Venture Studios, Hard History and Automated Charity

Your weekly 5 things from the mind of Miles Lasater

Welcome to your Saturday! Here are your weekly five things from the mind of Miles.

I’ll be taking a break next week.  So, feel free to read a previous week instead or you can take a break, too.

  1. Startups for Good Podcast. It is not too late to check out my podcast Startups for Good. Recent episodes include:

    1. Josh Clemente the founder of Levels (metabolic fitness and continuous glucose monitoring)

    2. Ralph Clark the CEO of ShotSpotter (acoustic monitoring of gunshots for deterrence and detection) 

    3. Desiree Vargas Wrigley, founder of Pearcute and also GiveForward one of the first crowdfunding sites

    4. Dean Karlan, founder of Innovation Poverty Action, Impact Matters and Stickk.

  2. Venture Studios. I’ve long said that venture studios are the most fun you can have in business. For example, In college I worked at Walker Digital which is best known for spinning out Priceline. And visiting Betaworks was the moment that I knew I had to leave my leadership role at my first company and go back to the early stage in startups. In the yestertimes, I spent a lovely week at High Alpha for one of their sprint weeks and was on the team that conceptualized Casted. I’ve got venture studios (aka startup studios or venture builders) on the brain again. If you have experience with venture studios or know people to do, please email me and let me know.

  3. Issue One. Last week I mentioned a book that promotes changes to voting rules to provide for better functioning elections. This week, I want to highlight another pro-democracy group, Issue One. Originally focused on money in politics (particularly when known as The Fund for the Republic), they have broadened to working on strengthening democracy. They’ve advocated for policy change and gathered a lot of former politicians to speak out about the system. I admit I got discouraged for a while there but I’m more hopeful that they will make an impact moving forward. 

  4. Hard History. Have you read the Pulitzer-prize winning Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King? I have Thurgood Marshall’s picture above my desk. His courage in pursuit of justice is really on display in this book (along with many others). The book is moving and it is history worth knowing even if hard to face.

  5. Sam Harris’ Philanthropy. I’ve learned a lot from Sam Harris including his books on religion, lying and ethics. It is fun to hear him learning in realtime about effective altruism and building philanthropy into his life. I imagine that the success of his podcast and the meditation app are bringing him more money than writing books. One thing he points out is that recurring giving is really powerful and adds up. I hope you do it no matter what your level of our resources.

As a reminder, my work projects are:

Until next week,

Miles