New Balance factory closure + more

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New Balance Boston factory closure

New Balance to Layoff Dozens of Workers as It Closes Boston Factory – Footwear News – this is huge for New Balance. It is a major knock to the perceived wisdom around the New Balance brand and its differentation versus other footwear vendors like Nike or Adidas. New Balance his made US manufacturing a big part of its corporate story. Being private owned, it can take a longer view than competitors. But that doesn’t seem to have helped New Balance during the pandemic. It will be interesting to see how New Balance handles this moving forwards.


The inadequate trials of Philip Green | Financial TimesThere is something else at work too — distaste for the wheeler-dealer made good. His parties and celebrity schmoozing were considered vulgar. He was accused by MPs of being a “spiv”. Three commenters under one FT article this week described him as a “barrow boy”. A campaign was launched to strip him of his knighthood, as if that is what mattered. – interesting op-ed that makes a valuable point about the discussion around Philip Green

Consumer behaviour

Streetwear in China: hip-hop influence and form of expression for the Chinese youth – Daxue Consulting – Market Research China 


Hong Kong chief has ‘piles of cash’ at home after US sanctionsA government survey taken between June and September registered for the first time in 11 years a reduction in the number of foreign businesses operating in Hong Kong. The survey found 9,025 companies had offices in Hong Kong compared with 9,040 the previous year. Only 15 per cent of the companies said they had plans to expand in the city in 2020, whereas last year 23 per cent expected an expansion. – I thought that this quote was interesting in the FT article. What becomes apparent is that the Chinese government thinks that internal circulation is more important than Hong Kong as a gateway to foreign direct investment (Paywall)


NSFW TikTok Porn: Bree Louise OnlyFans Is the Future of Adult ContentAccording to Alex Hawkins, Vice President of xHamster, Gen Z and young millennials are “disproportionately” willing to pay for adult content compared to previous generations, especially if the star of the video is also the one creating it. “We see the shift from studios to performer-producers dramatically changing the industry,” he says. Aesthetically, this translates to “a surge in realistic situations and more natural bodies.” In other words, more of what you might find on TikTok, albeit with fewer clothes. “We believe that consumers are much more likely to pay for performer-created content than they are traditional porn,” says Hawkins. “It feels more intimate.” – Mirrors the record labels have been historically looked at from at least the 1980s.

Francis Fukuyama: How to Save Democracy From Technology | Foreign Affairs – everyone hates big tech. Fukuyama is famous for his Warsaw Pact break-up era book The End of History and The Last Man. Here’s his opinion on social paltforms: But few recognize that the political harms posed by the platforms are more serious than the economic ones. Fewer still have considered a practical way forward: taking away the platforms’ role as gatekeepers of content. This approach would entail inviting a new group of competitive “middleware” companies to enable users to choose how information is presented to them

How Biden’s Rebels Blew Up Trump’s Death Star | AdExchanger – on combating disinformation: “Instead of chasing down and knocking down every ANTIFA rumor, we knew that the best defense was convincing people that the Joe Biden they did like, whose values they shared, would be the author of his own presidency,” said BPI partner Danny Franklin. “And when we reminded them of those values … and validated that through trusted endorsers, we could win the argument and defeat the attack.”


Warning lights are flashing for Big Tech as they did for banks | Financial TimesThe pandemic has emphasised our reliance on technology. It’s not just the interminable video calls or the technology that underpins deliveries to our locked-down doors. It is the mountains of data that dictate the ads we see as we scroll through coverage of the latest coronavirus briefing. Digital transformation is sweeping through my industry, too. Consumers have squeezed years-worth of adoption of apps and online banking into just a few months. Yet the risks go much deeper than the risk of hastily managed change. The algorithms that determine how much work delivery drivers get and what we see when we go online are no better understood than the structured credit products that brought the banking system to its knees in the financial crisis. – Interesting and provocative analogy to the financial system

Teaching in the Pandemic: ‘This Is Not Sustainable’ – The New York Timesvehement debates have raged over whether to reopen schools for in-person instruction, teachers have been at the center — often vilified for challenging it, sometimes warmly praised for trying to make it work. But the debate has often missed just how thoroughly the coronavirus has upended learning in the country’s 130,000 schools, and glossed over how emotionally and physically draining pandemic teaching has become for the educators themselves. In more than a dozen interviews, educators described the immense challenges, and exhaustion, they have faced trying to provide normal schooling for students in pandemic conditions that are anything but normal. Some recounted whiplash experiences of having their schools abruptly open and close, sometimes more than once, because of virus risks or quarantine-driven staff shortages, requiring them to repeatedly switch back and forth between in-person and online teaching. Others described the stress of having to lead back-to-back group video lessons for remote learners, even as they continued to teach students in person in their classrooms – I imagine that it is probably pretty similar levels of burnout in knowledge workers as well. (Paywall)

Do serious games help you learn? – Hello Future OrangeSerious games are more effective than traditional teaching but they do not produce better results than more active forms of knowledge transmission and are often more costly to implement.


Pornhub, along with several other adult entertainment sites have been banned in Thailand. This has been part of a wider political debate within the country on government performance and what role the royal family should play. Asian Boss asked Bangkok residents on their opinions. What pleasantly surprised me about this video was thoughtful opinions on both sides of the argument

More Thai-related posts here.