Friday, October 9th, 2015


They Rent Office Space

As he ordered more shots to be delivered to party guests and brand-devotees, WeWork (they rent office space) CEO Adam Neumann celebrated his company's growth and its roots: "This is the center of the world. The people, the beer, the energy. It all comes from here. It's the Brooklynization of the world." [NextDraft Editor's note: people cheered at this point.] "Whatever you want to do, the world will help you do it. You will raise investors. Whatever you want to do, whatever God wants you to do, whatever the world needs you to do, you will do it, because each and every one of you ... is a creator." I don't quite know what that means, but I'm pretty sure it sums up the weird and often wild world of private company valuations in the tech boom. And now WeWork (the re-renter of cool-ified offices to millennials who -- with the help of exposed brick, high ceilings, and ping pong tables -- believe themselves destined to earn more than their fair share from the sharing economy) is morphing into WeLive. Is this the beginning of the end of our office/home distinction? Who cares? Let's just join The Awl's Brendan O'Connor as WeParty Like It's 1999.

+ WeWork is currently valued at a cool $10 billion (they rent office space). Is this a classic story of the perfect timing of a good idea and a growing need? Or is this a story of investors who have a bad case of FOMO? Either way, it's definitely a story of our times. From Buzzfeed's Nitasha Tiku: How WeWork Convinced Investors It's Worth Billions. (They rent office space.)


Emissionary Position

None of them are being accused of doing what VW did, but there are at least four more automakers who have been putting out cars that do a lot better on the test than they do on the road when it comes to emissions. (The other day, my son got busted at school for trying to have VW take a test for him.)


Weekend Reads and Listens

Let's shake things up with a weekend listen. Phil Bronstein and I have recorded an episode of our new Podcast, What Hurts: Worrying About the News Since 2015. Phil is the Exec chair of The Center for Investigative Reporting, the former editor of the SF Chronicle, and has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his investigative reporting. And I'm Dave Pell. This project is still raw and beta, but we're really excited about its potential (in a neurotic, negative, and hopeless sort of way). Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

+ California Sunday Magazine: "For 40 years, Joel Dreyer was a respected psychiatrist who oversaw a clinic for troubled children, belonged to an exclusive country club, and doted on his four daughters and nine grandchildren. Then, suddenly, he became a major drug dealer. Why?"

+ Sarah Boxer in The Atlantic: The Exemplary Narcissism of Snoopy.


With a Rebel Whisper

After spending hundreds of millions on a training program for Syrian rebels, the U.S. is giving up on the effort; in part because there are currently "four or five" of the fighters in the field.

+ Mass fatalities, an epic refugee crisis, and an international game of chicken being played by the world's most well-armed nations. CNN provides the backstory on everything you need to know about how we got here.


Feeling That Way

Drug companies are having a harder time when it comes to getting their painkillers to succeed in clinical trials."But this isn't necessarily because the drugs are getting worse. An extensive analysis of trial data has found that responses to sham treatments have become stronger over time, making it harder to prove a drug's advantage over placebo." And it seems to be a uniquely American issue. (It's a lot easier to kick an addiction to the placebos.)


Tunisia’s Winning Note

"We Did It Together." So said Ouided Bouchamaoui as her group known as the National Dialogue Quartet took home this year's Nobel Peace Prize for their role in the "building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia."


Pedal Power

Manoj Bhargava created the 5 hour energy drink. His next project is distributing ten thousand stationary bikes that he hopes will help power homes in India. He says you can power your house by pedaling one hour a day. (My kids are about to find out about our new iPad playing time policy...)


Go Up Together

Jacob Burak in Aeon: "Michelangelo and Raphael; Leibniz and Newton; Constable and Turner. Does every creative genius need a bitter rival?" (I don't think of my rivalry with Zeus as bitter.)


The Notebook

"He claims that, with the help of a notebook to log everyday things and a camera attached to the chest that takes a picture every 30 seconds, his experience of life is more fulfilling and his memories richer." From Quartz: A man who recorded every detail of his life for five years has the ultimate way to live in the moment.


Bottom of the News

Sanmay Ved will donate all of the money Google gave him after he let them know that he was able to purchase the domain name for their homepage. In other news, Sanmay Ved bought google dot com for second.

+ According to a recent court ruling, Yoga poses can't be copyrighted.

+ And finally, an Ohio man called the police to tell them he was too high. When they got to his house, they found him "in the fetal position ... surrounded by a plethora of Doritos, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and Chips Ahoy cookies." (I don't think we should jump to conclusions. I've never eaten a bag of Doritos while not in the fetal position.)