Weekend Briefing No. 89

Welcome to the weekend. This week Obama released the details of his climate policy. Justin Trudeau (a Disney prince lookalike) scored an unexpected win at the polls to become Canada’s new Prime Minister. Xi Jinping got the royal treatment in England while Syrian president Bashar al-Asaad made a surprise visit to see his new BFF Valdimir Putin. And of course, Hillary got grilled at yet another congressional hearing on Bengazi.

On Tuesday I’ll be in Cambridge, MA giving a talk about Structuring Your Social Venture for Impact at Harvard’s iLab. It’s a free and public event, so if you are interested, get your tickets now before they’re all gone. I’d love to meet you, so come up and say hi after.


Land, capital & attention. There have been two fundamental scarcities in human history and we are now moving on to the third. The first scarcity to emerge was land. We started out as hunter-gatherers and eventually developed planting and harvesting and domesticated animals. The next big technology arrived in the form of machines and industrial production. Where is the new scarcity? It is human attention. Learn more about the implications of scarcity in attention at Continuations.

Greenwashing. VW isn’t the only company that tries to portray itself as more environmentally friendly than it actually is. In the rush to be seen as green, companies often exaggerate claims, or simply make things up. More and more firms have been combining poor environmental performance with positive communication about environmental performance. And regulators have found greenwashing nearly impossible to stop. Learn more in the Revalued column of the New York Times.

Young & mindful. Fact: the younger the investors, the more they care about values. According to a white paper from global investment manager Standard Life Investments, investors 18-24 had the strongest inclination to invest in companies with a positive environmental and social impact. The survey found that nearly half (48%) of respondents affiliate with some form of ‘principles-led’ investment, and 45% feel strongly about the environment. A staggering 63% were confident in thinking that values-based investing delivers the same or better financial returns. Just 27% have no ethical concerns that would impact investment decisions. Learn more in Forbes.

How to get acquired. Most startups envision a world where their company is wildly successful and is acquired for hundreds of millions of dollars by some big tech giant. But how does that actually happen? There are a lot of myths out there like: 1) Acquisitions happen quickly. 2) How much money I am losing doesn’t matter. It’s all about revenue growth and momentum. 3) My chances of getting acquired increase a lot after someone else in my space gets acquired. Venture Capitalist Patrick Mennan busts myths about acquisitions in this insightful post.

Fetzer Wines gains B Corp Certification. But it wasn’t easy. Fetzer Vineyards manages 388.5 hectares [960 acres] of organic grape-growing farmland, supports its operations on 100% renewable energy, and can brag being the first certified zero waste winery. Fetzer, already organic and zero waste certified, barely passed their B Corp assessment, literally. The B Corp assessment scores applicants on a scale between 1 and 200, with a minimum score of 80 required. Fetzer scored an 80. Learn more about the B Corp certification process in The Guardian.


Elon Musk & Sam Altman. The C.E.O. of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk, and Y Combinator president Sam Altman foresee tech’s next innovations in this conversation Moderated by Andrew Ross Sorkin, of The New York Times and CNBC.


Life inside an Amazon warehouse. This fascinating long form piece takes a look at what life in the “just in time” labor economy looks like from the perspective of one man named Jeff who died on the floor of an Amazon fulfillment center in Virginia.

Parents should let children fail. Kids’ happiness should not be valued above competence and autonomy. In related news, young Americans are unhappy because they’re delusional. They think too highly of themselves and expect too much from others.


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.