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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Regulating AI in health and care – NHS Digital – no privacy expert on this panel – which is a bit concerning given they are talking about the business opportunity and regulating AI. More machine learning related posts here.

120627-O-ZZ999-004
Dutch army Maj. Christiaan Hoff, left, and Royal Australian Navy Lt. Cmdr. John McHugh, right, perform oral surgery to remove a tumor from a Filipino woman aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) June 27, 2012, in Samar, Philippines

Coronavirus: Hong Kong restaurants install physical barriers between diners to allay contagion fears – interesting design hack by restauranteurs – I wonder what it will do to restaurant noise levels?

The ‘Alpha Female’ Look is Big in China. Brands Take Note. | BoF – good for Dr Martens (paywall)

Bulgari Is Pulling Out of Baselworld 2020 Because of the Coronavirus | Robb Report – I am surprised that Baselworld hasn’t been re-scheduled already

Kering Halts Spending in China on Coronavirus Fears | BoF – I’d have still done brand advertising to do contra-cyclical brand building but otherwise their approach makes sense

The Karakax list: how China targets Uighurs in Xinjiang | Financial Times – surprisingly manual process rather than machine learning driven. China has set up a research lap for technology in law – think pre-crime and done some of the first thinking about regulating AI

You Can Pay People to Style Your Houseplants – The New York Times – corporate florist now do homes as well (paywall)

“With the Beatles,” by Haruki Murakami | The New Yorker – great read

It’s time for global businesses to admit it: China isn’t a good investment – The Washington Post – right sentiment, but the wrong reasons. China is important but too prominent in the global supply chain and a source of weakness. Multiple sourcing makes more sense

With Harsh Words, China’s Military Denies It Hacked Equifax | New York Times – yeah right. I think its a totally gangster move, really smart work which is why they would do it (paywall)

Chinese retail is getting a nationalistic boost – Inkstone“The millennials are more faithful to Chinese brands which are capable of delivering equally good quality products like those from foreign powerhouses, if not better,” said Xue Ying, senior marketing manager of Dr Yu. Fashion brands no longer see Hong Kong as bridge to 1.4 billion consumers – Inkstone – an increasingly nationalistic youth

Coronavirus response benefits Watsons: YouGov | Campaign AsiaHong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing, who’s majority-ownership of the Watsons franchise is well-known, pledged HKD$100 million (US$13 million) to combat the coronavirus. All of these responses appear to have been met with popular approval for the brand. Since the start of the year, Watsons’ Current Customer score has risen from 20.2 to 29.0, a rise of +8.8 points. Its Recommend score has risen from 9.9 to 16.9 , an increase of +7 points. Finally, its score on YouGov’s Buzz index has jumped from 8.6 to 25.4, a significant increase of +16.8 points. – Li Ka Shing always comes out of a crisis better than he went in

Coronavirus Test Kits Sent to States Are Flawed, C.D.C. Says – The New York Times the failure of the kits means that states still have to depend on the C.D.C., which will mean several days’ delay in getting results. The C.D.C. announced last week that it had begun shipping about 200 kits to laboratories in the United States and roughly 200 more to labs in other countries. Each kit can test about 700 to 800 specimens from patients, the agency said. – this is frightening (paywall)

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Things that made my day this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

SAS – What is truly Scandinavian? Nothing. This was an ad done by &Co of Denmark. It’s an ad that was meant to challenge the audience and promote the benefit of travel. But I felt it got its tone wrong.

What is truly Scandinavian got backlash online. As it went towards 13,000 dislikes on YouTube, SAS took it down. This is where things get crazy:

  • SAS blamed the reaction on right-wing (possibly Russian) botnets, which it doesn’t seem to have been the case. Which begs the question can SAS be trusted?
  • The ad agency &Co had bomb threats made against their office

Update SAS have reposted the ad, it currently has 94K down votes and 10K upvotes off 782,885 views. Comments are turned off.

I have never got the chance to see Hall & Oates play live, this recording of their 1984 July 4th concert in New York shows them at their best. It’s called the Liberty concert because of the US independence day, it was held in Liberty national Park in Jersey City and one of the main sponsors was called Liberty. The event was put on to raise money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.

Sony goes against the romantic grain for Valentine’s Day with its latest PlayStation campaign. More information here (paywall).

South Korean TV broadcaster MBC did a documentary on a family that lost their daughter at just 7 years old. The mother agreed to say a fine goodbye to her daughter in VR. The child’s death in hospital left a big hole in their grief. Now I know it sounds mawkish but the mother said that it helped her come to terms with her child’s health. It also brought home for me the power of VR to drive emotion. I think that this is really important give how uncomfortable VR’s fit with storytelling as we understand it. More VR-related posts here.

Liam Young gave a great talk on using his art of film making to shape the future. This is particularly interesting given William Gibson’s feedback on meeting fans who worked in the tech sector:

“They’d read a book in which there didn’t actually seem to be any middle class left and in which no characters had employment. They were all criminal freelancers of one sort or another. So, it was always quite mysterious to me.”

William Gibson quoted in William Gibson — the prophet of cyberspace talks AI and climate collapse | FT

Gibson’s experience implies that steering the future through art, requires a lack of ambiguity and subtlety than good film frequently has.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 6 minutes

The power of niche | Campaign magazine – Dave Trott on GOOP – The New York Times said: “The weirder GOOP went, the more its readers rejoiced. Every time there was a negative story about her or her company all it did was bring more people to the site.” Paltrow told a class of Harvard students: “What I do is create a cultural firestorm, and I can monetise those eyeballs.” – cultural firestorm or memorable cultural industrial accident? I agree with Trott to a point. But I can’t work out if GOOP is doing ‘good’ outrage like Benetton managed to do with its ad campaigns, or ‘bad’ outrage like Michael O’Leary at Ryanair. Secondly, you might buy GOOP earrings but would you tell anyone where you bought them? Would they be judging you because you’re a GOOP customer. The problem GOOP has is that it’s not causing outrage with the old or conservative per se. It’s more likely to be customer’s peers thinking that as a GOOP customer you buy into bunkum of Palthrow. Brand neighbourhoods are still important and GOOP nestles comfortably in crank corner with David Icke and Uri Geller. More on beauty related stories here.

Benetton USSR & USA ad
Benetton ad from the 1980s which contrasted with the Reagan-era Cold War sentiment of the Soviet ‘evil empire’

South Korea’s Government Explores Move From Windows To Linux Desktop | SlashdotThe reason for this is simple. It’s to reduce software licensing costs and the government’s reliance on Windows. As Choi Jang-hyuk, the head of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, said, “We will resolve our dependency on a single company while reducing the budget by introducing an open-source operating system.” – back in the day South Korean online security depended on support for ActiveX, how far things have moved on

Slick Inbox – interesting idea. BUT RSS, VIP section in mail.app are all competitors

Thread by @thezedwards on speech recognition / natural language processing – interesting how it can be used (whether or not it is used is another matter) for marketing, surveillance etc

How Your Laptop Ruined Your Life | The AtlanticEarlier this week, a woman managed to find a seat next to me on the train, took out her laptop, and started plugging away at a spreadsheet. The sight filled me with dread, as it does every time I spot a fellow commuter writing code or finessing a PowerPoint while I listen to podcasts. I suddenly became much more aware of the hard, thin edge of my own work computer, digging into my thigh through my tote bag. – Whatever happened to thinking time?

Sony as Automaker | Akihabara News – it will be interesting to see Sony go against Tesla

Trump’s immigration enforcement agents use cellphone location data to track individuals for detention – WSJ / Boing Boing – I’d be surprised if they weren’t doing this

What Happens When a High-Tech Apparel Brand Shares the Same Name as the Company that Backed the Controversial Iowa Caucus App? — The Fashion LawNot nearly as under-the-radar as ACRONYM, the political organization, ACRONYM, the apparel company, is, nonetheless, situated more behind-the-scenes than the majority of its peers. As writer Adam Wray detailed in 2013, “You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about ACRONYM.” Despite having significant clout when it comes to technologically-advanced apparel and amassing a list of famous fans (think: Kanye West, John Mayer, Jason Statham, best-selling author William Gibson, and mixed martial arts champ Max Holloway, just to name a few), “the company never advertises and with no public relations strategy to speak of, its founders are tough to reach.”  Hugh and his co-founder slash business partner Michaela Sachenbacher “prefer to let their designs” – which are heavy on the GORE-TEX technology and utilitarian-focused hacks, and too expensive for most – “speak for themselves.” Yet, “whether you know it or not, [ACRONYM has] been pacing the vanguard of technically-focused fashion for nearly two decades.” – having worked in an office with the unfortunate name of ISIS House, an acronym that it shared with a terrorist organisation I can understand some of the pain for Errolson Hugh and company

精進カップラーメン | zen-foods – vegan friendly instant noodles, I’d be surprised if these don’t start appearing in Whole Foods soon

FBI Says China ‘Biggest Threat’ to US Law Enforcement as Arrests Skyrocket in 2020 | RFA‘We believe that no country poses a greater threat than Communist China’ – but what are they going to do about it?

‘A bit impersonal’: The rise of influencer marketing agencies rankles influencers – Digiday“When I reach out to brands directly, they tell me to apply for their programs through their affiliated network, which means I lose whatever personal connections I might’ve had and the ability to negotiate,” Groffman said. A company he had worked with for years recently referred him to its influencer network, he added. “Influencer marketing has finally matured as an industry,” explained Kristy Sammis, executive director of the Influencer Marketing Association, in an email. “Brands are now willing to allocate significant budget to strategic influencer programs. This means they need scale, benchmarks, and guarantees. That’s simply not possible with one-on-one influencer relationships.” Currently, influencers lack a standardized set of rates, yet a myriad factors can go into setting a price. That said, a $10 cost per thousand impressions is a baseline for influencers working on Instagram and Instagram Stories, according to Village Marketing founder Vickie Segar. She added that for every 100,000 followers, that rate grants an influencer $1,000 a post. Plus, companies and influencers might additionally negotiate usage rights and exclusivity, which could increase the fee. Terms vary by company, but payment can take from 30 days to 120 days – it’s probably because brands don’t want to have to filter out chancers and assholes themselves. Secondly, algorithms mean influencers are no longer an effective form of reach

The Era of Antisocial Social Media | HBRsaying that after years spent constructing carefully curated online identities and accumulating heaps of online “friends,” they want to be themselves and make real friends based on shared interests. They’re also craving privacy, safety, and a respite from the throngs of people on social platforms — throngs that now usually include their parents. To reach these younger audiences on social, marketers are going to have to re-think their approach. The first step is to understand the distinct characteristics of these more closed, and often more private and interactive online spaces. Since I believe that naming a trend helps provide a framework for understanding it, I have dubbed these spaces “digital campfires.” – to misquote Satre Hell is other people. From a brand perspective digital campfires are more attractive than the digital dumpster fires that channels like Twitter and YouTube often descend into

Barnes & Noble suspends reissues of classics with new images | AP News – criticised on social media as ‘literary’ black face

Mayfair robbery: Three men hunted after man stabbed for £115,000 watch | UK News | Sky News – events like this will reduce the UK’s attractiveness for luxury sales

Daring Fireball: My 2019 Apple Report Card – well worth reading, though I think Apple should have showed some backbone in Hong Kong – I have never been so disappointed in a brand

A mercenary army of the poor? Technological change and the demographic composition of the post-9/11 U.S. military: Journal of Strategic Studies: Vol 0, No 0the U.S. military no longer primarily recruits individuals from the most disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Technological, tactical, operational and doctrinal changes have led to a change in the demand for personnel. As a result, on different metrics such as family income and family wealth as well as cognitive abilities, military personnel are on average like the average American citizen or slightly better – there is also the aspect that military service runs in the family so previous generations may have been lifted into the middle class by the GI Bill

When China’s Long Game Short Circuits | Echowallmany of the examples of long-term policymaking in China collapse under closer scrutiny, whether in the area of environmental protection, infrastructure or population policy. For example, China’s solar power growth has been driven by government subsidies, resulting in market distortion, huge debt and waste. In the construction of infrastructure, such as the high-speed rail system and local airports, there is lack of coordination and long-term planning – not terribly surprising

My daughter’s TikTok triumph and the fleeting nature of internet fame | Financial Times – just wait until the advertising algorithm crushes reach again

Inside Huawei’s first 5G phone: Teardown reveals rush to innovate – Nikkei Asian Review – interesting analysis of the design approach. The design is surprisingly messy. This implies a few things. Huawei had to rush as it was behind. The phone isn’t as ‘premium’ as Huawei would like to believe, its the smartphone equivalent of having Irish travellers tarmac your drive. Huawei is leaving money on the table by not optimising their designs.

UK mobile operators warned to deliver on rural ‘not spots’ | Financial Times – I’d laugh if mobile operators just walked away from it all

What the Hell Is China Doing on the Dark Side of the Moon? – projection of power and influence

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Five for Friday | 五日(星期五) | 금요일에 다섯 가지

Reading Time: 2 minutes

German think-tank MERICS China Forecast 2020 is interesting watching if you can spare the time. It’s long, but some of the smartest content that I’ve seen recently, from a European perspective. The Americans seem to have done a better job on Sinology; for instance the likes of Bill Bishop or Kuo and Goldstein at Sinica. MERICS China Forecast 2020 was a collaboration between Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) and Handelsblatt. More China-focused content here.

Global Web Index have done an interesting analysis of Subway’s new product set aimed at tapping into the move towards plant-based diets. Subway – ‘Beyond Meatball Sub’ – GlobalWebIndex – was pitched at flexitarians rather than true vegans.

Meatless meatball marinara launch feels a bit ‘reality TV’ in tone.

Iris put together this work Every name’s a story for Starbucks UK. It won the Channel 4 Diversity Award 2019. It taps into the challenge of gender and identity. But also the primeval power of a name. I thought of Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea which explored the power of names as it was seen by different cultures. Just five or ten years ago this ad would have brought out sufficient protests for the likes of Starbucks to shy away from. It illustrates the complexity of values in modern Britain: conservative nationalism and cosmopolitanism.

ARTE have got a great interview with Edward Snowden – Meeting Snowden.

Edward Snowden Wired Magazine
Iconic Wired cover featuring Edward Snowden.

Kraft is running a promotional contest for its new Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Big Bowls that targets parents of young children on Valentine’s Day. It’s interesting how Kraft are interpreting their product as what Scott Galloway calls a ‘time machine’. A product or service that allows people to get time from an activity where it otherwise would have been wasted. For instance, the telemedicine aspects of the Babylon Health app.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Eric ‘Vietnam’ Sadler interview – Folio Weekly – rare interview with Eric ‘Vietnam’ Sadler of the Bomb Squad production team

Public Enemy Papercraft
Public Enemy (without Eric ‘Vietnam’ Sadlerpaper craft figures via csalinas86

Venture capital investors should harpoon more whales | Financial Times – hard versus soft innovation – soft innovation is winning the money. More on innovation here.

Gen Z brand advisors – JWT Intelligence – because they are over millennials

和 Virgil 一同「压轴登场」的 Arc’Teryx,是怎样的户外品牌? – Chinese fashion show people trying to work out why Virgil Aboha wore Arc’Teryx goretex shell. Interesting that they don’t go to the obvious answer – technical outdoor wear is streetwear

Wristwatches (手表) | Mao Era in Objects – interesting read and gives a lot of food for thought on brand and perceived luxury products in the Chinese market

reut.rs | Trump executive order to clampdown on counterfeit and pirate goods sold at e-commerce – interesting as Amazon and eBay sure to suffer

FM音源伝説 | FM音源を愛するすべての人へ – cool game chip based synthesizers

Study: Men who own luxury cars are often jerkswhat types of people own these cars. Sure enough, he found that less cooperative, less kind, and less considerate men often drive high-status cars. “The same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others,” says Lönnqvist. He found no connection between female self-centeredness and luxury cars. Before you start flashing the bird at passing luxury vehicles, know that not all classy car owners suck. In fact, some are quite dependable: The study also found that conscientious men and women—people who are organized, ambitious, respectable, and often high-performing—are also frequent owners of high-status cars, which Lönnqvist says likely reflects an appreciation for quality and an urge to present a self-image of classy reliability. – a bit more nuance to this than the title suggests

The rapid rise of ‘Buy now, pay later’ – BBC News – this isn’t new, its the Littlewoods catalogue model all over again wearing digital clothes

Bank of England drops productivity optimism and lowers expectations | Financial Times – not terribly surprising

ハタプロ – way too cute robot Google Home type device hybrid

Markera kraftigare mot Kinas försök att påverka pressfriheten | :UtgivarnaUtgivarna urges to mark more strongly against China‘s attempts to influence the freedom of the press. Swedish media pushes back against Chinese government and including the local ambassador and United Front cadre

Apple Hires Key Netflix Engineer in Bid to Boost Subscription Services – WSJRuslan Meshenberg, who helped build out Netflix’s platform and was involved in key initiatives to create a speedier, more consistent service for viewers, joined Apple’s internet-services organization this week

A new year marks a new phase of Hong Kong protests | Financial Timessome are calling on taxpayers to pay more. The aim of the so-called “$1 more” campaign is to cripple the tax authorities’ operations by forcing them to handle possibly millions of rebate payments, tying them up in bureaucracy and bringing the system to a grinding halt

‘Get Ready for Brexit’ was a £46m flop – so get ready for ‘Ready to Trade’ | MAA – this must be embarrassing for Engine Group

Apple TV+ ‘Immaterial’ to Services Revenue Amid One-Year Free Deal – Variety – loss leader

Apple FQ1 20 – Big battery. – Radio Free Mobile – back to basics with battery life being the key USP