The Profile: The first weed billionaire & the most powerful person in Silicon Valley

Good morning, friends.

 🎉 Today marks 100 issues of The Profile! 🎉  

In two years, we’ve promoted great journalism, raised money for causes close to my heart, held a drinks meetup in NYC, and grown to more than 5,000 subscribers largely through word-of-mouth. (Of course, my Friday & Saturday nights are now non-existent, but that’s a small price to pay.)

As a thank you for being part of this community, I teamed up with my friends at Book of the Month Club to invite you to try something cool.

If you don’t already know, Book of the Month is a subscription-based service that helps people find great new reads. On the 1st of each month, the BOTM team announces five recently-released books, and members choose which one(s) they would like to receive.

And today, they are inviting Profile readers to be one of the first members of their brand new *Book of the Month Nonfiction* vertical that features the best new non-fiction books each month.

** To celebrate the 100th issue, we’d love to extend a free membership to you guys. All you have to do is sign up here, and the BOTM team will be in touch with a survey & a complimentary trial membership for the first 200 participants. **

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Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming:

The first (legal) weed billionaire [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
The most powerful person in Silicon Valley
The business anchor drowning in politics
The man who could cure Alzheimer’s
The scientist developing a loneliness pill
The company that rents out dogs


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 first (legal) weed billionaire: Six years ago, Brendan Kennedy had drained his 401(k), maxed out his credit cards, and borrowed money from family members to start a cannabis company. There was a night when he didn’t even have enough money to order a pizza. “That was darkness unlike anything I’d ever faced,” he remembers. Today, Kennedy is not only a billionaire but the richest man in the legal marijuana business. Here’s how he did it.

“We were worried we would always be known as failed pot guys.”

The most powerful person in Silicon Valley: Imagine this: You're one of the richest people in the world with a net worth of more than $70 billion. In the course of three years, 98% of your wealth evaporates (!) Do you throw in the towel or double down on the thing you were already doing when everything went to hell? If you're Masayoshi Son, you dive deeper and double down with unparalleled conviction. The question remains — will his strategy of throwing big money at big problems deliver big results?

“Most human beings who’ve had the kinds of experiences he’s had become tentative. You’ve never seen someone so fearless.”

The business anchor drowning in politics: In an era that seems to prefer affirmation over information, Maria Bartiromo may be in a class by herself. She once dominated the lane reporting on the vicissitudes of the stock market, but she’s recently transformed herself into a Trump acolyte. This profile aims to figure out what exactly led to Bartiromo’s surprising career swerve.

“She’s a hustler, and she likes to win.”

The man who could cure Alzheimer’s: Paul Cox believes he’s closing in on a treatment that might prevent ALS, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Cox is not a neurologist. In fact, he isn’t a physician of any kind. His ideas come from so far outside the mainstream of neurological research that you might think he’s crazy or deluded or worse. But then, some very credible people think he might be on to something big—which might make the improbable story you are about to read one of the most important as well.

“It’s the ultimate scientific detective story.”

The scientist developing a loneliness pill: Every study comes to the same conclusion: We have become chronically lonely. More Americans live alone than ever before; fewer of us are marrying or having children; our average household size is shrinking. Now, researcher Stephanie Cacioppo is leading clinical trials to ease the effects of isolation on the brain by developing the first of its kind pill for loneliness.

“If there are pharmacological treatments for other social pains like depression and anxiety, why not loneliness?”

FROM THE VAULT.

The company that rents out dogs: Yep, renting. As in, if you don’t make your monthly lease payment, you have to return the dog. Wags Lending works with pet stores to help subprime borrowers finance purebred pets. The problem is that a lot of people thought they would be making monthly payments to own their high-end pets — not to rent them. One customer said,  “This cat is ruining my credit score.” Think about that next time you want a Bengal kitten.

“When I take a good hard look at what the world will be like in 10 years, I think most things are going to be on lease.”