Nepotism + more things

23 minutes estimated reading time

Nepotism in the creative industries

Is nepotism really that bad? | LinkedIn – Jed Hallam wrote an essay on nepotism and the effects that he perceives it as having on inequality. Jed tries to steer a line on nepotism somewhere between recognising that the people may have an interest and talent, whilst pointing out inequality related issues derived from nepotism. Nepotism itself is widespread, whether its impact is small or large.

Jed is concerned that nepotism can actively remove opportunities for less conventional candidates that may do better if assessed solely in merit.

Social, cultural and economic barriers

Even if nepotism disappeared, our unconscious desire to hire people more like us, can mean that candidates face challenges in social, cultural and economic realms. I don’t drink, don’t have an interest in rugby union or football. I knew no one down here and sold my car to pay my first month’s rent when I moved to London. The analogy of a viking burning his boat behind him would be apt. I didn’t, and couldn’t if I wanted to, move to London earlier than my late 20s. I had to put myself through university and build up a modest amount of money to back myself as my parents didn’t have any.

One aspect of Jed’s essay on nepotism particularly surprised me:

“the proportion of people from working-class backgrounds operating in the creative industries has more than halved since the 1970s–falling from 16.4 percent to just 7.9 percent”

The problem with nepotism is that its hard to define and work out the difference between good and bad nepotism. For instance:

  • I line managed some one who had gone to Harrow and had found it harder to get into a creative agency because he was considered to be too posh by interviewees. He since went on to work successfully for other agencies, inhouse at a well loved brand and now runs his own shop
  • Would someone following on into the family profession be a case of nepotism? A classic example from the creative industry would be Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk, whose father is disco producer ‘Daniel Vangarde’ aka Daniel Bangalter. One could imagine how being exposed to music and a studio environment from an early age made Thomas the kind of producer he was.
  • Or the Arnault children taking roles in LVMH? European business often rely on intergenerational family ownership and management

Nepotism is more obvious when you have events like the recent US college scandal. The problem with debate about any hot subject like nepotism is the lack of room for nuance and good judgement. A second aspect to it is making people feel like victims of nepotism and inequality, rather than encouraging striving. Admittedly that is even made harder to do when inequality that underpins nepotism has become much more extreme.

People look for easy solves and clear lines for issues like nepotism, when what we really need are better decision making and good judgement.

Nepotism unresolved

There will always be people who feel hard done by, it wasn’t them it was X external factor. Sometimes it isn’t your time, or you didn’t make clear how good you were. Equal opportunity doesn’t equate to equal outcomes, the case in point that nepotism can learn from is currently going through the US Supreme Court. In an age of algorithmically filtered CVs I can see nepotism become attenuated rather than resolved.


A Look into the World of Cosmetic Clinics – Healthcare Business Today 

Westfield London confirmed as Sephora’s first London store : The British Beauty Council 

Facial masks: Amp up skincare beyond the glow | mintel 


Indian Car-Services Company GoMechanic Inflated Revenue, to Fire 70% Staff – Bloombergsimilar to problems that others have had in India and China with startups

How Apple tied its fortunes to China | Financial Times – the comments to this article are well worth reading and represent a huge political and shareholder related problem for Apple to overcome, alongside better supply chain resilience and getting its innovation mojo back and How Apple Tied its Fortunes to China and Moving its Supply Chain may be Close to Impossible – Patently Apple 


China’s precarious path forward – insights from the MERICS China Forecast 2023 | Mericsinteresting bit of our survey of 880 China watchers suggests the country’s course is most unpredictable – except that it will continue to stand by Moscow and accept EU-China relations fraying.

What it would take for Apple to disentangle itself from China | Financial Times and Semiconductor Stories of the Year | ChinaTalk 

China’s population falls in historic shift | Financial Times 

Big Tech in CPPCC: Baidu’s Robin Li, NetEase’s Ding Lei no longer delegates of China’s top political advisory body | South China Morning Post – interesting when you combine this with the golden share that the Chinese government is taking in each of the large technology companies

V Shanshan, “Why are you Forcing me to Embrace Solidarity?” – Reading the China DreamWeibo post from someone whose uncle had died from complications from covid the previous day, writing to express his anger and bitterness at the hectoring calls in China’s official media to “come together” and “look to the future” as China decides to live—and die—with covid.  That such calls ring hollow for many Chinese makes perfect sense, since China’s mighty messaging machine seems to have turned on a dime, suddenly arguing that Omicron is no big deal and that “everyone is responsible for their own health” after insisting for years that the virus is deadly and that collective behavior was the only way to control it

Consumer behaviour

Mintel research explores esports trends in Thailand | 

A Place for Fire – The Paris Review – the primal draw of fire in the home. This reminded me of the central role of the turf and wood fuelled range in the Irish farmhouse where I spent a good deal of my childhood

How E-girl influencers are trying to get Gen Z into the military | Dazed – this feels anime made real by white girls

Project MUSE – The Surge of Nationalist Sentiment among Chinese Youth during the COVID-19 PandemicSince 2012, Beijing has been promoting a strain of populist nationalism which underscores both the institutional superiority of the ruling party and the cultural superiority of being Chinese. At the international level, however, the image of both the regime and the Chinese has been marred due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Wuhan (December 2019–January 2020). This study examines the extent and the form that the surge in nationalist sentiment of Chinese young people has taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on a questionnaire survey of 1,200 students from a sample of 20 colleges/universities in China (June–July 2020), this study shows that the respondents express high satisfaction with the state’s performance in tackling the pandemic, and that there is a substantial surge of nationalist sentiment with a high level of hostility towards other nations (e.g. the United States). Such nationalist sentiment, however, is found to express a bifurcated pattern in that young Chinese also tend to embrace the opportunity to work and study in the Western societies they ostensibly dislike – yeah, is it smart to let them in though, given Chinese laws obligating them to cooperate with the MSS if requested?

Project MUSE – Living with the State-Led Order: Practical Acceptance and Unawareness of the Chinese Middle ClassChina’s expanding middle class is often found to support the regime and lack democratic aspirations. We find that one section of the middle class depends upon the state for jobs and other material benefits, and the other works for the private and foreign sectors of the country’s economy. Once separated as such, we found that the non-state middle class clearly shows lower support for the regime. Furthermore, unlike the state middle class, which registers lower democratic support, the non-state middle class shows a similar level of democratic support as other social classes. In general, however, while only pragmatically accepting the current order, both middle class groups nonetheless appear lacking practical knowledge and understanding of liberal democratic institutions such as free media and multiparty elections. The unforthcoming attitudes toward democracy might also derive from a general sense of fearing the loss of order and the other related uncertainties


The true priorities of the global elite – by Judd LegumThe New York Times’ Peter Goodman, author of “Davos Man” — a blistering criticism of the WEF and its neoliberal ideology — recently offered this brief description: The World Economic Forum is not a secret government or organized conspiracy. It is a giant business meeting, a chance for the heads of multinational oil giants to sit opposite Persian Gulf potentates — fronted by the performance art of earnest panel discussions aimed at solving the problems of the day. More than anything, Davos is a prophylactic against change, an elaborate reinforcement of the status quo served up as the pursuit of human progress. Tuesday’s WEF program included a panel with Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). The pair shared an on-stage high-five in celebration of the filibuster, which has been used to block increases in the minimum wage, protections for voting rights, and efforts to maintain access to reproductive health care. 

Norway fund chief warns at Davos of ‘very, very low’ returns for stocks | Financial Times 

Consumer confidence sees a small New Year bounce as outlook for household finances improves | YouGov 

Covid and Price Gouging – Reading the China Dream 


The Collapse of the UK’s Electric Vehicle Champion | WIRED and Britishvolt collapses into administration as rescue talks fail | Financial Times 

Alexander Brown on how industrial policy adds momentum to China’s push into hydrogen | Merics 

GE to develop ‘immortal’ battery with self-healing metals | EE Times 


The sweet and bitter flavour of the Chinese chocolate market: what do Chinese expect chocolate to be like? 


Apple (AAPL) Revives Larger HomePod Smart Speaker Priced at $299 – Bloomberg 


BASF/Russia: ending Faustian pact creates recurring costs for Germany | Financial Times 

German tank manufacturer’s warning puts pressure on Ukraine’s allies | Ukraine | The GuardianBattle tanks from German industrial reserves wanted by Ukraine will not be ready to be delivered until 2024, the arms manufacturer Rheinmetall has warned, increasing pressure on Nato allies to support Ukraine with armoured vehicles in active service instead, ahead of a key meeting this week. “Even if the decision to send our Leopard tanks to Kyiv came tomorrow, the delivery would take until the start of next year,” Rheinmetall’s chief executive, Armin Papperger, told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Rheinmetall, which manufactures the battle vehicle’s gun, has 22 Leopard 2 and 88 older Leopard 1 tanks in its stocks. Getting the Leopard tanks ready for battle, however, would take several months and cost hundreds of millions of euros the company could not put up until the order was confirmed


4 Ways AI is Revolutionizing The Field of Surgery in 2023 

Performance of ChatGPT on USMLE: Potential for AI-Assisted Medical Education Using Large Language Models | medRxiv – managed to scrape a pass of all three parts of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination

PneumoWave raises £7.5m for wireless respiratory biosensor | EE Times 

How Startups Are Combatting America’s Obesity Epidemic | Digital Native 

Hong Kong

Macau gaming: Chau’s jail term warns punters and investors alike | Financial Times – It is worthwhile considering this in part of the wider picture of how China is trying deal with capital flight. It also chimes with efforts to move Hong Kong from being about ‘wealth management’ i.e. schemes to allow capital flight out of the mainland to the west to trying to pull in western money to invest in Chinese businesses. Macau was part of that process too.

  • Chau is essentially ‘killing the chicken to scare the monkey’ – Macau ‘junket king’ Alvin Chau sentenced to 18 years in prison | Financial Times 
  • Expect a clampdown on insurance policy sales people. At the moment a lot of them sell these things via WeChat with a view to providing financial services to mainlanders in a similar way to what daigou do with luxury goods from abroad. I know work at home mums that do this for Prudential as a side hustle
  • Auction houses have expanded like crazy in Hong Kong during the pandemic and I would expect the authorities to look at how they can shut this off or use to only import items into China rather than having them leave again. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are strongly encouraged to shutdown in Hong Kong and up up in Sanya on Hainan island instead so they stay inside the yuan firewall
  • Expect pressure on foreign banks on wealth management / capital flight vehicles. There maybe some latitude through mainland banks where the government can monitor the flow through back-end access into their systems
  • Ultimately, Singapore will be the new Hong Kong – which is happening already due to ‘run culture’ and a plethora of wealth management and family office services being provided.

Seriously – what would anyone spy on in today’s HK? | Big Lychee – expect investment through to competitive landscape audits become much more difficult as everything comes under state interest aspect of National Security Law

China’s emigration ‘run philosophy’ results in surge for Hong Kong visas amid city’s top talent hunt | South China Morning PostHong Kong launched its Top Talent Pass Scheme at the end of last year to attract experienced high-fliers and graduates from the world’s top universities. There has also been a ‘surge’ in inquiries from citizens in mainland China for the city’s Quality Migrant Admission Scheme – Hong Kong will be the ‘colon’ through which mainlanders will leave for foreign countries

Hong Kong’s financial hub is at a crossroads | Financial TimesLook for a senior job in Hong Kong these days on LinkedIn and you’re unlikely to find any openings unless you’re a speaker of Cantonese or Mandarin, or both. “That’s a big change,” confides a longtime British expat in the territory. “It’s understandable. But it’s a big change.” The evolving jobs market is just one of the visible signs of the tilt to mainland China that promises to redefine Hong Kong’s role as a global financial centre. Beijing’s growing influence on the former British colony — evident in four years of security crackdowns and tough Covid lockdowns — has raised existential questions about the sustainability of the territory’s role as Asia’s unparalleled bridgehead to global finance – yeah soon even the finance bros will go

Ex-Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa to step down from China’s top political advisory body as vice-chairman, but no seat for Carrie Lam | South China Morning Post – interesting when taken into account alongside the hardliners that Beijing has appointed to ‘guide’ chief executive John Lee

Hong Kong national security police arrest 6 for producing allegedly seditious books on 2019 protests, selling them at fair | South China Morning Post – they were being sold at a small Chinese New Year fair

Hong Kong housewife allegedly ran HK$6 billion money-laundering syndicate, arrested with 8 others in record customs bust | South China Morning Post 

Stand News accidentally published an op-ed comparing Hong Kong protest and Irish War of Independence, court hears – Hong Kong Free Press HKFP – I would have said that it was closer to the events surrounding the 1916 Easter Rising if you were going to use the Irish struggle for independence as an analogue….


Documenting History: The Paper Legacy Project – Yale University Press 

Hope, Trust, and Religious Faith | Quillette 

Opiates of the Masses? Deaths of Despair and the Decline of American Religion | NBER 

A World Without Affirmative Action | Quillette 


Tesla, Hyundai Finalizing Deals to Invest in Indonesia’s Electric Car Industry – Bloomberg – this is because of Indonesia’s industrial potential as one of the most populous countries in Asia, anything but China supply chains and regulations around its abundant supply of critical materials like nickel


NASA Issues Award for Greener, More Fuel-Efficient Airliner of Future | NASA 

Former UMC chairman & CEO Jackson Hu: Taiwan cannot afford to miss out quantum era | DigiTimes 

How Futurists Envisioned the Future in the 1920s: Moving Walkways, Personal Helicopters, Glass-Domed Cities, Dream Recorders & More | Open Culture 


Japan was the future but it’s stuck in the past – BBC NewsJapan had emerged from the destruction of World War Two and conquered global manufacturing. The money poured back into the country, driving a property boom where people bought anything they could get their hands on, even chunks of forest. By the mid-1980s, the joke was that the grounds of the imperial palace in Tokyo were worth the same as all of California. The Japanese call it the “Baburu Jidai” or the bubble era. Then in 1991 the bubble burst. The Tokyo stock market collapsed. Property prices fell off a cliff. They are yet to recover. A friend was recently negotiating to buy several hectares of forest. The owner wanted $20 per square metre. “I told him forest land is only worth $2 a square metre,” my friend said. “But he insisted he needed $20 a square metre, because that’s what he’d paid for it in the 1970s.” Think of Japan’s sleek bullet trains, or Toyota’s “just-in-time” marvel of assembly-line manufacturing – and you could be forgiven for thinking Japan is a poster child for efficiency. It is not. Rather the bureaucracy can be terrifying, while huge amounts of public money are spent on activities of dubious utility – this says more about the persons values than about Japan. Also coming from Britain’s public broadcast service, it is ironic that Japan is at the centre of many critical global supply chains and Britain is being stripped out of them. A bit of introspection is required


Samsung, India Disagree on Production-Linked Incentives for Phones – Bloomberg 

South Korea Is Now Home To The Biggest Spenders For Luxury Goods – Robb Report 

Luxury Brands Beware: Angered Chinese Tourists Are Avoiding Japan And South Korea | Jing DailySouth Korea issued yellow tags for China’s inbound travelers to wear at its airports, and Japan followed suit, giving red tags to passengers coming from the country. The initiative has elicited outrage online. On Weibo, the hashtag “Japan issues red tags to mark Chinese travelers” has gathered 200 million views, becoming the fourth most trending topic at one point.  Many Chinese travelers complained that they not only had to pay for COVID tests and potential quarantines in subpar conditions upon entering South Korea but also had to wear a yellow tag on their necks to identify themselves as coming from China for special inspection at airports. The tags, along with South Korean reporters snapping photos at them, made them feel like they were criminals being transferred


Musk vs Arnault: the tale of two tycoons | Financial Times 


“This Is Smart Business, Not Woke Delusion”: Edelman Defends Brand ActivismBusiness leaders cannot afford to be cowed by political backlash to their efforts to address critical societal issues, said Richard Edelman as his firm launched its 23rd Trust Barometer in Davos this morning. “This is smart business, not woke delusion,” said Edelman and The world’s biggest PR firm claims to be an expert on trust – but is it? | The Guardian 


Good to see that we’re finally beyond the 3D printing hype bubble and its true benefits can be appreciated. This article is a good run down of the pros and cons of 3D printing in an industrial setting. In some ways it reminds me of the ‘manufacturing cells’ concept were a computer controlled machine tool with switchable tool faces would do multiple jobs and process multiple types of products in small batches.

Not all manufacturing is true Fordian production lines. Just in the same way that digital printing has been good for small run books and catalogues or printing on demand; yet ‘traditional printing’ is still used for bigger print runs – additive manufacturing will be alongside traditional manufacturing processes.


Klick Wire | Ad benchmarks 


Eurasia Group | Weapons of Mass Disruption: Eurasia Group’s #3 Top Risk of 2023 

Is the net closing in on TikTok? to be read alongside TikTok’s E-Commerce Management Structure Undercuts Claims of Autonomy From China | The Information and TikTok banned from University of Texas campus on cybersecurity concerns raised by governor and US government 

HKU Legal Scholarship Blog: Julien Chaisse & Jamieson Kirkwood on Taxing the Future: Digital Stateless Income, Business Organisation, and the Search for a New Regulatory Paradigm (Singapore Journal of Legal Studies) 

Chinese Celebrities’ Political Signalling on Sina Weibo | The China Quarterly | Cambridge CoreRecent studies have revealed how the state disciplines and co-opts celebrities to promote patriotism, foster traditional values and spread political propaganda. However, how do celebrities adapt to the changing political environment? Focusing on political signalling on the social media platform Sina Weibo, we analyse a novel dataset and find that the vast majority of top celebrities repost from official accounts of government agencies and state media outlets, though there are variations. Younger celebrities with more followers tend to repost from official accounts more often. Celebrities from Taiwan tend to repost less than those from the mainland and Hong Kong, despite being subject to the same rules. However, the frequent political signalling by the most influential celebrities among younger generations suggests that the state has co-opted celebrity influence on social media to broadly promote its political objectives


Seven trends for the security industry in 2023 | EE Times 

Spyware and the Press | Knight First Amendment Institute 

Industrial espionage: How China sneaks out America’s technology secrets – BBC News 

The FBI Identified a Tor User – Schneier on Security 

Emerging Technologies: Is the West Ready for Competition with China? | Royal United Services Institute 

The Bad News Bundeswehr: An Examination of the Truly Dire State of Germany’s Military – DER SPIEGEL 

Hacked Cellebrite and MSAB Software Released – Schneier on Security 

T95 Android TV Box sold on Amazon hides sophisticated malware 

Pentagon’s annual weapon test report reverses classification, details major program challenges – Breaking Defense


The lure of Singapore: Chinese flock to ‘Asia’s Switzerland’ | Financial Times – this will have unforeseen consequences and tensions for Singapore


China’s court AI reaches every corner of justice system, advising judges and streamlining punishment | South China Morning Post – Chinese courts using the similar kind of rules based technologies that the financial sector have used for decades to automate decision making and even trading models

Automating the Automators: Shift Change in the Robot Factory – O’Reilly 


Berlin fashion spoof causes chaos as Adidas denies involvement | Fashion industry | The Guardian – adidas is having a bad year


Beijing ‘should be wary’ as US, Taiwan seek closer economic ties | South China Morning Post 


Three books about the technology wars – by Noah Smith 

Microfluidics and the Elusive Lab-on-a-Chip – by Jon Y 

Intel’s Gelsinger vows investment for long-term, but urges funding to show up soon 

TSMC 3nm capacity ramp-up to benefit Gudeng and other equipment makers | DigiTimes 

Apple reveal M2 Pro & Max chips | Sound on Sound. All Apple’s M2 Pro and M2 Max news in pictures | Apple Must and Apple Releases M2 Pro and M2 Max: 20 Percent Faster, Up to 19 GPU Cores | Tom’s Hardware  

Macs In the Enterprise: A Cisco Case Study – Creative StrategiesDespite extremely high desire from employees to use Macs (66% according to a study we did last year), most IT organizations keep the Mac users in their organization at arm’s length. Offering true platform of choice matters when it comes to employee experience and employee satisfaction with their workplace, tools, and IT departments. This is exactly what Cisco found when they studied internal employees. A Cisco report on IT satisfaction of employees found satisfaction to be significantly lower when employees were not offered their platform of choice in a laptop – this bullshit has been going on my entire career, HR departments are a major issue as well

Web of no web

Apple delays AR glasses, plans cheaper mixed-reality headset 

Tech Products I loved in 2022 and Predictions for 2023 – Creative Strategies worthwhile reading alongside Working out Meta Kinks – Creative Strategies and Three Fundamental Problems Still Plaguing Meta’s Enterprise XR Ambitions – Creative Strategies

Microsoft Is Shutting Down Its Social VR Platform AltspaceVR – CNET 

Deep Tech – 3D & wireless power – Radio Free Mobile 


Huawei remains a 5G force in the UK after govt backpedaling | Light Reading 

Global smartphone market shrinks 17% in 4Q22, says Canalys | DigiTimes