Cool Leaders

Let me make some things clear about my school strike

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By Greta Thunberg on Facebook

Recently I’ve seen many rumors circulating about me and enormous amounts of hate. This is no surprise to me. I know that since most people are not aware of the full meaning of the climate crisis (which is understandable since it has never been treated as a crisis) a school strike for the climate would seem very strange to people in general.

So let me make some things clear about my school strike.

In May 2018 I was one of the winners in a writing competition about the environment held by Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper. I got my article published and some people contacted me, among others was Bo Thorén from Fossil Free Dalsland. He had some kind of group with people, especially youth, who wanted to do something about the climate crisis.

I had a few phone meetings with other activists. The purpose was to come up with ideas of new projects that would bring attention to the climate crisis. Bo had a few ideas of things we could do. Everything from marches to a loose idea of some kind of a school strike (that school children would do something on the schoolyards or in the classrooms). That idea was inspired by the Parkland Students, who had refused to go to school after the school shootings.

I liked the idea of a school strike. So I developed that idea and tried to get the other young people to join me, but no one was really interested. They thought that a Swedish version of the Zero Hour march was going to have a bigger impact. So I went on planning the school strike all by myself and after that I didn’t participate in any more meetings.

When I told my parents about my plans they weren’t very fond of it. They did not support the idea of school striking and they said that if I were to do this I would have to do it completely by myself and with no support from them.
On the 20 of august I sat down outside the Swedish Parliament. I handed out fliers with a long list of facts about the climate crisis and explanations on why I was striking. The first thing I did was to post on Twitter and Instagram what I was doing and it soon went viral. Then journalists and newspapers started to come. A Swedish entrepreneur and business man active in the climate movement, Ingmar Rentzhog, was among the first to arrive. He spoke with me and took pictures that he posted on Facebook. That was the first time I had ever met or spoken with him. I had not communicated or encountered with him ever before.

Many people love to spread rumors saying that I have people ”behind me” or that I’m being ”paid” or ”used” to do what I’m doing. But there is no one ”behind” me except for myself. My parents were as far from climate activists as possible before I made them aware of the situation.

I am not part of any organization. I sometimes support and cooperate with several NGOs that work with the climate and environment. But I am absolutely independent and I only represent myself. And I do what I do completely for free, I have not received any money or any promise of future payments in any form at all. And nor has anyone linked to me or my family done so.

And of course it will stay this way. I have not met one single climate activist who is fighting for the climate for money. That idea is completely absurd.
Furthermore I only travel with permission from my school and my parents pay for tickets and accommodations.

My family has written a book together about our family and how me and my sister Beata have influenced my parents way of thinking and seeing the world, especially when it comes to the climate. And about our diagnoses.

That book was due to be released in May. But since there was a major disagreement with the book company, we ended up changing to a new publisher and so the book was released in august instead.

Before the book was released my parents made it clear that their possible profits from the book ”Scener ur hjärtat” will be going to 8 different charities working with environment, children with diagnoses and animal rights.

And yes, I write my own speeches. But since I know that what I say is going to reach many, many people I often ask for input. I also have a few scientists that I frequently ask for help on how to express certain complicated matters. I want everything to be absolutely correct so that I don’t spread incorrect facts, or things that can be misunderstood.

Some people mock me for my diagnosis. But Asperger is not a disease, it’s a gift. People also say that since I have Asperger I couldn’t possibly have put myself in this position. But that’s exactly why I did this. Because if I would have been ”normal” and social I would have organized myself in an organisation, or started an organisation by myself. But since I am not that good at socializing I did this instead. I was so frustrated that nothing was being done about the climate crisis and I felt like I had to do something, anything. And sometimes NOT doing things – like just sitting down outside the parliament – speaks much louder than doing things. Just like a whisper sometimes is louder than shouting.

Also there is one complaint that I ”sound and write like an adult”. And to that I can only say; don’t you think that a 16-year old can speak for herself? There’s also some people who say that I oversimplify things. For example when I say that “the climate crisis is a black and white issue”, ”we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases” and ”I want you to panic”. But that I only say because it’s true. Yes, the climate crisis is the most complex issue that we have ever faced and it’s going to take everything from our part to ”stop it”. But the solution is black and white; we need to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Because either we limit the warming to 1,5 degrees C over pre industrial levels, or we don’t. Either we reach a tipping point where we start a chain reaction with events way beyond human control, or we don’t. Either we go on as a civilization, or we don’t. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival.
And when I say that I want you to panic I mean that we need to treat the crisis as a crisis. When your house is on fire you don’t sit down and talk about how nice you can rebuild it once you put out the fire. If your house is on fire you run outside and make sure that everyone is out while you call the fire department. That requires some level of panic.

There is one other argument that I can’t do anything about. And that is the fact that I’m ”just a child and we shouldn’t be listening to children.” But that is easily fixed – just start to listen to the rock solid science instead. Because if everyone listened to the scientists and the facts that I constantly refer to – then no one would have to listen to me or any of the other hundreds of thousands of school children on strike for the climate across the world. Then we could all go back to school.

I am just a messenger, and yet I get all this hate. I am not saying anything new, I am just saying what scientists have repeatedly said for decades. And I agree with you, I’m too young to do this. We children shouldn’t have to do this. But since almost no one is doing anything, and our very future is at risk, we feel like we have to continue.

And if you have any other concern or doubt about me, then you can listen to my TED talk, in which I talk about how my interest for the climate and environment began.

And thank you everyone for you kind support! It brings me hope.

Cool Leaders

Mark Zuckerberg: Going into 2019, we’re focused on four priorities

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By Mark Zuckerberg

We just released our community update and quarterly results.

We’ve fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues and have made significant progress. We’re also investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect and build community.

You can read my full update on the progress we are making towards the important opportunities and challenges we face along with our top priorities for 2019. Thanks for being on this journey with us.

Our community continues to grow and our business delivered good results this quarter. There are now 2.7 billion people using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger each month, and more than 2 billion people who use at least one of our services every day.

On our last call, I talked about our overall strategy as we face some important opportunities and challenges. Today I want to give you an update and talk about our priorities for 2019.

For the past couple of years, most of our focus and energy has gone into addressing some of the biggest social issues around the future of the internet — including election integrity, content governance, safety and security, data privacy, and digital well-being. These are all complex issues, but we’ve made real progress. In many of these areas we believe we’ve built the most advanced systems in the world – in many cases more advanced than any other company or government. And in other areas we have clear roadmaps ahead. Still, there’s a lot more to do, and I expect it will take strong execution through 2019 and beyond before we get all our systems to the levels we need.

But we’ve fundamentally changed how we run this company. We’ve changed how we build services to focus more on preventing harm. We’ve invested billions of dollars in security, which has affected our profitability. We’ve taken steps that reduced engagement in WhatsApp to stop misinformation, and reduced viral videos in Facebook by more than 50 million hours a day to improve well-being.

We’ve made significant progress, and we’re going to continue this work. But we’re also going to allocate more of our energy to building new and inspiring ways to help people connect and build community.

Going into 2019, we’re focused on four priorities:

First, continue making progress on the major social issues facing the internet and our company.

Second, build new experiences that meaningfully improve people’s lives today and set the stage for even bigger improvements in the future.

Third, keep building our business by supporting the millions of businesses — mostly small businesses — that rely on our services to grow and create jobs.

And fourth, communicate more transparently about what we’re doing and the role our services play in the world.

I want to take a minute to talk about each of these.

First, continue making progress on the major social issues.

The most important work here is to keep executing our roadmap to build systems that can proactively identify harmful content so we can act on it sooner. We just finished a year of very heavy investment to get these systems to a better place, and we’ve seen the results of that in recent elections, including the US midterms, and in our transparency reports where we report what percent of violating content we identify proactively. We ended 2018 with more than 30,000 people working on safety and security — up from 10,000 people a couple of years ago.

This work will never be finished, but I now believe we’ve built some of the most advanced systems in the world for dealing with these issues. However, this raises a broader set of values questions about how to use these systems.

One question is about who decides what speech is acceptable and what isn’t. Right now we have a deliberative process of consulting with experts around the world. But I’ve increasingly come to believe that we shouldn’t be making so many of these decisions about content ourselves. In November, I wrote a note on A Blueprint for a System of Content Governance and Enforcement, which includes giving people the ability to appeal our internal content decisions to an independent body. We’re currently working with experts to design this system, and we plan to start piloting it this half.

Another important issue is the future of privacy and encryption. People really value the privacy that encrypted messaging brings, and we’ve built the most secure global messaging service in the world. As people increasingly share more privately, we’re working on making more of our products end-to-end encrypted by default, and making more of our products ephemeral so your information doesn’t stick around forever. I’ll discuss this more over the coming quarters.

Our second priority for 2019 is that as we make progress on these social issues, we also need to deliver new experiences that meaningfully improve people’s lives. I’m not talking about the many day-to-day iterative improvements we make so that ranking gets a bit better or things get somewhat faster, but major improvements to people’s lives that whole communities recognize and say “wow, we’re all doing something new on Facebook or WhatsApp that we weren’t doing before”. The last experience like this was Stories which continues to grow very quickly – for example, Instagram just passed 500M daily actives on Stories. But the reality is we’ve put most of our energy into security over the past 18 months so that building new experiences wasn’t the priority over that period.

This year I think we’re going to deliver several of these experiences:

Messaging is the area that’s growing the most quickly, and this year people are going to feel these apps becoming the center of their social experience in more ways. We’ll roll out payments on WhatsApp in some more countries. Private sharing in groups and stories will become more central to the experience. We’re going to onboard millions of more businesses that people can interact with.

In Facebook, the way people experience groups and communities will continue to deepen. We’re going to get to a point soon where people feel like Facebook is about communities as much as it’s about your friends and family — where almost everyone is in a group that is meaningful to them and that community is a central part of their experience.

On Facebook, I also expect this to be the year where Watch becomes more mainstream. There are now 400 million people who use it every month, and people spend on average over 20 minutes on Watch daily. This means we’re finding ways for video to grow outside of News Feed so it doesn’t displace the social interactions that people primarily come to our services for.

In Instagram, one of the areas I’m most excited about this year is commerce and shopping. There’s a lot of natural activity happening here, and this year I expect us to deliver some qualitatively new experiences around that.

Longer term, I remain very focused on building technology that brings people together in new ways, including through AR and VR. I’m looking forward to Oculus Quest shipping this spring — the feedback there so far has been very positive. And I’ve also been positively surprised that Portal has done even better than I expected it to. I love using it with my own family, but we’d never shipped Facebook-branded hardware before, and a lot of people said this would be a difficult time to start, so I’m pleased that so many people are enjoying this experience of being able to feel closer to the people they care about, even when they’re physically far apart.

Our third priority is to continue strong execution on our business.

In the past couple of years, a lot of our business challenges have been self-imposed. The reality is that we had a number of substantive issues that we needed to address, and the investments we made in safety, security, privacy, and well-being both increased our costs and in some cases reduced our revenues. But as I said at the time, I believe these investments are the right thing to do and will make our community and our business stronger over the long term.

And what we’ve seen is that the fundamentals of the business remain strong. More than 90 million small businesses now use our products — the vast majority of them for free — and of those we surveyed, half tell us that they’ve been able to grow their businesses and hire more people since joining Facebook. This means they’re using our services to create millions of jobs. This is one of the most important contributions that we feel we can make to the world. To put this in perspective, the US economy added about 2.6 million jobs last year.

Our last priority is to get out there more and make the case for the role our services play in the world.

Right now there’s a lot of negativity about the impact of technology — some of it is fair and some of it is misplaced. And we and the tech industry overall should be scrutinized heavily because we play a role in many people’s lives. My approach here is to listen to the critique first, work on addressing our issues, figure out what we believe are the most important principles to uphold, and then go and engage in the debate.

I feel like we’ve come out of 2018 not only having made real progress on important issues, but having a clearer sense of what we believe are the right ways to move forward. We’re still going to make mistakes along the way, but we now have a clearer sense of the path ahead. We’re ready to work with people to understand our role and move towards good outcomes — whether that’s regulation on content or data, cooperation on shared threats, working openly to make sure AI best serves people, or just standing up for the kind of open and connected world that we all want to see.

The internet is a massive force for change, and we’re at the center of a lot of the debate that brings. But our core value to people and society remains the same: we offer a service, free to everyone, that helps you stay connected with the people you care about, express what you’re thinking and feeling, get help when you need it most, support the causes and ideas you believe in, start and grow businesses no matter where you are. That makes a lot of good possible, and we’re committed to building technology that people can use to create positive change.

Cool Leaders

Podcast with Matt Mullenweg

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Matt Mullenweg has been named one of PC World’s Top 50 People on the Web, Inc.com’s 30 under 30, and Business Week’s 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

Matt is most associated with a tool that powers more than 22% of the entire web: WordPress. Even if you aren’t into tech, there are many pages of “holy shit!” tips and resources in this episode.

Matt is a phenom of hyper-productivity and does A LOT with very little. But how? This conversation shares his best tools and tricks. From polyphasic sleep to Dvorak and looping music for flow, there’s something for everyone.

Last but not least, Matt is also the CEO of Automattic, which is valued at $1-billion+ and has a fully distributed team of 300+ employees around the world. I’m honored to be an advisor, and I’ve seen how they use incredibly unorthodox methods for jaw-dropping results.

But… he started off as a BBQ-chomping Texas boy with no aspirations of empire building. How on earth did get here? Just listen and find out. It’s one hell of a story.

Listen to the podcast here.

Cool Leaders

Nikolai Wolfert started the Leila ‘borrowing shop’ in Berlin

Nikolai Wolfert at borrowing shop

The most popular items in Berlin’s first “borrowing shop” are the electric drills. At least one of the local people who have registered with Leila – a little shop on Fehrbelliner Strasse, north-east of the city centre – seems to be continually fixing shelves or hanging pictures.

But it’s not worth buying that person their own tools, said founder Nikolai Wolfert. “The average electric drill is used for 13 minutes in its entire lifetime – how does it make sense to buy something like that? It’s much more efficient to share it.”

Wolfert, 31, came up with the idea for Leila after the Green party failed to win the 2011 Berlin elections and he started looking for ways of doing politics at a more local level. Four hundred residents have signed up to the project, which he says is less a charity shop than a “library of things”.

Members can borrow anything from board games to wine glasses, fog machines to hiking rucksacks, juicers to unicycles. All they need to do to become members is drop off an item of their own. “This is not just about doing charity out of magnanimity – the shop makes sense because it’s more efficient,” Wolfert said. “We think in a decentralised way – that’s how the big supermarket chains think too.”

Read the full article in The Guardian here.

First republished on COOLLEADERS.COM.

Cool Leaders

Meet Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

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Airbnb has garnered favorable comparisons to eBay’s $212 billion marketplace, and for most startups this would be a compliment. Not for Chesky. “People went to Dell for the computers, but they go to Apple for everything,” Chesky says. “That’s the difference between a transactional company and a transformational one.” There’s a lot riding on that single sheet of paper.

Chesky gnaws his fingernails and drums his legs in meetings. The CEO’s “endless energy” (everyone I spoke with referred to it in some fashion) is endlessly apparent. Since 2010, he has lived in Airbnbs at least part of each year. He sounds like a walking travel guide, rattling off details from his last half-dozen Airbnb excursions in the course of a conversation. He still rents out his couch to guests. “­Staying here [with Brian] is like having Zuck personally stalk your ex or asking Larry and Sergey tons of inane questions,” reads one of his 85 glowing reviews.

For a long time, Chesky’s relentlessness meant he was running the company like a rhinoceros: Point him in the right direction and he’d put his head down and hammer out a solution. When a guest ransacked a host’s apartment in 2011, he managed the potentially crippling PR nightmare with such fierce attention that it actually led to features that improved the service’s professionalism and trust, including 24/7 customer service and comprehensive insurance coverage. When a European Airbnb clone launched seemingly overnight with $90 million in funding, Chesky, with the benefit of advice from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and eBay chief John Donahoe, rapidly boosted Airbnb’s international presence, opening a dozen offices overseas and expanding its service into 30 languages with reps in every global time zone.

Read the full interview here.

First republished on COOLLEADERS.COM.

Cool Leaders

Richard Branson’s top 10 tips for success

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Richard Branson left school at the age of 16 and set up Student Magazine with one of his friends. He went on to start Virgin Records in the 1970s and is the founder of the Virgin Group. In the 1980s he formed Virgin Atlantic airline and the 1990s saw the arrival of Virgin Mobile and Virgin Trains.

The truth is, so long as you’ve got a kitchen which has space for a sofa, and a bedroom, and a partner that you love, you don’t necessarily need the add-ons in life.

He is one of the most successful businessmen in the UK and an icon of entrepreneurship. His latest project is Virgin Galactic, which he hopes will one day become a space tourism company.

Here are his Top Ten Tips for success:

1. Follow your dreams and just do it

Follow your dreams, get involved in life, in the things that interest you. If you are going to create a business, make sure it is your hobby, your passion or something that you really enjoy.

You will live a much better life that way. Don’t just set out to do something for the sake of making money.
I think lots of people have lots of great ideas, but very few people actually go out and try to put them into practice.

There are lots of people who think that somebody must have done that before, or you’ll never raise the money or you shouldn’t take a risk in life.

It’s the people who say I’m just going to do it, that end up having a chance of having a much more exciting and rewarding life.

2. Make a positive difference and do some good

The first thing to do if you want to become an entrepreneur is basically to have an idea that is going to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. A business is simply that.

If you’re running a business you are in a position where you can make a hell of a difference in this world.
I also think it’s great for the staff of a company that they can feel good about a company that is actually getting out there and doing good.

3. Believe in your ideas and be the best

You definitely need to believe in your idea. There’s really no point in doing something in life unless people feel really good about it and proud about it. You’ve got to have passion for it and you’ve got to be able to inspire other people to have a passion for it too.

If an idea is a good idea you should be able to pitch it in two or three sentences and two or three sentences fit very neatly on the back of an envelope.

There was no point creating a new airline unless it was going to be palpably better than every other airline in the world, you’ve got to make sure that every aspect of what you do is better than the competition.

4. Have fun and look after your team

I 100% believe that it’s important to have fun and if you’re not having fun anymore, it might be time to move on. You should have fun from the top down and create the kind of environment that’s pleasant to work in.

Make sure that you’ve got the kinds of people running your companies who genuinely care about people, who look for the best in people and who praise and don’t criticise.

People are not that unlike flowers. If a flower is watered it flourishes and if a flower is not watered it dries up and dies and I think the same applies to people.

5. Don’t give up

It’s extremely important not to give up. There have been situations in my adventures, like crossing the pacific in a balloon, where the odds were stacked very heavily against us surviving.

Being an entrepreneur is not that dissimilar to being an adventurer. You have plenty of situations where your back is right up against a wall and you’ve just got to work day and night to make sure you overcome the difficulties a particular company finds itself in. Brush yourself down the next day and move on into something else.

I think I’m reasonably good at dealing with failure and not letting it get me down for more than an hour or two as long as I put everything I can into avoiding it.

6. Make lots of lists and keep setting yourself new challenges

I make copious lists because I think it’s the little details that make for an exceptional company over an average company. Details are very important and I think it’s important to keep setting yourself new challenges and targets.
I do believe that the first of the year is a good time to write down your goals for the year. Unless you actually organise yourself and write down the kinds of things you want to achieve, there’s a danger that as time slips by, you don’t achieve a lot.

7. Spend time with your family and learn to delegate

One of the early things you have to do as an entrepreneur is learn the art of delegation. Find people who are better than you to run the companies on a day-to-day basis, freeing yourself up to think about the bigger picture and spend time with your family.

That’s very important, especially if you’ve got children, they are what’s going to be left when you’re gone.
I know I’m a good entrepreneur, but I’m not sure that I’d be a very good manager and there is a difference. My mind is always thinking ahead and wanting to create new things.

I just think once I’ve set something up, it’s better if someone else runs it. I can dive in and out and be a pain occasionally, but the day-to-day business is better for somebody else to do.

8. Try turning off the TV and get out there and do things

My mum brought us up very much to get out there and do things, don’t watch other people do things, and don’t watch television. I think that was a good way of bringing up kids. With my own kids, we’ve spent quite a lot of time in the Caribbean and we never watch television there.

I think I am capable of switching off on Necker Island which is where we sort of pull up the drawbridge. But what I’m doing I see as so fascinating, so rewarding, so interesting that I don’t ever really want to switch off too much because I find myself in such a wonderful, challenging position that I don’t want to waste that position and there are just so many important challenges going on.

9. When people say bad things about you, just prove them wrong

There are people who hang onto the coat tails of successful people and try to sell a few books on the back of their name. It’s unpleasant but you know that if you sue them or kick up a fuss, all it will do is publicise the book. So I’ve had to learn the art of ignoring people like that.

I think the best thing to do is just to prove them wrong in every single way. This particular book, (Branson: Behind the Mask by Tom Bower), says that our spaceship programme is a white elephant, later this year we will prove them wrong.

10. Do what you love and have a sofa in the kitchen

You only live one life, so I would do the thing that you are going to enjoy. When life boils down, this might sound like a little much coming from me, I do have my own little island in the Caribbean, but when we are on that island, we tend to just live in the kitchen.

The truth is, so long as you’ve got a kitchen which has space for a sofa, and a bedroom, and a partner that you love, you don’t necessarily need the add-ons in life.

Then, if you’re doing something that really interests you, it will result in a much more enjoyable life rather than just doing something for the sake of making money.

[Source]

Cool Leaders

Entrepreneur of 2012: Limor Fried

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Limor Fried notes that once upon a time, it might have seemed strange for a person to spend an afternoon building something like the MintyBoost, a portable USB mobile-device charger assembled from an Altoids tin and bits of electronic hardware. But if the 50,000 MintyBoost kits sold so far by Fried’s company, Adafruit Industries, are any indication, the world is now a different sort of place.

Read the full article here.