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Weekend Briefing No. 453
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
.Welcome to the weekend.
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2006—Magician David Copperfield was robbed at gunpoint in 2006, but used sleight of hand to convince the would-be robbers that his pockets were empty; they actually contained cell phones, a wallet and a passport.
91%—Most (91%) of all PPP loans have been completely or partially forgiven.
25—The MacArthur Foundation announced 25 "genius" grant winners this week.
AI Bill of Rights
The US is home to some of the world’s biggest tech and AI companies, yet it has so far been one of the only Western nations without clear guidance on how to protect its citizens against AI harms. This week, that changed. The White House unveiled a new AI Bill of Rights, which outlines five protections Americans should have in the AI age. The five protections are: (1) You should be protected from unsafe or ineffective systems. (2) You should not face discrimination by algorithms, and systems should be used and designed in an equitable way. (3) You should be protected from abusive data practices via built-in protections, and you should have agency over how data about you is used. (4) You should know that an automated system is being used, and understand how and why it contributes to outcomes that impact you. (5) You should be able to opt out, where appropriate, and have access to a person who can quickly consider and remedy problems you encounter. The White House (8 minutes)
ESG, Venture and Startups
While venture capital firms are a critical force in shaping the future as they invest in the leading startups and disruptive technologies, the startups themselves have largely been left out of the conversation when it comes to Environmental, social, and governance (ESG). Through this insight report, the World Economic Forum aims to highlight what startup and scale-up companies are thinking and doing on the ESG front, and the assistance they are seeking to ensure that they can avoid greenwashing and implement standards and strategies early on. Key findings from the report include: (1) ESG should not be approached as a stand-alone topic but be embedded into key corporate strategies and decision-making, ideally from the beginning so that it scales with a company. (Shameless plug: My law firm helps startups embed these values from the beginning. If you want to chat, shoot me a note.) (2) Having a practical and startup-friendly ESG framework or toolkit would be highly useful for companies and investors alike. (3) Support from the entire startup ecosystem, especially investors, is helpful for startups as they plan, execute and measure their ESG strategies. World Economic Forum (14 minutes)
The Fed Can’t Print Picassos
After injecting trillions of dollars into the financial system, what could go wrong? Try the worst inflation in 40 years, soaring interest rates and the stock market in a tailspin. Yet, there are still some assets that the Fed can’t replicate. Like fine art—a $1.7 trillion-dollar asset class that's outpaced the S&P 500 by more than two times in the last 25 years. A recent Goldman Sachs research report agrees: a portfolio with real assets like art has outperformed since World War II. With Masterworks, over 500,000 members are getting access to investments in multi-million dollar art, for just a fraction of the price of the entire work. While others are panic-selling at double-digit losses, Masterworks has strategically exited six positions for a 29% average net return. Weekend Briefing readers can skip their waitlist to join with this exclusive referral link. Masterworks (Sponsored)
I love typography, but I’m no graphic designer. This five-minute guide to better typography gives simple, tactical advice on how to level up your typography game. Hopefully, it will help your next website or deck really shine and make you look like a pro. Pierrick Calvez (5 minutes)
Ever wonder why some people/companies never get lucky? Well, surprisingly, it may have something to do with virtue. This article is an argument for virtue. Upside decay is when an organization gets fewer lucky breaks. Lucky breaks come through trust actions of weak ties based on a company’s virtue. If an organization begins acting without virtue, its weak ties begin to trust it less, leading to fewer lucky breaks. Examples include China and Facebook. Though strong ties are conspicuous, weak ties are inconspicuous but numerous—and help in unexpected ways. When weak ties are activated, they can be more helpful in aggregate than strong ties. But weak ties will not help an unvirtuous organization. Weak tie assistance is voluntary and altruistic. This means that people only help those companies they think are virtuous. Without weak ties, organizations resort to strong ties and hard assets. This leads them to adopt a mercantilist approach. Their zero-sum mindset alienates others and makes them even less virtuous because their positive-sum actions are now viewed suspiciously by others. Left with no choice but to double down on their zero-sum approach, they’ll antagonize all their weak ties and enter upside decay. Brian Lui (7 minutes)
A Thing I Like
Every once in a while, I come across something I really dig. That was the case with read.cv. I can’t remember how I stumbled across them, but they make it super easy to build a clean homepage to show off your work. It’s so much more beautiful than LinkedIn. I use it as my personal website. They aren’t a sponsor. But if you want to look good online, you may want to check them out. read.cv (2 minutes)
Climbing the Wrong Hill
How can smart, ambitious people like yourself stay working in an area where you have no long-term ambitions? You may be climbing the wrong hill. You know (or at least believe) you want to end up at the top of a different hill than the one you are presently climbing. You can see that higher hill from where you stand. But the lure of the current hill is strong. There is a natural human tendency to make the next step an upward one. You end up falling for a common trap highlighted by behavioral economists: people tend to systematically overvalue near-term over long-term rewards. This effect seems to be even stronger in more ambitious people. Their ambition seems to make it hard for them to forgo the nearby upward step. People early in their career should meander and randomly drop themselves into new parts of the terrain. When they find the highest hill, don’t waste any more time on the current hill no matter how much better the next step up might appear. Chris Dixon (6 minutes)
Should We Work Together?
Hi! I’m Kyle. This newsletter is my passion project. When I’m not writing, I run a law firm that helps startups move fast without breaking things. Most founders want a trusted legal partner, but they hate surprise legal bills. At Westaway, we take care of your startup’s legal needs for a flat, 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.
Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. – John F. Kennedy
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