Weekend Briefing No. 123

Welcome To The Weekend

This week Apple had its annual World Wide Developers Conference announcing updates to everything, including the release of a new iOS with the ability to pay through iMessage. Barack Obama meets the Dalai Lama. The US president has invited the Tibetan spiritual leader to the White House, and China is predictably annoyed. Beijing warned Washington to abide by its promises not to support “separatist activities.” A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched two satellites into orbit this morning, but failed to land the vehicle on a floating drone ship at sea afterward.
Next weekend I’ll be speaking at an emerging event for entrepreneurs called Offsite. There’s still a couple spots left – you can apply for an invite to attend until Tuesday.  

Zuckerberg & Google Back Andela

A big congrats to my friends at Andela, a two-year-old startup that trains software developers in Africa and gives them full-time roles at international companies. On Thursday, they announced that it has banked $24 million in a round led by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s fund, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. It also scored a new investor, GV (formerly Google Ventures) in the fresh round of financing. It already employs nearly 200 engineers in its offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria. Learn more at CNN (4 minutes).

Don’t Ask To Pick My Brain

One of my biggest pet peeves is when somebody asks to pick my brain, so I wrote a post about it on Medium. When you ask to pick somebody’s brain, you are essentially asking (often a stranger) if you can extract value without adding any value. It can feel very transactional and dehumanizing, as if it’s just the brain you want, rather than to build a relationship with a real person. Read my post about 11 tips for building a strong professional network on Medium. If you like it, do me a favor, please hit like on Medium and share on FB and Twitter. Thanks! (6 minutes).

America The Charitable

A new report found that Americans are donating money to charity more than ever before: total charitable donations rose around 4% in 2015, to a record-setting $373.25 billion. Individual Americans were the most generous group of givers, donating $264.58 billion in 2015, a 3.8% increase from 2014. Foundation giving rose 6.5% to $58.6 billion; corporate giving had a 3.9% uptick to $18.45 billion; and charitable bequests went up by 2.1% to $31.76 billion. Learn more in the Consumerist (3 minutes).

Un-flash Boys

Eric Reis is attempting to disrupt the New York Stock Exchange by building a new Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE) that will end the plague of today’s public markets: short-term thinking that squashes rational economic decisions and investment in innovation. LTSE will force more transparency and ensure executive compensation is not tied to short-term stock performance. To bring the Long-Term Stock Exchange to life, he’s assembled a team of about 20 engineers, finance executives and attorneys. He has also raised a seed round from more than 30 investors, including venture capitalist Marc Andreessen; technology evangelist Tim O’Reilly; and Aneesh Chopra, the former chief technology officer of the United States. Learn more at Bloomberg (7 minutes).

AI Screenplay

In the wake of Google’s AI Go victory, filmmaker Oscar Sharp turned to his technologist collaborator Ross Goodwin to build a machine that could write screenplays. They created “Jetson” and fueled him with hundreds of sci-fi TV and movie scripts. Shortly thereafter, Jetson announced it wished to be addressed as Benjamin. Building a team including Thomas Middleditch, star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, they gave themselves 48 hours to shoot and edit whatever Benjamin (Jetson) decided to write. Watch the short film on YouTube (9 minutes).

Deep Work

In the workplace, the constant sending and receiving of email has turned us into mere “human routers,” making for shallow work habits and keeping us from any kind of deep thinking. Our work culture’s shift toward the shallow is exposing a massive economic opportunity for the few who recognize the potential of resisting this trend and prioritizing depth to produce at a high rate while rarely working past 6 p.m. during the workweek. Learn more about deep work at Knowledge @ Wharton (6 minutes).   

Thought Provoking

I don’t know about you, but the term “thought leader” makes me want to puke. Comedian Pat Kelley gives a hilarious satirical TED Talk entitled ‘Thought Leader’ gives talk about ‘Thought Leadership’ that will inspire your thoughts. Kelly confidently made grand statements, spoke with his hands, and had slides – all hallmarks of a true thought leader or influencer. “My talk was a big success: I said things and the audience nodded their heads.” I love this! Watch it on CBC (5 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.