lavin weekly david sax | October 21, 2016

Lavin Weekly #59: Briggle, Sax, Gino, & Ali

1. Adam Briggle to The Guardian: “Philosophy relevant? We had better hope so.”


In The Guardian, new speaker Adam Briggle and his Socrates Tenured co-author Robert Frodeman call for a better integration of philosophy and public policy. Today, scientific research overturns age-old beliefs and purports to show the objective truth. But when cold, hard science fails to stop political debate (and it hasn’t), we must turn to philosophical deliberation. As it stands, philosophy is largely the stuff of ivory-tower academics, “practicing a highly specialized discipline and speaking primarily to one another.” But to Briggle, we need a sort of “open humanities” attitude, where philosophy leaves university lecture halls and finds its way into wider community circles. Briggle is one of our most exciting new speakers: He’s a prominent anti-fracking activist, an outspoken advocate for transgender rights, and the acclaimed author of two books on modern-context philosophy.


2. Soylent Points to Troubling Food-Industry Trends, says The New Yorker’s David Sax


The inauspiciously named Soylent, a meal replacement bar that emerged from Silicon Valley a few years ago, is now facing a highly public product recall; dozens of customers have fallen ill. This is nothing new, says The Tastemakers author David Sax—we’ve seen foodborne illness from packaged goods before—but it sheds light on larger industry issues. “Over the past few years,” Sax says, “as money from the tech industry has found its way into all sorts of disruptive startups, the can-do engineering culture has set its sights on our daily bread.” In other words, they’re engineering food, but missing the point: humans crave food in its original, natural form—“Fish pulled from a river and grilled over wood coals. Sourdough bread made from a twenty-year-old starter, and kneaded by hand. Wine grown on knobby vines, and aged in a dark cellar. Why would you disrupt that?” Look for Sax’s newest book, The Revenge of Analog, in stores November 8. 


3. Francesca Gino Brings “Rebel Talent” to HBR


Negotiation speaker Francesca Gino is heading an exciting new article series with Harvard Business Review. “Rebel Talent” will premiere October 24, and will run through November 1 with a new feature every day. It’s all about fostering individuality in your employees—letting them “break the rules and be themselves.” But don’t take our word for it. Watch the video here, and listen to Gino tell it herself. 



4. Wajahat Ali’s Affinis Labs to Launch Global Startup Incubator Network    


Affinis Labs, the social-entrepreneurship venture helmed by diversity speaker Wajahat Ali, is set to launch a “global startup incubator network” in early 2017. The proposed incubator will partner with Malaysian venture capital manager MavCap and Silicon Valley-based Elixir Capital, and seeks to “identify emerging entrepreneurial talent from around the world that understands what makes the global Islamic economy special.” Beyond mere funding, the project plans to bring premier seed-stage startups to Silicon Valley for a three-month “acceleration program.” With a shot of capital and a healthy dose of Valley-style innovation, here’s hoping that deserving Muslim-run startups begin to flourish.


To book conference speakers Adam Briggle, David Sax, Francesca Gino, or Wajahat Ali, contact The Lavin Agency, their exclusive keynote speakers bureau.


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