. What has substantially diminished is the expectation that workers, and especially men, can coast from the fifteenth year of a job to the twenty-fifth year. Learn more at the New Yorker.

Millennial Entrepreneurship?

The generation cheered for its start-up mentality is actually starting companies at the lowest rate in 25 years. Why? While young people very well may lead the country in entrepreneurship, as a mentality, when it comes to actually starting businesses, older generations are doing most of the work. The average age for a successful startup-founder is about 40 years old, according to the Kauffman Foundation. In their words, one’s 40s are the “peak age for business formation.” Learn more at the Atlantic.

Better Terms > Higher Valuations

Betterment – “robo-advisors” which use algorithms to help people invest their money – raised $100 million in a Series E. Investors offered Betterment deals at $1 billion plus valuations, but those offers had “unfriendly terms”. They turned down the unicorn status for clean and simple terms. As more startups go public or sell at valuations lower than their last round of private funding, it’s become clear that onerous funding terms hurt startup employees the most. Better terms now trump valuation, and not being a unicorn is the new unicorn. Learn more at Fortune.

Silicon Valley of Social Entrepreneurship

A recent survey of 400 social entrepreneurs around the United States studying  what they needed to scale revealed some obvious truths. Social entrepreneurs need: 1. Funding—including seed funding, grants, and venture capital (representing both public and private sources). 2. Quality of life—everything from cost of living to the “energy” of a city and social spaces determine an entrepreneur’s experience. 3. Human capital—finding great people (mentors, team members, employees, and advisors) is the engine of any venture. Learn more at Stanford Social Innovation Review.


A new social enterprise project called TuniBee in Tunisia selects people with beekeeping experience, gives them seed capital and training, in return for 1.5kg of honey a year for a period of three years. The beekeepers get to keep the remainder of the honey during the three years, and after that period, the hive, and all its future honey production, is theirs to keep. Bees FTW! Learn more at BBC.


Uber has chosen Sao Paulo, Brazil’s congested financial hub of 20 million people, to test its helicopter service. The city is fertile ground for experiments in urban mobility. Gridlock is rampant, traffic jams can stretch for hundreds of kilometers.  An UberX driver picks you up. A receptionist serves espresso in a spacious lounge with plush couches until a porter grabbed my bags and whisked me into the helicopter. The total time is 30 minutes for a trip that would have been easily over an hour. The total cost $91. Learn more at Stuff.

Feedback Sandwich

Are you going to give feedback this week? I know the traditional advice is to say a positive thing then the negative thing and finish on a positive (the feedback sandwich). But studies show that’s all wrong. Instead you should: 1. Explain why you’re giving the feedback. 2. Take yourself off a pedestal. 3. Ask if the person wants feedback. 4. Have a transparent dialogue, not a manipulative monologue. Learn more from Adam Grant on Medium.

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.