Weekend Briefing No. 223

Welcome to the weekend.

Prime Numbers

6,900 – Mario Salcedo has spent the last 6,900 nights on a cruise ship. In 1997, he quit his corporate job, packed a suitcase and quietly disappeared from the lives of his friends and family to pursue a new life on the open water.

64 – Millennials display youthful optimism when it comes to their financial future. Some 64% of twenty- and thirty-somethings believe they’ll be wealthy (the cash kind) at some point in their lives, compared with 22% of boomers.

19 –  19% of commuters in Manila use ride-hailing apps, nearly double the average in other Southeast Asian capitals, according to Boston Consulting Group Inc.

Millennials Attitudes on Business

There are some interesting findings in the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey. The last few years, Millennials’ views of business’s motivations and ethics, had been trending up, but this year it took a sharp downward turn. From to 2017 to 2018, 15% fewer Millennials agree that business leaders are committed to helping improve society, 17% fewer Millennials believe that businesses behave in an ethical manner, 12% more Millennials believe that businesses have no ambition beyond wanting to make money, 16% more Millennials believe businesses focus on their own agendas rather than considering society in general. So, what can business do to attract and retain Millennial workers? Their top 3 priorities are 1) pay (shocker!), 2) culture, and 3) flexibility. Deloitte (18 minutes)

Facebook’s New Blockchain Team

Facebook is launching a small internal blockchain group. Like many other companies Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team will be exploring many different applications. Of course, the internet is abuzz with the idea of a Facebook cryptocurrency – Facecoin. This could be massive, given their userbase. However, there are many ways that blockchain technology could be used that have nothing to do with cryptocurrencies, including encrypted data storage. What we do know is that David Marcus, former President of Paypal, does have a personal interest in cryptocurrencies. He joined the board of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase in December. The Verge (3 minutes)

Kenya in Space

Kenya’s first satellite is now in orbit. Created by the University of Nairobi, satellite 1KUNS-PF was deployed from the Japanese module of the International Space Station. This makes Kenya the first sub-Saharan African nation to deploy a nano-satellite into space. Cube satellites such as this one will enable things like weather forecasting, crop monitoring, and wildlife tracking. The barriers to space exploration are being lowered, giving more countries access to space. The experience and technology acquired from the development of this CubeSat will be applied in future earth observation satellites of Kenya. Jaxa (2 minutes)

Solar Power on NYC Public Housing

My friends at Solstice Power (and others in a consortium known as Multiply Solar), just signed a deal to design, install, and manage community solar installations on 27 rooftops and parking lots at two developments, the first on NYC public housing (NYCHA). This program will provide clean, low-cost energy to low-to-moderate income residents throughout the city, providing them with estimated savings of 10-20% compared to ConEd rates. The installations will provide 2 megawatts of solar capacity—the first step in fulfilling NYCHA’s commitment of installing 25 megawatts of solar by 2025 (this represents the largest such commitment by a residential landlord in the country). To ensure that low-income households are able to participate, the project will employ Solstice’s EnergyScore qualification metric. This metric is intended to replace FICO credit scores as a means of qualifying households for community solar, and is projected to be both more accurate than FICO in predicting community solar subscriber payment behavior, and more inclusive of low and moderate-income households. Solstice (6 minutes)

Platforms v. Aggregators

Tech has 2 major philosophies. Philosophy 1 (Apple, Microsoft) the computer enables you to do your work better and more efficiently. Philosophy 2 (Google, Facebook)  is that computers do the work for people. There is certainly an argument to be made that these two philosophies arise out of their historical context; it is no accident that Apple and Microsoft, were founded only a year apart, and for decades had broadly similar business models. Both were and are at their core personal computer companies and, by extension, platforms. Google and Facebook, on the other hand, are products of the Internet, and the Internet leads not to platforms but to aggregators. While platforms need 3rd parties to make them useful and build their moat through the creation of ecosystems, aggregators attract end users by virtue of their inherent usefulness and, over time, leave suppliers no choice but to follow aggregators’ dictates if they wish to reach end users. Stratechery (7 minutes)

Maintaining Sibling Relationships

The quality of sibling relationships is one of the most important predictors of mental health in old age. If your sibling relationships need a little rehab, or you’ve long fallen out of touch, there’s still hope. 1) Heal the past. Having a discussion about each other’s experiences growing up is also an opportunity to acknowledge past sources of pain and heal them. 2) Share your goals. Visualizing what kind of relationship you’d like to have with your sibling — like having more frequent communication, for example — and see if this is something you both want to work toward. 3) Be realistic. Be realistic about how much you can expect from your sibling. Not everyone is going to be best friends with their siblings, that doesn’t mean the relationship can’t be healthy and life-giving. New York Times (9 minutes)

Lynn Stout

I’m sad to report that Lynn Stout, Distinguished Professor of Corporate and Business Law at Cornell Law School, succumbed to an aggressive cancer on April 16th. Her passion for delving into complex problems was contagious. Her work ethic was legion. And she put these qualities towards some of the most important questions of our age – why do corporations exist? What should they aim to do? And if we want to enlist companies to tackle societal problems of significance, what are the key principles of law, business and finance that need to be “disrupted” to embrace a new reality? Lynn personally shaped my understanding of whether or not corporations have a duty to maximize shareholder value and her work will live on when I teach the topic to my students at Harvard Law every year. She was a rigorous thinker for good. She will be missed.  Linkedin (5 minutes)

Weekend Wisdom

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

About the Weekend Briefing

A Saturday morning briefing on innovation & society by Kyle Westaway – Managing Partner of Westaway and author of Profit & Purpose.


Photo by Ryandana Prayoga