Weekend Briefing No. 44

Welcome to the weekend! This week president Obama became the first US President to write a line of code, the US comes clean on CIA torture, Police cleared the protests in Hong Kong, and ‘tis the season for the end of the year round ups.



TIME’s person of the year. The Ebola Fighters. When most of the world wasn’t paying attention, the doctors, nurses and medical professionals were risking their lives to save the world from a deadly disease, often at the cost of their own lives. Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), specifically stepped up to the plate. Ask what drove them and some talk about God; some about country; some about the instinct to run into the fire, not away. “If someone from America comes to help my people, and someone from Uganda,” says Iris Martor, a Liberian nurse, “then why can’t I?” Foday Gallah, an ambulance driver who survived infection, calls his immunity a holy gift. “I want to give my blood so a lot of people can be saved,” he says. “I am going to fight Ebola with all of my might.” TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs explains her choice here.

Atlantic Monthly’s photos of the year. This photo essay highlights some of the most striking photos from the protests that drove Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych from office, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Ellen DeGeneres’ much-retweeted selfie from the Oscars, the ongoing and brutal situation in war-torn Syria, the opening of the largest solar thermal power-tower system in the world, and a playful rocket battle in Vrontados, Greece. See the photos here.

Bill Gates’ 5 favorite books of 2014. Of course Thomas Picketty’s 700+ page runaway best selling economic treatise Capital in the Twenty-First Century made the list (anybody else buy that book and not finish it?). Find out what else was on the list at Quartz.

Twitter founder Ev Williams launches an impact fund. Serial entrepreneur Ev Williams has made a fortune over the years, and now wants to invest some of his riches into startups that are built to make positive changes in the world through a fund called Obvious Ventures. The firm is still in the process of raising its inaugural fund. But it’s already made investments in 11 companies, of which nine are being announced. Those investments include plant-based protein startup Beyond Meat, mobile service professionals software maker Breezeworks, web-based architecture startup Flux, mobile transportation startup Loup, biomimetic computing company Magic Leap, plant-based cheese company Miyoko’s Kitchen, nutritional supplement company Olly, hourly work marketplace Workpop, and small-business payroll solution ZenPayroll.

Tech M&A in 2015. Some public tech companies sustain growth through internal efforts, but many use their cash reserves to acquire fast-growing startups. These public market cash reserves total $430B or so across the top 250 or so public tech companies, a massive war chest that will fuel startup M&A in 2015. If you break down that cash by sector: B2B software and Consumer Hardware companies each posses about $100B. Semiconductor, Infrastructure and Consumer Web companies’ cash reserves total more than $65B each. Dig deeper into the data on this post from Tom Tunguz.



City Break. This week I was honored to be teaming up with one of my favorite brands Apolis to curate a mystery box of cool products. The Mystery City Break Bundle offers 50% savings on some favorite city essentials, $250 ($500+ retail value). This Mystery Box, limited to 25 units, includes hand-picked Apolis city essentials me. Each box contains 5 menswear items, including one top and one bottom. Check it out here.

What is love? The #loveisproject is trying to answer that question. This summer, Chrissie Lam traveled to 18 countries in 2 months, meeting 127 people of 48 nationalities. From Siberia, Russia and the Gobi Desert of Mongolia to Israel and Palestine, she photographed people along the way wearing a prototype of the LOVE Bracelet as they gave their definition of love. LIFE Line and The Supply Change are working with Maasai women in Kenya to produce the beaded LOVE Bracelet. Get yours here.

Drawing circuits. CircuitScribe allows you to create a circuit just by drawing on paper with a ballpoint pen. You gotta see this.

Shake it off… emoji style. This video is internet gold.



The Weekend Briefing is a selection of the best stories from around the web about innovation and society curated by Kyle Westaway – author of Profit & Purpose and Managing Partner of Westaway & Co.


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