Weekend Briefing No. 86

Weekend Briefing No. 86 | I Hate Unicorns, Free Stuff, Conservatives & Climate Change, Talent, Robots Building IKEA Furniture

Welcome to the weekend.  This week a supermoon and lunar eclipse coincided for the first time in 33 years. Tesla unveiled its all-electric SUV Model X, which is aimed at soccer moms. Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin discussed Syria for 90 minutes after making opposing speeches about how to handle the situation. Jack Dorsey is to take over at Twitter, officially.


I hate unicorns. Turns out I’m not the only one, Fred Wilson and Marc Suster (both top VC’s) wrote about it this week. The culture of chasing a $1 billion valuation is leading us off a cliff. 10 years from now people will be embarrassed to say unicorn. A $1 billion valuation isn’t a good metric of success. Success is measured in the early mornings and lines of code and purchase orders and signed offer letters and repeat purchases and customers who can’t wait to tell their friends about you. Read more at Both Sides of the Table.

Free stuff for startups. At the startup stage of a company it’s all hustle and coffee… and a shoestring budget. I know. I’ve been there a number of times. Whether you’re wondering how to build a social media following, attract press attention, build a great mobile app, or find non-cheesy stock photos for your investor deck, you’ll find a bunch of useful tools on this list of free (and cheap) stuff for startups.

SPONSORED BRIEFING // Making mentorship matter. Focusing on the right stuff to grow your business is challenging. This is where experienced mentors can contribute. The winners of ecommerce platform Shopify’s “Build a Business” competition sat down with five entrepreneurial legends during a trip to Richard Branson’s Necker Island. Luxury mattress retailer Leesa earned the #1 spot; read how they prepared to make the most out of the experience at Inc. As a special offer for Weekend Briefing readers, Leesa is offering $75 off the purchase of a mattress.

Conservatives believe in climate change. A majority of Republicans — including 54 percent of self-described conservative Republicans — believe the world’s climate is changing and that mankind plays some role in the change, according to a new survey conducted by three prominent Republican pollsters. As we move out of the entertainment phase of the campaign and look at more of the policy platforms, there may be way for Republicans to talk about this that depoliticizes climate. Read more in the New York Times.

Talent or Prestige? Deloitte is no longer looking at what school candidates attended in England. Deloitte is the largest of 19 companies in the UK that have signed up to use the Contextual Recruitment System, a tool released last year from recruitment firm Rare that gathers this background data. The goal, the firm says, is to get much closer to achieving the holy grail of identifying candidates with potential, rather than just with polish. Read more in Quartz.

Robot v. Ikea furniture. Though robots excel at some tasks, in many real world tasks, robots come a poor second to humans. Namely, the assembly of an IKEA chair. This activity (which I secretly love) and has been the source of countless arguments between couples is considered the equivalent of the moon landing for many roboticists. See the progress that one robot is making in the MIT Technology Review.


Brand Me. Everybody is talking about building “personal brands” these days. It’s important. It’s exhausting. Is it possible to appeal to a large audience and still remain authentic? Learn more about the paradox of the personal brand in this article in the New Republic.

Wilderness. Imagine if McQueen, Kerouac, Muir & Whitman started a magazine… that’s Wilderness – a men’s mag about exploration, character & grit. This looks like the first “men’s magazine” that I’d actually be interested in reading. I backed them on Kickstarter, you may want to be in on the ground floor too.


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.