Weekend Briefing No. 74

Welcome to the weekend. This week the Dali Lama celebrated his 80th birthday, the Pope toured South America, Alexis Tsipras pleaded in Strasbourg as a “final deadline” was set for Grexit, Burt of Burt’s Bees fame, died at 80 and South Carolina voted to remove the Confederate flag.


Enjoy the weekend with some tunes from my July playlist.






Founders Pledge is a commitment by founders of early stage companies to donate at least 2% of their personal proceeds to a social cause of their choice, following the sale or IPO of their company. From my perspective, it’s not that giving to charity is a bad thing, but founders are uniquely positioned to do a better thing. Rather than giving back, they have the ability to build a better business. Rather than giving a small percentage of their profits to charity, they can use their business as a means of societal impact. Check out my article in Fast Company to learn more. Fast Company is my favorite magazine, and this is the first piece I’ve written for them. If I want to write more in the future, it would be really helpful if this piece was popular. So, I’m asking you a favor. Take 2 seconds to click through to the article then click tweet and/or share right under the title. Let’s make this the most popular article on Fast Company today!


El Paquete Semanal is a fascinating hack that has developed in Cuba to bring the internet to a disconnected population. In Cuba the internet is not available to the average citizen, so those that do have access package up content including news, music videos, YouTube clips and apps onto USB drives and distribute them through a massive network of middlemen. In a country where the government, as per the constitution, owns all media, El Paquete allows Cuban people to access content that would never be found on official media outlets, even if it’s nothing more subversive than the latest episode of House of Cards. Learn more in this Fast Company article.


Blockchain is essentially just a record or ledger of digital events — one that’s “distributed” or shared between many different parties. It can only be updated by consensus of a majority of the participants in the system. And, once entered, information can never be erased. The bitcoin blockchain contains a certain and verifiable record of every single bitcoin transaction ever made. Regardless of your opinion on the future of bitcoin, nearly everyone agrees that its most fundamental innovation has worked flawlessly. It allows total strangers to hold and exchange digital money in a completely transparent way — without having to trust each other or any central authority. Learn more in this re/code article.


Automated taxis could drastically lower emissions. Aside from making taxi drivers obsolete, by 2030, electric-powered, self-driving taxis could produce 94% less greenhouse-gas emissions than the average car on the road today, according to a new scientific analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Learn more in this MIT Technology Review article.


The jobless future may not a Luddite fallacy. Marc Andreessen has called the notion of a jobless future a “Luddite fallacy,” noting that technological change has always destroyed some lower value jobs and created higher value jobs. But what is missing from these arguments is the timeframe over which the transitions occurred. The industrial revolution unfolded over centuries. Today’s technological revolutions are happening within years. Almost every industry will be affected by the efficiency of technological advancement, meaning less humans will be necessary. The problem, however, is that without jobs, we will not have the dignity, social engagement, and sense of fulfillment that comes from work. We will have to find it through other means. Learn more in this Washington Post article. Thanks to Richard Demato for sending this my way.





How social media is affecting our mental health? Is the “always on” lifestyle of the digital age enhancing or impairing our mental health? Check out this infographic to find out for yourself.


Why I don’t talk to white people about racism. White people, thinking as individuals, refuse to talk about “I, racist” and instead protect their own individual and personal goodness. In doing so, they reject the existence of racism. Here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings. Learn more in this profound Medium post (which was originally a sermon) on racism. Thanks to Brendon Manwaring for sharing this with me.





Abdi and the golden ticket is a story about someone who’s desperately trying – against long odds – to make it to the United States and become an American. Abdi is a Somali refugee living in Kenya and gets the luckiest break of his life: he wins a lottery that puts him on a short list for a U.S. visa. This is his ticket out. But before he can cash in his golden ticket, the police start raiding his neighborhood, targeting refugees. Listen to this episode of This American Life.





The Weekend Briefing is a selection of this week’s top stories on innovation and society, curated by Kyle Westaway – author of Profit & Purpose and Managing Partner of Westaway Law. I consider it a privilege to be a part of your weekend routine. Thanks.