Weekend Briefing No. 30

Welcome to the weekend! I’m writing this from Folly Beach South Carolina where I’m on vacation with my family celebrating the 60th birthday of my dad – what a guy! We’ve been enjoying the waves, beach bocce and jamming out to my buddy Thomas McLeod’s new September Indie Playlist.


The Profit & Purpose New York book launch party is on for this Thursday, and it looks like it’s going to be a packed house. We’ve already had over 150 people sign up. The pre-release signed copies are almost sold out, so if you are planning to buy one at the event, I’d recommend buying the Signature Edition ticket for the event to ensure that you’ll get a copy. If you’re in the city, love to see you there, if not, hopefully we’ll catch you in your city this fall. I’ll be announcing the book tour dates soon. Stay tuned.





Zuckerburg willing to spend billions on global internet access. “We feel a big responsibility to bring the Internet to more people,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at an event organized by Carlos Slim, “even if Facebook has to spend billions of dollars” to make it happen. Facebook already connects almost half of the world’s Internet-connected population on its social network, with 1.3 billion users. The more people that are connected to the Web, the more room Facebook has to grow. This is an example where the purpose (universal internet access) is aligned with profit. Read more in this Bloomberg Businessweek post (253 words).



And… BRCK can help achieve that goal. BRCK is a backup generator for the internet. It’s the go anywhere, do anything, self-powered, mobile Wi-Fi device. It is essentially a mobile Internet router. It connects to the web in three ways: by plugging in a standard ethernet cable, by bridging with other Wi-Fi networks, or by accessing 3G or 4G data via a basic SIM card. It’s a rugged block that is born out of Kenya and designed to handle the most extreme elements from deserts to jungle to refugee camp. BRCK is a project of Ushahidi and is designed by a brilliant technical team–including my friend Reg Orton–in Nairobi and assembled in the US. It’s devices like BRCK that will allow for the last mile in developing countries to get connected to the net. Read more about this breakthrough device in this Fast Company article (1145 words). Will we be seeing a large order of BRCK by Facebook soon? If so, you heard it here first.


A simple hack to arrive at better decisions, quicker. Google Ventures has a neat hack to avoid long meetings where everybody talks, but no decision gets made. It’s called the Note & Vote system. Rather than emphasizing discussion, the system emphasizes quiet reflection and clear voting by the team to allow the boss to have the best data to make her decision. This system avoids a distortion toward ideas championed by extroverts. Learn more about the system at Lifehacker (274 words).


Should poor countries sacrifice growth to fight climate change? It’s probably unrealistic to think that poor countries can develop in a completely clean manner. Their need for energy and lack of infrastructure will likely push it to develop as cheaply as possible. And yet paradoxically, developing countries will be most impacted by the climate change. Read more about this tension in this Bloomberg Businesssweek article (776 words).


Venture Capital is inherently optimistic and fad-driven. Neil Blumenthal, CEO of Warby Parker (and a key figure in my book Profit & Purpose), sheds some insight into the Venture Capital world. He knows a thing or two about it as he’s raised over $60 MM in venture funding. He notes in his The Wall Street Journal post (304 words) that VC’s primary strength and its primary weakness–it’s an endeavor built on optimism about the market, about ideas, about people and about the potential of companies.




When the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge goes wrong. The ice bucket challenge could be fatal. At least if it involves 396 gallons of water being dropped from a plane. Don’t nominate dictators for the ice bucket challenge. A Belarussian boy was chastised and threatened with a fine for challenging president Alexander Lukashenko.


You are super smart, so I’m interested in your thoughts. 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.