These are the questions you’ll read about in this week’s edition of the newsletter. I’m on a bit of a midwestern tour over the next few days too, with an event in St. Louis today and Chicago early next week. Let me know if you’re in either city and want to connect!
Artists Embracing Their Multiversal Identities … Maybe Out of Desperation
The story about an AI-generated hit song leveraging the voice of singer Drake created considerable panic in the music industry over the past week. Some, however, are running toward the chaos … perhaps because they feel they have no other choice. Canadian electro-pop artist Grimes has already offered a 50% royalty split with any creator who clones her voice and makes a hit song with it.
This same week, supermodel Eva Herzigová worked with virtual production studio Dimension to have her body and movements scanned with over 70 cameras so they can offer a Metahuman version of her which will be able to star in “virtual fashion shows in VR or 3D browser-based experiences, serve as a model for digital wearables” and participate in live video streams.
In The Future Normal, we opened the book talking about Multiversal Identity as a term to describe how we would all increasingly feel the need to extend our identities across digital platforms. For some, it’s clearly more urgent to do so than others. These two pioneering artists are indications of a wider trend that we will continue to watch.
The Web Browser For People With ADHD Promises Less Distraction
Having twenty tabs open on your computer doesn’t help anyone to focus, but for people with ADHD, the constant availability of distractions can present a major hurdle to getting anything done. Sidekick is a web browser built specifically for people with ADHD with features like a single button to mute all sound, distraction blocker and focus mode. Taken together with other productivity practices like “body doubling” (where a person with ADHD works on an annoying task with or alongside someone else to help them get it done), the emergence of these types of tools are not only fascinating to watch … they also have potential to help anyone with or without ADHD to get better at focusing in the times when it’s hardest to do.
The “Bros For Decarbonization” Are Not A Joke. They Might Save the World.
The “Decarb Bros” sounds so much like a joke that the Twitter account for the group promises it is “not a parody.” In case you’re unfamiliar, the Bros for Decarbonization are a group of mostly young researchers, climate tech workers, policymakers and people of any gender who reject the rampant “doomerism” that says we’re screwed and climate change can’t be reversed. Instead, they dedicate themselves to promoting all the good things happening in the world and positive innovations that can (and are) making a difference.
More than just promoting, they are advocating greater investments, attention and regulatory support for these efforts. All while promising that the world can be saved and things can get better. It’s a message that certainly resonates for me as I just co-authored a book all about imagining a better future. I just wish groups like this weren’t so rare that just finding one warranted an entire profile piece in the NY Times about their optimism.
IKEA Dubai Becomes First Retailer To Let Customers Pay With Time
In the Jebel Ali IKEA location in Dubai, customers who choose to share location data in Google Maps of how far they traveled to get to the store can now “Buy With Your Time” by getting a discount based on the distance they drove. In effect, the promotion gives them credit for the “dedication” they show in getting to the store. In theory, they can also get savings based on the amount of time they spend shopping–which anyone who has been to an IKEA knows is always about eleven hours longer than you expect you’ll be there. According to an IKEA spokesperson, the logic behind the program is altruistic:
“We think it’s only right to reward our customers’ efforts by repaying them for the time spent reaching us. It’s our way of helping the Dubai community make the most of every minute.”
As the Forbes reporter who shared the story notes, the campaign does take the celebration of consumerism to a whole new level, and the tracking required in order for it to work is a pretty blatant data grab. Still, the fact is IKEA stores are often in remote locations and the entire experience does take a long time. So if consumers feel like that time might be rewarded in the form of discounts — perhaps they will more happily spend hours shopping and come back more often, as the brand hopes. If they wanted to make people really happy, though, they would offer a discount based on how much time you spend putting all that stuff together after you do get it home.
Coachtopia and the Rise of the Circular Craft Movement
“Coachtopians” are self-declared believers in the power of reuse and giving products a second life. This is a movement started by the fashion brand Coach to unite their consumers who believe in repurposing high quality products to create entirely new ones. The concept, dubbed “circular craft,” is starting to gain steam and a selected community of upcyclers and climate activists are lending authenticity to the campaign as part of the beta launch. So far, the idea is clearly popular as the first product drop sold out in 48 hours and the brand even opened a real life location inside a Selfridges location in the UK. This is a powerful idea. On trend, unique to the brand, involving the right people and already financially successful. Other luxury brands will likely soon follow with initiatives of their own.
Even More Non-Obvious Stories …
Every week I always curate more stories than I’m able to explore in detail. Instead of skipping those stories, I started to share them in this section so you can skim the headlines and click on any that spark your interest:
- Black Mirror Season 6 Is Coming!
- Walmart Is Using AI to Negotiate the Best Price With Some Vendors
- Fascinating Graphic of Words Used In Cannabis Business Names
- Twitter’s Legacy Blue Checks Are Gone At Last, But Formally Verified Users Don’t Seem to Care
- Cities Keep Building Luxury Apartments Almost No One Can Afford
- Yelp Enhances Consumer Experience With New Discovery, Review and Services Features
How are these stories curated?
Every week I spend hours going through hundreds of stories in order to curate this email. Looking for a speaker inspire your team to become non-obvious thinkers through a keynote or workshop? Watch my new 2023 speaking reel on YouTube >>
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