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Weekend Briefing No. 388
Welcome to the weekend.
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3.5 million—The U.S. State Department is dealing with a flood of passport renewal applications, with the Postal Service fielding 3.5 million applications for a passport in the first six months of this year, up from 3.2 million over the same period of 2019.
24—Max Martin has the third-most Billboard No. 1 hits of any songwriter in history with 24, behind only Paul McCartney (32) and John Lennon (26).
5.4—June U.S. consumer prices increased 5.4 percent over the last year, the largest gain since 2008.
In this podcast, celebrated restaurateur Danny Meyer discusses the intersection between hospitality and humanity, and why we’re all invested in the hospitality business. He defines hospitality and how to deliver it the right way, how to scale a feeling, whether Meyer is a bricklayer or a mason, hiring great people, why restaurants that survive more than one year still sometimes fail, and so much more. One key takeaway is hospitality exists when you believe that the person on the other side of the transaction is on your side, when you trust that they’re on your side. Farnam Street (57 minutes)
BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink told global leaders the World Bank and International Monetary Fund are outdated and require a total overhaul if they’re to marshal the trillions of dollars in investment needed to bring sustainability to the developing world. Specifically, he called for a “rethink” of their role as financiers. Instead of lending money themselves to promote development and economic stability, the World Bank and IMF would be more useful in the transition to clean energy as insurers that reduce risk for private investors. Fink commented in prepared remarks to the Venice International Conference on Climate, part of the weekend meetings of the Group of 20 in Italy. Bloomberg (6 minutes)
That's the current size of the once inaccessible world of fine art. Deloitte reports that the overall art market is expected to grow from its current $1.7 trillion by an additional $900 billion in just 5 years. Founded by serial tech entrepreneurs and top-100 art collectors, one little-known fintech startup has become the premiere platform for art investing. Demand is up and it's no surprise why: contemporary art prices outpaced S&P 500 returns by 174% from 1995 through 2020, besting gold and real estate returns by nearly 2x. Over 185,000 early adopters have signed up and when I see that much demand, my ears perk up. Unlock this $1.7 trillion asset class today with my private Weekend Briefing link. (Important disclaimers apply) (Sponsored)
Tinder for Founders
After months of beta testing, Y Combinator has launched a co-founder matching platform. The platform invites entrepreneurs to create profiles, which include information about themselves and preferences for a co-founder, such as location and skill sets. It digests that information and offers a number of potential candidates that fit those needs—kind of like Tinder for co-founders. To date, the accelerator says it has made 9K matches across 4.5K founders. TechCrunch (5 minutes)
Crypto and Music
Crypto has the potential to close this gap between musician and fan. Where fans have always been on the floor of the arena looking up at the artist, with crypto, for the first time ever, fans and performers earn together. Fans are holders of a token demonstrating their super fandom and can use that token as an access pass to exclusive content, NFTs, experiences, and communities of their favorite artists. Artists can offer goods and services in exchange for their own currency, and both fans and creators can participate in the growth and success of this economy. Crypto allows performers of all levels to own their financial relationship with fans instead of relying on the traditional record label system and/or tech giants to serve as a middleman. Artists are using NFTs to earn years’ worth of streaming revenue in one day and unlock unique experiences for fans without relying on a centralized platform to facilitate it. Fast Company (7 minutes)
Computer Designed Organisms
Computer Designed Organisms (CDOs) are organisms made of biological material. A new method allows computers to automatically design new organisms in simulation, and the best designs are then built by combining different biological tissues. What is the big picture here? Is it just about robots made of frog cells? More importantly, how do cells cooperate to build complex, functional bodies? How do they know what to build and what signals do they exchange to enable them to build them? This is important not only to understand the evolution of body shapes and the functions of the genome, but for all of biomedicine. Aside from infectious disease, pretty much all other problems of medicine boil down to the control of anatomy. If we could make 3D biological form on demand, we could repair birth defects, reprogram tumors into normal tissue, regenerate after traumatic injury or degenerative disease, and defeat aging. Check out the videos and the article to understand more. Github (7 minutes)
After a prolonged period of social isolation, Americans are dusting off their social calendars. But as Americans try to rebuild and reconnect, a new survey conducted by the Survey Center on American Life finds that the social landscape is far less favorable than it once was. Over the past three decades, the number of close friends Americans have has plummeted. This friendship recession is particularly bad for men. The percentage of men with at least six close friends fell by half since 1990, from 55 percent to 27 percent. The study also found the percentage of men without any close friends jumped from 3 percent to 15 percent, a fivefold increase. The bad news doesn’t end there. Not only do men have smaller friendship circles, but they report being less emotionally connected to the friends they do have. Both men and women benefit from developing strong emotional bonds with their friends, but women are more successful in establishing these types of relationships. The study finds that women report far higher rates of emotional engagement with and support from their friends. This type of intimacy matters. Americans who receive regular emotional support from their friends are far less likely to report feeling anxious or alone than those who do not, and this is true independent of how many friends they have. National Review (7 minutes)
Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert. Frank Herbert's final novel in the Magnificent Dune Chronicles—the bestselling science fiction adventure of all time. The desert planet Arrakis, called Dune, has been destroyed. The remnants of the Old Empire have been consumed by the violent matriarchal cult known as the Honored Matres. Only one faction remains a viable threat to their total conquest—the Bene Gesserit, heirs to Dune’s power. Under the leadership of Mother Superior Darwi Odrade, the Bene Gesserit have colonized a green world on the planet Chapterhouse and are turning it into a desert, mile by scorched mile. And once they’ve mastered breeding sandworms, the Sisterhood will control the production of the greatest commodity in the known galaxy—the spice melange. But their true weapon remains a man who has lived countless lifetimes—a man who served under the God Emperor Paul Muad’Dib. Amazon
Most Read Last Week
Joy Generator—NPR has created a Joy Generator. So let’s play!
The Godfather of Influence—Social psychologist Robert Cialdini has been called "The Godfather of Influence." He has earned an international reputation as an expert in the field of persuasion, compliance and negotiation. In other words, Cialdini is a master at understanding human incentives and behavior.
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Friends are the siblings God never gave us. -Mencius
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