Hiro Protagonist & more things

3 minutes estimated reading time

Hiro Protagonist

Hiro Protagonist is the main character of Neal Stephenson’s iconic novel Snow Crash. In the novel talks about the rise of the corporation to become a quasi-nation state, a winner takes all economy, a vision of a future metaverse, hacker culture and service hyper-competition with Uber-like employees.

Neal Stephenson - Snow Crash
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Hiro Protagonist is a hacker who moonlights as a courier to make ends meet. The story starts with Hiro Protagonist trying to deliver a pizza at high speed. The idea is that the courier would deliver a pizza to any location, not just delivery to a building like getting pizza to work or home. Now we’re starting to see these kind of services being rolled out in real life, by building them into in-car systems and mapping applications. This will add more importance to dark kitchens over store fronts, but store fronts are important as they build brand experiences.


Return of lipstick: China will lead the growth of Asia’s ‘lipstick comeback’ – Sensient

Here’s why Ozempic is popular for the wrong reasons – Macleans.ca


Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi actually drove an Uber. That’s not nearly enough to fix the company’s problems. 

Consumer behaviour

LLMs and neurodiversity 

South Korea to start paying young people to leave the house | Dazed 

Interesting changes in consumer behaviour


The SAMMANLÄNKAD collection – IKEA Global 


Walmart drones help Ukraine stay in the battle for Bakhmut – War Is Boring

Hong Kong

Beware of pickpockets in Hong Kong, city’s Japanese consulate tells nationals | South China Morning Post – interesting that this comes up after the border has been opened to mainlanders….

Survey finds 70 per cent of Hongkongers in Greater Bay Area job scheme have quit, plan to resign or had no return offers | South China Morning Post – the mainland isn’t quite the economic equal of Hong Kong was my take from this scheme

6,500 teachers quit Hong Kong schools in last academic year, bringing total to nearly 12,000 since 2021 | South China Morning Post – This is an attrition rate below 10 percent per yea; but still an annual rate about 83 percent above before the braindyain started in Hong Kong


Japan approves Osaka as site of country’s first casino amid problem gambling concerns | South China Morning Post 


French stocks enjoy renaissance on back of Chinese demand for luxury | Financial Times

Rick Owens fans are diametrically opposite to the luxury as investment instrument narrative


Why airplanes are still worth millions after they stop flying | CNBC 


Has marketing investment in digital and social been effective? | Michael Farmer – Mr Farmer suggests that it hasn’t


LloydsPharmacy shared customers’ sensitive data for targeted advertising | Pharmaceuticals industry | The Guardian 

The US advertising industry has marked its biggest decline since January 2021 after losing 2100 jobs in March – this doesn’t bode well for media spend moving forwards


‘Algospeak’ is helping social media users evade algorithmic detection | FastCompany – the parallels with getting around Chinese platform censorship is striking, as is harking back to traditions like Polari

Russia now sends men to war with an electronic summons

Alibaba – ChatCCP – Radio Free Mobile 


Chinese spy balloon gathered intelligence from sensitive U.S. military sites, despite U.S. efforts to block it

Opinion | China’s hypersonic missile capability included in shocking intel leak – The Washington Post


Shredding Slopes to Running the Streets: the story of Northwave’s Espresso in Japan — sabukaru

The Stylist and Fashion Director Pioneering Japan’s City Boy Trend – AKIO HASEGAWA — sabukaru 


Can Intel become the chip champion the US needs? | Financial Times