Weekend Briefing No. 395

Weekend Briefing No. 395

Welcome to the long weekend. Since this is a holiday weekend in the U.S., I’ve decided to do something different. In this briefing, there will be no talk on startups, innovation, management or leadership. Instead, I’m just going to include links I think are fun. I hope you enjoy.

Let me know what you love and dislike about this briefing.

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Prime Numbers

45—Here are the 45 most anticipated albums this fall.

$531,545—The Federal Aviation Administration proposed a collective $531,545 in civil penalties against 34 airline passengers caught misbehaving on flights

$1.1 billionSince the 1930s, waterfowl hunters have had to buy a now-$25 duck stamp to hunt game, a program that has over the course of its lifetime generated $1.1 billion for conservation and preserved 6 million acres of wetlands.

World Wood Web

A forest can feel like a place of great stillness and quiet. But if you dig a little deeper, there’s a hidden world beneath your feet as busy and complicated as a city at rush hour. In this podcast, a dog introduces us to a strange creature that burrows beneath forests, building an underground network where deals are made and lives are saved (and lost) in a complex web of friendships, rivalries and business relations. It’s a network that scientists are only just beginning to untangle and map. It’s not only turning our understanding of forests upside down; it’s leading some researchers to rethink what it means to be intelligent. RadioLab (36 minutes)

Nas in Angola

When an epic Nas concert goes awry, a promoter and his detoxing son are trapped thousands of miles from home. Patrick Allocco Sr. was a washed-up music promoter that took a risk to get his career back on track. He brought his son into the job for a mix of reasons—to help him get sober and to try to repair their relationship. But they had no idea who they were dealing with. When the job took a turn for the worse, things got ugly. Read the full tale in this three-part series. New York Magazine (46 minutes)

Hamlet Incarcerated

Most of us have a hard time relating to Hamlet. The protagonist’s dad is killed by his uncle, who then becomes a king. Then hamlet spends the rest of the four hours trying to decide whether or not he should commit murder. This podcast follows the prisoners as they prepare for and perform Hamlet, a play about murder and its consequences, performed by murderers, living out the consequences. Shakespeare may seem like an odd match for a group of hardened criminals, but they may understand the Bard on a level that most of us might not. This American Life (54 minutes)

Burning Man the Musical

A musical about Burning Man seems like one of those ideas that had to happen eventually, but it took the global pandemic to actually get one off the ground. And now it’s finally here. Streaming platform Broadway on Demand is now showing Burning Man: The Musical, a new musical comedy inspired by the legendary festival’s 1990s heyday. The movie follows a young tech employee (named Molly, of course), who attends the famous festival in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada only to discover that the company she works for may not have the best intentions. The project was written by my friend Matt Werner, with music by Gene Back and choreography by Ari Grooves. It includes some impressive stage talent, including Morgan Siobhan Green and Troy Iwata—both from Be More Chill, the quirky sci-fi musical that enjoyed a short run on Broadway in 2019 after its music went viral on YouTube. According to the creators, Burning Man: The Musical came to life with 10 actors on a soundstage while real-life theaters and the real-life Burning Man festival were shut down. It was produced by Streaming Musicals, Con Limón Productions, Milliron Studios and St. Charles Street Productions. Fast Company (4 minutes)

Lighting Strikes

On August 24, 1919, Ray Caldwell, pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, is on the pitcher’s mound setting up for a pitch. Just then a flash from the sky explodes down into the middle of the field. Shortstop Ray Chapman feels a surge of electricity go down his leg, and the violence of the lightning strike causes players to dive for the ground. “I took off my mask and threw it as far as I could,” Cleveland catcher Steve O’Neill says later of his metal mask. “I didn’t want it to attract any bolts toward me.” Five seconds after the bolt hits the ground, everybody looks around. The eight Indians position players are OK, but their newest teammate is not. Caldwell is on his back, arms spread wide, out cold on the mound. The lightning strike had hit him directly. This is a story of desperation, terror, survival and redemption on the baseball diamond. ESPN (11 minutes)

New Slang

New Slang from The Shins debut album Oh, Inverted World, is 20 years old! Can you believe that? After the movie Garden State came out, featuring the song New Slang, that album went gold. And the soundtrack for the movie won a Grammy. This podcast about the making of the song features James Mercer, the writer and producer, breaking down New Slang and looks back at how his songwriting and his early home recording skills came together to make this iconic tune. Also, we finally get an explanation for that one line: “Godspeed all the bakers at dawn. May they all cut their thumbs and bleed into their buns.” Song Exploder (20 minutes)

Teton Crest Trail

This is a stunning photo essay of 45 miles on the Teton Crest Trail. Anybody else want this reporter’s job? New York Times (8 minutes)


The Confusion by Neal Stephenson. In 1689, a cabal of Barbary galley slaves, including one “Half-Cocked Jack” Shaftoe, devises a daring plan to win freedom and fortune. A great adventure ensues that will place the intrepid band at odds with the mighty and the mad, with alchemists, Jesuits, great navies, pirate queens, and vengeful despots across vast oceans and around the globe. In Europe, the exquisite and resourceful Eliza, Countess de la Zeur, master of markets, pawn and confidante of enemy kings, onetime Turkish harem virgin, is stripped of her immense personal fortune by France’s most dashing privateer. Penniless and at risk from those who desire either her or her head (or both), she is caught up in a web of international intrigue, even as she desperately seeks the return of her most precious possession—her child. Meanwhile, Newton and Leibniz continue to propound their grand theories as their infamous rivalry intensifies. And Daniel Waterhouse seeks passage to the Massachusetts colony in hopes of escaping the madness into which his world has descended. The Baroque Cycle, Neal Stephenson’s award-winning series, spans the late 17th and early 18th centuries, combining history, adventure, science, invention, piracy and alchemy into one sweeping tale. It is a gloriously rich, entertaining and endlessly inventive historical epic populated by the likes of Isaac Newton, William of Orange, Benjamin Franklin and King Louis XIV, along with some of the most inventive literary characters in modern fiction. Amazon

Most Read Last Week

Entrepreneurship Contagion—Is entrepreneurship contagious? Maybe.

Ouster at Dannone—This is the story of how a stakeholder-value-focused CEO got pushed out of his job.

Cities v. Theme Parks—We are now entering a new era of the internet—Web 3—where we have the chance to upgrade social networks into economies.

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 Sean Pierce.

Tweet of the Week

Eventually …. Execution beats luck. Consistency beats intensity. Curiosity beats smart. Kind beats clever. Together beats alone. @ShaneAParrish

Should We Work Together?

This newsletter is my passion project. When I’m not writing, I run a law firm for entrepreneurs. Rather than the antiquated billable hour model, we’ve developed an innovative new model called General Counsel. For a flat monthly fee, we provide ongoing legal guidance. No limits. No clock counting. Just quality advice every step of the way. We believe this new model is the future of law. Apparently, we’re not the only ones, Fast Company recently recognized General Counsel as a World Changing Idea. If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit for the firm. Click here to schedule a call.

Weekend Wisdom

Between every two pine trees, there is a door leading to a new way of life. John Muir

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