Weekend Briefing No. 459
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the weekend.
Did your brilliant friend forward this to you?
38— The percentage of top 10 hits that are less than three minutes long is up to 38% this year, up from just 4 percent in 2016.
8%—Cement making accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions.
28.4%—Home sales declined for the ninth straight month in October. Sales were 28.4% lower year over year.
I’m purposely not partisan in this newsletter and rarely touch on politics because, let’s face it, we could all use a break from that in our life. That being said, if a genie granted me two wishes to improve the American political system, I’d wish for campaign finance reform and an end to gerrymandering. I believe those two reforms would force the political machine to be more responsive to their constituents and reduce polarization. This podcast episode is one of the best pieces of content I’ve come across about gerrymandering. It gets into the minutia about how hard it is to draw a fair map. Though this podcast focuses on Ohio, which has a Republican majority, a similar battle has been happening in my home state of New York, which has a Democratic majority. This is not a partisan issue; both parties will gerrymander when they’re in power. How can we change this? This American Life (63 minutes)
Four-Day Work Week
Companies in the United Kingdom are about to complete the biggest trial of a four-day work week ever undertaken, anywhere in the world. The program's thesis was a provocative one. For six months, these companies would reduce their workers' hours by 20% to 32 hours a week while continuing to pay them 100% of their pay. Eighty-six percent said they will likely continue the four-day workweek policy. Managers and workers have generally reported being equally or more productive in a shortened week. They reported improved health and general well-being, as well as reduced stress and burnout. One big finding was that people who work fewer hours in the week tend to get more sleep, which almost everyone in the scientific community agrees is key to productivity. Planet Money (8 minutes)
Inflation, Volatility and Profits
With stock darlings like TSLA tumbling, many experts coined one overlooked asset “bulletproof.” Gold? Pet rocks? Golden pet rocks? Try fine art. On the same day, the Dow fell 600 points, and Bitcoin plunged to its lowest levels since 2020, buyers purchased $1.6 billion worth of art in 24 hours. The super-wealthy view art as a stable investment amid a tumultuous global economy. Here’s why: 1) 13.8% annual appreciation (1995–2021) 2) Near 0 correlation to stocks 3) Value may not drop when you-know-who tweets. But what good is this if only the .01% wealthiest people can capitalize on this asset? Well, now you can too with Masterworks.com. All offerings are SEC qualified and their track record is solid. Their last three offerings handed members 17.8%, 21.5%, and 33.1% net returns. Want to see what's available? You can get priority access right here. Masterworks (Sponsored)
With more teams being understaffed, chances are you’ve been asked to take on more work. Top performers are a prime target for additional requests. But you need to be careful about what you agree to take on. In this piece, the author outlines when it’s best to say no to taking on more work: 1) When your primary job responsibilities will suffer. 2) When it’s someone else’s work. 3) When there’s no clear exit strategy. 4) When the ask is unreasonable. Harvard Business Review (6 minutes)
Art + AI
Artificial intelligence can now make better art than most humans. Soon, these engines of wow will transform how we design just about everything. All our lives, we have been reassured that computers were incapable of being truly creative. Yet, suddenly, millions of people are now using a new breed of AIs to generate stunning, never-before-seen pictures. Now everyone can launch an AI image generator and type in an idea. What appears on the screen is astounding in its realism and depth of detail. Thus the universal response: Wow. With a paintbrush in hand, artificial intelligence has become an engine of wow. For the first time in history, humans can conjure up everyday acts of creativity on demand, in real time, at scale, for cheap. Synthetic creativity is a commodity now. Ancient philosophers will turn in their graves, but it turns out that to make creativity—to generate something new—all you need is the right code. WIRED (14 minutes)
To maintain love, we need more than anything to follow a few simple-sounding rules (that can nevertheless be very hard): 1) The partner must feel heard. 2) They must feel we are on their side. 3) They must feel appreciated according to their own distinctive love language. 4) The partner must know we are making an effort in their name. 5) They must feel wanted, emotionally and physically. 6) In so far as we are difficult to be around (and we all are), we must explain why; we need to give our partner an accurate map to our areas of immaturity. 7) We must strive to remain calm around their most trying sides. We mustn’t humiliate them about their flaws. We must become excellent teachers and diplomats of difficult messages. School of Life (5 minutes)
Here are 10 visuals that will make you think. Some of my favorites are: 1) Seek long-term purpose, not short-term dopamine. 2) Self-validation will free you from all kinds of validation. 3) Make big plans, and enjoy little things. Harsh Darji (4 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 1-on-1 call with me.
What is Art? It is the response of man's creative soul to the call of the Real. – Rabindranath Tagore