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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: 5 minutes

Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation by Gaddy, Sivaram and O’Sullivan – venture capital investment is very inefficient according to this MIT paper. More venture capital related posts here.

Why business in Hong Kong should be worried | The Economist – Hong Kong is trapped like the grips of vice. Its economy is dominated by finance and rent-seeking businesses – Simon Cartledge for Gavekal Dragonomics, a consultancy, because these firms are over-represented in government, “Hong Kong’s single biggest disincentive to risk-taking and entrepreneurship—its high costs, especially for property—cannot be tackled.” That is why the back-to-business message is unlikely to resonate with ordinary Hong Kongers. This is probably why Hong Kong start-ups like DJI moved to Shenzhen to found their businesses. (Frank Wang did a lot of the key work on DJI drones whilst studying at HKUST. And even benefited from a small HKUST grant. But he moved across to Shenzhen to found the business itself in 2006.) Fintech has been a bit of a busted flush. It was the latest in a long line of business ideas like wine trading, the arts and medical tourism as failed niches for Hong Kong. Singapore seems to have been much more successful in business creation and seems to be seeing more venture capital interest. Current sectors in Hong Kong likely to be affected include the legal practices specialising in commercial arbitration. Without trustworthy commercial arbitration in Hong Kong doing business in China looks much less attractive. Singapore is trying to bridge the gap, but I suspect that there might be long term corrosion of Chinese business dealings. Digital companies and foreign banks face big worries. Between the Hong Kong Autonomy Act and the Hong Kong National Security Law – Helping America to enforce sanctions would violate the security law. Not doing so would incur American penalties

The untold story of Stripe, the secretive $20bn startup driving Apple, Amazon and Facebook | WIRED UK – what’s more interesting about Stripe is the brothers reading list

Remarks to the Economic Club of New York – United States Department of State – interesting speech by Mike Pompeo

What It’s Like to Escape the Mindset of a Conspiracy Theorist – Vice – fascinating psychology

Barr warns against corporate America’s China ‘appeasement’ | Financial Times“You should be alert to how you might be used, and how your efforts on behalf of a foreign company or government could implicate the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” he said, referencing a 1938 law that requires foreign agents to publicly identify themselves – those comments hit US banks, Apple and other US multinationals. Attorney General William P. Barr Delivers Remarks on China Policy at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum | OPA | Department of Justice – the US C-suite executives must be getting very worried about this

Quisling

The State of Strategy. A view from the Frontline | Noteworthy – The Journal Blog – great read and nails the issues affecting strategy and planning at the moment

Mark Ritson: In a virtual marketplace, only the strongest brands will survive – Companies see better profit margins and an almost unlimited customer base but miss the drastic reduction in barriers to entry. – so brand hyper-competition will ensue and the winner takes all model will extend beyond tech. Expect venture capital money to pour all kinds of weird industry niches as they try to pick category winners

WeChat users in the US say a potential ban of the app would cut them off from friends and family in China | South China Morning Post – Banning it might be a mistake. It would be more worthwhile using WeChat data to investigate Chinese in the US with ‘anti American’ sentiment as it’s easy to surveill in comparison to other platforms. WeChat sends messages in the clear with no encryption at all. You then start using the Espionage Act or the Patriot Act prosecutions

Chinese liquor group Kweichow Moutai tumbles after graft news report | Financial Times – Moutai sales are linked to gifting and lavish consumption and some have linked the share price increase with a corresponding uplift in sales and by implication graft. The damaging bit in the article is that Moutai’s former chairman Yuan Renguo quoted saying in private that sales linked to corruption are “a normal part of business” and that China’s corruption clampdown would not reach far enough to affect the company’s business

Banning junk food from TV an ‘irrelevant symbolic gesture’ that won’t reduce obesity | The Drum – the argument whilst true won’t be believed by regulators. Their rationale would be why would junk food companies advertise if it didn’t work? The distinction of this is junk food brand fighting out with similar brands in its category won’t wash. Secondly, advertising bans worked in the past on tobacco products over time

The party’s grip – Under a new national-security law, Hong Kong is already a changed city | The Economist – you have to wonder about the share run and will the pop of the bubble be blamed on ‘foreign interference’?

Outrage Over China’s Treatment of Hong Kong Galvanizes the West – WSJComplaints about China have piled up in Western capitals in recent years, but it took Beijing’s new curbs on Hong Kong’s autonomy to galvanize them around something approaching a common cause. – In many respects its like boiling a frog in reverse, it is likely that China didn’t expect the frog to jump out of the pot, given that the heat had been on so long

Opinion | A Coronavirus Care Package From China – The New York TimesAfter the Communist takeover in 1949, traditional Chinese medicine was institutionalized. Folk remedies helped fulfill both a tangible need — credentialed doctors were scarce — and an ideological end: That system of knowledge is quintessentially and uniquely Chinese.  Today, the Chinese government sees a political opportunity in the continuing emotional appeal of traditional medicine. If Chinese people can embrace an Eastern alternative to Western medicine, they might also be more likely to accept the Communist Party’s governance model and reject liberal democracy

Speaking in Tongues – Chinese Storytellers – such a great essay on the current challenge facing Chinese (and in particular Hong Kongers) writing for foreign audiences: a Chinese storyteller telling stories for an English-speaking audience in a divided world. As a writer who has called Hong Kong, Beijing and New Haven home, I find myself often in the position of what Zadie Smith once called “speaking in tongues”: equivocating between the lens of the insider and the outsider, examining the places I call home with both the “objective,” parachuted gaze of the foreign correspondent, and the emotionally implicated and invested eye of the local storyteller. Increasingly, that has felt impossible

Google considers alternatives to Hong Kong for undersea cable | Financial Times – Hong Kong has – become less critical for not only US cloud providers but also their Chinese rivals, according to Tao Wu, a senior research analyst for Gartner, a tech research firm. “Singapore has become much more important than Hong Kong from a location and population perspective,” Ms Wu said. “Other top cloud providers such as Alibaba Cloud are much more focused on south-east Asia to go global than expanding in Hong Kong.” – this will have a big impact for those property developers who’ve invested in data centres (internet hotels). Hong Kong’s financial position for international trading desks will also be diminished if international telecoms infrastructure starts to divert away from Hong Kong. From a pure connectivity point of view Korea, Singapore and even the Philippines start to look really good

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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hana Kimura was a reality TV star appearing in a Netflix Japan show. She got a lot of unfair online abuse which contributed to her taking her life. Kimura was just 22 years old. YouTube user Nibota does a really good download on what happened. It mirrors experiences reality shows around the world seem to provoke in online behaviour. Hana Kimura worked in the entertainment industry as a wrestler and her death is indescribably tragic. More Japan related posts here.

London collective Crowns & Owls shot this advert for Wieden & Kennedy Tokyo client Nike Korea. Entitled ‘You can’t stop us’ it symbolises ‘ the story of Shim Suk-hee; the gold medalist speed skater and national icon whose bravery in confronting her experience with systematic physical, sexual and mental abuse within 2019 South Korean sport’.

They actually built the tunnel inside South Korea’s largest indoor ice rink.

Nescafé Hong Kong has a new animated advert for canned coffee. It was directed by Yojiro Arai, formerly of Studio Ghibli worked with a a Japanese team for the best part of a year to provide the authentic backdrop of Hong Kong and you can see it in the details, from the estate agent windows to the money plant in an office lobby. (H/T via the Mad Man blog (HK)).

Lovely case study of an ad by luxury brand Loewe. This was a Christmas film without the cliches of John Lewis et al. It is an interesting mix of analogue skills which reflect the craftsmanship that luxury good brands like Loewe have in their DNA.

Jeremy Fleming, the current director of GCHQ gave a presentation for the online Cheltenham Science Festival. Unsurprisingly coronavirus offered an opportunity for hackers. It is interesting that he goes to talk about privacy and data protection on contract tracing apps. He doesn’t provide a concrete answer.

Its about 8 hours in