Weekend Briefing No. 16

Welcome to the weekend… and while we’re at it, welcome to the summer! Monday was Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer and the official start of my sunburn. To get you in the spirit for backyard BBQ’s and water gun fights, I’ve put together a playlist of some fresh summer tunes for you this weekend available both on rdio and spotify. For all my friends in NYC, check out these 37 Things You Gotta Do This Summer and the essential guides to outdoor movies, rooftop drinking. Enjoy!





The cold logic behind Elon Musk’s $5 billion gamble. Elon Musk is placing an enormous bet on the world’s largest lithium-ion battery plant—a $5 billion, 10 million-square-foot “Gigafactory” that would make enough battery packs to power 500,000 electric cars a year. That is four times the number of electric cars of any brand bought around the world last year, and a whopping 21 times Tesla’s own 2013 sales. In addition to betting on this monumental sales boost, Musk is hoping an inventive rival won’t eclipse his battery technology and render the Gigafactory instantly obsolete. But the deck may be at least partly stacked in Musk’s favor. Read more here.


What is the purpose of a corporation? The shareholder-value and stakeholder-value camps have debated this vigorously. The Aspen Institute Business & Society Program conducted a study with investors, corporate executives and academics and found that it’s conventional wisdom that corporations are legally / ethically obligated to maximize shareholder value, yet they also believe the corporation must serve a wide range of interests. No matter what side of the debate, the survey showed that there is complete agreement that short-termism is the bane of American corporations. Read the full report HERE and an article about it in TIME.


Smartphones are taking over, especially in emerging economies. Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker’s annual reports on the state of the internet have become a highly anticipated event in the tech industry, she is something of the oracle of the internet. Here are some highlights: Internet usage on phones is 25% of total internet traffic, but is as high as 37% in Asia and 38% in Africa.  Cryptocurrency interest is soaring, there are 5 million Bitcoin wallets with an 800% growth over last year. Smartphone costs are declining 5% annually. Developing countries use smartphones and tablets the most. Read about more trends HERE.


The for-profit / non-profit debate is irrelevant. Good friend and impact savant Blair Miller is tired of the debate about whether trade or aid can create more impact. Instead, she explores how the two can (and must) work together to lift people out of poverty. She explores two key questions: How do we get smarter about understanding where markets work for the poor? And how do we redesign archaic systems with a combination of philanthropy, private dollars, and public funds? To find the answers, click HERE.


The sharing economy is feeding off economic misery. As the economy continues to lag and housing / rental prices in major cities like NYC and SF continue to rise, many people are turning to a “side hustle” to make ends meet. So they become part-time cabbies and hoteliers out of necessity. The sharing economy is a part of the larger shift from full time employment toward “contingent work force” shifting risk from companies to individuals. Is there a case to be made against the sharing economy?


Would you pay $1,000 for a lifetime of beer? That’s what Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub in St. Paul Minnesota offered to help raise capital. This creative crowd-funding seems to be a win-win, the “investor” gets free house brew and the restaurant gets cash and a loyal customer who will also bring his friends and buy food.






This is a new segment I’m launching today. As the name would suggest, this is simply some random thing I like.


A Floating coffee table. I love clever design. This coffee table brings physics into the living room with a touch of sleek modern design… oh yeah, and it floats. Check out the video HERE.


I’m interested in your thoughts. If you have any story ideas, questions or just want to say hi, shoot me an email [email protected]. If you have friends that would like the WEEKEND BRIEFING, please forward it along. They can sign up for free HERE. Follow me on twitter for updates throughout the week.


Have a restful & thoughtful weekend.