Weekend Briefing No. 224

Welcome to the weekend. Happy Memorial Day! This weekend I’m experimenting with a new section called Reply All. I’ll simply ask a question related to an article in the briefing to get your feedback in the form of one multiple choice question. So, cast your vote and let me know what you think about it. Cheers!

Prime Numbers

8.4 MM Facebook is tracking you on 8.4 million websites. So long as you’ve visited one of the over 8 million websites with a Facebook like button or tracking pixel embedded, the company has you (and it probably won’t be letting go anytime soon).

2,893 – At Live Nation Entertainment, the concert and ticketing company, an employee earning the median pay of $24,406 would need to work for 2,893 years to earn the $70.6 million that its chief executive, Michael Rapino, made last year.

10,000 – Eight years ago, someone bought two pizzas with 10,000 bitcoins. At current prices, that works out to about $4 million a slice.


I’m sure your inbox has overloaded with companies giving you a GDPR notices this week. If you’re running a U.S. startup, you may be wondering if it affects you. The answer is yes. I’ve personally been deep into GDPR research for clients for the last month. The statute itself is 86 pages long, so it’s no small task to understand how that applies to a specific company’s activities. After a bunch of searching, I have not seen a solid comprehensive article on how the GDPR impacts U.S. startups, so I decided to write one.  If you are a U.S. startup and don’t know where to start, check out this article. Reply to this email if you want some help getting your company GDPR compliant. Westaway Review (12 minutes)

Refugees as Customers

Our clients American Refugee Committee are shifting the paradigm in refugee camps.   By simply asking the displaced people at a camp in Uganda 1) what was broken and 2) if they had ideas on how to fix it, the American Refugee Committee has found ways to quickly improve the quality of life.  A customer service team armed with tablets now asks the same two questions throughout the camp–about everything from healthcare and nutrition to shelter–collecting feedback that can be shared in real time. As refugees swipe to show their level of satisfaction, that data goes to the American Refugee Committee in real time, and also goes to a public website, because the organization wanted to be fully transparent about its performance. The team brings suggestions from refugees back to a service team, who can then begin to make changes. It’s shifting from the idea of a refugee as a beneficiary of services to really a customer, and someone that you’re providing the best services that you can for. Fast Company (6 minutes) 

Young & Innovative

Summer is just kicking off, so I know October seems an eternity from now, but if you are in the social enterprise or impact investing world, it’s time to start thinking about the premier conference – SOCAP. The first time I attended the conference was by winning a scholarship. Now, I want to present that same opportunity to a young social entrepreneur. If you are an innovator using market-based solutions to create real impact, you’re invited to apply for a SOCAP Social Entrepreneur Scholarship. 150 of the most innovative ventures will be selected to receive a free SOCAP18 pass (worth $1,495), accommodations, pre-conference programing, mentorship & more. SOCAP (Sponsored)

Landing VC $

Improve your odds of getting funded by a VC with this land and expand strategy. Do not leave your entire outcome simply to your sponsoring partner and/or associate. This is Sales 101. You find a champion but then you find reasons to meet other staff prior to the meeting where your fate would be decided. Find productive reasons why your sponsoring partner or associate can introduce you to other partners. Maybe you have some knowledge they would find valuable? Maybe they’ve worked with a similar company to yours before. Maybe you go from meeting a partner to meeting 3 associates to broaden your relationships and learn more about the firm. Every VC firm is different and the decision-processes vary; however, they all form the basis sponsor / supporting staff structure and the more people you know when the investment committee happens the higher the probability of success. Both Sides of the Table (7 minutes) 

Bill Gates Books

I’m a huge Bill Gates fan and I like to read, so I’m always interested to see his summer reading list. Here it is: 1) Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson. I read this in January. I love da Vinci, but thought the book was not nearly as strong as Isaacson’s other books. 2) Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved, by Kate Bowler. When Bowler, a professor at Duke Divinity School, is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, she sets out to understand why it happened. Looking forward to this one. 3) Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. I also happened to read this one already. I gotta say… it’s unique, but not amazing. 4) Origin Story: A Big History of Everything, by David Christian. It tells the story of the universe from the big bang to today’s complex societies, weaving together insights and evidence from various disciplines into a single narrative. Looking forward to this one. 5) Factfulness, by Hans Rosling. A breakthrough way of understanding basic truths about the world—how life is getting better, and where the world still needs to improve. And he weaves in unforgettable anecdotes from his life. It’s a fitting final word from a brilliant man, and I can’t wait. Gates Notes (3 minutes)

On Time, Money & Happiness

Wealth isn’t necessarily an abundance of money — it’s an abundance of time. Or potential time. When you accumulate a lot of money, you actually accumulate a large store of time to use however you please. However, many of us are in a catch-22. We work more to have more money to buy more Stuff…but because we have so much Stuff, we need more money, which means you have to work more. How do you escape this vicious cycle? There are two ways, actually. 1) Spend less. The first (most obvious) way to remove yourself from this hedonic treadmill is to deliberately reduce your spending so that it’s below the level needed to maintain your lifestyle. Frugality buys freedom. 2) Buy time.  A recent study shows that individuals who spend money on time-saving services report greater life satisfaction. When you treat time as money (and money as time), you can better evaluate how to allocate your dollars and your hours. When you know how much your time is worth, you can decide when it makes sense to “outsource” specific jobs. What about you? How do you view the relationship between time, money, and happiness? Do you have some examples from your own life of buying time in order to improve your happiness? What balance have you arrived at — and how did you get there? Get Rich Slowly (6 minutes)


Amazon’s computer vision system, called Rekognition, is being sold to police around the US. The United States military and intelligence agencies have used facial recognition tools for years in overseas conflicts to identify possible terrorist suspects. But domestic law enforcement agencies are increasingly using the technology at home for more routine forms of policing. The people who can be identified through facial recognition systems are not just those with criminal records. More than 130 million American adults are in facial recognition databases that can be searched in criminal investigations. Within a week of going live, the system was used to identify and arrest a suspect who stole more than $5,000 from local stores, he said, adding there were no leads before the system identified him. The technology was also cheap, costing just a few dollars a month after a setup fee of around $400. Surveillance laws have not kept up with changing technology, leaving companies to figure out where to draw the line in their efforts to turn AI tools into profitable lines of business.

Reply All

Is Rekognition an effective policing tool or an invasion of privacy? Click here to vote.

From the Community

Congrats to my friend Adam Braun on his new position as COO of WeGrow

I get asked all the time about writing a newsletter.  Khe Hy, my friend, neighbor and author of one of my favorite weekly emails was kind enough to include my thoughts in his post entitled So You Think You Can Start An Email Newsletter? Oh… and you should subscribe to his email Rad Reads if you’re haven’t yet.

Weekend Wisdom

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.Gen. George S. Patton 

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 Brittany ⎈ Colette