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The Broadsheet: August 19th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers. I don’t know my neighbors, and statistics suggest you don’t either. Today, we chat with Nextdoor co-founder Sarah Leary about why that’s a big problem.

EVERYONE’S TALKING

Hillary heading back to Iowa. Next month’s trip — her first public appearance in Iowa in six years — is viewed by most as an opportunity for Hillary to get in front of voters before a potential 2016 presidential bid. On her agenda will be Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry,  a “must-visit” for Democratic presidential hopefuls. The event might sound fun, but Iowa is home to some bad memories for Clinton: In 2008 she suffered a significant loss there to then-Senator Barack Obama. Time

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

• The secret to Tory Burch’s success. When she launched her own fashion line in 2004, Burch’s mission was quite simple: Make “great, classic, easy pieces that don’t cost a fortune.” Ten years later, Burch is the face of a brand valued at $3 billion with $1 billion revenues and 141 stores in 50 countries. Some analysts chalk up her success to design quality, but Fast Company took a deeper dive and discovered that Burch’s strengths extend beyond making pretty bags and clothes. A must read Fast Company

• Kroger under fire from gun-control moms. Advocacy group Moms Demand Action is insisting that the nation’s largest grocery chain ban openly-carried firearms in its stores. Fortune 

This woman got Jimmy Iovine’s attention before Tim Cook. Anjula Acharia-Bath, CEO of media company DesiHits, matches South Asian music stars with Hollywood producers. Among her big-name investors is Jimmy Iovine, a founder of Interscope Records and Beats. “Before I knew it, I had an exploding term sheet, and I was like, ‘Shit, I’m raising money,’” she told Fortune about her success.  Fortune

• Canada’s Labor Minister: Women on boards means higher profits. Canada is working to raise the country’s corporate board diversity to 30% women over the next five years, says Kellie Leitch. “The evidence speaks for itself,” she told Bloomberg. “When women are involved on boards, when there is diversity on boards, profitability increases.”  Bloomberg 

 China is attracting top female tech talent. As much as 51% of senior management roles in China are held by women, which is the highest percentage anywhere in the world. Si Shen, founder of Beijing-based PapayaMobile, says that establishing a merit-based promotion and hiring strategy is key to retaining female executive-level engineers. WSJ 

• College football gets strict on domestic violence. Oklahoma University announced on Monday that freshman running back Joe Mixon would be suspended for the season after being accused of punching a woman unconscious. When Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was charged with a similar offense earlier this year, the NFL suspended him for just two games.  Time 

BROADVIEW

The answer to your problems might be right Nextdoor

As we all spend more time on the Internet catching up with old friends and colleagues now living in far-off places, we’ve stopped making connections with the people who live closest to us. As a result, a whopping 50% of Americans don’t know their neighbors. This impacts both our safety and our overall happiness. 

Sarah Leary, Nextdoor’s co-founder and vice president of marketing, is working to reverse this troubling trend. Ironically, she is using a social networking platform to do it. Nextdoor connects people to their neighbors but offers a level of privacy and intimacy missing from products like Facebook. Signing up to become part of a Nextdoor community requires substantial evidence of your address and who you are. Messages you post go out only to people in your immediate area. By starting the conversation online, Nextdoor allows users to break the ice before putting themselves out there and knocking on a stranger’s door.

Clearly, there is a demand for Leary’s product. Since 2012, Nextdoor has expanded its neighborhood presence from 3,500 communities to 40,000, or roughly one in four American neighborhoods. The social network also has raised over $100 million in funding for venture capitalists.

“The neighborhood is one of the original social networks,” Leary says. “We believed we could use technology to trigger some of that natural neighborly attitude that has been around for hundreds of years but may have been hard to tap into because of people’s busy lives.”

I asked Leary to explain exactly why we should make an effort to get to know our neighbors.  Here are just four reasons that were the most compelling to me: 

  1. You will be safer. Knowing your neighbors has been proven to reduce crime. In Sacramento, for example, crime has been cut by nearly 8% and shootings are down by 30% since Nextdoor and other related programs launched in the area. “Go talk to a police officer anywhere in this country and they’ll talk about the power of community policing,” Leary told me. “You can’t put a police officer on every corner, but you can have a concerned citizen.”
  2. You could earn more money. Nearly 65% of Americans are more likely to buy or sell an item if the buyer or seller lives closer to their home, according to data from Harris Interactive. 
  3. You will more prepared for disaster. Research after natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina proved that communities with close neighbor relationships were more resilient in the wake of catastrophe. 
  4. You could live longer. Psychologist Susan Pinker writes in her book The Village Effect that getting to know your neighbors will increase your likelihood of living a long and healthy life.

After chatting with Leary, I just might have to knock on my neighbor’s door tonight and say hello. What about you?

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

In Mali, women come out from behind closed doors. Less than a year ago, women in Mali were forced to remain indoors, covered in full-body and face-covering veils. A photographer received a grant from the International Reporting Project to travel through northern Mali and speak with women about their experiences. “It made just living almost illegal for women,” said one of her interview subjects. NYTimes

• Mom creates most ingenious app for teenagers. Ever. Texas mom Sharon Standifird has created an app for parents that will lock their children’s phones until they call their mom or dad back. BGR

• Startup aims to find women tech jobs. PowerToFly is a social platform aimed at connecting women in tech who may need to work from home. The founders have raised $1 million from investors like BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti and former Washington Post owner Don Graham.  Re/Code

• Workplace competition hurts women. Women perform better in team environments, whereas competitive workplaces help men thrive, according to research from Olin Business School. More intricate competition models that encourage teamwork could be a potential solution. Fast Company

ON MY RADAR

If Maggie Gyllenhaal can cry at work, you can too  LinkedIn  

Meet J.K. Rowling’s new Harry Potter character  Time

We need to boost the ranks of female founders beyond tech  WSJ  

Cambridge University is hiring a “doctor of chocolate”  Jezebel  

QUOTE

The ideal is this attentive mother. But what are we comparing ourselves to? My grandmother had 13 children and she didn’t have time for any of those children.

Rosalind Barnett, a senior scientist at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, talks to Fast Company about why women apologize for being working mothers.