Oprah time: Economics – The User’s Guide: A Pelican Introduction by Ha-Joon Chang

Economics – The User’s Guide: A Pelican Introduction by Ha-Joon Chang is a great reader for the average person on economics. If I had this during my first economics modules at college, it would have been really useful.

As an engaged member of the electorate it would allow you to for example critique Brexiters vision of Britain as a free market utopia a la Singapore just off the coast of continental Europe.

Singapore isn’t actually a free market utopia. The government houses almost 90 per cent of the population through the HDB (Housing Development Board). State-owned businesses are responsible for roughly 25% of gross national product. It is easy to set up a business there; but they have a very one dimensional view of Singapore’s success if they consider it to be a free market utopia.

Chang critiques the major economic theories and pulls no punches on any of them. It is a level of frankness that members of the public don’t normally get from experts in the media. How scientific are economic numbers?

What does deindustrialisation even mean from an economists perspective? Without spoiling the book for you, it doesn’t mean Stoke-on-Trent or Scunthorpe’s vision of post industrial dystopia. Instead it would be more honest to call it servicisation. An analogy would be if you look at industrialisation took workers away from the land, but agriculture continued on.

The move to service economy has issues with productivity that Chang covers eloquently.

Economics – The User’s Guide is a powerful book that calls BS on ideas like the happiness index and neoclassical economics.

Economics the users guide

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

Apple reportedly resumes iPhone X production to recover from dismal sales | The Next Web – this would affect margins so its a complex algebraic problem and then there is the question about differentiation between XS and X models. Worthwhile probably looking at an SE model to the 8 and 8 plus due to many people being wedded to the home button and better battery life

Designing for Gen Z: How to connect with the next generation of influencers | Netimperative – latest digital marketing news – reminds me a lot of stuff that was written about gen-y at the beginning

Mark Ritson: The threat of direct-to-consumer disruption is overblown | Marketing Week the likes of private label at Ocado and Amazon pose a bigger threat

Mark Ritson: Don’t just look at the long term, look at the long, long term | Marketing Week – so much here. Ritson is right, but so many agendas against this:

  • The disruption trope beloved of management consultants and management boards
  • Digital assets tend not to be as memorable because they are focused no short term effectiveness and that’s where sexy is in marketing. But digital was used to support the Old Spice man and Cadburys gorilla ads for instance when it has been done
  • Senior marketers tend to not last long in a role, so there are perverse incentives to think purely about short term gains

Korea’s Wireless Carriers Rev Up their War against Apple’s Promotions Policy with Threats of Legal Action and more – Patently Apple – this is kicking off as Samsung is bleeding, Korea doesn’t have an effective way to go after Huawei and other Chinese vendors eroding its business

A Chinese Research Firm Turns the Tables on Apple Claiming that iPhones Appeal to China’s ‘Invisible Poor’ not Middle Class – Patently Apple – interesting reading. This is more subtle than the data appears. Apple seems to have much more of a secondary market for its refurbed / secondhand handsets that is skewing the data. You have to wonder about the motives of the research company. Apple gets this due to desirability perception compared to a Huawei, HTC or Samsung

Not So Big in Japan: Apple Cuts Price of iPhone XR to Boost Sales – WSJ – Major wireless carriers in Japan plan to cut iPhone XR prices as early as next week, people with direct knowledge of the plan said, without giving details of the extent of the cut. Japan is one of the most lucrative markets for Apple, which has a dominant 46.7% share of the smartphone market, according to a survey conducted by MMD Labo from July 31 to Aug. 1.

The XR is available in Apple stores in Japan from about $750, but carriers’ pricing is more opaque as phones are bundled with data plans. (paywall)

Elliot Schrage on Definers | Facebook Newsroom – not exactly the smoking gun for the New York Times article, but also shows how public affairs is well out of step with societal norms

What Chinese women want from men nowadays | HKEJ Insight – when I was in college, and I wanted to be a journalist or writer. [In those days], we could easily attract girls if we could write a poem or play guitar. But now the world has changed. Girls want something else. Women change the way men look at this world.

Bringing the Android kernel back to the mainline [LWN.net] – this is explains why Google had been looking at Fuschia for a long time rather than following with updating Android radically

Know Your Chinese Social Media – The New York Times – (paywall) goes beyond the big platforms to cover some of the emerging ones that I don’t know well

How China Walled Off the Internet – The New York Times – DNS poisoning (paywall)

Valve discontinues the Steam Link, the best wireless HDMI gadget ever made – The Verge – interesting how PC gamers rejected the device

If you want to understand Silicon Valley, watch Silicon Valley | Bill Gates – Bill Gates on why he likes Silicon Valley

Nine of every 10 Silicon Valley jobs pays less than in 1997 – big technology companies like Google and Facebook are so dominant in their respective markets that they have been able to direct a larger share of revenues to investors and some top employees.

At the same time, the region’s increasing cost of living is leading to some of the highest poverty rates in the country, he said. Adjusted for living costs, California has the second-highest poverty rate in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Shortlist axe proves how hostile the men’s mag market is today – but all hope is not lost | The Drum – With the male market being so fragmented, it’s difficult to connect with men in the same way as Stylist has created a connection with a young, professional female audience. Shortlist may have had compelling, world-class editorial, but it didn’t connect as a brand in the same way Stylist does

Instagram kills off fake followers, threatens accounts that keep using apps to get them | TechCrunch – well that’s a lot of influencers dead in the water right there

Dolce & Gabbana’s New Ad Campaign Sparks Uproar in China | Jing Daily – ok. So the model meets western rather than Chinese beauty norms, don’t get me wrong she is very pretty but she isn’t the kind of face you’d see as a famous actress. Look at Fan Bingbing, Angelababy or Zhang Ziyi. Beautification photo apps tend to make the eyes wider and almond shaped, the skin uniformly pale and smooth. The face shape more heart-shaped. So that’s one aspect of ignorance that builds up a picture of ‘racism’.

Showing Chinese people how to use chopsticks overshot the cross cultural humour D&G were looking for. In this particular case the outrage. It was a hackneyed attempt to copy the kind of physical humour popular on Chinese social media channels. The dialogue is full of double entrendres making is excruciating to sit through. Think dialogue from a Carry On film ‘Ewww errr matron what a big thermometer you have’ with Benny Hill style physical comedy.

Finally nationalism and the constant viewpoint that foreign brands are just itching to insult the Motherland and; or the Party which are largely one and the same.These nationalists jump the Great Firewall and attack western social profiles like what happened to Mercedes.  Interesting that western social platforms don’t bother blocking or filtering these mainland groups at all. Many use a Facebook group as a rallying point which I expect happened here. Western brands should be demanding more from Zuckerberg and Co.

What’s interesting is that the advert hasn’t been carved up from a feminist perspective; helpless squirming, awkwardly giggling embarrassed woman has #metoo moment with douche bag commentator.

Potential Policy Proposals for Regulation of Social Media and Technology Firms by US Senator Mark R Warner – requiring bots / bot ran accounts to be clearly labeled as such. Making tech companies liable for defamation under state tort laws, building wider media literacy, GDPR type legislation. Audit of algorithms by government, requiring data portability between services (PDF)

RIP Apple networking, Time Capsule and AirPort no longer available from Apple – 9to5Mac – 9to5mac.com – interesting comments from Apple customers, particularly with providing an alternative to Google networking products and the Apple’s permission to play in the smart home space with no networking product in place

Digitisation is key to upgrading Asia’s fashion factories. Just do it responsibly, says Fung Group’s director of sustainability | Apparel Industry Interview | just-style – a fiend of mine has a family firm in Sri Lanka where they automated things like embroidery well over a decade ago. It is the more manual tasks that when digitised will cause most social disturbance – an example of this would be Frontline Clothing’s innovative process in distressing denim using lasers; which had previously been a manual process

A Japanese detergent maker’s first steps towards personalisation | Analysis | Campaign Asia – personalised fragrances

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

Things that made my day this week:

Yohji Yamamoto at the Oxford Union

More awesome than your Apple Watch – This Casio G-Shock Watch Transforms into Optimus Prime – Technabob

To coincide with the re-issue of Miles Davis – Rubberbrand EP – Amerigo Gazaway has done a remix and a mix of Miles Davis back catalogue.

Kemo the Blaxican – Something about love. Kemo was in Delinquent Habits and has since put out quality albums under his own name whilst touring with his old colleagues.

A very complete archive of radio transmissions from the Apollo 11 mission: Apollo 11 : NASA : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

Quietly, Japan has established itself as a power in the aerospace industry | Ars Technica – really interesting analysis of Japan’s aerospace industry

‘No Morals’: Advertisers React to Facebook Report – The New York Times – “Now we know Facebook will do whatever it takes to make money. They have absolutely no morals.”  Surprised that advertising execs are going hard on Facebook

Asda beats Waitrose and Harrods in Which? mince pie taste test | Business | The Guardian – Having done a student job at Cereal Partners I realise how arbitrary taste tests can be, but the most interesting part of the article was the sub headline: Supermarket tops consumer group’s chart but general standards drop due to rising cost of ingredients

Inside the hype and reality of Alexa, Siri and the voice assistant ‘revolution’ – Recode – “Smart speaker listeners are much more passive,” she added. “People with voice interfaces tend to accept what’s given to them.”

The seven deadly paradoxes of cryptocurrency | Bank Underground – great write-up that everyone should read

A contest wants to build an environmentally friendly air conditioner — Quartz – people generally choose their air conditioners based on price, there is little innovation in the market for a more- efficient AC. There is a need to re-engineer the incentives as well as the technology

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

Things that made my day this week:

Luxxury has released a new track I wanna be everything

A YouTube video on the history of Unix. Now before you roll your eyes and move on to another site. Think about the ubiquity of unix. Key parts of the internet run on Unix. It’s also the reason why URLs and email addresses aren’t case sensitive. Most telecoms equipment runs on Unix or an analogue of the operating system.  I am writing this on a Mac, the core of the operating system is based on BSD – a variant of Unix. If you’re using Windows 10; it owes a lot to VMS – an operating system developed as a Unix analogue in the early and mid 1970s by Digital Equipment Corporation.

As for Linux; it was originally developed because Linus Torvalds didn’t realise he could download a free version of BSD…. Linux now powers Android smartphones, smart televisions and all of the internet of things stuff that poses a huge security risk in your home. In terms of a written thing; Unix must be right up there with the works of Shakespeare or JRR Tolkien in terms of its importance in the modern world.

The presentation also puts a bit of personality into what could have been quite a dry subject.

I found this on Core 77; Nestle posted some epic videos from its Japanese Kit Kat factory. I love the enthusiasm of the presenters in their workwear as they take you through the manufacturing line: K. Kohno and H. Matsumoto are stars. Japanese Kit Kat is not the same as the sad loser biscuits that you pick up in your weekly shop. Instead they are beautifully packaged and come in a constantly changing variety of flavours like cherry blossom or green matcha tea. The process itself is beautiful to watch. In particular look at the packaging automation.

The New York Times made a lot of allegations about Facebook and its reaction to Russian election tampering. Scott Galloway was on had to do TV interviews that poured petrol on the fire.

Great video on Johnny Cash’s live concert At Folsom Prison. It is up there with Live at San Quentin also by Johnny Cash.