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Weekend Briefing No. 66
Welcome to the weekend. It was great to meet some of you at the Legal Issues in Impact Investing Symposium in DC, a big thanks to everyone that worked so hard to put on the event. This week John Kerry met with Vladimir Putin, Pablo Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘‘O’’) sold for $179.4 million at a Christie’s auction in New York, beating the previous record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction by over $30 million, and McDonald’s celebrated its 75th birthday.
Creativity & business. Fast Company just released its list of most creative people in Business. It was great to see my friend Jeremy Johnson of Andela featured for bringing access to technological education in Nigeria – instead of charging tuition like a traditional educational system, his students are paid to learn. Also, check out Leslie Dewan, who designed a "molten salt" technology for nuclear power, which runs on spent nuclear fuel and neatly eliminates risks of steam explosions.
Marc Andreessen. The game in Silicon Valley, is not ferocious intelligence or a contrarian investment thesis - it’s prescience. People who don’t just see the future but summon it. Perhaps that’s what Marc Andreessen, founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, has. For instance, in 2006 Yahoo! Offered to buy Facebook for $1billion, and Marc was the only VC advising against it. He has this really deep belief that when companies are executing well on their vision they can have a much bigger effect on the world than people think, not just as a business but as a steward of humanity. Read more in this New Yorker article.
Brunello Cucinelli. The Italian clothier known for his cashmere, has been running an ethical empire since before it was cool. He gives 20 percent of his company's profits to his charitable foundation, pays his workers wages that are 20 percent higher than the industry standard, and funds an artisan’s school in Solemeo. The company, which trades on the Milan Stock Exchange, is doing well: about 356 million Euros in revenues in 2014. His theory is based on what he calls human dignity. He says, “If I give you regards and respect — out of esteem, responsibility is spawned. Then out of responsibility comes creativity, because every human being has an amount of genius in them. Man needs dignity even more than he needs bread.” Get to know Brunello more in this interview with Om Malik. Thanks to Scott Harrison for sharing this piece.
Philanthropy. Foundations are the new Birkin bags. Everyone who is anyone has one. Giving is now chic. What is less fashionable to talk about is the way that those with wealth take before they give. There is an unwritten social rule now that you can harangue the wealthy to give money away, but you mustn't ask how the money was made. Giving is, to be sure, a form of gratitude for fortune. It is, too, a mode of compensation, of repairing the collateral damage of success. But it’s also a deft way to continue taking in all the old unkind ways and declare “Nothing to see here, folks.” Read more in this New York Times article.
Discipline v. motivation. There are two basic approaches to accomplishing a task, motivation or discipline. Motivation, assumes that a particular emotional state is necessary to complete a task. Discipline, by contrast, separates outwards functioning from moods and feelings. At its core, chasing motivation is insistence on the fantasy that we should only be doing things we feel like doing. Alternatively taking action when you don’t feel like it can have the side effect of a feeling of accomplishment on the back end. Learn more here.
THINGS I LIKE
The Mars Curiosity rover stopped to watch the sunset. It deserved a break after nearly 1,000 days on the planet.
Decoding the Enigma of Satoshi Nakamoto and the Birth of Bitcoin. Nathaniel Popper at the New York Times explores one popular theory about the true identity of Bitcoin’s mysterious creator.
Google’s self-driving cars hit the road. The company’s prototypes will hit the streets of Northern California this summer, with a 25 mph (40 kmh) speed limit.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I would like to allocate more time to dating, though. I need to find a girlfriend. That’s why I need to carve out just a little more time. I think maybe even another five to 10 — how much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours? That’s kind of the minimum? I don’t know.”— Elon Musk
ABOUT THE WEEKEND BRIEFING
The Weekend Briefing is a selection of this week’s top stories on innovation and society, curated by Kyle Westaway – author of Profit & Purpose and Managing Partner of Westaway Law. I consider it a privilege to be a part of your weekend routine. Thanks.