Weekend Briefing No. 82

Weekend Briefing No. 82 | Startup Metrics, Millenials & Social Entrepreneurship, The Future of Cars, The Freelance Economy, The Upside of a Downturn in Silicon Valley

Welcome to Labor Day Weekend. I hope you’re relaxing with friends and family. I’m sending this dispatch out from Glacier National Park. I’ve been hiking, biking and floating my way through Yellowstone, Teton and Glacier National Parks with one of my best friends this week. I must say, the National Parks were one of the best ideas we’ve had as a nation. Way to go Roosevelt!


Startup metrics. Using the right metrics, an entrepreneur can assess the health of her business and understand where to focus her effort. Andreessen Horowitz compiled a list of the most common or confusing ones. For instance, Lifetime value (LTV) is the present value of the future net profit from the customer over the duration of the relationship. It helps determine the long-term value of the customer and how much net value you generate per customer after accounting for customer acquisition costs (CAC). See 15 other startup metrics at a16z.

How Millenials are driving the future of social entrepreneurship. Like other young generations before them, they are idealistic, but what sets this generation apart is that they are turning their idealism into action. Millennials after all are known for their collective ability to pave their own pathways, create new solutions to old problems. Learn more and apply for the Forbes $1 Million Change the World Challenge at the Case Foundation.

The future of cars. As is often the case when an industry is going to be turned upside-down, there are actually a number of separate things happening, which feed into each other and accelerate the pace of change. Electricity will change what it takes to build a car. On-demand transportation companies will change the concept of ownership. Autonomous vehicles will change traffic patterns and parking. Learn more from Ben Evans.

How freelancers will change the economy. Freelancers now make up 34%—that’s 53 million people—of the U.S. workforce. That number will only increase. According to a new report published by the Roosevelt Institute and the Kauffman Foundation, work will look much different by 2040. (1) Work will consist of many short-term assignments. (2) There will be more platforms aimed at mitigating economic risk. (3) We will all have talent agents like athletes and entertainers. (4) Small business growth will lead to increased wages. (5) Everyone will be responsible for their own success. Learn more in Fast Company.

Upside of a downturn in Silicon Valley. Sooner rather than later, some external shock — the Dow, China, Europe, Iran, interest rates, the inauguration of President Trump — may prompt a drastically reduce capital for start-ups, resulting in layoffs, shutdowns and much heartache. This may be the best thing for the Valley. Some of the most successful tech investments of all time — among them Google and Facebook — came about in Silicon Valley’s lean times. This is a paradox of invention, as well as of investing: Bad times feed good ideas, which in turn lead to good times, which breed complacency, waste and lots of bad business plans. Learn more in the New York Times.


A tale of 2 Americas. Ten days after 9/11, a shocking attack at a Texas mini-mart shattered the lives of two men: the victim and the attacker. In this stunning TED Talk, Anand Giridharadas, author of “The True American,” tells the story of what happened next. It’s a parable about the two paths an American life can take, and a powerful call for reconciliation. Thanks to Katharine Bierce for sending this my way.


Beiber, Diplo & Skrillex may be on the cutting edge of creating the future of music. Learn about how the smash hit Where Are You Now came to be in this phenomenal New York Times video.

19 books to help you run the world. From the memoir of a former gang member to an analysis of the most efficient hiring methods, here are the best leadership books from people who have led their companies to success.



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.