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Weekend Briefing No. 252
Welcome to the weekend. If you’re feeling in the holiday mood, check out my Ultimate Christmas playlist.
$22 MM – A 7-year-old toy reviewer is officially YouTube’s highest-earner of 2018. Ryan of Ryan Toysreview brought in $22m of that sweet, American tickle cash this year alone.
360 – Robots are coming to Walmart. The world’s largest retailer is rolling out 360 autonomous floor-scrubbing robots in some of its U.S. stores by the end of the January.
62 – Only 62 of 40,000 employees resigned when Dick’s Sporting Goods changed its gun policy.
Start-Ups Aren’t Cool Anymore
It’s always fun to have that start-up idea, but for more and more Millennials, those ideas are abandoned and they are focusing instead on their steady corporate jobs. Research suggests entrepreneurial activity has declined among Millennials. The share of people under 30 who own a business has fallen to almost a quarter-century low. Millennials are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation in recent history. A lack of personal savings, competition from abroad, and the threat of another economic downturn make it harder for Millennials to thrive as entrepreneurs. While the Austrian American economist Joseph Schumpeter is best known for his 1942 paper describing his theory of “creative destruction,” the process of disrupting existing industries through business innovation or technological change, few people know about another prediction he made: He believed that innovation would gradually become an embedded process within large corporations. In many ways, Schumpeter predicted the internal innovation hubs of corporate giants like Amazon and SAP. With incumbents making innovation part of their established routines, he theorized, they would gradually squeeze out the traditional entrepreneur. The Atlantic (10 minutes)
Innovation of the Year
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is officially the fastest thing ever made by humans, reaching a top speed of 430,000 miles per hour as it makes its 7-year mission in the sun’s outer corona. The probe, which launched in August, will orbit our star, getting closer than any spacecraft ever has before. Despite encountering temperatures north of 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, most of the probe’s four sensitive instrument suites will remain a cool 85 degrees. This is thanks to an eight-foot-wide, 160-pound heat shield made of carbon foam 4.5 inches thick and coated with a layer of superheated carbon. The foam is so light that, here on Earth, 97 percent of the mass was occupied by air—that doesn’t leave much solid matter for the Sun to heat, keeping the craft cool. Check out this and the other most innovative inventions of the year. Popular Science (12 minutes)
Drone Delivery in Helsinki
Alphabet’s Wing spinoff is set to launch a drone delivery service in Helsinki, Finland’s capital, in spring next year, the company has announced. It will just be a small-scale trial, with the drones only able to carry packages weighing up to 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) on a round trip of up to 20 miles. Wing is pitching the drones as an environmentally friendly choice, claiming they have a carbon footprint less than a 20th that of traditional deliveries. Wing graduated from Google’s X division in July to become a separate company, after six years of development. MIT Technology Review (3 minutes)
Lyfting the Minimum Wage
Drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ridehailing companies will soon get a minimum wage in New York City. On Tuesday, the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission voted on a minimum pay formula to protect ridehailing drivers from being underpaid by companies. Under the new policy, drivers will earn a minimum take-home wage of $17.22 per hour. That's the ridehailing equivalent of a $15 minimum wage, accounting for the fact that those drivers have to pay payroll taxes and do not receive paid time off, the TLC said. The move, which will go into effect in 30 days, is expected to raise the average driver's pay by $9,600 per year, according to the proposal. CNN (5 minutes)
In 1996, Southwest Airlines was faced with an interesting problem.During the previous decade, the airline company had methodically expanded from being a small regional carrier to one with a more national presence. And now, more than 100 cities were calling for Southwest to expand service to their location. At a time when many airline companies were losing money or going bankrupt, Southwest was overflowing with opportunity. So what did they do? Southwest turned down over 95% of the offers and began serving just 4 new locations in 1996. They left significant growth on the table. Why would a business turn down so much opportunity? And more importantly, what can we learn from this story to put to use in our own lives? The answer has to do with the upper bound. James Clear (7 minutes)
A daredevil photographer, an aspiring swimsuit model, and a midwest girl next door are all looking for the same things from their Instagram account–a little love, acceptance and, of course, fame. And they’ll do just about anything to get it. With an observational eye the documentary Social Animals peeks into the digital and real worlds of today’s image-focused teenager, where followers, likes and comments mark success and self-worth. It is a nuanced and judgment-free look at how life works for kids in the digital age. Check out the trailer and watch the film. Social Animals (2 minutes)
Parenting Resilient Kids
These are common practices of parents who raise resilient kids: 1) Let them struggle. The parents who teach their kids that struggle is a necessary part of growth are the ones who raise well-adjusted kids. The worst thing parents can do is rescue their kids too much. 2) Don’t condone a victim mentality. When there is an injustice, a parent’s tendency is to make things fair: to advocate for our kids, to side with them, just reinforces to them that they’re the victim. It leads to learned helplessness. Parents need to tell their kids that life isn’t fair but that they are strong enough to handle the unfairness. 3) But, don’t just tell them to ‘buck up’. Letting kids struggle is important, but don’t tell them to just deal with it. You validate their emotions in the struggle. Fatherly (7 minutes)
Bureaucracy is not an obstacle to democracy but an inevitable complement to it. – Joseph Shumpeter
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Photo by Andy Dutton.