Kyle Borland

Storyteller and strategist at the intersections of cannabis, branding & communications, justice, and Urbanism.

ACES in Spades – January 16

Accountability → Watch the Throne  



  • 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer –  The Edelman Trust Barometer is an annual study put out by global public relations behemoth, Edelman, measuring trust across the civic, economic, political and social landscapes. For the first time, the general population’s trust in all four key institutions — business, government, NGOs, and media — has declined broadly. Key takeaway? Businesses are the most trusted (take this lightly because it’s not saying much) group worldwide because people believe they have the best chance to act, quickly and efficiently. This is an opportunity for businesses to rebuild relationships with their local region and the communities that make them up...if they want to.

  • Fortune: “The Ugly Unethical Underside of Silicon Valley” by Erin Griffith – Don’t let the TED Talks and well publicized conferences fool you: Big tech is real and they care very little about the law, or you. I believe Erin scratches the surface of a culture that has exacerbated a Second Gilded Age.  

Connectivity → Bridge the Gap

From Alabama to California

  • The Alabama/California Conversation Project is a collaboration between and Spaceship Media, a journalism nonprofit that facilitates engagement between communities at odds. Since Dec. 14, a group of about 25 women from Alabama who supported Trump and 25 women from California's San Francisco Bay Area who supported Clinton have been in nearly constant conversation. Read latest, here. (

  • 53 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump. “You Focus on the Good” asks those women to explain why, in their own words.

World Affairs

  • If want to understand geopolitics in the coming decade, you need to read “How China rules the waves” by James Kynge, Chris Campbell, Amy Kazmin and Farhan Bokhari. Although China cannot yet rival America’s naval supremacy, it’s building the pieces. Through an impressive array of commercial ports, China has developed infrastructure that could be militarized quickly. Pair this with a 2015 white paper proclaiming China’s “Pivot to the Seas” (abandoning the historical Chinese mentality that land outweighs sea) and Trump’s election and we’ve got ourselves a superpower powderkeg. Let’s hope this plays out in the most non-interesting way possible. (The Financial Times)

  • “Of course the destruction of the transatlantic alliance and the European Union could cause uncertainty and a decline in living standards for Europeans, not to mention violence or real chaos. Of course instability in Europe is not in the interests of U.S. business or politics, either. But a few would benefit. Russia would once again become a major European player. Plutocrats could make money out of the disaster — hedge funds famously prefer instability. In the wake of the revolution, all kinds of unexpected people might rise to power.” (The Washington Post)

Equity → Pursue the Dream

Criminal, Social and Voter Justice

  • The latest battle in the war against voter suppression is detailed by Manny Fernandez, the Houston Bureau chief for the NYT, in “In Texas, a Test of Whether the Voting Rights Act Still Has Teeth.” This past election was the first one in 50 years without the protections of the VRA, which monitored the election activities of key battleground states, such as, Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. #ReinstatetheVRA should be a priority for every American. (NYT)

  • Action: Join #ReclaimandResist, an entire week of actions with Movement for Black Lives from January 16-20. You can search for events near you and there are suggestions / guides for how to host your own event, as well. For my people, HERE is BLM Bay Area’s Facebook page and here is BLM Birmingham’s Facebook page.  

  • Action: “End the 1033 Program: Despite claims of reform the 1033 Program is stronger than ever and funneling record numbers of military equipment to local law enforcement. Please sign this petition to pressure the president to end the 1033 program once and for all and send a statement rejecting the militarization of our communities.”

Entrepreneurship + Innovation

  • Follow Fortune’s Term Sheet by Erin Griffith (author of SV article above) for daily updates on the venture capital industry. I really enjoy Erin’s insights across the business spectrum and find her writing to be engaging and well-researched.


  • California passed a resolution calling for the IRS to suspend applying 28o-E toward cannabis businesses rather than international drug smugglers, causing “ruinous and unfair tax bills… resulting in bankruptcy and undue hardship.” (High Times)

  • Kentucky approves 12,800 acres of industrial hemp and more than 525,000 square feet of greenhouse space for indoor growers in 2017.  Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said, “Our strategy is to use KDA’s research pilot program to encourage the industrial hemp industry to expand and prosper in Kentucky…to position the commonwealth’s growers and processors to ultimately prevail as national leaders in industrial hemp production.” (WCPO)

  • Follow Tom Angell’s, founder of Marijuana Majority, new “General Marijuana Newsletter” (name pending) for the most comprehensive cannabis news update out there:

Sustainability → Build for 1000x

Cities + Climate Change

  • “By 2050, a projected 66 percent of people will be living in urban areas. How will cities bend and change to accommodate this shift? The filmmaker Oscar Boyson explores this question in his video essay, The Future of Cities. It’s an 18-minute collaboration with The Nantucket Project that sent Boyson around the world to illustrate problems and solutions to increasing urbanization.” (The Atlantic)   

  • The 5 Kinds of Cities We'll See in the Populist Era (CityLab)


ACES in Spades – January 17-18

As Mama Ru said, “Social media is a choice, not mandatory.”