Researchers uncover PowerShell Trojan that uses DNS queries to get its orders | Ars Technica – ingenious in its execution
Aicher was a German designer most famous of his graphic design and typography. His most famous font is Rotis His impact was far wider. Aicher was a co-founder of the short-lived Ulm School of Design. Over its 15 years it developed a legacy that continues to echo through design education.
He worked with prominent German brands including Braun, Lufthansa and ERCO the lighting firm.
Aicher’s design language for the Munich Olympics was ground breaking. He designed the first Olympic mascot: Waldi a dachshund with multicoloured bands on his body. The posters for the Munich Olympics were hyper coloured designs that still had a system wrapped around them and now trade for hundreds of pounds.
You can blame him for single handedly kicking off the use of stickmen pictograms on public signage in buildings like airports.
Aicher and his colleagues at Ulm were about more than making things look pretty on their medium of choice, they thought about systems. Aicher’s holistic approach to systems influenced modern brand design. Mark Holt, a co-founder of 8vo; who worked on everything from Factory Records to billing systems for mobile carrier Orange cited Aicher as a major influence.
Aicher’s book The World of Design collects a series of his essays across a wide spectrum of topics. Culture and political essays sit alongside examinations on the process of design and typography. Design and art do not exist in isolation but as part of the wider world. Something that you become keenly aware of as being central to his thinking – alongside his advocacy of reinvigorating modernism.
Probably most striking is Aicher’s delivery and style of writing. He writes with absolute confidence as each item has been thought about, despite feeling like a stream of consciousness in the way those mulled over thoughts are put down. He also completely dispenses with capital letters, sentences flow into each other from a visual perspective. This gives his work a sense of urgency and authenticity – but doesn’t make it any easier to read.
Theses essays felt as if they were born on the internet not written sometime before Aicher died in 1991, which says a lot about how fresh and contemporary his work still is.
WeChat’s ‘instant apps’ are falling flat | Techinasia – interesting learnings for western platforms
London housing: ‘Eight out of 10 homes in flagship London schemes sold to overseas buyers’ | London Evening Standard – could property developers get by on the domestic market though?
Spend too much time on PowerPoint and Excel? Get this FREE plugin! | David Price | Pulse | LinkedIn – LinkedIn e-commerce???
CIPR Research Paints Downbeat Picture Of UK PR Industry | Holmes Report – so basically things haven’t moved on over the past 10 years or so?
Huawei’s Campus Design Under Fire – WSJ – “When you build something, especially like a headquarters, you’re making a statement about who you are.” said Aric Chen, lead curator for design and architecture at the M+ museum in Hong Kong. “I’m not sure what this statement is saying about Huawei.” – I thought it’s aping of existing architecture in European cities quite appropriate
Bot nets | Schneier on Security – great write-up
YouTube TV – interesting experiment
RIP Dmoz: The Open Directory Project is closing | SearchEngineLand – probably only of interest to old school web users and SEO people. Directories and their taxonomies were the search engines of yore. Back when I worked at Yahoo! Dmoz had already been depreciated as a signalling factor in search engine results. Danny Sullivan gives it a good write-up
Facebook now ranks your ❤️️’s above your 👍’s | The Next Web – Buzzfeed must be pissed
The highlight of this week was briefly catching up with a couple of friends from Yahoo!. I didn’t get to watch The Oscars, but even I was aware that it was FUBAR’d. The Mobile World Congress saw the launch of new handsets by Sony, LG and Huawei – but were drowned about by Nokia reinventing their iconic 3310 feature phone. This showed that smartphone manufacturers had crafted their products to a high degree and no longer came up with products that amazed us. They are all now much-of-a-muchness.
Rolex broke out an advertising campaign across TV and online to coincide with The Oscars. It shows the heritage that Rolex had in Hollywood. It surprised me that Rolex felt the need to do this
Siberian tigers take out a drone that had been harassing them
A Bathing Ape (BAPE) have done a tie-in with the new King Kong film. Given the Vietnam era setting I think that they could have done so much more such as ‘combat Zippo’ lighters, embroidered jackets and fatigues – instead there’s a t-shirt.
A really nice film on data featuring Faris Yakob
MWC 2017: Telcos cannot afford another ‘OTT’ in the IoT age – NEC | total telecom – changes business model of IoT businesses
Sony Xperia Touch projector makes any surface a multitouch computer (nifty, expensive niche product) – Liliputing – its lovely tech and a really nice design, but the price is hard to justify
Scraping by on six figures? Tech workers feel poor in Silicon Valley’s wealth bubble | Technology | The Guardian – great indicators of a bubble
Economic Research | Age Discrimination and Hiring of Older Workers – interesting research by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Who Needs GPS? The Forgotten Story of Etak’s Amazing 1985 Car Navigation System | Fast Company | Business + Innovation – this is an epic piece of engineering
How to Self-Publish a Novel in 2017 | Zhubert – I’d imagine that this is also true for non-fiction
Australia found the Achilles’ heel of tobacco companies, and a record number of smokers quit – inverse proof of how valuable brand and design are
Which Grand Tour presenter should you be mates with? | The Grand Tour | The Guardian – since when did the Guardian start doing Buzzfeed listicles? Since Amazon got native advertising done for The Grand Tour
The case for creativity | Cannes Lions – which should have a sub heading ‘Pockets of financial performance that 3G Capital (Kraft Foods / Heinz) will miss out on’
Toshio Nakanishi of Major Force and Skylab has died aged 61 – FACT Magazine – so long Tycoon To$h
Warren Buffett’s letter to Berkshire Hathaway investors explains how to use fear to your advantage — Quartz – First, widespread fear is your friend as an investor, because it serves up bargain purchases. Second, personal fear is your enemy. It will also be unwarranted.
Saudi Arabia’s Oil Wealth Is About to Get a Reality Check – Bloomberg – only about 20% of what Saudi Arabia has bargained on which will make their sovereign fund plan difficult to achieve
For the best part of two decades Carl Cox has been syndicated to a number of radio stations around the world. He is hanging up his radio shoes and put together a mix covering some three decades of house music. Its a great two-hour long mix.
WaiGuoRen – Chinese meme going around
Chip Equipment Billings Hold Steady | EE Times – positive forward signalling for the technology sector economic outlook
At the end of January I wrote a blog post about the landmark collection by Louis Vuitton and Supreme.
I delved into the history of streetwear and the deep connection it shared with luxury brands. This linkage came from counterfeit products, brand and design language appropriation.
This all came from a place of individuality and self expression of the wearer.
I reposted it from my blog on to LinkedIn. I got a comment from a friend of mine which percolated some of the ideas I’d been thinking about. The comment crystalised some of my fears as a long-time streetwear aficionado.
This is from Andy Jephson who works as a director for consumer brand agency Exposure:
The roots of street and lux that you point to seem to be all about individuality and self expression and for me this is what many modern collabs are missing. To me they seem to be about ostentatious showmanship. I love a collaboration that sees partners sharing their expertise and craft to create something original. The current obsession with creating hype however is creating a badging culture that produces products that could have been made in one of the knock-off factories that you mention. Some collabs that just produce new colourways and hybrid styles can be amazing, reflecting the interests of their audience. But far too many seem gratuitous and are completely unobtainable for the brand fans on one side of the collaborative partnership.
The streetwear business is mad money
From Stüssy in 1980, streetwear has grown into a multi-billion dollar global industry. Streetwear sales are worth more than 75 billion dollars per year.
By comparison the UK government spent about 44.1 billion on defence in 2016. Streetwear sales are more than three times the estimated market value of Snap Inc. Snap Inc., is the owner of Snapchat.
It is still about one third the size of the luxury industry. Streetwear accounts for the majority of menswear stocked in luxury department stores. Harvey Nichols claimed that 63% of the their contemporary menswear was streetwear. Many luxury brands off-the-peg men’s items blur the boundary between luxe and streetwear.
The industry has spawned some technology start-ups acting as niche secondary markets including:
Large parts of the streetwear industry has become lazy and mercenary. You can see this in:
- The attention to detail and quality of product isn’t what it used to be. I have vintage Stüssy pieces that are very well-made. I can’t say the same of many newer streetwear brands
- Colour-ways just for the sake of it. I think Nike’s Jordan brand is a key offender. Because it has continually expands numbers of derivative designs and combinations. New Balance* have lost much of their mojo. Especially when you look at the product their Super Team 33 in Maine came up with over the years. The fish, fanzine or the element packs were both strong creative offerings. By comparison recent collections felt weak
- The trivial nature of some of the collaborations. This week Supreme sold branded Metro Cards for the New York subway
- Streetwear brands that sold out to fast moving consumer products. This diluted their own brand values. While working in Hong Kong, I did a Neighborhood Coke Zero collaboration. The idea which had some tie-in to local cycling culture and nightscape. Aape – the second-brand of BAPE did a deal wrapping Pepsi cans in the iconic camouflage
Hong Kong brand Chocoolate did three questionable collaborations over the past 18 months:
- Nissin (instant noodles)
- Dreyer’s (ice cream)
By comparison, Stüssy has a reputation in the industry for careful business management. The idea was to never become too big, too fast. The Sinatra family kept up quality and selective distribution seeing off Mossimo, FUBU and Triple Five Soul. Yes, they’ve done collaborations, but they were canny compared to newer brands:
“The business has grown in a crazy way the past couple of years,” says Sinatra. “We reluctantly did over $50 million last year.”
Reluctant because, according to Sinatra, the company is currently trying to cut back and stay small. “It was probably one of our biggest years ever — and it was an accident.”
Sinatra characterises Stüssy’s third act as having a “brand-first, revenue second” philosophy, in order to avoid becoming “this big monstrosity that doesn’t stand for anything.”
The Evolution of Streetwear. The newfound reality of Streetwear and its luxury-like management academic study uncovered careful brand custodianship.
It’s not clothing; it’s an asset class
Part of the bubble feel within the streetwear industry is due to customer behaviour. For many people, street wear is no longer a wardrobe staple. Instead it becomes an alternative investment instrument. Supreme items and tier zero Nike releases are resold for profit like a day trader on the stock market.
Many of the start-ups supported by the community play to this ‘day trader’ archetype. It is only a matter of time for the likes of Bonham’s and Sotherby’s get in on the act.
A key problem with the market is that trainers aren’t like a Swiss watch or a classic car. They become unusable in less than a decade as the soles degrade and adhesive breaks down.
There is the apocryphal story of a Wall Street stock broker getting out before the great stock market crash. The indicator to pull his money out was a taxi driver or a shoe shine boy giving stock tips.
Streetwear is at a similar stage with school-age teenagers dealing must-have items as a business. What would a reset look like in the streetwear industry? What would be the knock-on effect for the luxury sector?
USA Streetwear Market Research Report 2015 | WeConnectFashion
Louis Vuitton, Supreme and the tangled relationship between streetwear and luxury brands | renaissance chambara
New Balance Super Team 33 – Elements Collection | High Snobriety
New Balance ST33 – The Fanzine Collection | High Snobriety
1400 Super Team 33 (ST33) trio | New Balance blog – the infamous fish pack
How Stüssy Became a $50 Million Global Streetwear Brand Without Selling Out | BoF (Business of Fashion)
The Evolution of Streetwear. The newfound reality of Streetwear and its luxury-like management by de Macedo & Machado, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (2015) – PDF
* in the interest of full disclosure, New Balance is a former client.
Smart Waggle Boosts IoT | EE Times – interesting move towards a thicker client on IoT for cloud
Ask uncomfortable questions: UBS and boundary-pushing content marketing | Campaign – odd partnership with Vice Media
Apple Severed Ties with Server Supplier After Security Concern — The Information – I imagine that this is what being a target of the NSA’s tailored access programme would look like. There are a number of other state actors with similar capabilities. SuperMicro is interesting because it assembles servers outside China – instead it has factories in San Jose, The Netherlands and Taiwan
Uber’s work environment sounds even worse than we thought – Business Insider – who said beer bong bro?
How Trump’s Bullying of Mexico Could Backfire | The New Republic – could Mexico follow the Asian model of economic development?
Developers | Uber – interesting stuff on augmenting a passengers journey as marketing opportunity via the API
NVIDIA’s GTX 1080: The Tip Of The Iceberg? – OneRiver Media Blog – Apple need to sort their Pro range out
Japan’s wild, creative Harajuku street style is dead. Long live Uniqlo | Quartz – think Camden market before the energy got sucked out of it
Closer look: Assassination Report Has China Talking About Ageism – Caixin Global – interesting commentary on Huawei
The $143bn flop: How Warren Buffett and 3G lost Unilever | FT – Back in London on Saturday, as [Unilever CEO] Mr Polman tapped into his network of contacts, he was informed that Finsbury was working with Kraft Heinz on PR. Within seconds, Mr Polman blasted off an email to Sir Martin Sorrell, the founder and chief executive of WPP, the advertising company that counts Unilever as one of its most important clients.
Finsbury, which is majority owned by WPP, was removed from the Kraft Heinz side by the end of the day. – guessing Kraft Heinz isn’t worth that much for WPP, also think that you can take Colgate Palmolive off the table as well since they are a big WPP customer
Hurun: China’s Super-Rich Name Apple, Bulgari As Top Brands for Gifting | Jing Daily – interesting rise of Alipay rather than UnionPay
Snap’s IPO Draws Barclays CEO, But London Investors Remain Wary – Bloomberg – slowing user growth an issue
Oppo knocks: Beating Apple, Xiaomi and the gang in China | The Economist – BBK the parent of Oppo and Vivo was a successful feature phone maker with good channels and manufacturing smarts – Huawei should be afraid
Wanda’s Dick Clark deal shaky, but not yet dead: sources | Reuters – restrictions on currency movement
What Does Trump Want? China Scours Twitter, Cocktail Parties for Clues – Bloomberg – they may decide just to wait Trump out
Let’s not kid ourselves: sexual harassment is rampant in Silicon Valley | The Outline – bro culture and brewskis by nerds
Ask a Korean!: Presidential Election and Spy Agency – Interesting article on fake news in Korea
Don’t Look Now, but the Great Unbundling Has Spun Into Reverse – NYTimes.com – bundling started to be used by online business for the same reasons as offline
My Friend Cayla doll banned in Germany over surveillance concerns – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) – So are pretty much most other connected systems such as Google Now, Siri and Alexa powered devices – just not quite as hackable
I was laid low for a few days this week, during this time I slept and connected with the world only by listening to the Today programme. I also got caught in a deluge during storm Doris and was drenched. As I write this post, my Facebook feed is filling up with posts about Donald Trump restricting media outlets including CNN and the BBC from Whitehouse briefings. These are five of the things that made my week:
I was upgraded Bose QC25 headphones I use at work with a new audio cable. The Ablet Lightning Audio Adapter for Iphone 7 / 7 Plus is a great replacement cable, microphone and remote that makes doing calls an awful lot easier. Once the call is over, I just unplug and jack in with the original cable that stays in my iPod
Instagram announced a carousel function that shows up to 10 photos and videos in the one frame. The first one I saw in the wild was to promote the new Blade Runner film due this year
Kelly Moss Motorsport built a ‘safari ready’ Porsche 911 that evoked the old Rothmans Porsche rally cars of the 1980s, check out their series of pictures here.
The grey colour reminds me of post-war vintage tractors from the likes of Nuffield. Porsche made some beautiful looking tractors in the 1950s – a useless fact that I picked up as a child spending much of my time on the family farm in Ireland and having a Dad who used to repair heavy agricultural and construction plant early on in his career
Collecting Europe – really interesting game that investigates consumers attitudes to boundaries and identity
Global Restructuring at TBWAMedia Arts Lab as Apple Shifts Toward Digital, Regional Work | Ad Week – interesting move with their evolving relationship with Apple. I can’t say that I feel impressed by anything l’ve seen out of Apple in a while – given more creative was driven out of in-house. This move will see things going more digital, rather than just digital expressions of TV-orientated creative
Exclusive: SoftBank willing to cede control of Sprint to entice T-Mobile – sources | Reuters – guess India’s no longer as big a focus since Nikesh Arora’s big bets lost them 350 million dollars?
UK Snoopers’ Charter gagging order drafted for London Internet Exchange directors • The Register – you combine this with the new espionage act going through the UK government system and things look exceptionally dark
Building Global Community | Facebook – Zuck on reshaping Facebook’s direction
I picked up Blood and Faith on a trip to Madrid. I have a habit of picking up English language history books if I can when visiting a place. It gives you a sense of how a country wants itself to be seen. These usually vary from clumsy propaganda to insightful works.
Coming across Carr’s book surprised me as it addressed a part of Spain’s history in an unsympathetic light. It covers briefly the expulsion of Spain’s Jewish community and covers the expulsion of the Moors in greater depth.
Carr’s background as a journalist and as the son of a controversial English teacher who got involved in post-colonial politics casts a certain lens for his writing perspective. His knowledge of Spain and Islam is second to none having covered both the Islamic world and Spain extensively in books and journalism.
Carr paints a complex picture of tolerance and a cosmopolitan society interspersed with zealotry, bigotry and criminality. The book shows how the decision to expel the Moors came about, a mix of:
- Security concerns in terms of internal strive and alleged support of pirate raiding parties from North Africa and Turkey
- Changes in Spanish royalty as the Hapsburg’s came to the throne. Their German background brought a ‘neoconservative’ viewpoint on Islam due the threat that the Ottoman empire posed to central Europe
- Internal politics within the Catholic church with hawks and doves
- External relations with the Holy See and other Catholic countries who viewed Spain as being tainted
- Internal injustice that caused Moor dissent which in turn fuelled the paranoia of the Spanish
The book and its subject matter feels surprisingly contemporary. 17th century Spain still provides us with a good picture of the challenges and chaos that ensues trying to deport people en masse. From discovery to logistics it was a nightmare.
The issues of conservative populism and racism also feel very contemporary given political sentiment across Europe. The expulsion of the Moors and reconquest of Spain have been cited by both Al Qaeda and Daesh to justify their actions.
If you want a book to read on Spain’s relationship with the Moors this is a well researched book, just be careful with what conclusions you chose to draw from it.
IBM, Visa partner to make the Internet of things commerce friendly | ZDNet – just goes to show that Watson is a mascot not a product from a branding perspective
What a Veteran Film Critic Learned from Watching VR Movies – This reminded me a lot of Myst
I can’t believe that its this time again. It’s been a busy week, partly because I lost a work day due to a larger Publicis Groupe meeting. This quote from Alvin Toffler stuck with me
This video by the Singularity Institute was floating around about the future of industry
Fans of Assassins Creed would appreciate this rendition of Leave her Johnny, leave her
The British Museum have a lovely trailer for their new exhibition The American Dream
Michael Kopelman’s Gimme 5 have done a collection influenced by 1970s band Santana