Quaranzine 027

The Akin's email of bits.

So how was everyone’s V day? 

Yeh, my thoughts exactly. So lets swiftly move on to more important things.

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In keeping with our collective change theme, let’s start with a spotlight on the economy.

Covid-19 has affected incomes around the world in different ways. The rich have gotten enormously richer (40 Americans have grown their wealth by $500,000,000,000), while the not-rich have started fundraisers on GoFundMe in record numbers. GoFundMe’s CEO has written an important op-ed, we implore you to read - “The situation is nothing short of a national emergency…. Congress, Americans need help, and we can't do your job for you.” Why is it important: this is the economic context we’ll be designing for, for the next 18 months. 

Elon Musk added #bitcoin to his Twitter bio, and stock prices jumped, then he bought $1.5billion of Bitcoin and stock prices jumped again. Whatever, not interesting. Interestingly, it’s re-sparked the debate about whether Bitcoin is good or bad for the environment. It’s a conversation of tradeoffs that we should be having more often. What are the compromises we’re making today to build the future we want tomorrow? Oatly talked about their compromises. What are yours? 

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This week as ever we have lots to share; some exciting new projects, some thought-provoking articles and some stuff you should just know about. 

  • The Edelman’s 2021 Trust Barometer is out. “After a year of unprecedented disaster and turbulence – the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis, the global outcry over systemic racism and political instability – the Barometer reveals an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions and leaders around the world. Adding to this is a failing trust ecosystem unable to confront the rampant infodemic, leaving the four institutions – business, government, NGOs and media – in an environment of information bankruptcy and a mandate to rebuild trust and chart a new path forward.” No pressure you guys at brands, but is this that surprising an insight?

  • Ad Age is provoking brands to be smarter with their hires, “It’s important to have someone in-house to build out your business in new, exciting ways…. Hire a chief entertainment officer.” The article raises a valid point; we know that stirring emotions is the cornerstone in creating meaningful connections with brands, most easily done with music or entertainment.

  • This brilliant Substack article breaks down the importance of the flywheel model for brands to follow in our current landscape. We must be weaving brand and business back together, to create more magic/ entertainment.

  • A brand which has acted swiftly on this insight in a lockdown landscape is Vans - launching a new content platform this week - Channel 66. A creator-focused music and culture digital programming broadcast platform with special guests from Vans spaces in NYC, LA, Chicago and Mexico City.

  • A cultural institution which is transforming post-Covid is London’s Tobacco Docks. They have announced a new digital reality event concept called Tobacco Dock Virtual on Easter Weekend. Multi-platform parties will be hosted online. Once live music events can return after the pandemic, the physical and virtual venue will be able to combine simultaneously, with integration from a selection of mobile gaming platforms.

  • This brilliant article musicxtechxfuture explores why music IS the creator economy. “Whereas crowdfunding has strong roots in music, platforms such as Twitch, TikTok, and YouTube are first and foremost video-sharing services aimed at connecting people through experiences and stories. By now, we know how important music has been and still is when it comes to growth on these platforms.”

  • An entertainment show to shoutout is Faboo TV. The project began as a queer club night. It evolved into a YouTube show, when the pandemic all-but decimated the queer club spaces, denying the queer community these crucial opportunities for self-expression, connection, and collective celebration. 

  • Want to understand and learn more about all of the Internet's weird and quirky subcultures, get on the aesthetics wiki vibe. The Atlantic explains it as “the internet’s one-stop-shop for figuring out whether your vibe is more “cactuscore” or “synthwave” or “pastel goth.” Personally, I am, particularly into Vaporwave.

  • Another weird and wonderful internet thing. TikTok users have been transforming themselves into their “Republican-sonas” AKA their Republican personas, which mostly appears to involve doing themselves up with expired make-up poorly applied. Read about it in Dazed here.

  • Have you heard about Michael Goldhaber, no, well you should have. The internet rewired our brains; he predicted it would… “In 1997, Mr Goldhaber helped popularise the term ‘attention economy’ with an essay in Wired magazine predicting that the internet would upend the advertising industry and create a ‘star system - whoever you are; however, you express yourself, you can now have a crack at the global audience’.” Read this brilliant piece in the NYTimes interviewing him.

  • Last but not at all least, the one thing to click on this week is The Inheritance project by The Atlantic, which is profoundly moving and vital work. “Too much knowledge has been lost, too many stories distorted, too many people forgotten. We mourn for all we do not know. Yet the vision and resilience of Black America are shaping this nation. Our future demands that we unbury the past.”

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Thanks for scrolling. As always keep positive and testing negative. 

TA x