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Hey Alexa, what else can you do?

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The Mission Newsletter, 9/27/18

“Perseverance is the act of true role models and heroes.” –Liza Wiemer

NO BPA Is Safe At Any Levels

A first-of-its-kind study has revealed a possible link between previously believed “safe” levels of BPA to altered insulin responses in non-diabetic adults.

Found in paper, plastics and many other consumer goods, BPA was shown to alter glucose-stimulated insulin responses in humans, an important factor in maintaining healthy sugar and glucose levels in the body. Long-term exposure could lead to insulin resistance and eventually Type 2 diabetes.

The Future of Biotech with Karsten Temme

Episode 113 of The Mission Daily

Chad sits down with Doctor Karsten Temme, the CEO of Pivot Bio, a company that researches and develops sustainable and environmentally friendly farming methods. In this episode, Chad and Dr. Temme talk synthetic biology, the new wave of biotechnology and start-ups and why we won’t need fertilizer for crops much longer.

Listen to Episode 113!

What’s Your Personality?

In Nature Human Behavior, a new study claims that there are four personality types, average, reserved, self-centered and role model, which are determined based on character traits such as neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

So what’s that mean? And which type are you?

Average folks are fairly agreeable and conscientious, quite extraverted and neurotic but not terribly openis. self-centered types score below-average on openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness, but high on extraversion. Reserved individuals are fairly stable in all domains except for openness and neuroticism, in which they’re relatively low. Role models, finally, have high levels of extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness, and comparably low levels of neuroticism.

Not everyone will fit neatly into those boxes of course, but an above average subset of the population seems to.

A New, Louder Amazon

At a surprise event, Amazon announced tons of new hardware. The company introduced:

  • A new, louder, better Amazon Dot
  • Amazon Alexa Auto, which connects Alexa through your phone and plays through your car speakers
  • An Amazon Alexa plugin that will work with speakers you already own.
  • An Echo with a sub
  • Alexa Guard, which is used to integrate the Alexa software into your home security system.
  • Plus a smart plug, a wall clock and much more!

That’s all cool, but if we’re honest, we’re most excited about the AmazonBasics Microwave, which will heat up our leftover Chinese food just by us asking Alexa to do so. What a time to be alive.

Who’s Going To Be Checking Us Out Of Stores?

As if new tech wasn’t enough, Amazon also recently announced that they have plans to open 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021. The question the company is asking, though, is what type of stores should they be — convenience-style joints, or a place to quickly grab prepared food at lunch or dinner time?

The challenge to Amazon’s plan is the high cost of opening each location. The original AmazonGo in downtown Seattle required more than $1 million in hardware alone, according to a person familiar with the matter. Narrowing the focus to prepared food-to-go would reduce the upfront cost of opening each store, because it would require fewer cameras and sensors.

The company is targeting dense, urban areas for the new store. If the plan moves forward, the expansion would make AmazonGo one of the largest chains in the U.S.

Community Builds Character

There are encyclopedias of data that suggest that community-connected projects are beneficial for students because they build character, include integration of many skills and offer an opportunity to take ownership over a learning experience or project.

Author Patty Alper, a board member of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, argues that adding another element could help students even more: mentors.

Mentorship is a beneficial setup for all involved: mentor, mentee and the community each are helping. Mentors provide guidance to their mentees, and in exchange, the mentors and community benefit from being exposed to new ideas and helping bring them to life.

The Best of What We’re Reading

3 Secrets To Building Billion Dollar Companies From David Sacks by Chris Lochhead.

“Plenty of people in Silicon Valley would pay $10,000 to sit down and chat about business with the extraordinary David Sacks. David is one of the all-time great entrepreneurs. He’s the founder and CEO of Yammer, which sold to Microsoft for a cool $1.2 billion. He was also on the original team at PayPal and an angel investor in Facebook, Airbnb, and SpaceX. Now, he’s having incredible success in VC at Craft Ventures.”

SIGNAL celebrates the developers, the builders, the innovators, the doers, and the dreamers who are reimagining how the world communicates. Be a part of it with us! Go to signal.twilio.com and get your ticket for 20% off by using the promo code: “MISSION20”.

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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!

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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.


Hey Alexa, what else can you do? 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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