Weekend Briefing No. 146

This Week By The Numbers

76%: According to Google, there is good news for local merchants on this kickoff to the holiday season. 76 percent of people who search for nearby products on their smartphones visit a brick-and-mortar business within a day.

21: The number of Presidential Medal of Freedom that President Obama presented this week at the White House. The list includes Grace Hopper, Maya Lin, Lorne Michaels, Margaret H. Hamilton, and Frank Gehry.

2.9%: The growth of the US economy in the third quarter. Additionally, real-incomes across the board are growing at the fastest pace since the 2008 recession and there are now 3.5 million fewer people living in poverty.

The Economics of AI

The first effect of artificial intelligence will be to decrease the value of human prediction because machine prediction will provide a cheaper and better substitute. However, this does not spell doom for human jobs, as many experts suggest. That’s because the value of human judgment skills will increase. Using the language of economics, judgment is a complement to prediction and therefore when the cost of prediction falls demand for judgment rises. We’ll want more human judgment. Read more in Harvard Business Review (5 minutes).

Black Money

Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has welcomed India’s overnight move to withdraw 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation to crack down on corruption and counterfeit currency, saying it would also to help curb human trafficking and child slavery. India alone is home 40 percent of the world’s estimated 45.8 million slaves, according to a 2016 global slavery index published by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation. Thousands of children, mostly from poor rural areas, are taken to cities every year by gangs who sell them into bonded labor or hire them out to unscrupulous employers or brothels. Learn more at Thomson Reuters (3 minutes).

Local Production

Manufacturing in the United States has been on the decline since the 1960s. Eschewing this trend of offshoring, practiced by almost every jewelry company in the United States today, socially conscious jewelry manufacturer Bird + Stone works with one of the last jewelry manufacturers in NY to wax, cast, and hand-finish beads for their bracelets – paying 4x the cost for American labor while their average bracelet sells for $30. Why? Being based in the same city as the manufacturer allows tight feedback loops and rapid design iteration. If you’re looking to support local small businesses on this Small Business Saturday check out their jewelry, which is 30% off this weekend, at Bird + Stone (Sponsored Briefing).

Social Media Is Killing Your Career

The ability to concentrate without distraction on hard tasks is becoming increasingly valuable. Social media weakens this skill because it’s engineered to be addictive – your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the slightest hint of boredom. Furthermore, a dedication to cultivating your social media brand is a fundamentally passive approach to professional advancement. It diverts your time and attention away from producing work that matters and toward convincing the world that you matter. If we’re serious about making an impact in the world, power down the smartphone, close your browser tabs, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Learn more at New York Times (4 minutes).

Human Gene Editing

A Chinese group has become the first to inject a person with cells that contain genes edited using the revolutionary CRISPR–Cas9 technique. The team delivered the modified cells into a patient with aggressive lung cancer as part of a clinical trial. This will probably accelerate the race to get gene-edited cells into the clinic across the world, sparking ‘Sputnik 2.0’ – a biomedical duel on progress between China and the United States – which is important since competition usually improves the end product. CRISPR will likely be the most important technological leap to humanity in our lifetime, so pay attention to this story. Learn more in Nature (4 minutes).

Now What?

The Election is over…now what? Civic engagement does not stop at the voting booth. One of my friends Maria Yuan has built a site that allows you to select what issues you’re passionate about, send your opinion directly to your rep with one click, and track how your representative votes. So, next time you go to the polling booth, you know how often your representative’s votes lined up with your values. Check it out at IssueVoter (4 minutes).

How To Ask Good Questions

1) Ask open-ended questions because it can unlock more interesting information than yes/no questions. 2) Ask ‘Why?’ 3 times. This practice will help you understand motivations behind actions. 3) Ask about reactions. Frame questions around a person’s reactions to experiences in their life — what surprised them, challenged them, or changed their viewpoint. 4) Ask what else you should ask “Am I missing anything? What’s the question nobody ever asks you but you wish they would?” Learn more at Medium (3 minutes).

About the Weekend Briefing

The best articles on innovation, impact, and growth distilled into one email every Saturday morning 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. I love putting it together every week and love hearing your thoughtful insights. Feel free to shoot me an email with any feedback or suggestions. If you like what you’re reading, I’d be honored if you share it with your friends. Have a restful and thoughtful weekend