The Profile: The entrepreneur whisperer & the robot reading your mind

Good morning, friends.

I’m working on a feature that’s eating up my life, so reading all these profiles is both inspiring and stressful. As I dug into the Guy Raz and Lena Dunham stories below, I was in awe of everything from sentence structure to word selection to anecdotes to flow! (These are the things I get excited about.) Writing a profile so good it inspires people to take action — tweet, tell their friends, call their mom — is really damn hard. But I’m a believer that reading quality journalism makes you a better writer. So pray that I end up writing something cohesive and don’t lose my mind in the process.

All this to say that if there’s anyone out there trying to make their way through an article, a book, or a journal entry, I feel your struggle. And I’ll leave you with this tweet that sums it up:

Brendan Greeley@bhgreeleyWife: How's the article going? Me: I'm at the point where I don't know how I'm going to finish it, I'm angry at myself for having agreed to write it, and I'm not even sure I should have become a journalist. Wife: So you're almost done then.

In the meantime, enjoy the profiles below. You have my word that every single one is worth your time:

The entrepreneur whisperer [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
The celebrity that can’t stop making mistakes
Putin’s worst enemy
The robot reading your mind
The mysterious firm controlling Wall Street


If you enjoy reading profiles of the most successful people and companies, click here to tweet so others can enjoy it too.


PEOPLE TO KNOW.

The entrepreneur whisperer: Instagram. Airbnb. Lyft. Glossier. The founders of all of these companies have appeared on Guy Raz’s wildly successful NPR podcast, “How I Built This.” With questions like, “What was your trough of sorrow,” & “What is that like for you?” Raz makes his guest comfortable enough let their guard down and reveal something very intimate. Listeners say the show makes them feel less lonely. Others say they cue up an episode when their business is a mess and they need a kick of enthusiasm. This profile is an absolute must-read.

“Who are you when you’re on the bathroom floor in the fetal position, crying because you are not going to make it to the next day?”

The celebrity that can’t stop making mistakes: Actress Lena Dunham has been on an apology tour. Among things she’s had to say sorry for: writing a New Yorker essay called “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz”; constantly being naked; accusing a Spanish magazine of airbrushing her photos (it did not); comparing Bill Cosby to the Holocaust; accusing NFL player Odell Beckham Jr. of not wanting to sleep with her. Yet her apologies fall on deaf ears & only make people more annoyed by her. This profile will take you on a wild ride. It’s winding, tumultuous, absorbing, and filled with so many cringe-worthy and WTF moments, you won’t want to put it down.

“I’m like Virginia Woolf writing letters only with emojis, and nobody cares.”

Putin’s worst enemy: I told you guys I’m reading Red Notice, which is a business saga of corruption & murder in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Now, there’s a jaw-dropping profile on the author himself — American-born financier Bill Browder. At one time, Browder was the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia. Now, he circles the globe helping governments recover millions that Russian oligarchs have illegally parked overseas. This profile covers financial malfeasance, tax fraud accusations, and death treats. “Vladimir Putin wants me dead,” Browder says almost every time he is interviewed.

“I see him as a modern-day Pablo Escobar. Putin has no ideology whatsoever. All he wants is money and to hurt his enemies. He is straightforward. That is what makes him so vulnerable.”

The robot reading your mind: What would you say if told that you could direct an object to move with nothing but your thoughts? It’s not fiction — it’s very much reality. Andrew Schwartz has been studying how the mind instructs the body to move for more than three decades — and now, he might have cracked the code. This profile explains how his research helped a paralyzed woman escape her body & just how much progress scientists have made working on brain-machine interfaces. It’s wild.

“You are more than the body you live in.”

COMPANIES TO WATCH.

The mysterious firm controlling Wall Street: Susquehanna International Group keeps a low profile even though its fingerprints are all over the financial markets. In addition to ranking among the largest U.S. traders of ETFs, it’s a giant in options trading and has plowed money into sports betting, private equity, and even Bitcoin. But now, regulators are taking a greater interest in the role firms like Susquehanna play in the market — just how risky is their under-the-radar strategy?

“The basic concept that applies to both poker and option trading is that the primary object is not winning the most hands, but rather maximizing your gains.”