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

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Easter Week has mean’t that I’ve been exceptionally busy closing things before taking the long weekend break. Happy Easter and Passover.

Kerri Chandler went through one of his Dad’s record boxes, that he hadn’t previously opened. His Dad had been a DJ and inspired Chandler to get behind the turntables himself.

Chandler Senior’s box is an eclectic collection of songs but also had impeccable taste.

  1. Cerrone – Love in C Minor (1976)
  2. Kerri Chandler – Get It Off (1990)
  3. Kerri Chandler – Super Lover (1990)
  4. Kerri Chandler – Drink On Me (1990)
  5. Ronnie Laws – Always There (1975)
  6. The John Coltrane Quartet – Greensleeves (1961)
  7. Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes – Summer Nights (1975)
  8. The Impressions – People Get Ready (1965)
  9. The Delfonics ‎- Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) (1969)
  10. Crown Heights Affair – Dreaming a Dream (Goes Dancin) (1976)
  11. Crown Heights Affair – Dancin (Special Disco Mix) (1976)
  12. The Dells – Always Together (1968)
  13. The Dells – I Want My Momma (1968)
  14. The Dells – Agatha Van Thurgood (1968)
  15. Bob James – One Mint Julep (1976)
  16. Bob James – Westchester Lady (1976)
  17. Roy Ayers – Searching (1976)
  18. Teena Marie – Portuguese Love (1981)
  19. Jakki – Sun…Sun…Sun.. (1976)
  20. Donald Byrd – Lansana’s Priestess (1973)
  21. Roy Ayers – Running Away (1977) 
  22. Kerri Chandler – Atmosphere E.P. – Track 1 (1993) 
  23. Martin Circus – ‘Disco Circus (Disco Version) (1979)
  24. Quincy Jones – Killer Joe (1969)
  25. Michael Franks – Tell Me All About It (1983)

You can here it here via Mixmag

Beats in Space put together yet another amazing mix

Amazon leaving China. Amazon bought into an e-commerce business which at the time had just over 10% of the country’s e-commerce market. At the time I had colleagues in Hong Kong who worked on promoting the newly acquired business. A number of years ago I spent an inordinate amount of time creating a three-page document pitch for the Amazon China business. At that time Amazon’s market share was between 1.5 and 2% of the Chinese e-commerce market place. Five years later and its down to 0.6%.

1904 - Amazon China

What’s going on? Like most things there are a wealth of factors impacting foreign competitors in China. But one big one that people probably don’t want to admit is that Silicon Valley isn’t insurmountable. For decades the US technology has managed to concentrate wealth and talent in a small place and then benefited from market scale. Europe has been unable to replicate this success. It’s home market is an aggregation of markets that aren’t as integrated or coalesce as well as the US. And US companies exploit the European single market treating as divisible international components illegally.

When US companies like Google, Uber and Amazon hit China they come up against:

  • Smart people – Chinese universities churn out huge amounts of developers, engineers, designers and business managers
  • Huge home market scale
  • Equally well motivated entrepreneurs who know their home market better than the foreigners. They are also willing to work very hard with a 996 culture
  • Local market conditions that are divergent from their own. For instance, Google failed to predict how fast it needed to grow its search indexing to match the Chinese web. Baidu kept throwing in the boxes needed. Google had lost when it suddenly changed its mind on censorship
  • Government regulation (but that isn’t as important as they’d have you believe in most cases)

Amazon thinks that its cross border business where Chinese consumers buy abroad from online will grow. Consumers do this to get products that they can trust. Domestic platforms have made big gains in this market sector too though.

I wouldn’t buy a Range Rover Evogue, even if I was richer than Bill Gates. But I did love this advert.

And this old video of Jim Carroll talking about ideas as they relate to account planning.


ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 1 minute

Moxy Hotels is offering ASMR bedtime stories for its guests | Fast Company – sleep is becoming increasingly important factor in hotel product set

China’s JD.com boss criticises ‘slackers’ as company makes cuts | Today Online – you’ve got to wonder what’s going on at JD. It sounds like a leadership and management failure

Study: Influencers Know Their Audiences Better Than You Do | The Holmes Report – its self reported. One would expect a publisher to know what formats work for them better. Secondly they believe they should be paid more? Why?

Mediatel: Newsline: ‘Utterly baffling’: adland on Lush’s move to ditch social | Mediatel Newsline – ad agency doesn’t get company who doesn’t want to advertise

Oprah time: What Happened by Hilary Clinton

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I just had a chance to read What Happened am glad that I didn’t pay good money for this book. I found it both insightful and disappointing in equal measures. Clinton conveys her emotion really well. She also deeply loves power and policy. I don’t mean that in a megalomaniac way; but in a deep love of the job. The emotional release in the writing lacked the kind of intellectual rigour and analysis that she could, but didn’t apply in this book. Clinton is still mystified why she didn’t resonate with Americans.

The sub-text is that it wasn’t her fault she lost to Trump but ‘them’ for disliking her and winning. It felt as if Clinton was writing for insiders.

What Happened

I am sure What Happened would resonate well with:

  • The writing team of The West Wing. If the show got a reboot, this book might be a good choice for tone of voice. I’ve worked with a lot of centre right and progessive public affairs people. They all loved The West Wing. It seems that Clinton does too
  • Political wonks with a centerist stance
  • True Clinton believers

My guess this is partly why my initial reaction is that What Happened was the equivalent of a commemorative programme. She vigorously name checks everyone involved. (I am sure that they’ll buy a couple of copies, in a similar way to selling a high school year book.) Much of her ‘mistakes’ are turned into sins that her opponents or the media clickbait business model. Clinton tries to justify things in the book a bit like the late Paul Allen’s biography Idea Man. Her justification is sometimes dressed up as introspection.

The first part of the book is about coping with grief. One gets the sense of how losing the presidential election was like a death in the family for Clinton and her supporters.

Clinton tries to lead by example to give hope to the middle and right of the Democratic Party that she represented.

Clinton is right about the fallacy of storytelling which provides easy closure for the media and voters. It doesn’t however provide the colour required for serious stories. This was the reason why Italian spaghetti westerns felt more authentic than Hollywood.

She is right that fear identity politics and manufactured legislation gridlock favours small government parties over ‘big government’ parties.

Clinton seems to think that more of the same of her brand of progressive politics is the answer. This seems a world away from the current Democratic Party direction.

Clinton differentiates her stance of listening, rather than Trump’s grandstanding. What also becomes apparent is that Clinton needed to ‘reconnect’ with the public, whereas Trump had the pulse of the zeitgeist. Clinton seemed to have a lack of awareness on this.

Her description of her marketing machine being constructed was interesting. Yet there was other curiously analogue examples of insight. Clinton wants to see how a progessive Democratic candidate will do in the Ozarks. They contact a trusted advisor in the area. He recommends reaching out of a country store owner in the middle of the constituency. The man fed back on how identity politics and government inaction will see the seat go Republican.

Clinton doesn’t seem to take on board how emotion was so important. Secondly, Clinton thought that the togetherness platitudes would not come across as more of the same.

She wants to make sure that you realise data was an early focus on her campaign, but . Clinton praises her team and throws her 2008 team under the bus.

To quote an old advertising maxim:

To sell something surprising, make it familiar; and to sell something familiar, make it surprising

Raymond Loewy

Clinton got this in terms of her visual branding (her appearance) she made her gender as a candidate familiar through her consistent trouser suit uniform, but failed to grasp it in terms of the wider policy approach. She was selling the familiar but failed to make it surprising.

Her description of her daily life tries to imply, ‘I am just like middle-class people you’. But the problem is; middle class people have the time to read four daily papers, or have a residence manager to curate reading materials. Clinton admits that neither her or Bill had nipped to the store for an emergency bottle of milk, since there has always been people helping out since Bill was first appointed Arkansas state governor.

The team’s diet of hot sauce with everything, protein bars and canned salmon is given a good deal of coverage. Artisanal food fetishised in the copy is again middle class virtue signalling. There was no Red Bull, no pizza.

Clinton goes deep into each activity explaining what it feels like to go through things like media training and debate preparation.

It was interesting that the selfie had risen to prominence in Clinton’s election campaigning, compared to her last serious run in 2008. She nails it when she talks about how it limits connection between the politician and the people, eating into brief talk time.

Clinton also does some interesting thinking about what future policy making should look like and how it should be merchandised – as what creative marketers would call ‘the big idea’. Citizens don’t read policy papers, but they remember big, audacious simple things they can grok.

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 1 minute

Judy Asks: Is Brexit Bad for Europe? – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – interesting takes

5G Deployment State of Play in Europe, USA and Asia | European Parliament ITRE Committee – (PDF)

Microsoft worked with Chinese military university on artificial intelligence | Financial Times – US worried about dual use of the technology (paywall)

Toyota will put Tundra, Tacoma trucks on a single platform, report says – Roadshow – interesting that Toyota is embracing the Volkswagen Group approach to vehicle engineering

Panda TV’s demise makes way for gaming giant Tencent to dominate live streaming too | SCMP – China’s Twitch goes under leaving Tencent to dominate live streaming too

DJ Craze: “Sync is your friend… embrace technology” – News – Mixmag – wow, controversial. This is the reformation of the DJ world. The problem with these things is that once people know the button is there new DJs will skip the valuable learning process of beat mixing

Facebook ‘morally bankrupt pathological liars’, says NZ privacy commissioner – AdNews – 5 I’s pattern starting to emerge on Facebook. You take this stance with the UK’s proposal to treat social networks as publishers and Australia’s daft views on crypto.

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

Reading Time: 1 minute

The complexity of Chinese typing. Worthwhile considering when one thinks about Chinese internet behaviour and the popularity of gaming (because chat can be a pain)

Meet Liam. He has 5000 Instagram followers, but no pulse. | Campaign Asia – Nikuro is Japan’s first male virtual influencer. A 3D computer-sculpted head mapped onto to a live-action body, he seeks work “in the fields of music, fashion, and entertainment, where he will be involved in the production of a wide range of content as a multimedia producer”, according to the company, which also mentions using AI to create innovative content

An amazing looking Mac-based desktop phone. This was an Apple prototype from 1993. Eventually things went the other way and phones were integrated into computers. Think about VoIP services and Novell Networks integrated telephony solutions. And that’s before we even get to smartphones.

The quaint industrial case design is classic early 1990s Silicon Valley chic.

Kantar Media has done some qualitative research on consumer attitudes to marketing, media and advertising. You’ve got three reports that are free to download: Dimension 2019 | Kantar 

Finally: TODAYonline | LVMH shares hit record high as China demand boosts luxury group – luxury is still on a bit of a screamer in China. And this is despite economic growth halving year on year since Premier Xi took power, a clampdown on corruption and gift-giving.