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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Why Protest Tactics Spread Like Memes – The New York Timesoften, she noted, the images’ similarity was unwitting. In their spread, their simultaneity and their indirect influence on each other, the protest videos had all the characteristics of memes, those units of culture and behavior that spread rapidly online. The same cultural transfer that gives us uncanny cake-slicing memes and viral challenges also advances the language of protest. “We live in this world of attention dynamics so it makes sense that tactics start to converge,” Ms. Mina said. She called the images’ tendency to build on each other “memetic piggybacking,” and noted that everyday items that are subverted into objects of protest are “inherently charismatic.” – protest groups tactics as memes. A meme is a transmissible idea; whether its knowledge, humour or even cat gifs. Reciting lines from films or TV programmes like The Office are memes. More meme related content here.

Hong Kong Protests 2019
Hong Kong Protests 2019 by Jonathan van Smit

German oil refinery to build 30 MW hydrogen electrolysis plant – Reuters – great news. I think hydrogen fuel cells should be a more important part of the energy mix

Apple Faces $1.4 Billion Lawsuit by Chinese AI Firm in Siri Patent Fight – WSJ – Conflicts over intellectual property, technology and trade are driving bilateral relations between the U.S. and China to their lowest point in decades. Last Friday, President Trump threatened to ban Chinese short-video app TikTok on national-security grounds. U.S. officials have been involved in talks over a potential sale of TikTok’s American business to Microsoft Corp.

Google to invest $450M in smart home security solutions provider ADT | TechCrunch – tech eats the old economy due to obscenely high share prices

7-Eleven owner is buying Marathon Petroleum’s Speedway gas stations for $21 billion – CNN – it’s a good deal for Marathon; but looks expensive for Seven and I (7-Eleven’s owner). 7-Eleven would need to get $175,000 net profit a year out of each gas station to make it worthwhile at the current purchase price

Op-Ed: Never Trust Mark Zuckerberg Again- PingWest – a few things in this. 1/ Facebook probably didn’t get anything out of its reprochment with China. Yes China could stop advertising on Facebook, but A/ Chinese state owned companies not advertising on Facebook would be immaterial and probably benefit Facebook politically B/ Chinese private sector companies don’t have a lot of choice, so China would see a good deal of SME job destruction. 2/ The US government have more leverage. In this respect its like the embarrassing HSBC kowtowing in reverse. The Chinese author now realises how lame it looks when you’re on the other side of it

Pompeo the Maoist – SettimanaNewsBorrowing from the logic used by Mao Zedong in his On Contradiction, Pompeo tried to prove that CCP didn’t represent the Chinese people, and that actually the party is the enemy of the Chinese people. This point is fundamental because, as Mao put it, the crucial political element is to know who is with us and who is the enemy, and the party should always represent the people. Pompeo stated: “We must start by changing how our people and our partners perceive the Chinese Communist Party. We have to tell the truth.” What is the truth, according to the US secretary of state? It is that: “We know … that doing business with a CCP-backed company is not the same as doing business with, say, a Canadian company. They don’t answer to independent boards, and many of them are state-sponsored and so have no need to pursue profits… We know too that if our companies invest in China, they may wittingly or unwittingly support the Communist Party’s gross human rights violations… We know too too that not all Chinese students and employees are just normal students and workers that are coming here to make a little bit of money and to garner themselves some knowledge. Too many of them come here to steal our intellectual property and to take this back to their country.” Therefore, he argues that the US should de facto work as a new revolutionary party: “We must also engage and empower the Chinese people—a dynamic, freedom-loving people who are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party.”

Breaking Off TikTok Will Be Hard to Do — The Information – basically China still has control despite the window dressing. Given the structural, development, infrastructure and control aspects on this; how can Microsoft negotiate and engineer a clean break in the limited time that they have for TikTok versus Douyin? Some interesting analysis at the FT: The challenges Microsoft faces in buying TikTok’s US arm

ARM China Asks Beijing to Intervene in Row With U.K. Parent – Caixin Global – It is interesting that the ARM CEO thinks he has the political juice to go against Hopu and its head Fang Fenglei. Is there more than meets the eye going on here? More from’s tech channel (via Google Translate): Technology Channel ARM China debaclethe intention of Hopu Investment , which represents 36% of the investors of the central state-owned enterprise financial institution in the joint venture, to join hands with foreign shareholders this time? Hopu and Arm recently appointed Hopu Investment’s Teck Sien Lau (Singaporean) as Chairman of Amou China, and Arm President Graham Budd (British) as Vice Chairman. In addition, Arm and Hopu previously appointed two co-CEOs (one Singaporean and one Chinese) on the disputed board of directors, and the board dispute is currently being resolved in legal proceedings. It seems that Hopu hopes to help Arm replace the existing management team and actually control the operation of the joint venture company through this operation. However, under the premise that HOPU violated the Chinese party’s agreement to act in concert and joined hands with Arm, such an organizational structure obviously did not represent China’s national interests. In addition, can they lead the technical team to realize the original intention of the joint venture company and truly realize the vision of autonomous and controllable core technology that China needs? More on ARM here.

How to Keep Your Skin Healthy While Wearing a Mask | Vogue Hong Kong

Facebook Employee Leaks Show Betrayal By Company Leadership – “hurting people at scale” is a brutal header on the article

Upfield targets block butters with vegan Flora Plant range | News | The Grocer – repackaging to remove the negative connotations of margarine by creating ‘vegan butter’ in salted and unsalted variants. *Disclosure, I worked with Mullen Lowe and Phd to develop ‘Family Brands’ global digital strategy, prior to Flora et al being sold off to Upfield. My work covered Blue Band, Bonella, Country Crock, Doriana, Dorina, Flora, Imperial, La Perfecta, Maizena, Milda, Mirasol, Planta, Planta Fin, Primavera, Rama, Sana, Stork, Tulipan, and Vitam

Tymbals : Bytedance and the hypergrowth delusion – Nigel Scott explaining the importance of context when there is yet another hyperbolic growth story in the tech sector

Slack Files EU Competition Complaint Against Microsoft | The Official Slack Blog – feels a bit Netscape all over again

Influencer Marketing Panel – some useful primers here from the CIPR, in particular about UK regulations

Imint is the Swedish firm that gives Chinese smartphones an edge in video production | TechCrunchThe hyper-competitive nature of Chinese phone makers means they are easily sold on new technology that can help them stand out. The flipside is the intensity that comes with competition. The Chinese tech industry is both well-respected — and notorious — for its fast pace. Slow movers can be crushed in a matter of a few months. “In some aspects, it’s very U.S.-like. It’s very straight to the point and very opportunistic,” Lifvendahl reflected on his experience with Chinese clients. “You can get an offer even in the first or second meeting, like, ‘Okay, this is interesting, if you can show that this works in our next product launch, which is due in three months. Would you set up a contract now?’” “That’s a good side,” he continued. “The drawback for a Swedish company is the demand they have on suppliers. They want us to go on-site and offer support, and that’s hard for a small Swedish company. So we need to be really efficient, making good tools and have good support systems.” – Ok a few things. 1/ The hyper competition is a very Chinese phenomenon. Like when in someplace like the UK Chinese restaurant opens in a neighbourhood, another will move in next door. In China, you end up with clusters of barber shops, tea shops and restaurants right next to each other in; actively competing. It’s about rapid small iterative steps of innovation, or what Huawei used call ‘customer focus’. It’s not paradigm shifting stuff. 2/ Its interesting that Imint have taken the German middelstadt model to software. Historically, German companies have managed to focus on a niche and do it really well. There is a long-term focus, continuity, independence, flexibility innovation and customer focus. They are nimble by nature and design with lean hierarchies and a family-like corporate structure.

Google in Talks to Take Over More Search Tasks on Samsung Phones – Bloomberg – Samsung would be giving up more user experience control and by implication, becoming more commoditised. To be fair a lot of Android skins and bundled apps haven’t been great. What happens with Google’s Pixel brand devices?

Aaron Toponce : The Physics of Brute Force – Why you should use encryption and why Moore’s Law’s limitations and physics indicate an optimal key size when using it against non-quantum computing.

Europe and AI: Leading, Lagging Behind, or Carving Its Own Way? – Carnegie Endowment for International PeaceEurope, meanwhile, despite having certain advantages such as a strong industrial base and leading AI research and talent, is punching far below its weight. This state of affairs is especially due to the fragmentation of the EU’s digital market, difficulties in attracting human capital and external investment, and the lack of commercial competitiveness. Fortunately, in recent years, European leaders have recognized the importance of not lagging behind on AI and have sought to raise their ambitions. Leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have stressed the need for Europe to become a leading global player on AI, and the new European Commission has made AI a top priority for the next five years. By declaring AI a major strategic priority, several member states and EU institutions are taking steps to advance the continent’s ambitions for AI leadership

COVID-19 and biopharma in China | McKinsey – fascinating read. In particular the growth of health insurance. Up to now, one of the reasons why Chinese consumption is so low the high amount of savings to cover health costs. (Yes, I know property and parent care are also huge areas for savings). But that is why Chinese people are generally lower in credit use in aggregate and have a large amount of savings. Private health insurance could have a huge impact on future consumption patterns and act as an economic driver

Dundrum Town Centre introduces a ‘Crowd Checker’ | RTE – interesting piece of service design to support opening up of retail. Dundrum shopping centre would be the Irish equivalent of Westfield in London. It is Ireland’s largest shopping centre. RTÉ has a broadcast studio there to capture the opinion of the average Irish person as needed.

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Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nike Japan: Create with Air Max by AKQA. Japan seems to be particularly open to an augmented reality AR campaign in general. This AR campaign taps into the challenges that COVID-19 lockdown represented to creators and the wearing sneakers. The purpose of the AR campaign was three fold:

  • Reinforce the cultural aspect of the Air Max
  • Emphasise innovation in the Nike brand through the AR campaign functionality
  • Encourage customisation

More Nike related content here.

It isn’t usual to be proud of your government’s IT department. COVID Tracker Ireland on the App Store – had the highest uptake of tracker applications in a country’s population. It was based on Apple and Google’s APIs. Ireland has shared its code as an open source project – Ireland donates its COVID Tracker app to Linux Foundation. Singapore did something similar early on the year. Northern Ireland is said to be adopting Ireland’s code base for their own tracking app – Coronavirus: Northern Ireland rejects UK’s COVID-19 contact-tracing app | UK News | Sky News

Beatboxing and digital sampling technology meets meditation in this video by Yogetsu Akasaka, a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk ‘Heart Sutra’ vocal live looping remix.

How Taiwan’s Unlikely Digital Minister Hacked the Pandemic | WIRED – Audrey Tang has been doing some interesting press briefings on how the Taiwan government deals with disinformation. A lot of creativity is used; inspired by behavioural science. More on this podcast as well.

The Korean Tourism Organisation collaborates with Netflix to promote Korea as a travel destination. The ad spot highlights locations drawn from food travelogues to Korean dramas on the platform. Korean drama already has an international following, previously it has been on specialist sites and DVD boxsets. Netflix has made the potential reach for Korean dramas even larger. At least some of the Netflix audience won’t have heard of ‘hallyu’, or K-pop. Netflix had helped improve access to international dramas in general. That’s the audience that the KTO is trying to tap into with this ad creative.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Tesla Model 3 Survey: What Owners Think About the Electric Car – interesting read, Toyota and VW Group will eat them alive as their electric car programme take off. I am not going into the dumb nature of Li-ion versus hydrogen powered vehicles…

Stacked Cars In City Junkyard Will Be Used For Scrap, August 1973

‘Caveat Emptor:’ State Dept. Mocks Russian, PRC Weapon Sales In ‘Buy American’ Pitch « Breaking Defensefour Chinese-made Harbin Z-9 helicopters purchased by Cameroon in 2015, one of which crashed soon after purchase. Similarly, Kenya bought a handful of Chinese-made Norinco VN4 armored personnel carriers, “vehicles that China’s own sales representative declined to sit inside during a test firing,” he claimed. “Since going ahead with the purchase regardless, sadly dozens of Kenyan personnel have been reportedly killed in those vehicles,” Cooper said, adding “caveat emptor!”  He also slammed Chinese CH-4 armed drones, which various countries in the Middle East have found “to be inoperable within months, and are now turning around to get rid of them… We have seen countries around the world leap at the chance to obtain high-tech, low-cost defensive capabilities only to see their significant investments crumble and rust in their hands” – buy China and pay twice, interesting to see this in the defence sector. Is the export quality worse than the products for the PLA? Or is China falling down on maintenance and services packages (customer service)? I think the Russian argument is harder to make given their decades of experience building simple, but effective defence products

Ireland Inc.: The corporatization of affective life in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland – Diane Negra, Anthony P McIntyre,how a post-Celtic Tiger Irish government aligned with elite interests has doubled down on its commitment to corporate citizenship. Despite the depredations of this era being directly attributable to the irrational exuberance of the Celtic Tiger period and lapses in financial regulation, Ireland post-2008 is marked by a radical forgetfulness and defined by ‘Shock Doctrine’ regulatory policies that have installed corporatism at the heart of everyday life. Key features of this landscape include ongoing governmental facilitation of tax avoidance by multinational corporations, the hollowing out of public services, the normalization of under-employment and a burgeoning housing crisis. We show here how the popular images and narratives of the period index a shift toward corporate impregnability and a public culture in which individuals absorb greater risk and take up positions of heightened precarity

One firm, two countries, one workplace model? The case of Foxconn’s internationalisation – Rutvica Andrijasevic, Devi Sacchetto, Ngai Pun,insight into the employment relations in China-based multinational companies internationalising to Europe, a still relatively unexplored topic. We investigate the transfer of work and employment practices from Foxconn’s manufacturing headquarters in mainland China to its subsidiaries in Czechia and the factors that influence the firm’s internationalisation of production – (PDF)

M&S launches ‘buy now, pay later’ service | Business | The Guardian – sub prime retailing in the making

Glossy 101: How fashion brands are rethinking influencer marketing – Glossywhen brands work with micro-influencers, they’re paying less to work with people who tend to have a more engaged audience. A report from The Wall Street Journal estimated the micro tier charges between $400 and $2,000 per post, while higher tiers will charge anywhere between $10,000 and $150,000. It should be a win-win. However, by adding more people to the mix, brands are setting themselves up for a lot more work

The Boss on Board: Mafia Infiltrations, Firm Performance, and Local Economic Growth | naked capitalism – explains a lot

Sprout Social its at IPO | Pitchbook – it will be interesting to see how they get on given the negative investor sentiment around the likes of Hootsuite

China’s e-commerce giants are looking for gold in rural areas as growth in big cities slows down | South China Morning Post – over 26% of China’s online population are from rural areas

BT unveils biggest brand campaign in 20 yearscreated by Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad begins with a schoolgirl reciting Charles Dickens’ classic opening from A Tale of Two Cities as she walks through the dreary British streets. Set to Blinded by Your Grace, Pt 2 by Stormzy, it goes on to showcase Britain’s technological advances over the past few decades, from CCTV and Tube advancements to the emergence of broadband – is it just me or this or is this exceptionally dark. CCTV!

Cathay Pacific Calls On PR Firm Edelman To Help Plot Revival | Holmes Report – thankless task for Edelman, short of a takeover by Air China nothing is going to stop the China government pressure. It might slow it down but it won’t stop it. Swire needs to extract itself from China

Measuring the effectiveness of creativity in marketing | Marketing Weekthe ad industry will be forced to refocus on creativity. Yet marketers (and their counterparts in finance) have become used to the measurability of performance marketing. If the industry can’t prove the effectiveness of creativity, brands will continue to up spend on short-term sales activations rather than brand building. The majority of markets are trying to add some science to the art. An exclusive survey of more than 400 brand marketers conducted by Marketing Week finds 61.8% measure the effectiveness of their creative (compared to 76.5% who measure the effectiveness of media)

Don’t Let Metrics Critics Undermine Your Business | MIT Sloan Reviewthose lucky employees who haven’t been automated into professional obsolescence instead find themselves enduring what economic historian Jerry Z. Muller calls the “tyranny of metrics.” Numbers rule their workplace lives, and there’s no escape. “The problem is not measurement,” Muller declares, “but excessive measurement and inappropriate measurement — not metrics, but metric fixation.” “Don’t Let Metrics Undermine Your Business,” warns Harvard Business Review’s September-October 2019 cover story: “Strategy is abstract by definition, but metrics give strategy form, allowing our minds to grasp it more readily. … The mental tendency to replace strategy with metrics can destroy company value.”

Reliance on Louis Koo’s Box Office Power Highlights Challenges in Hong Kong Industry | – to be honest this has been coming for years. There are few Hong Kong male stars below the age of 50. It saddens me having grown up on Hong Kong cinema and knowing the richness of creativity in the city

Hey – it could’ve been Regina Ip! | Big Lychee, Various Sectors – it seems Hong Kong officials use Reuters as their preferred conduit for leaks (or ‘scoops’ as media folk call them), while their Mainland counterparts prefer the Financial Times. The latter today reveals (paywall, etc, possibly) that Beijing will eject Chief Executive Carrie Lam, maybe in March, after things have ‘stabilized’ ha ha

New WeChat regulation on incentivized sharing and external links – new WeChat regulation on incentivized sharing and external links

Six Chinese men jailed for a hit job that was subcontracted five times – InkstonePi Yijun, a criminal justice professor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, said the case reflected strong distaste towards litigation in Chinese culture. “People are not willing to go through the legal channel,” Pi told Inkstone. “Whenever they encounter disputes, they try to solve it privately, mediating through personal connections or taking the law into their own hands.” – Caveat Emptor

Steve Jobs’ speech that made Silicon Valley obsessed with pirates — Quartz – ‘machine for thinking’

AI Weekly: In China, you can no longer buy a smartphone without a face scan | VentureBeat – there’ll be a good market in stolen phones then

SpaceX submits paperwork for 30,000 more Starlink satellites – – Iridium 2?

Ren Zhengfei: HongMeng is capable but will not replace Android | Gizchina – translation – we aspire to displace Android and become more profitable but our OS isn’t up to snuff for westerners

Andy Kessler: WSJ: Tech Treadmill Wears Firms OutMax Hopper’s “Rattling SABRE—New Ways to Compete on Information,” and finally in 2013 we got Rita Gunther McGrath’s “The End of Competitive Advantage.” Each of these takes describes a different stage in the life cycle of corporate tech. Hopper was, as Harvard professor James Cash noted, “the first person who really defined the marketing leverage that could come from using technology.” In the late 1950s Hopper helped build Sabre, an automated flight-reservation system, and in 1981 he helped design the first major frequent-flier program to give American Airlines a competitive “AAdvantage.” Yet by 1990 he worried that the game was over, suggesting that technology was “table stakes for competition.” Hopper noted that “SABRE’s real importance to American Airlines was that it prevented an erosion of market share.” That insight comes to mind watching the Streaming War of 2019. Netflix and Amazon have a huge lead in streaming video. But eventually everyone uses the same technology. Tim Cook wants in, so Apple TV+ launches Nov. 1 with (probably overpaid) Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Robert Iger wants in, and Disney paid (probably too much) for control of BAMTech, the streaming-video technology developed by Major League Baseball, which it is deploying for streaming services Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu + Live TV. AT&T wants in and paid (again likely too much) for Time Warner to create HBO Max. NBCUniversal wants in too. See the trend? Google ought to rename its streaming service YouTube TV Max+

Are Publicis’ problems reflective of a wider market malaise? | Advertising | Campaign AsiaBy placing Publicis on top of Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett and Bartle Bogle Hegarty, they have destroyed those storied brands. By putting Publicis Sapient on top of LBi, Digitas, Rosetta and Razorfish, they have killed their digital brands too. As a result, now they are saying they have to transform the transformers – I agree that brands have been affected, but I’d also argue that the flight away from craft to disruption has also been probelmatic

Martin Sorrell: Group M alone is worth as much as WPP’s stock market value | Campaign Asia – in the face of Facebook, Google and Amazon advertising in the west and Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent advertising in China is Group M really worth the whole of WPP alone? There is also the aspect that Group M has been crying disruption, disruption and screwing its own business

Qatar, facing unbearable heat, has begun to air-condition the outdoors – Washington Post – this sounds mad

Google discontinues Daydream View VR headset and drops Daydream support from Pixel 4 – The Verge – people don’t like wearing their phone

Facebook opens search ads to all advertisers – Search Engine Land – this is going to make things interesting

U.S. lawmakers urge Apple to restore HKMap app used in Hong Kong – Reuters – Apple and quisling Tim Cook getting squeezed by US politicians

Louis Vuitton Has a Factory in Texas Now, Marking its Third in the U.S. — The Fashion Law LVMH – which is trudging ahead and abroad and “increasingly letting industrial logic and geopolitics govern supply-chain decisions,” per Dalton, while competitors, “such as Gucci, Hermès and Chanel have kept most [of their] production in Italy and France” – this is just business. And considering that LVMH’s Fashion & Leather Goods division, alone, brought in $15.8 billion in sales in the first 9 months of the year– with the group as a whole reporting revenues of $42.14 billion for the same period

Teaching Democrats to Speak Evangelical | The New Yorker – interesting how the Democratic Party are having to go back to basics on learning community relations in US politics