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

Things that made my day this week:

US newsreader narrates a 1967 programme on what the future held in the 21st century

An Unknown Enemy is a Mexican series on Amazon Prime that follows the rise of Fernando Barrientos, Head of the National Security Directorate, Mexico’s Secret Police in the late 1960s

Panasonic helps workers create their own head space with new crowdfunded device | The Japan Times – the design looks hokey, but it mirrors the transformation of offices with hot desking and always on headphone culture to try and provide distance

The People’s Republic of Desire documents China’s online streaming culture that has developed over the past few years

Super-excited by an album of Smith & Mighty’s unreleased back catalogue from 1988 – 1994 being released this week. Here is a taster.

Have a great weekend

The buzz of an emergent community

I was chatting with a friend who was evangelic in their description of the emergent community on the AltSpace VR (virtual reality) social network They had met great friends, the kind of meaningful interactions that seldom occurs on your Facebook wall now.

But was this about the power of VR? My take was that it is a minor factor at best. VR acted as a filter, it brought similar likeminded early adopters together. In many respects this mirrored other technology filters: the early days of dial up bulletin board services (particularly in the US with free local calls on the Bell network carriers),  AOL and CompuServe chat rooms or the Usenet.

Filipino community gathering under the HSBC building

The power of connecting likeminded people can be a transformative experience in the minds of participants.

If I think back before my time on the internet, my friend’s experience in the emergent community of AltSpace sounded like the people I met at the Hacienda. It sounded like the experience of many of the regulars at acid house club Shoom – which was hosted by Danny Rampling out of a small gym in South London.

These experiences are once lived, often never recaptured experiences rather like being on a school or college sports team. They only exist for a fleeting moment in time.

It was like being an early member on Flickr, or my friend Ian’s experience on CompuServe chat rooms (where he met his future wife).

So what makes these communities special?

  • Likeminded people who are likely to share a certain amount of norms and have common grounds to be there
  • A relatively small number of people. This number becomes inexact. In a good nightclub it would be a certain amount of exclusivity because not everyone knew it was there, rather than a strict door policy. The strict door policy is usually a remedial item done once the norms try and break down
  • Agreement to a set of common behaviours, for many years a common etiquette held sway on networks like Flickr. Facebook doesn’t have this except in tightly managed private groups

So what happens to these communities?

  • A number soldier on, particularly around passion points such as Harry Potter books / films / games
  • A small minority (cough, cough) Facebook for example transcend their community and turn into a utility with pockets of interest hidden in secret
  • Things move on. Think about restaurants or nightclubs that are now sites of investment properties in London or Manchester

About the photo: I took this on an early trip to Hong Kong. Every Sunday the Filipino and Indonesian communities would gather in different parts of the city to see friends, eat, sing, dance and trade items. This picture is of Filipinos,  taken in the private public space under the HSBC building in the Central district. Some years later this was a site for the Occupy Central protesters.

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

Korea to Fight Smog with Eco Vehicles – The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition) – interesting dual electric / hydrogen strategy. Hydrogen makes sense because of its compact nature as a form of energy and makes more sense than modern electric batteries

Japanese Mobile Phone Users Distrustful of Profit-Hungry Operators | – a few interesting aspects of this research. Japanese aren’t as convinced about the utility of mobile services as one would have expected and smartphone mastery is really low

Why are millennial-obsessed marketers ignoring women over 50 – when they spend the money? – Mumbrella Asia – gen X is a smaller demographic – so their ‘control of 95% of consumer spending decisions” power of spending might be counterintuitive, youth is aspirational – which is why old age is being redefined by boomers. There is also an argument that focusing on young people is focusing on consumer lifetime spend. The last reason is hard to gel with the overall short terms approach to marketing currently employed

Coty partners with the Cybersmile Foundation to tackle cyberbullying with Rimmel | – interesting tension between Instagram culture setting the beauty bar and cyberbullying, so I guess this is why Rimmel stepped into the fray

TIC Brings Affordable Cell Service to Indigenous Mexico | New York magazine – interesting read and reference data on the Mexican wireless market

Palm Is Back With a Tiny Phone That’ll Keep You Off Your Phone | Makeuseof – not convinced its the right form factor or price point, but I think that it’s an interesting attempt at innovation in the smartphone sector

Instagram’s next cash cow: instant Promote ads for Stories | TechCrunch – stories were a massive lift for Facebook, so its stories with everything

BBC and Sky call for EU crackdown on Saudi pirate TV service | Business | The Guardian – this story gets stranger by the day. BeoutQ started off as a way to break Qatar’s pay TV business throughout the Gulf, but has morphed into something even more difficult for Saudi Arabia and western countries

Oprah time: Death Notice by Zhou Haohui

China has had a run in English literature at the moment. Cixin Liu has overturned the world of science fiction with his Three Body Problem trilogy of books. Zhou Haohui’s Death Notice promises a similar shake up in crime fiction.

Death Notice

Death Notice takes place in 2002, the internet was changing Chinese society and the government hadn’t yet rolled out The Great Firewall of online control in-depth. Forums were transformative, attracting participants who shared a passion to connect in ways previously impossible within China.

It was also a more open time in terms of the government’s attitude to public freedom and discourse. Which is why it is the ideal time to set a complex serial killer that relies on the internet.

The death notice of the title refers to a crowdsourced list of wrongdoers who escaped justice and are dispatched in creative ways. I don’t want to say any more that would give away more of the plot.

Death Notice leads you on a twisted exploration of who the killer could be, dragging in to suspicion members of the investigative team. And this is apparently the first in a series of books.

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

Ermenegildo Zegna now looks to China for fashion’s vanguard, not the US — QuartzyErmenegildo Zegna, grandson of the brand’s founder and current CEO of the group, explained at the WWD Apparel + Retail CEO Summit in New York yesterday (Oct. 30). “Now we test new things in China, and then if it works, we bring them around the world.”

IBM’s Old Playbook – Stratechery by Ben Thompson – interesting analysis about the Red Hat acquisition

Brandwatch presentations channel – slides from NYK London 2018

Facebook: the court of King Mark | Financial Times – Facebook shareholders should be alarmed about Mr Zuckerberg’s insularity, he adds. “Zuckerberg’s absolute control can increasingly be seen as Facebook’s Achilles heel.”

US spies see new threats from global rivals, say it could be Cold War 2.0 – Stripes – because China

The SONY Brands: like watching an accident happen – breaks my heart to read this as a long time Sony customer

From Farm to Blockchain: Walmart Tracks Its Lettuce – The New York Times – overkill