Weekend Briefing No. 167
$600 MM – Private equity firm Warburg Pincus acquired a majority equity stake in CityMD, a privately held urgent care provider in NYC. The deal values CityMD at around $600 million.
30% – Co-working spaces are set to make up 30% of the office space sector by 2030, with Asian companies - seeking out comfortable, collaborative, creative and less hierarchical environments - among the biggest customers.
19.9% – The number of available apartments and houses available for sale in Brooklyn dropped by 19.9% in Q1 of this year compared to Q1 last year. Deals are closing at the fastest pace in a decade, with 20% of deals closing higher than the asking price. It is now easier to buy a place in Manhattan than Brooklyn.
What made Xerox PARC Special?
Xerox PARC was a research lab in the 1970s that effectively created the technological underpinnings of modern computing and the internet. It was a prolific project staffed by brilliant technologists, but what made it work was the culture. Here are a few principles: 1) Fund people not projects — the scientists find the problems not the funders. So, for many reasons, you have to have the best researchers. 2) It’s “baseball” not “golf” — batting .350 is very good in a high aspiration high risk area. Not getting a hit is not failure but the overhead for getting hits. (As in baseball, an “error” is failing to pull off something that is technically feasible.) 3) Milestones not deadlines. 4) Visions not goals. Learn more at Quora (4 minutes).
Genetically Modified Astronaut
Space travel will offer a second, very powerful argument in favor of genetically modifying people. “You can’t send someone to another planet without genetically protecting them if you are able to,” he says. “That would also be unethical.” So, some scientists are starting to work on modifying human genomes to increase their chance of survival on Mars. Do you have the specific variant of EPAS1, common to Tibetans, that lets you get by with less oxygen? How about the natural mutation that results in huge, extra-lean muscles, which might counter atrophy? The DNA variant is associated with good problem-solving skills and low anxiety? If you’re to survive on Mars, you’ll probably need all those and more. Learn more at MIT Technology Review (11 minutes).
Good Capital Project
SOCAP has been the central conference in the impact investing space, but this year they are doing something new called the Good Capital Project (GCP). Whereas SOCAP is like a Turkish bazaar, GCP is a bit more orderly, a way to fit all the pieces together, more like a supply chain or a collaborative system for the capital providers to work together. Starting with a design session on June 19th, in New York, they will launch a two-year exploration of all the sources of capital that want to connect to impact investing. GCP hopes to be at the intersections to help the traffic flow between the various silos that want to connect to impact investing, to fit it in to what they are already doing. Learn more at NextBillion (9 minutes).
Transhumanism & Christianity
After losing her faith, a former evangelical Christian felt adrift in the world. She then found solace in a radical technological philosophy – but its promises of immortality and spiritual transcendence soon seemed unsettlingly familiar. Although few “transhumanists” would likely admit it, their theories about the future are a secular outgrowth of Christian eschatology. They divide all of evolution into successive epochs. We’re living in the fifth epoch, when human intelligence begins to merge with technology. Soon we will reach the “Singularity”, the point at which we will be transformed into “Spiritual Machines”. We will transfer or “resurrect” our minds onto supercomputers, allowing us to live forever. Our bodies will become incorruptible, immune to disease and decay, and we would acquire knowledge by uploading it to our brains. Nanotechnology will allow us to remake Earth into a terrestrial paradise. Learn more at The Guardian (22 minutes)
The Expert Generalist
The rival argument to the 10,000-hour rule is the expert-generalist approach. The expert-generalist is someone who has the ability and curiosity to master and collect expertise in many different disciplines, industries, skills, capabilities, countries, and topics. He or she can then: 1) Draw on that palette of diverse knowledge to recognize patterns and connect the dots across multiple areas. 2) Drill deep to focus and perfect the thinking. The business world has placed great emphasis on focus, and rightly so, but more emphasis must now be placed on curiosity. Too often, we are so pressed by the day-to-day demands of work that we aren’t making time for exploration, diving into areas entirely outside our range of experience, letting our minds run, and finding inspiration from encountering new ideas with uncertain payoffs. Learn more at The Mission (9 minutes).
The Happiness Experiment
Humans are obsessed with happiness—how to find it, how to keep it, and how to define it. We examine happiness from the perspective of economics, history, and evolutionary psychology to understand how our notion of happiness has changed over time. Quartz just launched a very cool site exploring happiness including: 1) Why the Wikipedia page for happiness has 6,000 revisions. 2) The metric for measuring happiness that’s more important than money. 3) Can we life hack our way to happiness? I personally believe that happiness is a by-product of a life well lived not the goal of the life. But, this is interesting nonetheless. Learn more at Quartz (62 minutes).
Millennial Women Breadwinners
38% of women earn more than their husband in the US, many are Millennials. According to a recent survey, when asked how they would feel if they knew right now that they would always be the breadwinner in their current marriages and relationships, words like “tired,” “exhausted,” and that special one, “resentful” turned up over and over again. One woman responded, “It's stressful. It's a huge responsibility. I pressure myself to stay in the job I'm at even if I'm unhappy there.” Though they find themselves often defending their choice in a husband. Most of these women didn’t mind being the breadwinner as long as they eventually had the option to make less, their partners contributed equally in the household, and it didn’t trap them into jobs they no longer wanted. Learn more at Refinery 29 (10 minutes).
About the Weekend Briefing
Thanks for making the Weekend Briefing a part of your Saturday morning routine. I love putting it together every week and love hearing your thoughtful insights. Feel free to shoot me an email with any feedback or suggestions. If you like what you’re reading, I’d be honored if you share it with your friends. Have a restful and thoughtful weekend.