Weekend Briefing No. 81

Weekend Briefing No. 81 | 10 Years After Katrina, Chris Sacca, Ben & Jerry’s + Unilever, Mobile Etiquette, Second Career

Welcome to the weekend. This week three Americans receive France’s highest honor after foiling terror attack on a train, Asian stocks had their biggest drop in over two years and it’s thrown the markets into chaos, Mei Xiang gave birth to twin cubs on Saturday at the National Zoo in Washington, DC and Joe Biden might be running for president.


10 years after Katrina. It is not exactly right to say that New Orleans is back. The city did not return, not as it was. There are two cities here. One is booming, more vibrant than ever, still beautiful in its best-known neighborhoods and expanding into places once written off; the other is returning to pre-Katrina realities of poverty and routine violence, but with a new sense of dislocation for many as well. Learn more in this beautiful New York Times interactive piece.

A dozen things I’ve learned from Chris Sacca – one of the best known tech investors having invested in Twitter, Uber, Instagram, and Kickstarter and is currently #3 on the coveted Forbes “Midas List”. So,he’s a good guy to learn from. This post is a great collection of his insights such as: (1) Good investors are in the service business. (2) It’s people with these broader life experiences who have balanced relationships who come up with the cool shit. (3) Capital isn’t that important to the early success of a company, mentorship is. Learn more at 25iq.

SPONSORED BRIEFING // Making the most of your mentorship. One of the primary ways entrepreneurs can safeguard their own success is to establish relationships with experienced, influential mentors. This weekend, the winners of ecommerce platform Shopify’s “Build a Business” competition will get to learn from five entrepreneurial legends during a trip to Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Luxury mattress retailer Leesa earned the #1 spot; read how they’re preparing to get the most out of the experience at Inc.com. As a special offer for Weekend Briefing readers, Leesa is offering $75 off the purchase of a mattress.

Ben & Jerry’s & Unilever. When Unilever acquired Ben & Jerry’s it was like a new marriage off to a rocky(road) start. Very quickly, some of their worst fears were realized. Ben & Jerry’s had almost never fired an employee, but Unilever, shuttered a production plant and a distribution center, workers at the two sites were laid off. Since then, the company has grown, the outside board – dedicated to mission centrality – has pushed back and is proceeding with its activism-infused capitalism, supporting marriage equality and climate change one pint of Chunky Monkey at a time. Read more in the Revalued column in the New York Times.

American’s view on mobile etiquette. According to a new study by Pew Research Center out this week, mobile devices play a complex role in modern social interactions — many Americans view them as harmful and distracting to group dynamics, even as they can’t resist the temptation themselves. Fully 89% of cellphone owners say they used their phone during the most recent social gathering they attended. However, 78% cited at least one of these four “group-contributing” reasons, compared with 30% who used their phone for one of the three “retreating-from-the-group” reasons. Learn more in this Pew Research Center study.

How to make your second career count. Ron Cordes is one of those who have dedicated his second career to making a difference on a large scale. In addition to setting up his own charitable foundation, he uses the financial services savvy he accrued during the first half of his professional life to benefit ImpactAssets—a $200 million fund he co-founded that connects high value investors to socially-leaning enterprises. Says Cordes: “I’d had this concept in college that the first third of your life was to learn, the second third was to earn and the final third was to return.” Learn more of Ron’s story in Forbes.


Aer. One man, Alan Adler, invented both the Aerobie Flying Disc and the AeroPress coffee maker. Watch this short documentary on his story.


Why the rich love Burning Man. Last year, a venture capitalist billionaire threw a $16,500-per-head party at the festival, his camp a hyper-exclusive affair replete with wristbands and models flown in to keep the guests company. Learn why.

Ashley Madison has a stupidity problem: men. They were foolish for thinking married women need such a site to find a sexual partner.


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.