Thursday, July 31, 2014

Companies with Benefits

As many of you know, I'm a big supporter of B-Corp legal structures. The New Yorker wrote a good aricle about some of the famous companies with this structure (Warby Parker, Patagonia, Ben & Jerry) and the governance structure they follow. An excerpt:
There are now more than a thousand B corps in the U.S., including Patagonia, Etsy, and Seventh Generation. And in the past four years twenty-seven states have passed laws allowing companies to incorporate themselves as “benefit corporations”—which are similar to B corps but not identical. The commitments that these companies are making aren’t just rhetorical. Whereas a regular business can abandon altruistic policies when times get tough, a benefit corporation can’t. Shareholders can sue its directors for not carrying out the company’s social mission, just as they can sue directors of traditional companies for violating their fiduciary duty.
... Johnson & Johnson’s credo, written in 1943, stated that the company’s “first responsibility” was not to investors but to doctors, nurses, and patients. There were problems with this way of doing business: it was paternalistic and often inefficient. But what replaced it—the fetishization of shareholder value—has inflicted serious damage of its own, encouraging corporations to focus on short-term prospects and share price at the expense of everything else. 
Read more in the New Yorker.

When Teachers Romanticize Their Students' Poverty

"A TFA volunteer, enchanted by the words of William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams, learns that there's nothing glamorous about everyday struggles in the Mississippi Delta."

Read the TFA reflection in the Atlantic.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Get Ready To Be Horrified At What Schools Are Telling Kids About Sex

Read more on UpWorthy.

5 Signs The Person You Are Dating Is Genuinely Falling For You

"Life is too short to settle for sadness." Read it in Elite Daily.

Thanks, +Claire Packer 

Wise Words Courtesy of Calvin and Hobbes

Thanks, +Brandon Kearse 

Powerful and Coldhearted

An excerpt:
I FEEL your pain. 
These words are famously associated with Bill Clinton, who as a politician seemed to ooze empathy. A skeptic might wonder, though, whether he truly was personally distressed by the suffering of average Americans. Can people in high positions of power — presidents, bosses, celebrities, even dominant spouses — easily empathize with those beneath them?
Read more in the NYT.

Thanks, +Alessia Bhargava 

No Time to Think

An excerpt:
ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore. 
When people aren’t super busy at work, they are crazy busy exercising, entertaining or taking their kids to Chinese lessons. Or maybe they are insanely busy playing fantasy football, tracing their genealogy or churning their own butter. 
And if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought — say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic — out comes the mobile device. So it’s worth noting a study published last month in the journal Science, which shows how far people will go to avoid introspection.
References the "shock" experiment and the Lewis CK clip -- both are ones that have stuck with me for a long time.

Read more in the NYT.

Thanks, +Alessia Bhargava 

Dog Passes Out From Overwhelming Joy When This Girl Comes Home After Two Years

Read more in HuffPo.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Google Street Art

Excerpt from PureWow:
The ephemeral nature of street art is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it feels more immediate than something in a museum. On the other, it could be painted over or torn down at any time. 
That’s why we’re so excited about Google’s newest project, which seeks to digitize some 5,000 graffiti works from around the world. 
Google Street Art employs Google Earth street view technology to put you up close and personal with painted walls, sidewalks and buildings in cities like L.A., Bogotá, Paris, Tangier and more.
See more at Google Street Art. Also covered in VentureBeat.

Friday, July 25, 2014

What you can learn from a domestic violence apology

"The more an industry is male-dominated, the less it cares about the abuse of women – and offenders get off lightly."

Read more in the Guardian.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Religious Children Struggle To Separate Fact From Fiction

Read more in IFL Science.

Thanks, Tom

Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2014

(Thanks, Nick)

40 maps that explain the internet

Check out more on Vox. (Thanks, Vini)

Declassified report: Two nuclear bombs nearly detonated in North Carolina in 1961

Read the surprising report in CNN. (Thanks, Vini)

Do Daughters Cause Divorce? Maybe Not

"Couples with girls more likely to divorce, but girls may be a symptom, not the cause." Fascinating:
In the U.S., couples with daughters are somewhat more likely to divorce than couples with sons. Many scholars have read those numbers as evidence that daughters cause divorce. 
But new research from Duke University suggests something quite different may be at play: Girls may be hardier than boys, even in the womb, and may be better able to survive pregnancies stressed by a troubled marriage.  
Read the DUKE research report.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Men aren’t entitled to women's time or affection. But it's a hard lesson to learn

Beware a bro who knows what he 'deserves': the friendzone is only purgatory if women's decisions are less valid.

Read more in the Guardian. And it was written by a guy. Reminds me of "Your princess is in another castle."

Houston's time is now.

If you're from Houston, this video will be the best four minutes of your day.

Thanks, +Claire Packer 

Are you raising nice kids?

"A Harvard psychologist gives 5 ways to raise them to be kind." Read more in the Washington Post.

Great find, +Alessia Bhargava 

The Nostalgia Machine

This is the greatest.

Thanks, Joe

The OneSight Vision Center at Oyler School

The OneSight Vision Center at Oyler School from OneSight on Vimeo.

Vision Spring // Day In The Life of a Vision Entrepreneur

Also check out the Stanford Social Innovation Review article on vision access written by the CEO of VisionSpring, Kevin Hassey.

Ethan Hawke’s Heartwarming Tribute To A “Boyhood” With Music

Ethan Hawke’s Black Album playlist, and how it feels to pass The Beatles on to your child. Read Ethan's letter in BuzzFeed.

Thanks, +Jason Begleiter 

The Three-Word Problem That Can Destroy Your Life

An excerpt:
We have a problem—and the odd thing is we not only know about it, we’re celebrating it. Just today, someone boasted to me that she was so busy she’s averaged four hours of sleep a night for the last two weeks. She wasn’t complaining; she was proud of the fact. She is not alone. 
Why are typically rational people so irrational in their behavior? The answer, I believe, is that we’re in the midst of a bubble; one so vast that to be alive today in the developed world is to be affected, or infected, by it. It’s the bubble of bubbles: it not only mirrors the previous bubbles (whether of the Tulip, Silicon Valley or Real Estate variety), it undergirds them all.
Here are the three words: “The Busyness Bubble.”
And a couple ways to avoid it:
1. Schedule a personal quarterly offsite.
2. Rest well to excel.
3. Add expiration dates on new activities.
4. Say no to a good opportunity every week.
Read more in LinkedInThanks, +Brandon Kearse 

What Happens When Online Dating Meets the Middle East

"Dating is hard, but it's even harder if you're trying to meet someone in the capital of a war-torn region like Palestine, according to excerpts from a new blog called PalesTINDER."

Read more at ABC News.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Departure Memo

Check out the full memo / cartoon on Above The Law.

Thanks, Megan

Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League

"The nation's top colleges are turning our kids into zombies." An excerpt:
... taught many wonderful young people during my years in the Ivy League—bright, thoughtful, creative kids whom it was a pleasure to talk with and learn from. But most of them seemed content to color within the lines that their education had marked out for them. Very few were passionate about ideas. Very few saw college as part of a larger project of intellectual discovery and development. Everyone dressed as if they were ready to be interviewed at a moment’s notice. 
Look beneath the façade of seamless well-adjustment, and what you often find are toxic levels of fear, anxiety, and depression, of emptiness and aimlessness and isolation. A large-scale survey of college freshmen recently found that self-reports of emotional well-being have fallen to their lowest level in the study’s 25-year history. 
So extreme are the admission standards now that kids who manage to get into elite colleges have, by definition, never experienced anything but success. The prospect of not being successful terrifies them, disorients them. The cost of falling short, even temporarily, becomes not merely practical, but existential. The result is a violent aversion to risk. You have no margin for error, so you avoid the possibility that you will ever make an error...
Read William Deresiewicz's post in the New Republic.

Thanks, +Anna Ho

Sunday, July 20, 2014

In Subprime Auto Bubble, Borrowers Pay Sky-High Rates

"Auto loans to people with tarnished credit have risen more than 130 percent in the five years since the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, with roughly one in four new auto loans last year going to borrowers considered subprime — people with credit scores at or below 640."

This is an important piece of journalism. Cars for many people provide access and a chance for a better livelihood, but pricing loans for underserved populations is tricky. The NYT uncovered many usurious rates and practices.

 Read more about the stories in the NYT.

TED Talk // Nicholas Negroponte: A 30-year history of the future

Thanks, +Rick Davis 

Afghanistan's Teen Girls Turn The Camera On Kabul

In Kabul a small group of young women have filmed their own lives over two years. These intimate diaries reveal the adversity that girls face in one of the world's most conservative countries.

Long movie -- and completely eye opening if you have 25 minutes to spend. It's all through the eyes of the teenagers. They have so much life and spirit, and live in a world with such fear.

Thanks, +Gloria Ahn 

It's Not the 'Confidence Gap' – Here's What's Really Holding Women Back

In response to the Atlantic article, PolicyMic put together a (non-exhaustive) list of ways we can help women by taking a look at the entire system, not just personalities.

The Guardian also had a rebuttal to the Atlantic article.

Thanks, Julia

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I Don't Care If You Like It

Women are tired of being judged by the Esquire metric. My favorite quote from Beyonce:
“Money gives men power to run the show. It gives men the power to define value. They define what’s sexy. And men define what’s feminine. It’s ridiculous.”
Read more at New Republic.

Great find, +Alessia Bhargava 

Fear is more dangerous than evil

Could not agree more. An excerpt:
First of all, maybe I’m an optimist, but I think there aren’t many truly evil people in the world. Maybe there are some and they get their fair share of publicity. I think much more damage is caused by people who are afraid. This is a much bigger problem I think for society in general. 
Let me give you an example. People who are afraid will do things that they know are wrong. For example, when people cheat on assignments, in most cases, it’s when people are up late the night before an assignment is due and they get desperate and afraid and made a silly decision to steal somebody else’s work. In industry, CEO’s are afraid to announce that their company had a bad quarter, so they allow their salespeople to report sales from the next quarter. Then in the next quarter, they have to cheat even more and eventually it all comes tumbling down.

The question is, how are you going to keep fear from damaging your life? You’re not going to eliminate fear—you might not even want to do that: life is pretty dull if you have no fear at all. A couple of things to think about...
 Check out the lecture by Professor John Ousterhout.

Thanks, +David Freed 

The Real Reason New MBAs Want to Work for Goldman Sachs

Any guesses? Read the answer in HBR.

Thanks, Tom

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Maps From Google and Green Group Make Pavement-Level Pollution More Concrete

I'm so glad this is happening -- I hope this sparks some changes. Some of this big data is terrifying:
Say what you want about oil spills. At least when you're standing in one it's hard to miss.
That's not true of methane spills, which are invisible and -- unless it's a potentially explosive concentration of gas -- unsmellable. 
Persistent, low-grade methane leaks are of interest for a couple of reasons. For gas companies, they mean the loss of product that could be heating homes or fueling generators. For everybody, it means climate pollution that nobody’s seeing, measuring or capping. 
That's why the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Google Earth Outreach have spent the last two years wiring cars with methane sensors and gradually testing them out in American cities to "see" any leakiness and estimate how much gas is heading skyward. The same methane that heats homes and powers turbines is a strong heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere....
Read more in Bloomberg. (Thanks, Julia)

KKR Releases Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report Demonstrating Responsible Investment Is a Growing Part of Value Creation

KKR's Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) team released their annual report. A couple highlights:
  • Creation of the KKR Global Institute (KGI) to strengthen our ESG-related private equity diligence and support the Firm and our investments with unique geopolitical insights.
  • Continued progress from the Green Portfolio Program, an operational improvement program that uses an environmental lens to assess critical business activities of KKR's participating private equity portfolio companies. Since 2008, the 19 reporting companies have achieved more than $917 million in cost savings and added revenue, while avoiding 1.8 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, 4.7 million tons of waste, and 19.5 million cubic meters of water use.
  • Expansion of the Vets @ Work initiative, an effort aimed at recruiting and hiring veterans across KKR's U.S.-based private equity portfolio companies. As of the end of 2013, more than 22,000 veterans had been hired by the 18 portfolio companies participating in the program. In 2013, the companies participating in the program doubled from 9 to 18.
  • Continued to advance ESG efforts at KKR, which included additional greening initiatives in the KKR New York office, the second year of incentivized biometric health screenings for all KKR U.S. employees, and firm-wide days of service at KKR global offices.
  • Volunteered expertise and provided resources to various nonprofit organizations and social enterprises around the world, expanding KKR's citizenship efforts, which included employees' giving their time and advice to help the social enterprise East Bali Cashews improve its operations and scale its business.
See the full report and check out the press release.

(Nice work, Elizabeth, Ali and team)

Mickey Mouse Proposal! (Jehan & Vish 2014)

He's a PM at YouTube, too. :)

Thanks, Julia

At KKR, Nuttall and Bae are favorites to fill founders' shoes

Read the detailed story in the Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Toggl Productivity Tool // Time Tracking Software

I like the "look back on the day" view. Anyone use this? Interested to hear your thoughts.

Thanks, +Cassandra Coravos 

Meditation for Strivers

An excerpt:
...One might also claim that Harris’s watered-down vision of Buddhism, with its emphasis on career advancement, will encourage misuse. This may be fair enough, but it’s not an especially revealing criticism. After all, one of the first things that people do with any tool or philosophy is misuse it. A history of Christianity is largely a history of the abuse of Jesus Christ’s teachings; Buddhism is not exempt from such misprision. On the spectrum of misappropriation, using self-advancement as a lure seems forgivable enough if it leads people to try a technique as subtly transformative as mindfulness. (Indeed, if personal betterment is America’s religion, such an approach might be seen as syncretic.) What can be lost by broadening access to a philosophy of liberation, even if a majority of people conflate it with the more vulgar priorities of our culture?
Read more in the New Yorker.

Thanks, +Elaine Choi 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Look little baby human, this is how you crawl!

Tech Blogger Tries To Cancel Comcast Service, Hilarity Ensues

Listen to the recording on TechCrunch. I'm cringing and half-laughing, but mostly cringing because I'm going through a similar experience trying to transfer over my Comcast service right now.

(Thanks, Julia)

Love Under Lock and Key

Lois ran the education program at Joliet. Dan was serving 85 years for kidnapping and rape. He became the light of her life.

Read the sad, but lovely story in the Chicago Reader. It's a longer read, but if you have time, it will stick with you.

Thanks, +Elaine Choi 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bay Watched

How San Francisco’s new entrepreneurial culture is changing the country. Read more in the New Yorker. I never want to leave this city.

Thanks, +Howie Liu 

Thirty Things I’ve Learned

Check out Nick Crocker's fantastic list. Wish I wasn't still learning ALL of these first hand. :)

Thanks, +Anu Parvatiyar 

Is it time for you to earn or to learn?

Check out Mark Suster's advice. He has some good math in there for start-up comp -- keeping that in my back-pocket.

Thanks, +Jason Begleiter 

Scenes of defeat on the streets of Brazil

A well-written piece after the Brazilian loss -- so much life is tied up into this game. Can't stop thinking about this.piece in ESPN.

Thanks, +Jason Begleiter 

The Confidence Gap

Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed, confidence matters as much as competence. Here's why, and what to do about it.

It's a long read, but worth it. Check out the full article in the Atlantic.

Thanks, +Corinne Grzybowski 

Quotes to keep you motivated

Check out these two Reddit Lists: Get Motivated and Quotes Porn:


(Thanks, Alex)

On Limiting Media Consumption

“Few things are as important to your quality of life as your choices about
how to spend the precious resource of your free time.”
— W. Gallagher in Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life

“[W]e’re surrounded by so much information that is of immediate interest to us
that we feel overwhelmed by the neverending pressure of trying to keep up with it all.”
— Nicolas Carr

Check out Shane Parrish's Farnam Street blog post.

(Thanks, Dan)

An iPhone app that keeps you off your iPhone

Here's the review:
Here’s how Moment works: Spend a few days allowing the free iOS download to run in the background of your phone, quietly tracking your behavior. Then, when you’re ready to know the truth, check it to see how much time you’ve spent chatting, tweeting, Google stalking and playing solitaire. (We were shocked to learn our average is 2.25 hours per day.) 
...Need a little more convincing? Consider this factoid: The average American checks her phone 150 times a day. That’s more than we’ve hugged our loved ones in the past month

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Upside of Hating Your Job

The one book to read if you find yourself dreading Mondays and yearning for change. Read more in FastCompany.

Thanks, +Brandon Kearse and +Leslie Labruto 

American Teens Achieve Mediocrity In Financial Literacy

A couple stats:

  • US teens on avg.  score below the OECD avg in financial literacy.
  • 70% of American 15-year-olds in the top socioeconomic quartile hold bank accounts, while only 32% of 15-years-olds do in the bottom quartile. This represents the largest gap of all 18 countries studied.

Thanks, +Hayden Hudson 

When your boss is too nice

Thought this was a thoughtful HBR post -- and actionable, too.

The FT also had a good one on managers who fear conflict.

Goldman Sachs’ Matsui Challenges ‘Myths’ of Womenomics

Read more in the WSJ.

Thanks, +Melody Wang 

Zen habits: The Painful Beauty of Impermanence

Perfect Zen Habits post to follow the song I just posted below "No Place I'd Rather Be."

Clean Bandit - Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne)

Obsessed with this song. And that kitten reminds me so much of Indie.

Thanks, +Jamie Wilkie 

Biddy the traveling Hedge Hog

Check out his posts on Instagram.

Thanks, +Cassie Coravos 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Creative Climate

David Brooks on creativity (and b-corps!):
But the Lennon-McCartney story also illustrates the key feature of creativity; it is the joining of the unlike to create harmony. Creativity rarely flows out of an act of complete originality. It is rarely a virgin birth. It is usually the clash of two value systems or traditions, which, in collision, create a transcendent third thing. 
Shakespeare combined the Greek honor code (thou shalt avenge the murder of thy father) with the Christian mercy code (thou shalt not kill) to create the torn figure of Hamlet. Picasso combined the traditions of European art with the traditions of African masks. Saul Bellow combined the strictness of the Jewish conscience with the free-floating go-getter-ness of the American drive for success.
Read more in the NYT.

Thanks, Kevin


As referenced on Dan Primack's Term Sheet (Fortune):
Last month I mentioned that someone was riding shotgun in the home office, to better get the understanding of producing a morning newsletter. That someone was Fortune reporter Caroline Fairchild, who this morning has launched Broadsheet – a daily email focused on the world’s most powerful women (and those who aspire to join their ranks). News, hot-button topics, interviews and more. 
As someone who is outside the target demo, I’ve really enjoyed reading our past few weeks of “test” issues, and really encourage all of you to sign up. Like Term Sheet, it’s free of charge. To sign up, please go to Also, be sure to follow Caroline on Twitter @cfair1.
Nice find, +Brandon Kearse 

Born in 1988. Sorry

For all those born in the late 80s... seems like might be getting a raw deal. An excerpt:
Compare a person born in 1988, who graduated in 2010, when the unemployment rate averaged 9.6 percent with someone born in 1984 who graduated from college in 2006, when the unemployment rate averaged 4.6 percent. The person unlucky enough to be born in 1988 had a 30 percent to 35 percent lower wage at graduation. And at their respective 15 year reunions, the 2010 graduate is expected to be earning 12.5 percent less than the 2006 graduate.
Read more in Bloomberg. Thanks, +Katherine Stiner 

Monday, July 7, 2014

It’s Not About How Good You Are

Best quote -- and so unbelievably true:
We pile on the titles, the fancy adjectives, the accomplishments and the attributes, when what we are searching for is someone who doesn’t love us for any of that, but instead loves us for what we are underneath it all. We craft an elaborate mask just so we can take it off, hoping our raw, unadorned face will be seen as equally beautiful.
Read more in Medium. Thanks, +Mark Wilson 

Being a bridesmaid is driving me into bankruptcy

The average cost of being a bridesmaid is close to $1700. How do people think that's OK?

Read more in Salon. (Thanks, +Lucy McKinstry)

The Big Idea: 21st-Century Talent Spotting

Think the author is spot on re: "hallmarks of potential" with this list. Love the 1st and 4th one.

  • CURIOSITY: a penchant for seeking out new experiences, knowledge, and candid feedback and an openness to learning and change
  • INSIGHT: the ability to gather and make sense of information that suggests new possibilities
  • ENGAGEMENT: a knack for using emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision and connect with people
  • DETERMINATION: the wherewithal to fight for difficult goals despite challenges and to bounce back from adversity
Read more in HBR's Talent Spotting. (Thanks, Bill)

Things I Wish I Knew Before Yesterday: How to Disable Control Center from the iOS 7 Lock Screen

It takes less than 5 seconds to change the settings... and if your phone is ever pick-pocketed, you'll be able to remote wipe it the minute they turn it on.

And if you haven't done it already, definitely put a passcode on your phone, and turn on Find My iPhone. Though that does nothing if they can put it in airplane mode without getting past the lock screen.

HBR Management Tip of the Day: 3 Questions Executives Should Ask Front-Line Employees

The higher up you are in an organization, the harder it is to keep up with what's happening on the ground. Get a real sense of what's going on in your company by asking your front-line workers:

  • How can I help you? Ask your employees, suppliers, and customers — and make sure your middle managers do the same. Senior leaders need to show they care about the people at every level.
  • Why are we doing it this way? Ask to learn, not to criticize. People enjoy being heard, and you'll benefit from real feedback. Enlist your employees in the process of figuring out what needs to change and of measuring progress.
  • Are we supporting you? Ask if people have everything they need to do their jobs well. Take action based on what you hear. By staying in touch, you can build trust, motivate, and instill a common vision.
Read more in HBR. I liked this one because the best leaders that I have worked with during lean transformations (e.g., in factories, refineries, plants), always asked these things when walking the floor.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Secret of Effective Motivation

I've been thinking about internal vs. external validation often this year. Here's an excerpt that starts looking into the outcomes of that:
THERE are two kinds of motive for engaging in any activity: internal and instrumental. If a scientist conducts research because she wants to discover important facts about the world, that’s an internal motive, since discovering facts is inherently related to the activity of research. If she conducts research because she wants to achieve scholarly renown, that’s an instrumental motive, since the relation between fame and research is not so inherent.
Read more in the NYTThanks, +Alessia Bhargava 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sara Bareilles - I Choose You

Thanks, +Jamie Wilkie 

A LIVING ROCK? -- Mind Blow

So many memorizing ideas in that video hosted by Vsauce2. Really liked the garbage collection optimization one.

Thanks, +Rick Davis 

Empowering quote of the day

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.” -- Mary Shelley, English novelist

Most men would rather shock themselves than be alone with their thoughts

An excerpt:
People, and especially men, hate being alone with their thoughts so much that they’d rather be in pain. In a study published in Science Thursday on the ability of people to let their minds “wander” — that is, for them to sit and do nothing but think — researchers found that about a quarter of women and two-thirds of men chose electric shocks over their own company.
It's a reminder of how much bravery (?) it takes to practice meditation -- and also the great rewards that might come as someone develops the practice. Lots of scientific evidence that it's a healthy thing to do.

Fascinating, and a little mindblowing that someone would choose so many shocks rather than sitting in silence. Read more in the WashingtonPost.

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .