ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

Benedict Evans on ten-year future predictions (well as good as anyone can)

YouGov | Who is on top in the Nike vs. Adidas battle? – UK only data

The bitcoin drugs trade is highly centralised | FT Alphaville – looks that the cryptocurrency bubble could burst pronto

How an unknown Chinese phone maker became No 3 in India by solving the oily fingers problem | South China Morning Post – “Big companies which sell smartphones in more than 100 countries are too global to care for one single market,” Chowdhury said in an interview in Shenzhen. “The core strategy for us is to become the favourite mobile phone brand in emerging markets.”

HSBC’s Amy and other soon-to-be released AI chatbots are about to change the way we bank | South China Morning Post

Why Uber Can Find You but 911 Can’t – WSJ – one can understand the reluctance of technology companies to get involved

The Pet Shop Boys are the face (and sound) of Christian Dior’s men’s collection this summer.

Luxury group Kering to spin off Puma to shareholders | RTE – not terribly surprising it fits awkwardly with the other brands

Google Plans to Vet YouTube Premium Video Content – Bloomberg – guessing the News International media campaign and Logan Paul debacle is starting to have an impact

How China’s market economy has fuelled a prostitution boom | South China Morning PostMy grandma was always grateful to Mao, mainly because she was upgraded from a concubine to a wife under the Communists “one wife” rule. – There is also the shredding of culture and community during the cultural revolution probably ruined community / support mechanisms

Oprah time: Directorate S The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars In Afghanistan And Pakistan, 2001 – 2016 by Steve Coll

Directorate S

Coll is a veteran journalist and professor of journalism. He did time abroad working for an American newspaper covering South Asia. Later Coll wrote for The New Yorker on defence and intelligence.

In 2004, Coll’s book Ghost Wars covered America’s involvement with Pakistan’s intelligence service. He focused on the Soviet invasion Afghanistan through to 2001.

Directorate S is a natural successor to Ghost Wars picking up the story on September 11, 2001 to the end of 2016. Directorate S takes its name from part of the Pakistani intellgience service. It covers the perspectives from all the parties involved. Surprisingly it included more than I expected about clandestine operations in Pakistan.

Coll knows his material and what unfolds is an in-depth scholarly blow-by-blow account. It doesn’t have the zip and excitement of say Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down. Coll’s story instead sits at the seat of power. Colls tells the story of:

  • Ambassadors
  • Policymakers
  • Generals and civil servants
  • Politicians

When Coll dips into the operational reporting, it is used to illustrate a wider point.

What comes out is not one story of a war, but a succession of parallel agendas and pivots. The CIA and special forces had very different objectives to their military colleagues. The planning and chain of command was fragmented. Directorate S takes a good deal of commitment to read, but it looks as if it will be as much of a go-to book as Ghost Wars.

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

Amazon Is Thriving Thanks to Taxpayer Dollars | New Republic – The tech giant has received more than $1 billion in tax breaks. The government is also funding food stamps for many of its workers

LegalFling – Get explicit about sexual consent – blockchain start-up WTF

Noah Smith on Twitter: “1/OK, a thread about Bitcoin. (but really about nominal vs. real quantities)” – really interesting thread

Three Thoughts on Day One at CES 2018 – not surprised that computing is moving to the edge as the network represents latency and potential unreliability – think about how cloud failure when it hit Nest devices and IoT obselescence

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week (and a bit longer)

Chad Dickerson’s Fieldnotes – an email newsletter from one of the key people during Yahoo!’s web 2.0 geek golden age and former CEO of Etsy

This is the second time lapse film I’ve seen done by an officer on a ship. I get it. No internet would give you a lot of time to put the film together. It opens up a world that I had only heard of from people older than me who had served on ships when westerners were sailors.

Greg Wilson put together this mix of his favourite edits that had been done in 2017

Louis Vuitton’s LV Pass app did some really nice integration with Apple’s Messenger stickers.


Fair play to Nokia for running this campaign on their website over Christmas


ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

Citizens’ Voices: Insights from focus groups conducted in England for the project, At Home in One’s Past. – Demos – Demos went fishing to understand the effects of nostalgia across Europe (the UK was merely the first interviews that they did).  Instead got insights into motivations for Brexit. A lot of this lines up with what I wrote before the vote. What pops in this (subjective) qualitative feedback is:

  • The problems that the Labour Party faces with Corbyn and the general distrust of politicians in what should be ‘heartland’ seats
  • The continued credibility of Nigel Farage
  • The anti-German sentiment. The EU was seen as a German vehicle to win the war again by stealth – this has almost a Basil Fawlty quality to it. But at least some of the panelists believed it was true
  • How the political divisions around the societal change driven by Margaret Thatcher’s government reverberated into the Brexit vote

Three Thoughts on Day One at CES 2018 – not surprised that computing is moving to the edge as the network represents latency and potential unreliability – think about how cloud failure when it hit Nest devices and IoT obselescence

WSJ City | Mega Chip Deal Alarms Some Chinese Smartphone Makers – OPPO and Vivo can be viewed as one company as they both have common owners and sprang from BBK. They are brands aimed at different segments of the Chinese market

The One Number You Need to Grow | HBR – original HBR article which introduced NPS

The continental divide? Economic exposure to Brexit in regions and countries on both sides of The Channel – Chen – 2017 – Papers in Regional Science – Wiley Online Library – interesting research on impact of Brexit across EU

Poundland’s naughty elf campaign which riffed on British smut and the ‘Elf On A Shelf’ franchise affected consumer attitudes to the brand according to YouGov. The research is at odds with the overall positive response it got from Twitter (outside the London media-advertising industrial complex) – YouGov | Poundland’s X-rated ads generated publicity, but consumer perception has dropped

Huawei’s US market dreams ‘harmed again’ after AT&T walks away from smartphone pact | South China Morning Post  – “We have been harmed again,” Huawei’s consumer business unit chief executive officer Richard Yu said in a text message to the South China Morning Post – you can see from later articles how Huawei progressively got their act together in terms of media response though much of the coverage added a thin veneer of analysis whilst repeating the original WSJ article – China’s Huawei hit by last minute collapse of AT&T phone distribution deal | Reuters – the collapse of the deal with AT&T, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, will mean that Huawei will likely struggle to make a hit of its smartphones there as a U.S. mobile carrier would typically promote the products as well as provide subsidies and special package deals

Casio AL-1000 – the nixie tube display and ferrite core memory make it a thing of beauty to behold

Unilever under fire over Gaytime ice cream in Indonesia | PR | Campaign Asia – no idea where they got that idea, I imagine it could become a cult brand if launched elsewhere