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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ian Murray of House 51 takes on some marketing sacred cows such as brand purpose in The Empathy Delusion. His presentation sets out to show how different marketing and agency folk are from the general public. Positive traits, like the gumption to move to London put a difference between them and the general public. This is just one aspect that Murray touches on when talking about The Empathy Delusion.

I was recommended Economy Candy in New York. Their collection of vintage trading cards is a site to behold. The film tie-ins from Back To The Future and ET to Howard The Duck are tremendous.

Local Hong Kong group StreetSignHK are featured on this video of the process that goes into saving Hong Kong’s neon signage. The biggest threat seems to be building regulation bureaucracy rather than technology.

I loved the style of this 1980s vintage Mercedes sales training video, presumably for American dealerships.

I was reminiscing about The Site. This used to run on CNBC Europe when I was in college and provided a window into the early net. Soledad O’Brien has gone on to produce documentaries. Leo Laporte who played the Dev Null* character is now better known for his technology podcasts. (Technically it should be /dev/null* for maximum geek humour.) The programme sat at a sweet spot. The web was small, but inaccessible to many of the viewers. AOL and CompuServe were just taking off. I had net access in college and used that to take a look at their online recommendations at the time.

The Site pioneered virtual characters and offline integration of programming with its own site. Dev Null now has a kind of PlayStation 1 vibe to him. But this was all new stuff. Terminator 2 had been in the cinemas five years earlier and blow people away with its animation.

The year after we had the virtual world of The Lawnmower man. Lawnmower Man brought to life the kind of virtual world on screen that had previously only existed in the works of authors like William Gibson and Vernor Vinge.

Then in 1995, there was Hackers that tapped into gen-x youth culture (X-Games, Oakley T-wire glasses, the psychedelic side of rave culture) to create a connected world closer to our own now.

This all explains the look and feel of The Site and its role in helping the general public to experience online. What I didn’t realise is that the show was run on one dial-up modem. This around about the time when I worked in my first agency with a 1MB T1 line – and that was hard enough. I am not sure how the programme researchers, broadcast production team and web producers managed on 1 dial-up line.

More on online culture here.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Zero touch spaces – Wunderman Thompson Intelligence  – I am actually liking these Logan’s Run style personal space bubbles. I also understand Wunderman Thomson’s concerns over zero touch spaces being close, but still isolated. I think of zero touch spaces as a physical manifestation of what we do mentally through cocooning with gadgets such as iPods, smartphones (and apps) and noise-cancelling headphones. Before that there was social networks (rather than real world networking), sat navs, etc. Both the zero touch spaces and cocooning puts distance between us and the world around us.

Geodesic
Fiona Paton geodesic dome

Government minister Liz Truss. get pwned on Brexit, international trade and the WTO by Adam S Posen of the Peterson Institute of International Economics. The discussion is so one-sided, it is like watching a naked drunkard getting mauled by a polite but hungry polar bear. Truss’ ministerial portfolio is international trade. It’s exceptionally grim to watch if you’re based in the UK.

Ad Aged: Talmudic, Biblical, Keynesian and Advertising.I have taken a different path. I always have and I always will. I try to do what I think is right and smart and good—and mostly difficult, not what is popular, obvious and pandering. Never trust anything from anyone who spends a good portion of their time practicing expressions in front of the mirror – some savage burns in this post

How a Chinese agent used LinkedIn to hunt for targets – BBC NewsThe use of LinkedIn is brazen, but not surprising, said Matthew Brazil, the co-author of Chinese Communist Espionage: An Intelligence Primer. “I think lots of worldwide intelligence agencies probably use it to seek out sources of information,” he said. “Because it’s in everybody’s interest who is on LinkedIn to put their whole career on there for everybody to see – it’s an unusually valuable tool in that regard.” He said that commissioning consultant reports is a way for agents to get “a hook” into a potentially valuable source who might later be convinced to supply classified information. I’d be surprised if LinkedIn wasn’t used in this way.

You Won’t Find These Masks at 7-Eleven – The New York TimesAlthough the pandemic will end at some point, he added, “people will still be using masks because they’re afraid.” While it’s unclear how well some of these more ambitious masks will fare with consumers, one innovation has been a clear hit: face coverings with high-tech fabrics that are said to provide superior comfort or protection. As summer temperatures rise, masks made of materials intended to keep wearers cool are in demand. People who have been wearing reusable cloth masks — including those sent by the Japanese government to every household in the country — are finding them ill suited for the heat and humidity of summer in central Japan, much less Singapore or Hong Kong. – That humidity also has issues for skin conditions beneath the masks offering beauty product opportunities. More design-related posts here.

Parfums Givenchy Debuts Makeup in Animal Crossing – WWD – we’re seeing more of these brand activity for a few reasons. Lockdown gave the game increased cultural relevance. The game has a significant amount of female users. Like the original Atari games it isn’t too childish or gender-specific. Animal Crossing’s creator tools allowed consumers to bring brands to the platform.

Jibo, the social robot that was supposed to die, is getting a second life – The Verge – interesting how NTT is looking to build an all digital version, I think the physical artefact is as important as the digital being

China’s two-child policy means more babies named after mum | Today OnlineGiving the mother’s surname to a child is gaining traction in Chinese cities, defying deeply entrenched family traditions in the country. The country’s one-child rule, which ran from 1979 to 2016, meant daughters have also been tasked with safeguarding their parents’ wealth and bloodline — previously this had been the preserve of male heirs. This caused a shift in some family’s attitudes but it was the law change to allow couples to have two children that has ignited the trend for kids to be given the maternal name. Now, some parents are giving the father’s family name to the first born and the mother’s to the second child.

He’s 83, She’s 84, and They Model Other People’s Forgotten Laundry – The New York Times – these are the cutest influencers

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Morgan Stanley blocks remote network access for China interns | Financial TimesAnother large US bank said its systems in China were exposed to frequent cyber attacks that were of “infinitely greater” magnitude than many other countries. – not terribly surprised that remote network access is a threat vector in China. More China-related posts here.

The Key to Winning Boomers Is To Be Turn-key | MediaVillage – basically like many cohorts, with a trusted brand convenience wins out

Energy Department announces plan to build a quantum Internet – The Washington Post – Quantum only works point to point. This seems to be building Qubit computer capacity by copying supercomputing from the what I can see? From Long-distance Entanglement to Building a Nationwide Quantum Internet: Report of the DOE Quantum Internet Blueprint Workshop (Technical Report) | OSTI.GOV

Bingewatch Britain? Viewers more likely to finish a TV series if it’s released all at once | YouGov – reading this reminded me of Marshall Cavendish part-work books and their completion rates

Do Chinese millennials want diversity in fashion ads? | Advertising | Campaign AsiaFashion’s culture wars are dividing Chinese millennials. In June, a series of fashion and beauty moves, including a Calvin Klein pride campaign featuring the black trans model Jari Jones and the decision by some top beauty groups to take their skin-whitening products off the market in China, polarized opinions across the country’s social media landscape. While the mainstream overwhelmingly saw these radical changes as a byproduct of the West’s excessive political correctness, the fashion-forward crowd recognized these debates as the start of a much-needed change in their country.

Duterte’s troll armies drown out Covid-19 dissent in the Philippines | Coda Story – interesting analysis of social media in the Philippines

Home Shoppers are Trending Toward Buying Sight-Unseen, Selling Virtually – Zillow Research – digital acceleration

The Ultimate White Fragility | The New Republic – so much to unpack in this

The FBI Is Secretly Using A $2 Billion Travel Company As A Global Surveillance Tool | Forbes – I would have been surprised if they weren’t doing this with SABRE

Korean Air Seeks to Convert Passenger Jets to Cargo Planes | Chosun.com – surprised that British Airways didn’t do this with their Boeing 747s, rather than retiring them

On the Twitter Hack – Schneier on SecurityWhether the hackers had access to Twitter direct messages is not known. These DMs are not end-to-end encrypted, meaning that they are unencrypted inside Twitter’s network and could have been available to the hackers. Those messages — between world leaders, industry CEOs, reporters and their sources, heath organizations — are much more valuable than bitcoin. (If I were a national-intelligence agency, I might even use a bitcoin scam to mask my real intelligence-gathering purpose.) Back in 2018, Twitter said it was exploring encrypting those messages, but it hasn’t yet.

Ad Aged: More on the dismal science and the dismal state of Holding Company advertising. – interesting allegations of collusion

Enter the parents | Film | The Guardianno one suspected that he would turn out to have two brothers still alive and living impoverished, anonymous lives in mainland China. Nor did they have any inkling that Jackie’s mother had once been a legendary gambler in the Shanghai underworld or that his father had been a Nationalist spy and gangland boss. These are among the more startling revelations that Cheung uncovers. “The fact that his mother was an opium smuggler, a gambler and a big sister in the underworld was a big shock to Jackie and also to us,” she admits. “Everybody in Hong Kong knew that his mother was like a common housewife, very kind, very gentle.”

China has big ideas for the internet. Too bad no one else likes them – CNETNew IP would shift control of the internet, both its development and its operation, to countries and the centralized telecommunications powers that governments often run. It would make it easier to crack down on dissidents. Technology in New IP to protect against abuse also would impair privacy and free speech. And New IP would make it harder to try new network ideas and to add new network infrastructure without securing government permission

Japan’s karaoke bars offer ‘mask effect’ feature to amplify singing while wearing face mask – the intersection of changing consumer behaviour and product design with extra amplification to pick up on voices covered by face masks

Creator of Douyin / TikTok: How We Created A Product with A Billion Views A Day in 18 Months: Part I – Pandaily – China style growth hacking profiled

Singapore
Fabio Achilli – Singapore

Disneyland with the Death Penalty | WIRED – William Gibson nails Singapore. And its still true almost 30 years later