Weekend Briefing No. 87

Weekend Briefing No. 87 | Benefit Corporation IPO, Surviving the Future, Entrepreneurship = Jobs, Self-Management, Goldman Sachs & Preschoolers

Welcome to the weekend. This week, twenty-two people were killed when a US airstrike targeted a Doctors without Borders hospital in Afghanistan. The US Supreme Court starts a new term. With rulings coming in June 2016, the court is expected to consider cases involving affirmative action, labor unions, class-action suits, abortion and the death penalty. The US commerce secretary visits Cuba. The World Bank released data that there has been significant progress on eradicating extreme poverty; the percentage of people around the world who lack basic necessities could fall under 10% this year.
If you are in New York next week, come see me give a talk on the future of work at the Manhattan Future of Work Summit. Manhattan’s economy will look very different in 2030; join us to understand how the future is taking shape in education, entrepreneurship, co-working and co-living. Just for Weekend Briefing subscribers: you use the promo code WESTAWAY to get 50% off your ticket. Buy your tickets now. Then come up and say hi to me. I’d love to meet you.


The first benefit corporation files for IPO. This week marked a huge milestone for the social enterprise community, Laureate Inc. – an international network of universities – as the first benefit corporation to file for its initial public offering. In their filing, they included key language about blending profit and purpose. “This has always caused us to have a culture that combines the "head" of a business enterprise—scalable, efficient and accountable for measurable results—with the "heart" of a non-profit organization—dedicated to improving lives and benefitting society. We reconcile these two concepts by delivering measurable results for our students, recognizing that when our students succeed, countries prosper and societies benefit. This means that we have always asked our stockholders and employees to recognize our commitment to put the needs of our students first.” Learn more by reading their S-1.
The Future and How to Survive It. The stratospheric gains for Western multinational corporations of the past 30 years could all but vanish in the next 10, as growth and cost savings may be reaching their limits, emerging market competitors are rising and the internet is shaping commerce. So, how do companies thrive in this brave new world? (1) Be paranoid. (2) Seek patient capital. (3) Radically self-disrupt. (4) Build new intellectual assets. (5) Go to war for talent. Learn more in Harvard Business Review.

SPONSORED BRIEFING // Out with the old… In Malcolm Gladwell’s renowned New Yorker piece “The Talent Myth,” he concluded, "If everyone had to think outside the box, maybe it was the box that needed fixing." Recently, this principle has been highlighted in several articles about companies that recognized when something wasn’t working and embraced innovative solutions. Uber streamlined the hassle of hailing a cab, while Leesa simplified mattress shopping by delivering straight to consumers’ doors. Read more about Leesa’s overhaul of the problematic traditional system in The Wall Street Journal.
As a special offer for Weekend Briefing readers, Leesa is offering $75 off the purchase of a mattress.

The World Bank says giving money to entrepreneurs might be the best jobs program. In 2011, then-Nigerian finance minister Ngoze Okonjo-Iweala launched a business plan competition in cooperation with the bank that would award $58 million in grants to 1,200 entrepreneurs who could use the money to start a new business or expand an existing one. The start-ups who received the grants were 37% more likely to survive the next three years. And more importantly, they were 22.9% more likely to grow to more than 10 workers an adjusted cost per job of some $28,136 less than government spending programs in the US. Learn more at Quartz.
Unlocking the Benefits of Self-Management Without Going All In on Holacracy. August (a client of mine) is designing a company, from the ground up, that is capable of managing itself as it grows and evolves, without the rigidness of Holocracy. The keys are: (1) Nail a memorable purpose. (2) Digitize your org to tap your network and blow up the hierarchy. (3) Distribute authority and embrace total self-management. (4) Never stop iterating. (5) Work in public. Learn more at First Round Review.
Goldman Sachs & preschoolers. Financial results at Goldman Sachs are going to look a little bit better this quarter because of the educational success of 100 or so kindergarten pupils in Utah. The students were part of a relatively new financial experiment called a social impact bond (SIB), in which Goldman put up money to pay preschool costs for students who had been expected to need special education services. When the students were tested this year — after a year in preschool — and found not to need extra help, the State of Utah paid Goldman most of the money it would have spent on special education for the children. SIBs are a very new intrument and are just being explored in the US, this is good news given the failed SIB with Goldman at Rikers Island. Learn more in the New York Times.

Find Me Unafraid. This is the story of two young people from completely different worlds: Kennedy Odede from Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, and Jessica Posner from Denver, Colorado.  Kennedy foraged for food, lived on the street and taught himself to read with old newspapers. When an American volunteer gave him the work of Mandela, Garvey, and King, teenaged Kennedy decided he was going to change his life and his community. He bought a soccer ball and started a youth empowerment group he called Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). Then in 2007, Wesleyan undergraduate Jessica Posner spent a semester abroad in Kenya working with SHOFCO. Breaking all convention, she decided to live in Kibera with Kennedy, and they fell in love. Their connection persisted, and Jessica helped Kennedy to escape political violence and fulfill his lifelong dream of an education at Wesleyan University. The book launches next week, preorder your copy here.

What your credit score says about your love life. The higher your credit score, the higher your chances of a lasting relationship. Creditworthiness is a proxy for an individual’s general trustworthiness and commitment to non-debt obligations.
Nike wants you to print your shoes at home. A top executive said 3D-printed footwear is “not that far away.”
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.