Weekend Briefing No. 96


Weekend Briefing No. 96 | African Talent, Millennials, Splitting Equity, Africa & Clean Energy, Policing Drones


Welcome to the weekend. This week Beijing raised its first red alert for smog. Schools and factories were closed and traffic restrictions were put in place on Thursday Meanwhile, negotiators at the Paris summit on climate change aim to wrap up a global agreement to curb climate change today – a day later than expected. The Syrian rebels are leaving Homs. Under a ceasefire agreement, the city will pass back entirely into government control. Spotify tweaked its approach to free music. The music streaming service plans to allow some artists to make albums available only to its paid subscribers, and not to the company’s free listener base.



Is the next Mark Zuckerberg in Africa? My friend Jeremy Johnson, founder of Andela thinks so. With more than one billion people, approximately 60% of them under the age of 25, and more than 25% of these young people out of work in many places, Africa is home to the world’s largest pool of untapped brainpower and talent. In the past, there was no scalable, cost-effective way to leverage and empower this human capital. But technology is quickly upending this paradigm, especially when it comes to identifying technical and quantitative aptitude. If the digital revolution began in dorm rooms and Silicon Valley, its future will be written in Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg. Learn more in the Wall Street Journal.

Who are Millennials? A recent Bloomberg View survey answers that question. 1) Millennials are the biggest generation — and they’re surprisingly diverse. 2) They are politically independent, with some surprising views on gun control and abortion. 3) They wait longer than any previous generation to get married, buy a house and have children. (I’m 0 for 3 on that one… does that make me a classic Millennial?) Learn more at Bloomberg.

How should you split equity among co-founders? Keep in mind 3 things: 1.) It takes 7 to 10 years to build a company of great value. Small variations in year one do not justify massively different founder equity splits in year 2-10. 2.)More equity = more motivation. Almost all startups fail. The more motivated the founders, the higher the chance of success. Getting a larger piece of the equity pie is worth nothing if the lack of motivation on your founding team leads to failure. 3.) Startups are about execution, not about ideas. Dramatically unequal founder equity splits which give preference to the person who came up with the idea is illogical. So, YC recommends something controversial – equal equity splits among cofounders. Learn more at Macro.

Will Africa be the cleanest continent? Africa currently loses 4% of its GDP due to a lack of clean energy. So, this week in Paris, all of the African heads of state announced the African Renewable Energy Initiative (Arei), which plans to develop at least 10 GW of new renewable energy generation capacity by 2020, and at least 300 GW by 2030, potentially making the continent the cleanest in the world. The plan to accelerate solar, hydro, wind and geothermal energy could see Africa leapfrogging other continents by developing thousands of small-scale “virtual power stations” that distribute electricity via mini-grids and would not require transmission lines. Learn more in the Guardian.

Who’s policing the drones? Tokyo’s police force has introduced an elite fleet of interceptor drones designed to chase and catch suspicious-looking drones in nets flying over sensitive locations amid concerns for the prime minister’s safety. Riot police will control the camera-equipped interceptor drones to chase after private drones they feel may be spying on buildings, including the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office, and ensnare them in large nets before returning to the ground. Watch a video of one in action at the Telegraph.




Would Jesus wear a sidearm? In this short op-doc, a prominent leader of the Christian right explains why he left the Republican Party over guns.





What happened this year? It’s that time of year, everybody’s pulling out their annual retrospectives, so let’s dive in. This year’s Facebook wrap up video focuses on events as monumental as the Syrian refugee crisis, and as ephemeral as the diversionary flashpoint of nothing that was #TheDress, presenting them as we saw them all year: as FB status updates. But if photos are more your speed, you’ll want to check the top photos of the year according to The Atlantic and the AP. But honestly, who could resist clicking on top 10 viral animal videos of the year?



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.