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My Favorites of February: Great Ad From Denmark, Rape and Reconciliation & Design at Aston-Martin

28 February 2017

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This ad from Denmark’s TV2 station is really cool

I’ll try to make the future posts less political, and less Trump-focused (because smart blogging is not just bashing, and because I’ll need & want to become more constructive at some point). But resistance is necessary when revolting things happen, and it can’t be toned down, so February still was very much about defending political sanity. You’ll see in the links. Beside that, you’ll also find artificial intelligence playing poker, a beautiful ad from Denmark or a great article about Macedonian teens influencing elections just to buy themselves an BMW.

A cool presentation by the head of customer relationships at Captain Train (formerly Capitaine Train, recently acquired by the British company Trainline, and currently rebranding as Trainline). The brand is known in France for its sleek user experience and great customer service, but particularly for its humorous tone in different moments of the customer journey. If you understand French, do have a look at the presentation. It’s a bit long but very useful and entertaining. Yes, a presentation about online customer service being entertaining; true story!

Yes, a presentation about customer service that is entertaining!

People still write letters. And the President of the United States reads them; some of them. This article is about the army of interns who read all the incoming letters in the White House, and about the way some of these letters and emails make it all the way to the President. Whoever sits in the Oval Office, this is an interesting article about democracy, citizenship and the diversity of desires and life stories of American citizen.

Interesting article about democracy and the diversity of life stories of American citizen.

We grew up in an age where democracy is a given and autocracy was studied only in school or university. It was either far away (North Korea) or happened long time ago (Nazi Germany). This article starts with something I often do myself: a projection into the future (2021), prospective journalism if you want, looking back to today and explaining how Trump built an autoritarian regime after his election. “[This] is possible only if many people other than Donald Trump agree to permit it. […] The story told here, like that told by Charles Dickens’s Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, is a story not of things that will be, but of things that may be. Other paths remain open.

This article is a projection into 2021, explaining how Trump built an autoritarian regime

Who in this room was the class clown? Who are step parents?the voice says, asking apparently different people to step forward when prompted about their lives and opinions. The message: we’re all different but share many things in common: “And then there’s suddenly us. We who believe in life after death. We who have seen a UFO. And all of us who love to dance. We who have been bullied. And we who have bullied others. And then there’s us who had sex this past week. […] And then there’s all of us who just love Denmark.

In this ad, apparently different people are prompted about their lives and opinions

This is from the New York Times, and it’s an opinion piece from a notorious Trump adversary. And it’s titled “Donald the Menace” so you won’t be surprised of the editorial angle. The reason why it’s on my favorites of February is that its conclusion draws a parallel to Trump’s preference for management rather than diplomacy: “Think about it: If you had an employee behaving this way, you’d immediately remove him from any position of responsibility and strongly suggest that he seek counseling.” Of course, the boss of the White House doesn’t see it that way. But think about it.

This article draws a parallel to Trump’s preference for management rather than diplomacy

A propos management, here’s a cool piece from the FT. This article analyses the political situation by looking at the combination of sociological and technological developments. In other words: it’s because people care more about their personal lives and less about politics, because they and get informed more through technology than traditional media, that an unlikely candidate like Trump has been elected. It’s not a political piece, it’s about paradoxes in today’s society (“The jobs people want are Analogic. Those they will get are Deliveroo“) and its unexpected outcomes (“[Does technology] augment and complement humanity [or is it] widening the gap for populists and worse to fill?“).

Not a political piece but an article about paradoxes in today’s society and its outcomes

After beating humans in chess, at a TV show or at the game Go, a computer has reached a new milestone. Libratus, a machine/computer/artificial intelligence built by two researchers at Carnegie Mellon university, played no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em – an especially complex form of poker in which betting strategies are more important than probabilistic calculations – and beat the world’s best poker players. This article goes behind the scenes and, more importantly, explains why it’s a milestone.

This article goes behind the scenes of this computer beating humans at poker and explains why it’s important

I had not watched a TED talk for a long time, but this one is worth watching. In 1996, a teenager from Australia raped a teenage girl from Iceland. In this extraordinary talk, Thordis (the girl from Iceland) and Tom (the guy from Australia) share the stage (!) about 20 years after their relationship, and talk about the years-long chronology of shame and silence. A deeply human and very touching discussion – or dialog – that invites us to think about the power of forgiveness without making easy shortcuts.

A deeply human and very touching dialog about the power of forgiveness, without shortcuts

Aston Martin has a Chief Creative Officer, or head of design, like all other car brands do. This was my dream job when I was a kid, so I took great pleasure to read this piece from The Verge, an interview of Marek Reichman. He explains, among other things, why he collaborates with Red Bull (not the brand, but the F1 team) on the AM-RB 001 which is “the car that sets the tone for the next century in terms of technology and our competitive nature.

He explains why he collaborates with Red Bull. Not the brand but the team.

In Wired, meet the teens from Macedonia who spread fake news. They don’t have any political motivation (“One brother is for one party, the other brother is for the other party, they argue. […] The media is washing our brains, and the people are following like sheep.“) but see it as a way to earn easy money. They are just starting to realize, without caring much, how much impact it has on the other side of the globe. Funny observation from one of them: “Bernie Sanders supporters are among the smartest people […]. They don’t believe anything. The post must have proof for them to believe it.

They are just starting to realize, without caring much, how much impact they have

I did teach to 1st year business school students this past month, and most of my class was aimed at giving them the desire to look what’s happening in the world, to be curious about the technologies and tools they use daily, to know that Skype and Linkedin are owned by Microsoft, that Instagram and Whatsapp are owned by Facebook… I also taught them about artificial intelligence, crowdfunding, IoT and other technologies that they’ll use in the future, and this article is a case in point to show how the corporate world moves, adapts, innovates. Why would a behemoth like IBM partner with a crowdfunding website like Indiegogo ?

I teach about technology, and this article shows how the corporate world moves, adapts, innovates

For more, check what’s on my reading list any time on Twitter.com/yannigroth/likes or Medium.com/@yannig/has-recommended, includes much more than the above. Thanks for reading !

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Shaun Coffey permalink
    28 February 2017 11:37

    Wonderful post. Thank you Yannig

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