Weekend Briefing No. 474
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the weekend.
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30—Flexible electronic bandages are shown to speed wound healing by as much as 30% in demonstration study.
20—About 20% of this Winter 2023 batch of Y Combinator is working on artificial intelligence.
3—Global CO2 would have been three times higher in 2022 if it wasn’t for clean energy.
Curiosity is super important to me. It’s one of our family’s core values, and I suppose it’s why I enjoy researching and writing this briefing every week. Curiosity has magical benefits. It keeps you young, helps you learn and fosters better relationships. But, according to studies, we become less curious as we grow older. So, here are some tips to cultivate curiosity: 1) Ask questions. 2) Read outside of your field. 3) Be inquisitive about what your friends find interesting and why. 4) Practice saying less. 5) Immerse yourself in a topic. 6) Write. 7) Carry a notebook. 8) Learn about yourself. 9) Slow down. 10) Hang out with a child. Ness Labs (6 minutes)
What about you? How do you cultivate curiosity?
Decentralized Social Networking
Nearly every social media platform has a personalized social graph of your online behavior. If a user has built up thousands of followers on Instagram or Twitter, they can’t take those established relationships (or any connected data) with them to a different platform. Instead, they would need to rebuild their social connections from scratch. The high switching cost of the countless hours spent carefully curating friendships and connections creates a powerful disincentive. Project Liberty is building the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP). DSNP is designed to put users in control of their own data, so we can choose what to keep private and what we choose to share. New applications and social media apps that choose to build on top of DSNP will operate in fundamentally different ways from today’s platforms and applications: 1) Users will have control of their data and how it is used. 2) Users will be able to use one, universal social graph across all their social media apps. Project Liberty (8 minutes)
The Future of Investing is Remote
“90% of all millionaires become so through owning real estate.” We’ve all heard the famous quote. But how? In high-cost-of-living cities, buying a primary residence can seem impossible—let alone investing in a single-family rental property. What if there was a way to invest in real estate 100% remotely? Mynd is the first and only end-to-end real estate platform that helps investors find, buy, lease and manage residential investment properties. Get expert guidance on how and when to purchase in hot markets—right at your fingertips from anywhere in the world. Take your investment portfolio to the next level with Mynd. Mynd (Sponsored)
The Drone War
The war in Ukraine is dominated by cheap Chinese-made consumer drones. This is a volunteer drone war. In both Russia and Ukraine, people with prior drone experience have volunteered for the war effort, both to fly drones themselves and to provide training and technical support to others. While both Ukraine and Russia are working furiously to spin up their own in-country drone-manufacturing projects, they still need access to huge quantities of consumer, off-the-shelf drones. The Chinese DJI Mavic is by far the most popular. They are primarily being used for surveillance. But some modified drones can be rigged up to drop a grenade or be packed with explosives and used as a kamikaze-style bomb. There’s even at least one reported case of surrender by drone. In late November 2022, a Russian Wagner fighter surrendered not to a human, but to a drone. As the aerial camera watched, he threw down his weapon and began walking in the direction of Ukrainian lines—and he lived to tell the tale for Telegram. Foreign Policy (12 minutes)
Attempts to build the “Amazon of Africa” have notoriously really struggled to gain traction. Traditional brick-and-mortar retail is out of reach for many Kenyans. So, for the Kenyans who cannot afford the convenience and cost of weekly shopping trips to shiny retail outlets, digital commerce delivered through corner shops and WhatsApp is becoming popular. African e-commerce companies such as Kapu, Copia and Tushop, whose business models involve selling directly to consumers through small shopkeepers that act as ordering and collection agents, are digital replicas of the earliest forms of the mail-order businesses. Rather than e-commerce, it’s agent commerce. Techcabal (9 minutes)
How to Apologize
I am a firm believer that we should all be saying “I’m sorry” more often than we do. This article breaks down the six components of a good apology. 1) Say you’re sorry or that you apologize. Actually use the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize.” 2) Name or specify the infraction you’re apologizing for. 3) Show you understand why your actions were harmful and hurtful, and the effect it had on the other person. 4) Don’t make excuses, but offer an explanation if needed. 5) Say what you are doing to ensure this situation won’t happen again. 6) Offer to fix what’s broken—whether that’s buying your aunt a new lamp you knocked off a table at Thanksgiving or offering to spend more time with a friend who feels neglected. Vox (7 minutes)
Three Types of Friendship
There are three types of friendships: (1) Deal friends: Those utilitarian relationships that help your career. (2) Buddies: Your college friends. Your mom friends. Your surf friends. They play a vital role in our connective social tissue. But many of these friendships seem to wither with time (particularly for men). It’s often largely due to circumstances (moving, work, child-raising). Perhaps as we age, we also recognize that there’s more to life than our shared experiences. (3) True friends: Buddies are people you do stuff with. Friends are people who are committed to you becoming wiser, and you’re committed to them becoming wiser. RadReads (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 one-on-one call with me.
My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me. -Henry Ford