No. 264 – Building a World with a Broader Set of Defaults

Tristan Walker Wants Black Businessmen to Taste Financial Freedom – This is a great interview with Walker and Company Brands’ CEO. His statement about the power of defaults sat me down. 

In my house right now, there are no other products other than Bevel and Form Beauty, which is also one of our brands. I have a five-year-old son and a nine-month-old son, and I care very deeply about the power of defaults and precedents. Think about a world where my son is growing up exclusively with a beautiful brand that serves his needs.

Creating a world where black folks can exist without having to prove deserve to be served or present is what this work is all about.

An Update on JPMorgan Chase’s Response to COVID-19 – The last section of this letter Jamie Dimon put out caught my eye. He highlights how the pandemic has highlighted the inequalities that already existed in this country. He stresses how we need to “confront the structural obstacles that have inhibited inclusive economic growth for years” as we emerge from this pandemic. Confrontation is uncomfortable. It could get you fired. He says they’ll be putting out their ideas for how to move forward later. I guess my question would be, “What’s one thing you think you need to do that requires a confrontation of how JP Morgan has done business en route to its $278B market cap?

Government Buildings in Africa Are a Likely Vector for Chinese Spying – I don’t like articles that talk about African leaders as if they aren’t in the room listening. This feels like that.

The End of ‘Who Me? For V.P.?’ Politics – This is an interesting piece. The way Stacey Abrams has approached positioning herself for vice president has been both refreshing and weird. I wonder whether you can say too many times that you want the VP job as opposed to working the machine in the background. I hope she isn’t overplaying her cards. I’m a big fan.

What’s next for journalists? – My mind often goes back to Benjamin Franklin when I think about the journalism world and what it’s future could look like. In a lot of ways, Franklin was the original TMZ. He told everybody’s business while writing under a pseudonym. He used another pseudonym to write an incredibly popular almanac. Writing helped Franklin build a nice life for himself. Perhaps there’s a lesson in his approach for today’s media, save the tea spilling.

No. 124: 3 Tuesday PM Reads – Power Struggle | Renewables Rescue the Day |Startups for Demographics

  1. Jacqueline Musiitwa shares personal anecdotes on the struggle of working in Lusaka when the power is out. Lights off is a situation Africans across the continent experience, and it impacts education, bottom lines, and general quality of life – for women, especially. Jacqueline points to initiatives like the Power Africa initiative as important in alleviating unreliable power supply across the continent.

  2. Speaking of power, Jake Cusack and other players in the renewable energy space recently shared insights on the possibilities for renewable energy and power provision now that renewable energy costs are competitive with fossil fuels. Some highlights from the piece – global subsidies for coal, oil, and natural gas totaling $550b compared to $120b for renewables; 10k customers in African countries signing up for renewable energy; and global investments in renewable energy growing from $40b in 2004 to $320b in 2011.

  3. Ablorde Ashigbi wrote a really solid analysis of the prospects for venture-backed firms seeking to serve a particular demographic. He uses Walker & Company and its first brand Bevel, a shaving system targeting black men (whenever I get out of Sampson mode and shave my beard, I look forward to using the product) as a case study.