How A Cartel-Linked Murder Rocked A Wealthy Dallas Suburb | Texas Monthly – a great read. The painstaking research of the stalkers is like something out of The Wire. It also brings home how much telematics have fallen in cost and user complexity over the past two decades
Why Yahoo Japan Needs to Be Part of Your Search Strategy for Japan – my advice would be don’t be a cheap SoB and pay for a decent SEO agency based in Japan, so that they can look at content strategies and link placement across the different sources that Yahoo! Japan Search uses. This guide just opens you up to the kind of possibilities there, but is no substitute for a local team
Qualcomm CEO thinks Apple will eventually be a customer again, despite escalating legal battle | 9to5Mac – There’s less to these than meets the eye, beyond Qualcomm wants to make Apple it’s prison bitch
WhatsApp Founder Speaks, EU Deception?, Facebook Ideology | Stratechery – probably one of the best reads about founders and Facebook. What gets me is that this is news. Eight years ago in tech circles the term zucked – a portmanteau of (Mark) Zuckerberg and fucked was already in common enough use for me to blog about it. Facebook has demonstrated this time-and-time again to consumers, partners, acquired businesses and even government and regulatory bodies. When do they get their Judge Jackson moment a la Microsoft? The main point of interest is how closely aligned Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg in terms of their collective moral turpitude
How China Systematically Pries Technology From U.S. Companies – WSJ – China isn’t going to change this conduct, any more than the United States were willing back when Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling were complaining about book piracy in the New World. China is already putting in strong protection for domestic intellectual property, but unlike the US, there is no sign that they will ever support foreign IP rights as they pursue a mercantilist imperial agenda globally
Spotify’s Big Tencent Risk [Mark Mulligan] – hypebot
How China’s army of online trolls turned on Sweden | Abacus – I am surprised that Facebook allows groups that are organising way stations to remain on the platform. It fits into a wider narrative that Facebook is facilitating and profiting from the weaponising of the web by Russia/China etc. etc. I don’t think Sweden will be that sympathetic to Facebook lobbyists when they come complaining about EU overreach.
“Swiped” HBO documentary – director Nancy Jo Sales explains why swiping on Tinder is addictive – Recode – great read, you could probably say similar things for scrolling through Instagram or a Facebook feed
Things that made my day this week:
The thing that blew me about this advert is how old school it feels and I mean it in a good way. High production values, great copywriting and beautifully shot. Pretty much everything that modern day adverts tend not to be with production being commoditised with the constant focus on how it can be used on Istagram / Facebook / Snap / Twitter Video – good enough rather than doing things well. These changes are symptomatic of all the forces affecting the ad industry at the moment.
While we’re talking about ad making, I also love this ad done for McDonalds Hong Kong in the early 1990s. Such a simple idea really well executed – you don’t need to speak Cantonese to get it. It is apparently based on this advert screened during the Super Bowl in the US. The creative was done during Leo Burnett’s 35-year run as creative agency for the fast food chain.
Scott Galloway tends to polarise opinions, so I’d ask you to put aside any feelings you have and listen to this interview with Mr Bags – one of the biggest influencers in the luxury sector for Chinese at the moment.
Amazing photos and insight into the Yakuza life: Behind the Yakuza: documenting the women of Japan’s mafia | Dazed Digital
Currently reading City of Devils : A Shanghai Noir by Paul French. It is a true crime story about Shanghai during the Warlord period prior to World War Two. I’m only a little bit into the book but it’s very obvious why the young Chinese Communist Party would have held a passionate dislike for western powers interfering in their country.
Riffing of a couple of tweets on good strategy by Matt Holt. Strategy and planning are considered to be disrupted by changes in the advertising industry. It often boils down to ‘ who needs good strategy when you have big data / machine learning’.
Big data tells you retrospectively where you should have zigged rather than zagged. It doesn’t plot an overall direction. It is usually pretty reductive only focusing on sales now. It doesn’t think about future sales through building a brand and its good standing.
In marketing automation, it is focused on ‘harvesting’ from the end of the marketing funnel.
- Good strategy is sacrifice. It’s about making choices and saying no
- Good strategy is specific. There is a specific well-defined problem to be solved.
- Good strategy is simple to explain (even if the subject matter is complex). If you’re setting a direction, the roadmap has to be clear for all stakeholders.
- Good strategy has elegance. Which is a good measure of its simplicity.
- Good strategy steers tactics. It provides a directional lens to the data and helps in deciding KPIs (key performance indicators) and HVAs (high value actions).
- Good strategy is stubborn in the face of the shiny and new. Strategy is not a fad is a long term roadmap. The shiny and new can be a facilitator at best. At worst its a distraction.
- Good strategy is saying no to excess. Keep the strategy focused on the objectives that it addresses
- Good strategy has its own intrinsic quality.
- Good strategy seems self evident in retrospect. It’s not just a way to solve the problem, but has been sweated out to optimise it to the point that it seems self evident in retrospect.
- Good strategy is emergent, not realtime. A strategy needs to be able to flex as conditions change. Its the direction, not an exhaustive road map.
- Good strategy is not ‘big data’. It can be a source of insights that will help develop a strategy, but it’s not a strategy in of itself.
Things that made my day this week:
In Japan, 24/7 convenience stores play a similar role to what supermarkets have in the west. They do groceries, allow utility and mobile payments and provide other services like faxing or photocopying. They offer free wi-fi and air conditioning in hot weather. There are an essential part of of Japanese life and there is a ‘combini-culture’ around them. Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Fragment Design has taken a good deal of influence from combini culture for ‘The Conveni’ retail concept. It includes processed food, bandanas in sandwich packs, towels packaged like onigiri rice balls and sweat shirts in snack packets.
If you can’t get to Tokyo, you can still look at their e-store.
Michael Gove famously said that with regards to Brexit people were tired of experts. Obviously discussions between men in a pub is the antithesis of expert discussions. So here is a podcast with a couple of knowledgeable people in a pub
Lippincott were working on a Toys R Us rebrand that the company couldn’t implement. I don’t know if design could have saved Toys R Us, but the work is really nice.
Aphex Twin launched a new EP; there were posters around the world and a fantastic video by Weirdcore. Warning the video will affect people with epilepsy
Egyptian Lover picks his favourite Roland TR-808 songs – amazing listening. Some of this brought me back to my early teenage years.
A more charitable phrase for what many consumers call the Internet of Shit. Yes lots of products can be internet enabled, but should they be? There is a mix of challenges:
- Products that are internet enabled but shouldn’t be – the Happy Fork or the Griffin Smart Toaster being classic examples. I found the Griffin Smart Toaster particularly disappointing as the company’s products such as the PowerMate are generally really good
- Products that would be benefit from tech, but shouldn’t rely on the the cloud. I’d argue that Nest would fit in this category where cloud outages could have serious impacts on the consumer
It is interesting to see that Li & Fung (who are famous for global supply chain management provided to western brands and retailers) are involved in this. The qualitative design research they did on skiing wearables for a client – which begs the question of what value Li & Fung’s client brings to the table.