Discover more from Weekend Briefing
Weekend Briefing No. 505
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the weekend.
Hello from Las Vegas! I’m here to see U2 perform at the Sphere. Check out my instagram for photos / videos.
100 — The price of Chinese-made LFP and NMC lithium-ion batteries has dropped below $100 per kilowatt-hour, a key threshold for affordability.
30 — Here’s a ranking of the research and development (R&D) investment of the top 10 biggest companies on the Nasdaq. Meta is the top investor. They spend 30% of revenue on R&D.
2:00:35 — The Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum ran 2 hours 0 minutes 35 seconds last weekend in the Chicago Marathon to shatter the men’s world record.
U2 in Vegas
If you’ve been a reader for a while, you know that I’m a huge U2 fan. Bono has changed my life. I’d love to meet him one day and give him my gratitude in person. Last night, I saw them play the Sphere. It was a surreal experience. In many ways, a band like U2 playing the Sphere is almost like creating a new audio-visual art form. It’s the future of live performance for sure. This longform interview video with Zane Lowe is really good. 1) They take an exclusive look into Las Vegas' most innovative performance venue as it was still under construction. 2) Bono reflects on the invention of stadium rock by the Beatles and muses about what the future of live music in general might look like. 3) They discuss faith and luck, how Elvis and Las Vegas impacted Achtung Baby, and meeting Sinatra in Vegas in the ‘80s. Apple Music (26 minutes)
Women’s Economic Power
When the global agenda gets crowded, gender equality is one of the first items to fall off. It is treated as a distraction from the world’s most pressing problems, even though the data made clear it’s a central part of the solution. Decades of research has shown that when women can fully participate in economies, it increases financial stability for their households, helps families recover more quickly from shocks and supports a country’s resilience. The data show a correlation between women’s economic agency and reduced poverty, and experts consider such agency essential to food security. What’s more, it fuels growth: New figures from Eurasia Group indicate that if policymakers prioritized investments in women’s economic power, the global economy could grow by an additional 7%, or $10 trillion, by 2030. The case for investing in women’s economic power has never been so urgent, so promising or so actionable. The Gates Foundation (7 minutes)
Historically High 36% Growth With Lower Risk?
If you’re looking to invest without the day-to-day volatility of the stock market, then you need to check out Masterworks. Their unique art-investing platform allows you to invest in shares of paintings from artists like Banksy, Basquiat and Yoshitomo Nara that offer very attractive historical price appreciation and track records at auction. In one example, over the last 21 years, Nara’s record-average price at auction has risen by an annualized rate of 36%. Even better, Nara’s Sharpe ratio, which measures how well the market has performed historically adjusted for volatility, came in at a whopping 1.5 — beating the S&P’s .49 over the same time period. With the opportunity to invest in art with these metrics, their offerings have sold out fast. However, Weekend Briefing readers can use this exclusive link to skip the waitlist. Masterworks (Sponsored)
In the U.S., bees of all sorts are said to account for 75% of the pollination of the fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in the country. It is a similar percentage in Europe, with other insects, such as wasps and butterflies, making up the remaining quarter. Unfortunately for farmers, bee populations are collapsing. Tech firm BloomX says that the company has found a way to mechanically pollinate crops in a similar way to bees. The firm's main product is called "Robee," which at first glance looks like a large push-along lawnmower. It has two mechanical arms that stick out either side. These vibrate, and when brushed over blueberry plants, they cause them to release their pollen. The level of vibration is said to have been designed to imitate that of bumble bees — the most effective pollinators of blueberries — which use their wings to agitate the flowers. Yahoo News (6 minutes)
Los Angeles is fast becoming a hub for manufacturing startups with ingenious new ways of making things, from robots that can do detailed metal work to a 3D-printer that operates on a massive scale. Bloomberg Originals (23 minutes)
Arthur Conan Doyle said, “The more we progress, the more we tend to progress. We advance not in arithmetical but in geometrical progression. We draw compound interest on the whole capital of knowledge and virtue, which has been accumulated since the dawning of time.” Accelerating small, consistent gains changes everything. All you need for long-lasting success is to keep stacking 1% gains every day. Here’s how the math works out: If you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the time you’re done, argues James Clear explains in his book Atomic Habits. You don’t have to change your schedule to start adding new or better actions every day. As long as you keep adding daily wins, you will be okay. Whatever your goals are, break them into tiny daily actions you can repeat. That’s how you improve your finances, relationships, skills or career. Better Humans (3 minutes)
Giving While Living
Charles F. Feeney, a pioneer of duty-free shops and a shrewd investor in technology startups who quietly gave away nearly all of his $8 billion fortune to charity, died on Monday in San Francisco. He was 92. With what he called decent but not extravagant provisions made for his five adult children, Feeney said he retained about $2 million for himself — a small fraction of the billions he amassed over six decades in business and discretely given away over 35 years. “Chuck Feeney is a remarkable role model, and the ultimate example of giving while living,” his fellow billionaire Bill Gates told Forbes in 2012. I’m particularly grateful for the money he gave to Echoing Green that supports early-stage social entrepreneurs. New York Times (7 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.
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Music can change the world because it can change people. -Bono