Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

14th October 2017

Keeping America Compatible with Facebook. ‘What is less speculative and more likely though, is that CZI and Zuckerberg himself are deployed by existing political actors as the last best example of …what today’s Democratic Party wants to be seen as: stewards of a rational, meritocratic society capable of administrating grand projects for large populations….If that happens he would be someone that, as Jane Jacobs wrote in Fortune Magazine, “loves the public but hates the people.”

From Adweek….’It’s not difficult to see where these trends lead. When content can be created instantly, targeted and distributed instantly, and then tweaked and optimised instantly, marketing becomes a whole new ballgame. Inference, inspiration and intuition are—for better or worse—on their way out, replaced by an accelerating loop of test-and-optimise.

‘Alongside this need for a new framework, there are new requirements for marketing competencies and capabilities around domains of expertise like data and analytics, customer experience, content, multichannel, and personalisation, which are neither properly understood nor being met. This is acknowledged in the marketing industry but not reflected in any definitive model.’ From Ashley Friedlein and Econsultancy – This is M3 : The Modern Marketing Model.

From emarketer, nearly half of US teens now say they prefer Snapchat over other social media sites, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

My piece on the Econsultancy blog this week. The myth of storytelling in marketing and why brands should encourage ‘story sharing’. 

A compelling ‘info-gif’ from the FT – the changing shape of childhood obesity 1975-2016. As economies have developed, childhood obesity has increased tenfold in 40 years.

Amazon is looking to corner a significant chunk of the video advertising market. eMarketer estimates that US digital ad revenues for the company are expected to reach $1.65 billion by the end of this year. At that level, it would make up 2.0% of total US digital ad spending.However, Amazon will have to tread carefully to avoid upsetting its users, who are accustomed to an ad-free video experience.

‘According to Google and Bing, one in four searches is conducted by talking, not typing, a figure comScore predicts will reach 50 percent by 2020. That same year Echo alone will account for $7 billion in voice transactions—or vcommerce.’ This is how Amazon, Google and Apple Are Giving Brands a Way Into the Conversation.

Smashing communication idea from the world of travel and tourism. Somewhat along the lines of the Swedish Number concept, this Faroe Islands campaign translates phrases into Faroese, rather charmingly articulated by some of the island’s residents.

A great idea and a rather wonderful ad. The Tile app, helps users find items attached to a Tile dongle within a range of about 200 feet. From the ad creators – ‘When we lose something and then find it, it’s an indescribably good feeling. But how could we tell that story so that the lost thing is compelling to everyone? That was the challenge. So, we realised that by transforming something into someone, we could end up with a beautiful love story.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

6th October 2017

From Warped (by @krishoet) : ‘It’s probably inevitable at this point that we’ll end up living in an always-watching surveillance state, and this video of a CCTV facial recognition prototype in action is a troubling preview of what that might look like. The recognition suite, built by Chinese company SenseTime, includes SenseVideo — which allows tracking and classification of objects — and SenseFace — which scans and matches faces to a database.

Nice piece from @faris on ‘decisive moments’ . This is the point at which marketers want to connect with customers, but often struggle to do so. Of course, it is not that easy and digital is not always helping. ‘Marketing works in various ways. Some activity fulfils demand; brand activity works over the long term by building memory structures that impact decisions down the line. The confusion of the two is one of the great disappointments of digital.The maxim of right message, person, moment, and cost holds true if we understand this. The decisive moment is not always going to be when someone is about to buy something. It usually won’t be.

With Blade Runner once more amongst us and (despite being long and slow) getting some pretty good reviews. Interesting to see the impact it has had, since most Brits think A.I. should be regulated by the ‘Blade Runner rule’. This rule says it should be illegal for AI applications such as social media bots, chatbots and virtual assistants to conceal their identityand pose as humans.

The very excellent Dots Conference in Brighton took place recently. Unfortunately I was unable to make it this year, but it provided a surprising and inspiring line-up as always. Speakers included – Bruce Daisley, Neil Perkin, Sussex wine maker Sam Linter and Syima Aslam from the Bradford Literature Festival. A short summary of events here.

To show teens how they can be creators, Made with Code is joining forces with Snap Inc. to host a first-of-its-kind competition called #MyFutureMe. Oh Snap! Teens are coding the future.

Canon just announced that it’s developing a new “Free Viewpoint” virtual camera system that will let you virtually move around inside a recorded event. This is some view of a football match. 

And, this is some algorithm, Time Capsule by Spotify. TC is a personalised playlist with songs to take you back in time – to the stuff you were listening to in your youth. My first 5 artists were Blondie, Lloyd Cole, Heaven 17, Earth Wind and Fire and Terry Jacks. Very accurate and somewhat unnerving. Especially the last one.

Hoodmaps tells you where different tribes exist in a number of cites. Who is your neighbourhood full of? – Suits, the Rich, Tourists or Hipsters?

So, this pod of dolphins appear infatuated with a couple of squirrels, outside their tank.

Charming theory in this lovely illustrated book. ‘It takes all kinds of people to make a world, the expression goes. But maybe it really takes only two kinds. People who put ketchup on their fries, and people who put the ketchup on the side. People who squeeze gently from the bottom, and people who manhandle the toothpaste tube.’

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

30th September 2017

I attended a really interesting session at Nesta this week. ‘Trust Playing by The Rules’ ,featuring the compelling Rachel Botsman and her new book Who Can You Trust?We might have lost faith in institutions and leaders, but millions rent their home to total strangers, exchange digital currencies, and trust web bots. The implications and the potential that lie within this new era of “distributed trust” are both exciting and unnerving in equal measure – and they’re coming sooner than you think.’ My related piece on Trust from the Brand Learning blog is here – The Future (and eternal truth) of Marketing : ‘Trust’. 

From @adweek – ‘Watson Advertising promises to kick start the era of cognitive advertising, a field that has both legacy tech companies and startups seeking to transform every aspect of marketing from image and voice recognition to big data analysis and custom content.’ Could Watson Crack the Code of Digital Marketing?

From @nesta. The Gender Imbalance in Film Casts. ‘We might expect that the gender mix of film casts has steadily improved over the last half century, matching the rise of women in the wider UK workforce. But the reality is quite different. Since the end of the Second World War there have been no sustained gains in the percentage of cast members who are women in UK films.

From Creative Review. ‘Meme culture is a vast and ever expanding tool in our visual cultural lexicon. That’s because even one image can make us think of specific people or situations, while resonating with many of us at once.’ How do you tell a story in a single image?

What are the themes that make memes so popular? Here are some of the strands – ‘co-dependancy’, ‘schemas’, ‘clapbacks’, ‘bad luck brian’, ‘evil kermit’, and ‘me versus you’.

A new BBC series looks at the cultural history of attention metrics from Victorian music halls to Facebook. From Clapping to Likes, and Back Again. 

From @campaign. How AirBnb built a brand by telling the world not to travel.

This is a rather wonderful approach to storytelling – traditional, digital and interactive. Alexander Perrin’s Short Trip is the first instalment in a collection of interactive illustrations created for the web. It was created as a study into capturing the essence of graphite on paper within a digital context, and to learn more about web-based graphics technologies.

Interesting piece from Stratechery on ‘Aggregation Theory’ – describes how platforms (i.e. aggregators) came to dominate the industries in which they compete in a systematic and predictable way. ‘Aggregation Theory should serve as a guidebook for aspiring platform companies, a warning for industries predicated on controlling distribution, and a primer for regulators addressing the inevitable antitrust concerns that are its endgame.’

The very wonderful, timeless 90 year old David Attenborough, narrates the trailer for the  ‘Blue Planet 2’. Music for the series is provided by Hans Zimmer and Radiohead.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

22nd September 2017

‘People give off lots of signals of what they’re thinking about and whether they want to buy more. They tell us by logging in to the brand’s website or searching for the brand by name. They also talk about the brand on social media, and they’ve installed the brand’s app on their smartphones.’ From @adweek, this why ‘Signal Planning’ is the most compelling media planning innovation in decades.

From Simon Sinek and the Royal Society of Arts. ‘Sick of endless ‘re-orgs’, lay-offs and away days? Why do workplaces always go for quick wins and flashy paint jobs over steady, consistent change? ‘Great culture, in any organisation, is about Consistency, not Intensity.’ (short video).

More pressure on digital advertising income as Apple’s New iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra will stop ads following Safari users. This has prompted an open letter claiming Apple is destroying the internet’s economic model.

Multiple small companies report they’re seeing one-star reviews of unverified purchases on their pages that are written with bad grammar, coupled with remarks like, “Great product satisfaction guaranteed.” Amazon reviews have a bot problem.

WARC announces the award winners for 2017 across its three categories – Brand Purpose, Social Strategy and Content Strategy. Grand Prix winners in each category are Whirlpool, Kentucky Fried Chicken (UK) and KFC Malaysia.

For all the steps Facebook has taken to support publishers, two new reports offer a reminder of who’s really in charge. Parse.ly data shows that across its 2,500-site network, Facebook declined as a source of referral traffic to publishers, with Google passing the social network to become the biggest referrer. Social analytics firm BuzzSumo, meanwhile, reported that Facebook engagement across 880 million posts from publishers and brands has fallen 20 percent since January.

Enlightening and beautifully presented. ‘When we experience art we feel connected to something larger’.. ‘the logic of art is a neural turn-on.’ From The Washington Post, This is Your Brain On Art. 

Latest emarketer UK figures, on ad spend and time spent with selected media show the accelerating domination of digital channels. The projection for 2019 is that digital will account for 68% of ad spend, of which 51% will be on mobile. All other channels are declining of course with 2019 projections as follows – TV: 21%, Radio: 1.8% and Print: 9.5%.

A new method to evaluate quality of life in cities is emerging – using music as an indicator. From @nesta – ‘Music is infrastructure, similar to schools, roads and hospitals. It requires building, maintaining, evaluating and assessing. This includes our built environment’s capability to host and support music, but also how it feeds into the fabric of our urban lives. This includes every child playing an instrument, every festival and every music license in shops, cafes and hairdressers.

Vimeo staff picks are always a great place to see some top video content. Top of the ‘all time’ table, in terms of views, is The Mountain, and with 76.3 million views it is 47.6 million more than the number two.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

16th September 2017

From The Conversation. Could the internet of things be sending us back to the middle ages? The underlying issue is ownership. ‘(But) the expansion of the internet of things seems to be bringing us back to something like an old feudal model, where people didn’t own the items they used every day. In this 21st-century version, companies are using intellectual property law – intended to protect ideas – to control physical objects consumers think they own.

@mondaynote on the ‘The Level 5 Fallacy of Autonomous Cars.’ (Level 5 means going from point A to point B with a fraction, say 1/10th, of today’s accident rate. No ifs, no buts, no steering wheel). It’s a great vision, but one that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

From @adliterate. ‘The ad industry hates the word “and”. Instead, if we are really honest, we much prefer the word “or”. We tend to be “or” sorts of people. Ours is a binary world. You can grow the market or grow the brand, not both. You can seek more penetration or greater weight of purchase, not both. You can build the brand or sell the product, not both. You can buy route one or route two, not both. You can have it good or fast, not both. ‘And’ – this one word could deliver real brand transformation.

Loads of stuff about the new iPhone this week. Since it was introduced 10 years ago, the iPhone has added a great deal to our lives. Here, however is a look at some of the things it has destroyed.

During Apple’s big event on Tuesday, the presenter tried unlock an iPhone X using Apple’s new face recognition system, Face ID, but it didn’t work. Perhaps they should have asked Arya from Game of Thrones, to help out.

13 keys to success in Digital Marketing in a single map.

Worried about the upcoming change in data laws? This piece from @econsultancy suggests that you should be welcoming G.D.P.R. ‘ Why anyone whose business relies on personal data would be ungrateful for the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a mystery to me: it is a huge step in the right direction, designed to benefit data holders and consumers alike. There are costs to becoming ready, and the potential risk of being fined for non-compliance – but these are short-term problems, which will soon be forgotten in the wake of a more transparent, efficient data economy.

The BBC has made a drama for Amazon Echo and Google Home. “Hello, my name is Dave,” says a female voice as the story begins. “I hope life has been comfortable in the containment room?”

Concerned about what you share on social media? Relax. The offspring of various dictators are having a high old time, telling us all about it and getting away with it. From The Economist : ‘The Mugabe brothers are having a night out again. Here they are showing off their outfits: distressed white denim, high-top sneakers, statement sunglasses. Now they’re in a VIP booth at a club, swaying and swigging from bottles of Moët & Chandon while the music pumps. At some point they will post a flame emoji, indicating that the evening is “lit”.

A sex robot appeared on This Morning, and yes, it’s as uncomfortable as you would imagine. On a more harmonious note, here is a video of a panda eating (decimating?) a bamboo shoot. 

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

8th September 2017

From How We Get To Next. ‘It is important to think about what, exactly, the relationship is between our brains and our smartphones, and the impact that that relationship has on our mental health, our social lives, and how young people perceive the world around them. But to focus our worry on how smartphones might be “rewiring kids’ brains” is missing a bigger point. We should think less about changing brains and more about whether we can trust the devices that are doing the changing. After all, they’re designed and built by people trying to make money from us.’ Your Brain is Your Phone.

A fabulous animated and interactive infographic. This visual essay, from Google News Lab, seeks to understand which questions people want answers to; filtered by age, geography and time. Starting with how to fix a toilet. 

From The Economist. ‘What machines can tell from your face. Life in the age of facial recognition.’ ‘In America facial recognition is used by churches to track worshippers’ attendance; in Britain, by retailers to spot past shoplifters. This year Welsh police used it to arrest a suspect outside a football game. Apple’s new iPhone is expected to use it to unlock the home screen. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. For me, the abiding image of facial recognition is this clip from Minority Reportpersonal advertising in the future. 

From @adweek. Once a running joke, LinkedIn is suddenly a hot Social Network. Over the last two years, LinkedIn has pumped up its publishing platform, reduced the spam, streamlined its mobile and desktop apps, and introduced new lead-generation and targeting tools.

The gang from Street Wisdom (friends of the Filter) launch their ‘Worldwide Wander’ this weekend. I ran an event in Borough Market this morning, but there are many more events across this weekend. More information here.

From The New Yorker, ‘How to Call ‘B.S.’ on Big Data –  A Practical Guide.’ For example – Upon encountering a piece of information, in any form, ask, “Who is telling me this? How does he or she know it? What is he or she trying to sell me?”

Love this – ‘At this point, I’ve given up. I’m back to Google, back to searching for a database of contacts, because even though I came to the… page knowing exactly what I wanted, I have no idea what they offer.’ For the love of God, please tell me what your company does.

The thick plot continues to thicken. A Russian firm tied to pro-Kremlin propaganda advertised on Facebook during election. ‘Facebook officials reported that they traced the ad sales, totalling $100,000, to a Russian “troll farm” with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda.’ (HT @andygreenehouse). And here are the fake Americans that Russia created to influence the election.

From Adweek. Digital Advertising’s moment of truth? P&G’s Marc Pritchard and CMOs from Bank of America, Unilever and more have been demanding transparencyGoing into the fourth quarter—mere months from when Pritchard has threatened to pull the rug out from under major players including Facebook, Google, Twitter, agencies and more—the mandate is only 50 to 60 percent complete.

These stories are not often told but can be full of valuable learnings. Here are some of the biggest failed start-ups of 2017, including Juicero, Jawbone, Yik Yak and Lily. 

And finally…A bit of navel gazing this, but I cannot resist mentioning that this year, is the 30 year anniversary of the wonderful Withnail and I. The film was celebrated with a screening this week at the B.F.I. including appearances from Bruce Robinson and Richard E. Grant. Worth another look at the soliloquy from the end? –  ‘I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth….

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

3rd September 2017

From Digiday – The growth of Amazon as an advertising platform.’The prospect of Amazon emerging as the main rival to Google and Facebook’s duopoly over digital media seems increasingly plausible, now that some of the world’s biggest brands are starting to consider it for their budgets. This is how Amazon is seeking to grow it’s programmatic income – ‘Amazon is growing its ad business, most recently making two big moves that will bring it more revenue‘.

From @wired. ‘While I’m looking forward to the upcoming announcement of the iPhone 8 (or iPhone X… or just iPhone), as a potential customer I’ve become more and more dissatisfied with the iPhone’s lack of real character or differentiation, despite its engineering excellence and technological prowess. Though there’s promise of technological advancements… I fear we’re on an inevitable race to what I call the ‘zero product’.

Grayson Perry on creativity in the Creative Review. Contrary to popular myth, Grayson Perry says, most successful artists are pragmatic and work-obsessed. ‘All the talent in the world can go to waste if it is not allied to punctuality, the ability to build relationships and hard work. He explores his own working methods and how he is influenced by ‘the two artists living in my head: the obsessive, meticulous Hobbit and the bold, mischievous, provocative Punk’.

The phenomenon of ‘Finsta’s’ (fake instagram accounts) exist against a backdrop of social media’s conflict with the world of work. ‘Young people have long created multiple social media accounts or used online pseudonyms. A constant refrain about social media is that a boozy photo or an offhand comment can cost you career opportunities. So college students have internalised this fear by staging an employable social media front.

What a wonderful idea, the RSA plans to create a ’21st Century Enlightenment Coffee House’. ‘Imagine a coffeehouse like no other: one that is a catalyst for progressive change; the engine room for a global network; a place where great ideas are born.

And here is a great TED talk on the lost world of the London coffeehouse. ‘Would you go up to a stranger in a coffee shop and ask them for the latest news? Dr Matthew Green takes us back to the 17th and 18th centuries when London’s original fleet of coffeehouses were very different from the current crop of branded cafes.’

Nice article from friends of the Filter, Tony Franco and Adam Morgan of @eatbigfish – ‘The Creativity of Constraints’ . ‘Restrictions are a common challenge for business today and come in all shapes and sizes – smaller budgets, fewer people and shorter time frames. Adam and Tony argue that working with constraints shouldn’t be seen as a problem, but a new capability for a new era of marketing that we all need to master.

Patagonia is a great example of a brand with a clear proposition and a compelling, engaging message. Interesting that in 45 years they had not created a TV commercial. Well now they have – it is uncompromisingly political and has a message that could not be much clearer. 

Spotify’s new ‘Upstream’ podcast taps top brand execs for culture forecasting. Contributors include the New York Times, Refinery 29, IBM and activist and songwriter Madame Ghandi.

First public footage of Hyperloop One’s Pod test. Everything starts moving at around two minutes and twenty five seconds in. 

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

4th August 2017

It looks like Uber have gone with a big change in direction (from Travis Kalanick) with regards to the appointment of a new senior executive. This from Glamour Magazine – ‘Bozoma Saint John’s new role as chief brand officer for Uber makes her a unicorn in Silicon Valley: She’s one of the very few black female C-suite executives in tech. But to earn her place in the pantheon, Saint John has overcome challenges that would have stymied most mortals.’

And of course Saint John has her work cut out in her new role. One of the big challenges, is highlighted by this fine article in Campaign – ‘Uber is everything that is wring with disruption’ – ‘Kalanick was clearly responsible for the company’s decisions and practices. But now he is gone, Uber can install a more ethical chief executive and things can go back to normal. Hey, maybe it can even appoint a woman this time and then things would be much better, right? Wrong. The company’s cultural dysfunction isn’t a bug, it’s a feature: it is baked into the business model. Uber’s business model is predicated not on technological disruption but on breaking rules. The New York Times has called the battle between Uber and London cabbies “less about the disruptive power of an app, or a new business model, than about the disruption of Britain”.

‘Amazon has played a critical role in the rapid transformation of the buying journey. Last week, the brand continued to innovate, with the launch of Amazon Spark in its mobile app. This offers users a stream of shoppable photos taken by other users, which lead to featured items that are in-stock and on sale at Amazon. The play is consistent with the rise of distributed and social commerce, as consumers are now finding inspiration across all relevant channels and expecting the ability to make purchases.’ This is what Amazon Spark means for the future of distributed commerce. 

‘In 2010, Patrick and John Collison, brothers from rural Ireland, created Stripe Inc., a software that businesses could plug into websites and apps to instantly connect with credit card and banking systems and receive payments.’ This is how two brothers turned seven lines of codeinto a $9.2 Billion Startup.

Sobering, but important piece from The Atlantic. ‘More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis. ‘Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation?’

I am often quite down on the quality of some advertising in the travel and tourism sector, so it is great to see some examples of brands in this category, getting it right. From @econsultancy, here are examples of high quality copywriting from travel brands.

Instagram Stories is one year old, and has been part of their rapid recent growth. ‘Instagram’s Snapchat clone hits its first anniversary today, and the Facebook-owned app has spent much of 2017 heavily investing in bringing vertical video and augmented reality filters to the format. As a result, Instagram is growing rapidly, adding 50 million daily users in just two months, to hit 250 million daily users in June.

I sometimes think that the view through the bottom of a glass can provide one of the most illuminating perspectives available …This is from a while back, but this book is a great idea and worth another glance –  ‘From Beer to Coca Cola, here is a History Of The World in 6 Glasses’. 

On the subject of interesting reads, this looks like a good one for the summer holiday sun lounger.  ‘Who thought up paper money? How did the contraceptive pill change the face of the legal profession? Why was the horse collar as important for human progress as the steam engine? How did the humble spreadsheet turn the world of finance upside-down?’ From Tim Harford : 50 Things That Made The Modern Economy. 

From @wired. There are three types of smile – reward, affiliation and dominance. Learning a bit more about the three types, could help you to win games and negotiations

Apple’s latest Augmented Reality operating system (ARKit) may still be working through a phase of developer betas, but there are already some great examples of what it can do. Here, A.R. has been used to recreate A-ha’s Take On Me video for the 21st century. Take a look here. 

Finally, there will be no newsletter for a few weeks due to the summer break. We will be back on the 1st September. Best wishes, Nick.

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

28th July 2017

So Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in the world. I love this before/after image showing how Jeff has changed, physically, over time in a remarkable example of #digitaltransformation. With all the positive talk around Amazon, according to TechCrunch, they wouldn’t be making any money if it wasn’t for AWS (Amazon Web Services).

Concerned about issues of immigration? According to this piece from @wired everyone on Earth is a migrant. We are all ‘extragalactic immigrants’ made up of matter from other galaxies.

Still up in the Heavens, this real world ‘Space Opera’ lets you become the Hubble telescope

I took a trip down memory lane recently when I attended a talk, by Information is Beautiful founder David McCandless, at the The Royal Institution. I vividly recall visiting on a school trip and watching a scientist drop grapes into liquid nitrogen and then smash them with a hammer. This time round David entertained a full amphitheatre with his latest take on infographics and data journalism.

Here is a rather wonderful recent TED talk from the very charming and inspiring Steve Chapman (friend of the Filter). Well worth  a watch. ‘This talk isn’t very good, dancing with my inner critic.’ 

From Adweek. During every minute on the Internet (an infographic).

I wouldn’t agree with this all of this, but this is an interesting perspective nevertheless. From the Outline – ‘Twitter is Dying.’ ‘Twitter announced its earnings for Q2 Thursday morning and said that it has 328 million users. Problem is, that’s exactly the same number the social media platform reported for total users last quarter, Meaning that it added exactly… zero people. None of this is good news for Twitter. But maybe it is good news for… people. As a platform it is increasingly seen as a gathering place for Nazi sympathisers and used as a daily megaphone for political rants.

‘Why we need more useless knowledge’, by Beth Comstock. ‘Turns out that’s not how innovation really works. We need to be relentless, and keep our eye on the competition, but there also needs to be give and take between exploring for fun and exploring to find a leg up. Theory and application, art and science, work and play, don’t have set boundaries.

BBH Labs on connections between consumers and brands. ‘Don’t worry so much about what they’ll think about you when they do. Worry more about them thinking of you at all. What’s love got to do with it?’

Have you seen Dunkirk? What did you think about Hans Zimmer’s powerful soundtrack? Here’s an interesting video piece from Digg on how, in sections of the film, the sound seems to be continually increasing (along with ever greater impact on the audience) when in fact this is not the case. Apparently it’s all down to the use of an auditory illusion called a Shepard Tone. 

Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

21st July 2017

Google’s current ‘doodle’ focuses on Herbert Marshall McLuhanMcLuhan is known for coining the expression ‘the medium is the message’, the term ‘global village,’ and for predicting the World Wide Web almost 30 years before it was invented.

And still on the subject of doodling, this piece from fastcodesign explains why doodling has positive benefits for the brain.’Doodling, colouring, and free drawing increase blood to the parts of the brain associated with reward.’

E-commerce sales worldwide. This infographic from Raconteur, published in The Future of E-Commerce Special Report, reveals the rise of retail e-commerce sales worldwide. The graphic highlights China’s gigantic online shopping industry as well as worldwide sales by region.

Feeling left out makes you more likely to believe conspiracy theories. A new Princeton University study has found a correlation between social exclusion and the endorsement of ‘conspiratorial beliefs’.

Social Star Creator Camp, is an offshoot of an actor camp that takes place every summer near LA. It’s three days of intensive influencer workshops focusing on monetisation, branding, and the basics of shooting and editing video, all aimed at kids in their early teens to mid-20s. This is Los Angeles’ Internet Celebrity Summer Camp. 

‘Social scientists and philosophers have long recognised the existence of a so-called beauty premium (or, in some cases, an ugliness penalty). Attractive lawyers and M.B.A. grads earn more in their careers than their average-looking brethren….The effect may be due in part to the human tendency to equate appearance, with character. In the eighteenth century, for instance, a face was believed to reflect its owner’s moral standing.’ “Virtue beautifies, and vice renders a man ugly,” Johann Kaspar Lavater, a respected theologian wrote. This from The New Yorker – Vote for Ugly. 

From Gui Curi. Why our capacity to actively listen to someone else is facing extinction and why it could save us all. ‘One of the single most difficult things to find these days is a true conversation.’ What we think are conversations have become in fact exchanges of statements; not in any way a build of topics based on empathetic understanding. Are you listening?

British Airways joins the list of airlines with ‘entertaining’ safety videos. However, with the likes of Thandie Newton, Sir Ian McKellen, Gordon Ramsay and Rowan Atkinson included, this one is worth a watch.

This Baltimore cop doesn’t realise his body camera is on, and films himself planting drugs at a crime scene. 

You all know what to expect if you click on this link. Finland breaks the skinny dipping world record. 749 individuals dipping for 5 minutes.