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Weekend Briefing No. 440
Weekend Briefing - A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the weekend.
8,000,000,000 – A new report from the United Nations projects that the population of Earth will hit 8 billion on November 15 of this year, with further projections putting global populations at 8.5 billion by 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050. Over half of that increase will be from only eight countries.
373,000,000 – Sales of cold brew coffee ordered at quick-serve restaurants was up 27 percent in the 12 months ending April 2022, hitting about 373 million servings.
69 – 69% of U.S. journalists who say Twitter is the social media site they use most or second-most for their jobs. Meanwhile, only 13% of U.S. adults say they get regularly get news on Twitter.
Rookie Startup Legal Mistakes
Future of the Metaverse
Hype? Hope? Hell? Maybe all three. Experts are split about the likely evolution of a truly immersive ‘metaverse.’ They expect that augmented- and mixed-reality enhancements will become more useful in people’s daily lives. Many worry that current online problems may be magnified if Web3 development is led by those who built today’s dominant web platforms. Two meta insights about the metaverse are: (1) Augmented and mixed-reality will be more prevalent than fully immersive virtual reality. (2) The metaverse can be engineered to serve people better than the current version of the internet. Dive deeper to see what the experts are saying. Pew Research (16 minutes)
Hidden Problem with Customer Churn
Have you ever received an email or app notification saying your credit card needs to be updated (even though it’s perfectly fine)? This is known as involuntary churn and is likely occurring to your own customers. Involuntary churn occurs when payments are falsely flagged as fraud and aren’t recovered as a result. This might sound like a niche problem, but it actually isn’t. Most subscription companies are missing 2-5% of their ARR simply due to these failed payments, which ends up accounting for more than $440 billion a year in losses! It’s a serious market problem that’s hiding in clear sight. Do you think this is insane? So does the team at Butter. That was the driving force behind their product. If you’re interested in seeing why involuntary churn occurs check out Butter's Guide to Involuntary Churn. Butter (Sponsored)
Rattled by the most recent wave of strict Covid lockdowns in China, the long-time manufacturing hub of choice for multinationals, CEOs have been highlighting plans to relocate production -- using the buzzwords onshoring, reshoring or nearshoring -- at a greater clip this year than they even did in the first six months of the pandemic, according to a review of earnings call and conference presentations transcribed by Bloomberg. (Compared to pre-pandemic periods, these references are up over 1,000%.) The construction of new manufacturing facilities in the US has soared 116% over the past year, dwarfing the 10% gain on all building projects combined. There are massive chip factories going up in Phoenix: Intel is building two just outside the city; Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing is constructing one there as well. And aluminum and steel plants are being erected all across the south: in Bay Minette, Alabama (Novelis); in Osceola, Arkansas (US Steel); and in Brandenburg, Kentucky (Nucor). Up near Buffalo, all this new semiconductor and steel output is fueling orders for air compressors that will be cranked out at an Ingersoll Rand plant that had been shuttered for years. Bloomberg (6 minutes)
Is entrepreneurship becoming more diverse in the United States? This brief details trends in the share of new entrepreneurs by sex, race and ethnicity, age, and nativity in the U.S. between 1996 and 2020. (1) In 2020, about 4 in 10 new entrepreneurs were women, consistent with recent years but reflecting an overall larger gap since 1996. (2) In 2020, more than half of new entrepreneurs were white and about 1 in 5 were Latino. Between 2019 and 2020, the share of new entrepreneurs who were Black increased slightly, and the share who were Asian, Latino, and white decreased slightly. The overall trend since 1996 has been a decline in the share of new entrepreneurs who are white, and an increase in the share who are Asian, Black, and Latino. (3) New entrepreneurs were largely under 44 years old in 1996, and were more likely to represent all ages by 2020. (4) More than 1 in 4 new entrepreneurs in 2020 were foreign-born, more than double the share in 1996. Kaufman Foundation (12 minutes)
Equal, Plus, Minus
Many of us are held back by the idea of ourselves that our egos have built and will do anything to maintain. Oftentimes this manifests as a fear of failure, an inability to start on new projects, or the evasion of responsibility. Here’s a tactic: “equal, plus, minus” In this system, a person should have a friend who is their equal, better, and lessor in their field. When you’re working on starting a project, turn to your equals to stay motivated and to remind you that you’re all in the same boat. When coming off a success, turn to your better, who could be an accomplished mentor, to keep your ego from growing too much. Lastly, when you’ve failed, have somebody who you’re a mentor to around to explain the failing; that’ll help you realize that failure is just part of the process. These three kinds of people can help you keep your ego in check and help you get over the pitfalls that prevent you from starting your projects, admitting failure, or moving forward after a win. Big Think (6 minutes)
Rules for Life
Author Russ Roberts shares 12 rules for life in this post. Here are a few of my favorite: (1) Learn to enjoy saying “I don’t know”. (2) Find something healthy to worship. (Hint: Not yourself.) (3) If your child offers you their hand, take it. (4) Be kind – everyone’s in a battle. Medium (6 minutes)
Why We're Polarized by Ezra Klein. Klein shows us that America’s political system isn’t broken. The truth is scarier: It’s working exactly as designed. In this Klein reveals how that system is polarizing us - and how we are polarizing it - with disastrous results. Why We’re Polarized reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America’s descent into division and dysfunction. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump’s rise to the Democratic Party’s leftward shift to the politicization of everyday culture. Buy Now
Most Read Last Week
Compounding Returns - Will your future self be proud of your daily rituals and habits today?
No Response - When it’s, “Heads I lose, and tails I lose,” the smart choice is to avoid the coin toss.
Moral Courage - Moral courage is the commitment to act upon one’s values regardless of the difficulty or personal cost.
Funding Fridays is a briefing about the data and trends in startup funding. I send it out on the first Friday of each month. If you’re interested, click here to subscribe to Funding Fridays.
Web3 Impact is a briefing I co-write with Banks Benitez about how Web3 is making the world a better place. We send it out on the third Thursday of each month. If you’re interested, click here to subscribe to Web3 Impact.
Should We Work Together?
This newsletter is my passion project. When I’m not writing, I run a law firm for startups. Most entrepreneurs want a trusted legal partner, but they hate surprise legal bills. At Westaway, we take care of your startup’s legal needs for a fixed-monthly fee so you can control your costs and focus on scaling your business. If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit for the firm. Click here to schedule a call.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. – Winston Churchill