November’s Essential Reads

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In this month's top reads, our CEO looks at passwords rendered from brainwaves, the rise of no-frills brands and a national obsession with KitKats.

Gosh.

What a Summer. What great weather. So lovely to see everyone so bloody delighted the whole time. Very little time to read, so it’s worth being selective… 😉

First up, an absolutely excellent article on self-driving cars by Rodney Brooks. Refreshingly sceptical, he points out that most countries haven’t even managed to automate their public transport systems yet.  Admittedly, not an easy read to start on.

Super interesting ethical aspects at play too.

A riveting read over at CB Insights on Facebook’s new areas of focus. The head of FB Chat and the VP of Product at Instagram are both on a new team exploring how to best capitalise on Blockchain. Starting from scratch.

While we’re on high tech, ever wondered what the internet actually is?

Or if the next step for passwords (post fingerprint and iris) might just be your brain?

Everyone responds differently to the same stimulus, so apparently the keys to our lives will soon be stored in our brainwaves.

Separately…

A great overview on the rise of no-frills food, clothes and beauty brands, as heralded by a 300m raise by San Fran startup Brandless. Particularly pertinent to those in the highly branded luxury and premium space. We are entering The Brandless Economy it seems.

The dilemmas faced by luxury brands eh? Actually, there are quite a few. European Business Review sums up.

Different cultures different vibes. In Japan, it seems Kitkat’s are so much more than a chocolate, rather a fully blown national obsession.

We do a lot of work in the travel and hospitality space (and have an event coming up on hospitality futures at the Ivy in London on the 15th). Skift is always a brilliant source for industry news, and a recent article on the balance of human and digital service strikes a chord. A theme that we’re (I’m) always harping on about.

Adjacent topic — check out our whitepaper on the future of adventure which we launched with Shangri-La at a dinner at The Shard.

Anyway. Tech should never be for the sake of tech…

…though when it plays a valuable role in the customer experience, it changes industries. As Bloomberg notes, restaurants are shrinking as we move into the delivery mindset. In some, tables and chairs are being packed away to make room for shelves. In other places, new ones are popping up on the back of analytics insights.

We’re working with The Collective, who are pioneering the (controversial) co-living movement. It’s a deeply interesting topic as it reflects the changing nature of culture, community and an individual sense of belonging. This Guardian article is a nice bit of background for those new to the concept.

We’re also prepping a big series of articles around this, the first was published last month on the ‘branded landlord’.

Have a skim.

And watch this space.


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Also published on Medium.