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Weekend Briefing No. 92
Welcome to the weekend. Hello from international waters! This weekend, I’m at Summit at Sea, hanging out with 2,000 of some of the best entrepreneurs of my generation on a big boat. I’m always inspired and humbled when I see what the Summit community is up to.
This week, Barack Obama meets Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Sierra Leone was certified Ebola-free. The World Health Organization reported that 42 days had passed since the last patient was declared healthy. AungSan Suu Kyi claimed victory in Myanmar’s elections. The leader of the National League for Democracy—who is barred from becoming president herself—told the BBC that her party won 75% of the contested seats. Suu Kyicalled the elections unfair but “largely free.”
Virtual reality & empathy. We may look back at Saturday, November 7th as the day that Virtual Reality captured the imagination of a nation. The New York Times delivered a virtual reality headset made of cardboard called Google Cardboard (original… I know). You can simply download an app on your Smartphone and drop it in the headset. When you put it up to your face, you're immersed into a 360-degree world where you are following child refuges on their journey in Syria, Ukraine and South Sudan. It blew me away. It’s been called the “empathy machine” because you feel like you are right there. VR will become the dominant story telling platform in the next 5 years. Read the story of these refugees and if you get a chance, check out the NYT VR app.
Profit & purpose alignment. Laureate Inc. is the first benefit corporation to go public. This week, David Gelles wrote a piece that included some quotes from me. My thought is that this is a monumental step forward, proving that big business can be a force for good. There are some business models where the pursuit of profit and purpose are in tension with each other, but providing quality education is an opportunity for profit and purpose to be aligned. Read further in the New York Times.
The four Ps of “Impact Inventing” for hardware companies. Are you building a hardware company? Here are 4 tips to ensure success by Ross Baird of Village Capital: 1) People. Inventors aren’t always the best people to run a company. 2) Prototype Development. Grants for prototype development play a disproportionately important role for hardware startups. 3) Place. Some of the best invention-based businesses come from places like Purdue and Oklahoma State, solving problems in agriculture and energy. 4) Policy. Policy and regulatory issues can have dramatic impact upon sales processes and profound business strategy implications—from the IP registration of a single company to the regulatory framework of a company’s value chain. Learn more at Unreasonable.
Row-bot. The Row-Bot, a robot that walks on water, and gets its energy by eating the microbes in dirty ponds and "digesting" them in its artificial stomach. Using this method, it generates more than enough power to propel itself on the hunt for more bacteria to feed its nature-inspired engine. Read more in Fast Company.
In search of green. In the last two years, I feel like I can’t go to a startup party without hearing somebody mention that they are looking to raise a fund or build a business in the cannabis space… these are mostly MBA types that see a huge market opportunity, not your burnout buddy. The American legal cannabis industry generated $2.4 billion in sales in 2014, up 74 percent from 2013. People in the marijuana industry have lately taken to saying that legal marijuana is the next Internet, an untrammeled new market opportunity that is just waiting for its own big brands, the Google and Facebook of pot. But many businesses are also finding that, in an environment of only partial legality, not everything in the marijuana business is smooth sailing. Learn more in the New York Times.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Get Backed. Is there a formula for raising a million dollars? This is the question that my friends Evan Baehr and Evan Loomis tackle in their debut book, an insider’s manual for entrepreneurs who want to raise a ton of money — from startup founders, to small business owners, to Kickstarters. Where this book truly shines is in the “Actual Pitch Decks” chapter (page 73). These decks have raised well over $100 million, and the founders' commentary makes it feel like you're reading a secret playbook for successful entrepreneurs. Buy your copy here.
THINGS I LIKE
Drone racing is exploding in popularity. Watch this short video to see what the life of a pro drone racer looks like.
How to pick a spouse. Interesting round up of research on selecting a spouse, plus fun stick figures.
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.