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Towns, Tech Companies, Blockchain, Nir Eyal, Mohamed Salah

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Towns, Tech Companies, Blockchain, Nir Eyal, Mohamed Salah

The Weekly | Brigadoon
May 6, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from West Hollywood, California

The Weekly  = Enterprise + Culture + Sport + Policy

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ROSS RANT

Being connected to your town is a blessing

I have no idea who the mayor of Alexandria is.

I couldn't tell you who represents me in the state house in either chamber in Richmond.

I know more about what is happening in Theresa May's Number 10 cabinet meetings that I do with my local school board, city council, and planning commission meetings.

Maybe it is because I cover, engage, and care about global politics and its intersection with global business.

Maybe it is because I have more allegiance and affinity for Michigan than Virginia.

Maybe it is because I don't have children that I don't have a vested interest in my city.

Regardless, it is a generally an odd way to move through life. Especially for someone who is so passionate about democracy and the American experience. I am sensing I am missing out on something powerful.

Recently, James Fallows in The Atlantic penned "The Reinvention of America." You can (and should) read it here: https://theatln.tc/2qUkFtC. He suggests something powerful is happening with America.

Yes, the problems facing our nation are serious and the challenges real, but in fact, more Americans are hopeful then the national news coverage would suggest. Pollsters have reported this disparity for a long time. The Atlantic with the Aspen Institute commissioned a polling which showed that two-thirds of Americans were satisfied with their financial situation, and 85 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with their general position in life and their ability to pursue the American dream. Other polls in the past half-dozen years have found that most Americans believe the country to be on the wrong course—but that their own communities are improving.

Fallows writes: "America is becoming more like itself again. More Americans are trying to make it so, in more places, than most Americans are aware. Even as the country is becoming worse in obvious ways—angrier, more divided, less able to do the basic business of governing itself—it is becoming distinctly better on a range of other indicators that are harder to perceive. The pattern these efforts create also remains hidden. Americans don’t realize how fast the country is moving toward becoming a better version of itself."

I saw this type of local civic engagement Fallows is speaking about for myself this week.

Chris Keldorf (Brigadoon Sundance 2017) has launched Dads on the Rise where he has engaged his fellow citizens of El Segundo, California to be part of a platform to share stories of success, failure, and daily gratitude. The idea of the grassroots group is to empower and the enlighten the next generation of fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons through conversation, engagement, and reflection.

So on this past Thursday night, I found myself sitting on a folding chair surrounded by 40 guys in the back of exercise gym listening to a highly trained and highly serious entrepreneur and special operations Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps sharing with us how to be better in business and in relationships.

The presentation and ideas shared were impactful, but what was more impactful for me was the fact that a good friend of mine launched this dynamic platform and his fellow citizens responded. 

It was refreshing to know beyond the noise and craziness of America’s national political and intense foreign affairs, local citizens are gathering to share in brotherhood and to share in conversation with a simple commitment to be a better person and to take steps to make their community better.

It was a blessing to be reminded that America is moving toward becoming a better version of itself one folding chair at a time.

FIVE ARTICLES TO READ

18 of the top 20 tech companies are in the Western US and Eastern China. Can anywhere else catch up? http://bit.ly/2jsBQOT

Why Karl Marx is more relevant than ever: An upbeat biography places the great thinker in his 19th-century context. https://on.ft.com/2FGJcXG

Now emoting in the corner office: The oversharing CEO: WSJ reports, leaders open up about hopes, fears and arguments with mom; uncomfortable for some, but builds trust. https://on.wsj.com/2JL7rX1

The world’s first neighborhood built “from the internet up”: The Economist reports, Toronto’s run-down Quayside area will have snow-melting pavements, package-delivery robots, and self-driving shuttles. https://econ.st/2HO28pp

Blockchain insiders tell us why we don't need blockchain: FT reports, we've written before about how blockchain is a belief system, complete with prophets, disciples, traitors, rituals, and schisms. But recently, faith in the technology appears to be ebbing. https://on.ft.com/2FA5FFC

“Look, the internet belongs to the Americans — but blockchain will belong to us.” -- Grigory Marshalko, head of the Russian Delegation to the meeting of the International Standards Organization last year. 

PODCAST

Inside Intercom - Nir Eyal: The products with the best technology aren’t always the ones that win. Often, it’s the products that are first to mind. The products that create habits. Some habits, however, are much healthier than others, so what’s the secret to designing healthy patterns of behavior? As author Nir Eyal has learned, it requires a rigorous commitment to ethics – and empathetically questioning even your best intentions. Nir’s studies sit at the intersection of technology, business, and psychology. A veteran of the advertising and video gaming industries, he has started (and sold) two technology companies and has taught at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. His best-selling book Hooked explores how to design habit-forming products, and you can keep up with his writing and research at NirAndFar.com. This podcast covers the need for designing healthy habits – and the psychology behind them. 

SONG

Pretty Lights - Only Yesterday http://bit.ly/2JZlUP9

SPORT

Meet Mohamed Salah, the breakout star of European soccer this season. NYT reports, the Egyptian player for Liverpool has scored 43 goals in 48 games in his first season and helped the team reach its first Champions League final in more than a decade. And after each goal, he kneels and prays on the field. At a time when Britain is fighting rising Islamophobia, he is a North African and a Muslim who is not just accepted in Britain but adored. https://nyti.ms/2HSULRz