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Weekend Briefing No. 192
Welcome to the weekend. I rarely ask you for a favor, but this week I’ve got two asks for you.
First, 192 weeks ago I started sending out the Weekend Briefing to a handful of friends. In the 3+ years since then the community has grown. We are SO CLOSE to 20,000 subscribers. I’d love to hit that milestone this week. If you find value in the Weekend Briefing, will you do me a huge favor and forward this email to 2 people you think will dig it and suggest they sign up? I’d really appreciate it.
Second, in a couple hours I’ll be lifting off for my first trip to China and Hong Kong. I’m going to be doing some work there, but would love to use the opportunity to meet cool people. If you know any entrepreneurs, activists or artists I should meet in Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong. Shoot me an email describing what they’re up to and why we should meet.
Just to say thanks for doing me a solid (or possibly two), here’s my October playlist.
28,000 – The US Postal Service has partnered with the University of Michigan to build what it’s calling an Autonomous Rural Delivery Vehicle, which it wants to launch on 28,000 rural routes nationwide as early as 2025.
2,617 – We touch, tap and swipe our phone 2,617 times a day on average.
11 – The number of undernourished people had been declining, but has recently rose to 11% of the world’s population or 815 MM people, up from 777 MM in 2015.
Getting Deals Done
I just wrapped up a busy week at SOCAP. I partnered with ADAP Capital on a bold project. After meeting entrepreneurs for the first time on Tuesday, having many discussions and a rapid, but intensive, due diligence process on Wednesday and Thursday, ADAP announced two investments of $75,000 on stage Friday morning. 1) global health-care startup Neopenda and 2) Good Nature Agro, which works with small-scale farmers in Zambia. We’ve partnered with ADAP to provide legal support for a year to these companies. It was a wild week, but fun to see investors stop talking and start doing deals. SOCAP (3 minutes)
Raoul Leering, head of international trade analysis at ING, writes that growth in 3-D printing could wipe out almost one-quarter of cross-border trade by 2060. If high-speed 3-D printing makes mass production using the tool viable, it could cause major disruption to the global flow of goods, Leering writes. About half of manufactured goods could be printed by 2060 if the current growth of investment in the technology persists, he estimates. That would cut world trade by a quarter, because it would require less labor and reduce the need to import intermediate and final goods from low-wage countries. That could cause trade deficits to narrow for major importers, though countries with a trade surplus could suffer. ING (7 minutes)
High Performance Healthcare
Mandatory medical scrubs are a billion-dollar industry that has seen little innovation, but long-time friends and colleagues, George Brown and Uli Becker (former CEO of Reebok) are out to change the industry. The two met 25 years ago while working for sports apparel giant, Adidas. Now as co-founders of Aegle Gear, they are raising the bar to meet the demands of the modern healthcare worker. Drawing upon their experience of designing gear to help athletes perform in a myriad of environments while maintaining comfort and style, the duo is now focusing on healthcare, hoping to outfit those that care for others with gear that matters. Aegle Gear tapped Whiteboard, a digital design agency, to lead the buildout of their visual language and online presence. Aegle (Sponsored Briefing)
More than 40 Catholic institutions are set to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi. The origins of the latest church action lie in last year’s climate encyclical by Pope Francis – himself named after St Francis of Assisi, a proto-environmentalist who made the case for Christians to honor God by protecting his creation. Assisi’s mayor, Stefania Proietti – a former climate mitigation professor – told the Guardian: “When we pay attention to the environment, we pay attention to poor people, who are the first victims of climate change. The Guardian (4 minutes)
The Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to Richard Thaler for his pioneering work in establishing the notion that people are predictably irrational — that they consistently behave in ways that defy economic theory. People will refuse to pay more for an umbrella during a rainstorm; they will use the savings from lower gas prices to buy premium gasoline; they will offer to buy a coffee mug for $3 and refuse to sell it for $6. Mainstream economics was built on the simplifying assumption that people behave rationally. Economists understood that this was not literally true, but they argued that it was close enough. But, in order to do good economics, it’s helpful to keep in mind that people are, in fact, human. Asked how he would spend the prize money of about $1.1 million, Professor Thaler replied, “This is quite a funny question.” He added, “I will try to spend it as irrationally as possible.” New York Times (5 minutes)
AI is coming to your therapist’s office. The artificial intelligence framework designed by researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of Utah can estimate the length of each individual relationship by analyzing the tone of voice partners use when addressing each other during problem-solving interactions. These acoustic features, once fed into the algorithm, provide cues for determining if there’s been any improvement (or deterioration) since the last therapy appointment, as well as any change in the relationship status. The algorithm’s task isn’t to determine the expiration date of a relationship, but to help improve it by gauging ups and downs, and to provide a valuable set of cues for the psychotherapist, which, combined with their own expertise, could increase their chance of improving relationships for couples in therapy. For the rest of us, this is a reminder that tone of voice plays a vital role in daily interactions. So be kind to each other and pay attention not only to the words that come out of your mouth, but also to the tone in which you convey them. Psychology Today (6 minutes)
Online Dating & Society
A new study released this week is the first real evidence that online dating is changing society. Three big predictions from this research are: 1) Most people will meet online. Today, online dating is the second most common way for heterosexual couples to meet. For homosexual couples, it is far and away the most popular. 2) Online dating will lead to almost complete racial integration. Since the advent of online dating interracial marriages have gone through the roof. 3) Couples who meet online will have a stronger marriage. Early evidence is pointing to a lower divorce rates than the general population. MIT Technology Review (5 minutes)
From the Community
About the Weekend Briefing
Thanks for making the Weekend Briefing a part of your Saturday morning routine. Feel free to shoot me an email with any feedback, insights, tips 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.