The great big Spotify scam: Did a Bulgarian playlister swindle their way to a fortune on streaming service? – Music Business Worldwide – the Spotify scam is ingenious. But this also shows how topsy turvy the economics of Spotify are. It is ironic that real artists on Spotify are being paid so little, which is arguably the real Spotify scam (with complicit record labels). There will be always arbitrage opportunities in online services like Spotify
China is quickly becoming the dominant force in startups | Quartz – makes you wonder about Silicon Valley. A lot of this problem is down to the lack of focus on hard innovation in Silicon Valley. For instance where is the modern day equivalent of the treacherous eight
WSJ City | Five signals sent by China’s Anbang takeover – Reining in big spenders (spending capital abroad in an untargeted manner), reduction of systemic financial risk, concern over complex short-term high-yielding wealth products
WPP Vows to Do Better After Weak Results, Nervous Outlook Send Shares Plunging – The New York Times – WPP plans to accelerate a programme to simplify the business by aligning digital systems, platforms and capabilities to provide bespoke teams for its clients as opposed to the different agencies that currently compete with each other to win contracts.
Opinion | The Tyranny of Convenience – The New York Times – Americans say they prize competition, a proliferation of choices, the little guy. Yet our taste for convenience begets more convenience, through a combination of the economics of scale and the power of habit. The easier it is to use Amazon, the more powerful Amazon becomes — and thus the easier it becomes to use Amazon. Convenience and monopoly seem to be natural bedfellows. – great article by Tim Wu
Wealthy Chinese Women Are Unique in APAC: Agility Research | Jing Daily – interesting dissonance between Hong Kong and Chinese high net worth consumers
Tea Turns Up Temperature in Fight Against Coffee – WSJ – what tea misses is ritual
Daring Fireball: Berkshire Hathaway’s 2017 Annual Report (PDF) – they know how to play to small town audiences well
Levi’s Invented A Laser-Wielding Robot That Makes Ethical Jeans | Fast Company – the laser and chemical free treatment remind me a lot of the work that Frontline Clothing in Hong Kong have been doing for years in association with their Chinese supply chain partners
Burson Cohn & Wolfe – SixtySecondView – like any other business merger the focus will keep the eye off the ball at a time when the PR industry is seeing exceptionally low growth rates. I have friends and former colleagues on both sides of this in both Asia and Europe; so I hope it works out well.
Amazon Has Officially Invaded The Advertising Industry | Forrester Research – the bit this misses is that consumers already use Amazon’s search page as a first port of call for things
LittleThings online publisher shuts down, blames Facebook’s algorithm – Business Insider – not terribly surprising, one only had to look at the games companies that built their businesses on Facebook and got eviscerated
WeChat New Year Data Report 2018 – China Channel
Smart homes and vegetable peelers — Benedict Evans – interesting starting point, but I think that there should be a second layer. Can the intelligence be local (like lighting sensors based on movement and presence in office buildings) or does it need cloud computing? Why can’t smart lightbulbs be at the edge rather than in the cloud. Why does a Nest thermostat need to be in the cloud?
Samsung says it’s going to stop pumping out features and start making devices good instead – BGR – “We developed mobile phones earlier than China, and we were obsessed with being the world’s first and industry’s first rather than thinking about how this innovation would be meaningful to consumers,” Koh said. “Being the first turns out to be meaningless today, and our strategy is to launch something that consumers believe meaningful and valuable at a right time.” – this reads like a slap in the face to Huawei’s approach on innovation and features
Struggling Esprit to close more than 40 shops in Europe | South China Morning Post – it plans to close more than 40 “heavy loss-making” shops in “core” European countries, or make around a 10 to 15 per cent reduction in its controlled space in these countries
Huawei distances itself from executive’s comments that rivals using politics to keep it out of US | South China Morning Post – Huawei did not authorise Yu to make comments about the US on behalf of the company, and does not agree with his views, Chen said. Yu did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment – Richard Yu is known for going off-piste with media