Weekend Briefing No. 24

Welcome to the weekend! New York clears out on the weekends, with everybody heading to the beach or the country, but I’ve been enjoying staying in the city. New York City is never more relaxed than on summer weekends. This year I’ve been spending a bunch of time in Red Hook, a neighborhood of Brooklyn that was notoriously dangerous and had moved into decay is now making a comeback. If you take an afternoon to tour Widow Jane distillery to see how whiskey is made, taste the best BBQ in the city at Hometown BBQ, and finish it off with a key lime pie from Steve’s Key Lime Pie–thank me later.




Kate Spade On Purpose. Kate Spade & Jack Spade launched a line called “On Purpose”, which is a line of stylish products made by artisans in Rwanda. This is a classic example of profit & purpose at work, rather than making a product in China and giving a percentage of profits to a nonprofit in Rwanda, they are investing in the future of the artisans and the country by creating skilled jobs. Trade not aid. This week On Purpose was featured on Good Morning America. Great work by my friend Sydney Price and her team to make this happen!


The future of food may be kinda weird. At a time when we need to figure out how to feed billions more people by 2050–and increase global food production by 70%–maybe there are reasons to consider fake food. Someday, it might also be possible to grow food from fake plastic cells–and get all of the nutrition we need without relying on nature or a farm. Check out the weird futuristic food in this Fast Company article.


Nigeria by the numbers. McKinsey & Company just released a report on the Nigerian economy. Here are some highlights. Most GDP growth is coming from beyond the resources sector, which is now just 14 percent of GDP. However, historical weaknesses in the agricultural sector and a poorly functioning urbanization process have prevented most Nigerians from benefiting from this growth; 74 percent of the country’s population live below the “empowerment line”. Nigeria has the potential to expand its economy by roughly 7.1 percent per year through 2030–moving it into a top 20 global economy. If that growth is more inclusive, an estimated 120 million Nigerians could move above the empowerment line–which would mean Nigeria would have more consumers than France and Germany combined. Thanks to Blair Miller for giving me a heads up on this report and all things Nigerian.


Voices of Hope. In situations of dating or domestic violence abuse, the first thing a victim begins to lose is their voice. That is why we believe the power of a voice can play an impactful role in transforming the lives of those affected by dating and domestic violence and furthering the effort to end this issue. Verizon launched a brilliant campaign called Voices Have Power, for every message of hope submitted by people like us, Verizon will donate $3 toward supporting proven and innovative dating and domestic violence prevention programs produced by our national and local campaign partners.


Design sprint. How did Google Ventures’ design team redesign Blue Bottle coffee’s web platform in 5 days? Through a process called a design sprint, which leverages multiple prototypes, research, user feedback and, perhaps the most important element, time pressure. Watch the video fully explaining the process from Google I/O.




Don’t send your kids to an Ivy League school. The internet was ablaze this week with the William Deresiewicz’s piece criticizing elite educational institutions for cranking out overachievers that are great at what they do, but have no idea why they are doing it. He says they lack the desire and bandwidth to actually learn while they are there. He instead encourages attending a liberal arts or public university. As a graduate of a public university (University of Tennessee) and a Lecturer at an Ivy League institution (Harvard Law School), I have mixed feelings about this piece. But it’s worth a read, because it forces us to ask a higher question: What type of people do we want our kids to be? Check out the article in the New Republic as well as a rebuttal on Slate from a student at the University of Chicago.


You are super smart, so I’m interested in your thoughts. If you have any story ideas, questions or just want to say hi, comment below I’m looking forward to chatting with you. If you have friends that would like the WEEKEND BRIEFING, please tell them to subscribe. They can sign up for free HERE. Follow me on twitter for updates throughout the week.


Have a restful & thoughtful weekend.