Headed For The Sun

The Mission Newsletter, 8/13/18

“Security is when everything is settled, when nothing can happen to you; security is the denial of life.” — Germaine Greer

Sara Varni, CMO of Twilio on Marketing and Life

Episode 75 of The Mission Daily

In this episode of The Mission Daily, Chad and Ian talk to Sara Varni, the CMO of Twilio to discuss marketing and life.

“People need to be thinking about how they’re going to get the right message to the right person at the right time and then how they’re going to be able to consume it… To build the ultimate customer experience you have to think about all the different channels your customers are interacting on.”

Listen to Episode 75 of The Mission Daily.

The Mission Daily is a podcast dedicated to accelerated learning and helping you become healthier, wealthier, and wiser. It is designed to help you learn — as fast as you possibly can.

Book Club Date Change!

To help give you amazing book club goers more time to finish Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, we’ve decided to postpone the book club live event.

Instead of today, the live discussion will be held August 28th at 6pm PT.

We can’t wait to see you all there! 🤗 📚

(Interested in joining our free book club? Check it out here!)

News That Matters


In a new study, researchers found that employer-sponsored wellness programs don’t appear to offer much benefit one way or the other. This finding goes against other popularized studies that have stated the opposite.

In the latest research, those conducting the study performed a randomized, controlled trial — which offers more scientific and accurate results — as opposed to an observational trial that only compares participants with non-participants.

If we look only at the intervention group as an observational trial, it appears that people who didn’t make use of the program went to the campus gym 3.8 days per year, and those who participated in it went 7.4 times per year. Based on that, the program appears to be a success. But when the intervention group is compared with the control group as a randomized controlled trial, the differences disappear. Those in the control group went 5.9 times per year, and those in the intervention group went 5.8 times per year.

The research also found that the wellness programs did not have a significant effect on employees spending habits on wellness, or whether or not they were likely to participate in wellness activities, such as marathons or other races.


Every major studio has invested in “NewTV,” a short-form video streaming service from Hollywood bigwigs Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman. From Disney to Fox to Lionsgate to NBCU and more, NewTV has raised more than $1 billion toward launching its platform in 2019.

NewTV will be a subscription-based service and will offer original programming that runs about 10 minutes per episode and hopes to tap into the mobile phone-watching market.

“Really, this allows us to launch our vision of bringing together the best of Hollywood and Silicon Valley,” Whitman said.


Forming strong bonds with people gets harder as we get older, but there are some pretty tried and true ways to form lasting relationships. One good one is to take a road trip.

Various studies have been done that have shown that road tripping with a friend or group of pals often leads to all parties reporting a stronger, more intimate bond after the fact.

The reason? On the road you’ve got time to kill and nothing to do, so you talk in a way that’s much deeper than the surface level chit chat you engage in on a daily basis.

Plus, when road tripping you often have a common goal with your companions — getting to the next destination. You work together to accomplish that task with as little problems as possible. Bonds invariably form in these scenarios, and memories are made. So load up the car and hit the road! 🚗 🚗

Join us at SIGNAL!

Innovative leaders have lots of ideas, but they often save up the really mind-blowing ones for an audience of industry peers. 😏

Join us at SIGNAL and learn about the next generation of communications! Go to signal.twilio.com and get your ticket for 20% off by using the promo code: MISSION20.

Tech Trends

Over the weekend, the Parker Solar Probe launched, beginning a mission to the sun that has been a goal of space travel for decades, if not centuries. ☀️ ☀️

Getting the probe to the sun is an enormous technical challenge that needs immense speed and then constant deceleration — a feat that requires the most powerful rocket ever created to initiate the launch.

Even still, the rocket alone won’t be enough to ensure the probe makes it. In fact, the probe will need a gravity assist from Venus, which it will fly by seven times on its journey. Then the probe has to be able to survive the intense environment of the sun — that means intense heat shields and other protections need to be engineered for the project.

Luckily the sun provides a ton of natural energy, so the probe will be powered by solar panels with a robust cooling system.

Marketing Trends

The experiential marketing fad is alive and well as yet another online publishing company, Bustle, is joining the fun with a live event that will have everything from meditation to food trucks to performances from mainstream artists.

Bustle has done small events in the last few years, but this will be it’s first on a large scale designed to bring in revenue.

Bustle has recently revamped its digital presence, including pulling coverage together and packaging it in digital issues to mirror what readers might see in print. The event will coincide with a digital issue featuring Janelle Monáe on the cover.

Education Trends

Vemo Education brought in a heavy hitter last week when they hired Katie Blot, the former chief strategy and portfolio officer at Blackboard Inc.

From Washington Business Journal:

At Vemo, Blot will be both chief operating officer and senior vice president in charge of strategy, where she will work to grow the startup and help it mature as a company. But the key is the experimentation happening in the education startup space, she said, instead of the more incremental innovation that occurs at larger companies like Blackboard.

“One thing I have seen in the education space in the last five to 10 years has to do with the investment money that is coming into education and that we see some startups being able to do things that are interesting and progressive that I think are difficult for large established companies to do,” Blot said.

The Best of What We Are Up To

Cool stuff is in store for The Mission! 🚀

Ian was back on The Mission Daily this Friday to catch up with Chad! They discuss all the exciting developments at The Mission and in their personal lives.

Listen to Episode 74: Big Things On The Horizon

Writer Spotlights

Before You Start Up, Start This by William Frazier

How the Agricultural Revolution Inspired a Wrong Way of Thinking by Jack Martin

The Simple Equation That Will Make You Better at Everything by Brad Stulberg

Thanks again to our friends at Twilio for sponsoring The Mission!

Our Media

The Mission is a new kind of media company. We publish stories, videos, and podcasts to help smart people get smarter. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or learn more about us here. We’d love to connect!

Custom Podcasts

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We create custom podcast sponsorships for enterprise companies. To learn more about why companies like Salesforce trust us to produce results, connect with our team here.

Headed For The Sun was originally published in The Mission on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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