10 minutes estimated reading time
Is This the End of Drop Shipping from China? | Jing Daily – The profitability and success of the drop shipping model comes from a price disparity between the products manufactured in the Western Hemisphere and those from China, but also from a shipping price disparity. In other words, if the US government increases tariffs on Chinese products, or raises shipping rates for packages arriving from China, the whole model becomes noncompetitive. And this is exactly what has happened. This makes the likes of Shopify look like a Ponzi scheme facilitator. The UK edition of Wired magazine had an interesting article on the weird world of drop shipping: ‘It’s bullshit’: Inside the weird, get-rich-quick world of drop shipping | WIRED UK – In some ways drop shipping feels old to the likes of me. It reminds me a lot of TV shopping and multi-level marketing in terms of persistent agile middle men. This article goes into the get rich quick culture of drop shipping. What struck me was the extraordinarily negative view of the future that these people had. There was a dystopian emptiness at centre of everything that the drop shipping bros did. From this perspective drop shipping bros are different to their peers that would have sold time shares, life insurance, photocopier leases or even crypto currency. It also shows that Chinese manufacturing and business practices haven’t improved over the last decade. The only piece that these two articles miss is the the supply side postal subsidy that the Chinese government gives to domestic exporters. This fuels everything from drop shipping to Chinese Amazon marketplace vendors and Chinese DTC apparel vendors who advertise on Facebook. More on Chinese online marketplaces that fuel drop shipping here.
Mediatel: Mediatel News: “Mind-boggling”: the industry reacts to ISBA/PwC report – In a study of the “premium parts of the programmatic market”, including fifteen major advertisers, 300 distinct supply chains and 12 premium publishers, just 51% of advertiser spend on digital inventory was going to the working media. Meanwhile, 15% of marketing spend was disappearing into an “unknown delta”, and was unattributable anywhere in the supply chain. In response to the report’s findings, the market was warned that if it could not deliver standards and transparency, advertisers may take their money elsewhere and the Competition and Markets Authority might even intervene – the content came as little surprise, though it is nice to have numbers put to this. Timing-wise this is a body blow to the media industry. Its also concerning given the disruption-driven flight to digital by marketers – I don’t think you’ll see better multi-channel brand building media plans, but a greater focus on direct response instead. More here Mediatel: Mediatel News: ISBA/PwC: 15% of programmatic supply chain costs ‘unattributable’
Hamilton Bohannon: Disco Disciple & House Precursor | Attack Magazine – Bohannon was essentially creating dub mixes of soul records for club DJs. Except he created them with a band, not via studio equipment. In pioneering this minimal, dance-floor focused aesthetic, Bohannon pre-dated loop-based house records and the repetition of acid house and loop techno. On his Worldwide.fm tribute to Bohannon, Francois Kevorkian described the drummer as: “One of the most brilliant and original artists of his time who helped define as well as forge the template for the sound of dance music”. Bohannon, along with many other innovators, contributed to the development of what would lead to house and techno a decade later
How China Has Capitalized on the Coronavirus | The National Interest – Chinese government’s alleged efforts to hide the facts about the coronavirus. This process is necessary. Equally important, is the imperative to fix a national security vulnerability that the pandemic has revealed: China’s quiet net of influence over the agencies and international bodies that America has relied upon in the post–World War II era. Here, the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) early response to the coronavirus is an unfortunate object lesson. Bad assumptions about the good faith of the Chinese government can have devastating consequences – this is going to bring all kinds of unintended consequences
The Other Pandemic: Why US Youth Continue to Use Juul Despite Reported Drawbacks | The National Interest – mirrors past youth perception on cigarettes
[Letter from Hong Kong] Dream State, by Yi-Ling Liu | Harper’s Magazine – really great article on Hong Kong and some of the percularities and power of Cantonese as a language
Apple’s repair policies are utterly shameful and should be outlawed – Digital waste is a huge problem, and Apple is a major contributor to it. All of these old MacBooks, iPhones, iPads and other products just sit around in the deep recesses of our closets, or worse, at the bottom of landfills. The fact that the FTC is willing to listen to right-to-repair advocates and examine the potential for policy change is promising
The Quietus | Features | Tome On The Range | Split: What Love Island Tells Us About Culture & Class In Modern Britain – researchers from the London School of Economics, Sam Friedman and Daniel Laurison, published a book called The Class Ceiling, summing up years of research on exactly this relationship between cultural aspects of class and social mobility. They were given unparalleled access to Channel 4 and interviewed a top senior commissioner at the broadcaster to find out how he got to the top of the company. Mark (not his real name) was honest about many of the economic privileges that helped him along the way: a private school education, a place at a top university and the ‘bank of Mum and Dad’ to secure London rent while he navigated the precarious world of the creative arts. He recounts how those without this crucial safety net ended up having to take safer and more stable jobs within the industry, such as more administrative roles but with less career progression. In his own words, without such privileges the risk of going for the top job would have been like ‘sky diving without a parachute’
Penguin Classics Cover Generator – create your own classic book cover
Aspirational Femininity in Contemporary China – How Brands Can Better Engage – trying to deal with alpha female aspirations
What happens when a major media empire shuts overnight? | Digital | Campaign Asia – “Primetime segments, which aired key programmes aligned with the advertising of prominent brands, are now no longer available. Brands will feel the pinch with the redistribution of advertising spend, loss of audience reach and reallocation of audiences against different channels.”
HONG KONG: What NXT did next… | What Hi-Fi? – 3M uses its bending wave touch screens in the development of advertising and kiosk touch panels, while with its partner Qinetiq NXT’s producing solutions for use in transport applications such as high-end ex ecutive jets and even some locations on the London Underground.Work is also going on with printed electronics and other unusual applications: luxury birthday cards from Hallmark now use NXT technology to play high-quality greetings music when they’re opened! – NXT originally came out of work done on Saab fighter aircraft to reduce cockpit noise
Nintendo: Switch it up | Financial Times – interesting analysis on Animal Crossing and the Nintendo Switch. If the Wii taught us anything , it is that Nintendo marches to its own beat. Its games and audience are different to PlayStation and Xbox
Tencent surveils foreign accounts to aid domestic censorship | Financial Times – surveillance of private messages is also applied to accounts registered to foreign mobile numbers, in order to build up its repository of sensitive files and thus better censor China-registered accounts. The research shows how Tencent not only conducts censorship, but also informs and develops its own censorship strategies. In addition, the company is likely to support the government’s political research. “If the Chinese government has any need to regulate public opinion, they will certainly use the database of politically sensitive content by WeChat” to learn from, said a Beijing-based professional who has worked closely with the government. The professional added that WeChat’s database of sensitive content was “probably the most comprehensive and updated one in China”.
Wink to customers: Pay us or your stuff breaks next week ↦ – a lot of the functionality shouldn’t need the cloud in the first place. Instead it opens customers to this kind of blackmail
360 Deep Dive: Today’s Broadcast TV | Park Associates – TV antenna usage in US broadband households jumped to 25% in 2019 and is expected to grow as COVID-19 has kept consumers at home. Content styles and genres grow and change, while business models and transmission technologies evolve and cause disruption, but nothing changes the end consumers’ goal: to find video that they want to watch. Secondarily, consumers want to find that content in a manner that is affordable and easy
Chinese EV startup accuses Tesla of ‘bullying’ over IP lawsuit – Nikkei Asian Review – Chinese engineer who moved to Xpeng allegedly walked out with code
Future of Our Global Economy: The Beginning of De-Globalization – DER SPIEGEL – Industrial machine producers, of the kind that make a huge contribution to the German economy, have begun shifting priorities from making the supply chain as cheap as possible to making it as secure as possible – this sounds more like an acceleration in change rather than radical change due to COVID’19
Britain’s wartime generation are almost as pro-EU as millennials | LSE BREXIT – the prevailing political environment shapes the long-term opinions of those in their formative years. Given the current ubiquity of the Brexit debate, today’s arguments and events surrounding integration will almost certainly have a significant impact on the most recent generation, namely those born after the millennium. In exactly what way these debates will shape public opinion, however, remains to be seen. – Hmm, when I think back to the nasty Tory narrative of the Thatcher years that put Blair and Brown into power, I wonder if this won’t make them even more right wing….
WPP wins Unilever media duties in China | Media | Campaign Asia – Unilever and WPP also have a long history. More recent connections include a WPP ‘Team Unilever’ in-house partnership launched in Singapore in 2018 and led by Mindshare’s Sudipto Roy, and the appointment of former Unilever CMO Keith Weed to the WPP board in 2019.
Common Enemy | Harper’s Magazine – interesting article about Taiwanese and Hong Kong resistance to the Chinese Communist Party
The Promise—and Risk—of a Career in TikTok – VICE – but what’s the commercial value of their content?
The Perfect: T-shirt – according to Kim Jones, Samuel Ross and David Fischer
Judge Timothy Kelly Stunned by Facebook’s Violation of Law | Law & Crime – The allegations in the Complaint reflect many ways in which Facebook purportedly acted improperly. Some of these allegations represent discrete and poorly considered decisions, such as allegedly encouraging users to provide phone numbers to better secure their accounts, but then using those same numbers for advertising without telling users beforehand. Others appear to reflect Facebook’s willingness to deceive its users outright, such as allegedly telling the public that it would not share their personal information with third parties when it was continuing to do so. And still others represent systemic oversight failures, such as allegedly allowing third parties to access users’ personal information without the users’ knowledge and without controlling how those third parties would use the information. Most of these allegations represent violations of the 2012 Order; several are new violations of law. But all of them suggest that the privacy-related decision making of Facebook’s executives was subject to grossly insufficient transparency and accountability
Even After A Large Increase Due To Half-Life: Alyx, Less Than 2% Of Steam Users Own VR Headsets – I was expecting a much higher adoption rate amongst Valve users due to its serious gaming focus and exposure to Chinese gamers