Stories From This Week

19th September 2020

Palantir is the most political IPO of 2020, as well as an enigmatic business. ‘Part software firm, part consultancy, the brainchild of Peter Thiel is at the centre of a culture war. Is it ethical to service the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in Trump’s America? Is it treasonous not to? – ‘Palantir’s primary challenges may not be matters of product or market, but politics and public perception.’ And here, from Buzz Feed – Thiel, the venture capitalist and Facebook board member staked his reputation on a Trump presidency. Now what does he have to show for it?’ Spoiler alert – a very great deal.

Wunderman Thompson on Moral Credit – the new brand ranking system, the importance of corporate social responsibility and the imminent consumer reckoning.

Very welcome. The 2018-2020 Creative Industry Mental Health Study. A three-year global study of the state of mental health across the creative and tech industries.

Don’t believe the US election polls. Look at the odds instead. ‘Vegas has the two candidates in a dead heat. Pretty rare if you consider how often two racehorses are ever given the exact same odds of winning. If you had to put money down to vote, who would you bet on?’

From Tim Harford. Don’t rely on algorithms to make life-changing decisions.’The difficult question here was: could we give students the grades they would have earned in the UK exams? The easier substitute was: could we make the overall pattern of exam results this year look the same as usual? That’s not hard. An algorithm could mimic any historical pattern you like — or ensure equality (within the limits of arithmetic) based on gender or race. But note the substitution of the easy question for hard.’

The American commune Is back—thanks to COVID, the recession, and TikTok.

From @here_forth and Forbes. The winners and losers from this week’s Apple Event announcement. (We had) the usual emotional porn-esque interstitials matched with execs discussing and announcing new features. Few surprises but plenty of winners and losers.’

In video meetings it’s a hassle to unmute just to say one word especially if someone else is speaking. @cameronhunter has created a video lens that uses hand gestures to show comic-book style messages instead.

IKEA Is navigating global crises with mindfulness training and humanity.

We need to go to Venus as soon as possible. Answering questions about the possibility of life there will require not one but several new missions that can directly study the planet.

Airbnb re-positions itself. ‘The pandemic has certainly hurt Airbnb, which was marketed as a product for vacationers, replacing hotels. It laid off a quarter of its staff as revenue cratered. But the platform has found a new purpose: helping non-essential remote workers work from (someone else’s) home.

Rare footage of Jimi Hendrix doing “Voodoo Child” on Maui, 1970. The music always reminds me of this scene from Withnail and I.

Lovely story, if true. A Malaysian man ‘finds’ monkey selfies on lost phone.

The suburbs get a boost from pandemic weary masses. Mass retailers and residents alike are trading in urban locales and lifestyles for the relative security, savings and space of the suburbs.

To be creative, Chinese philosophy teaches us to abandon originality. 

TikTok’s most popular creator, Charli D’Amelio, has joined rival app Triller. She is TikTok’s most popular creator with 87 million followers

Marketoonist on the sales impact of advertising.

Friend of The Filter, Street Wisdom, have their annual, global event next weekend. This is what they have to say about it – When the world goes wobbly, wander – non-profit social movement Street Wisdom leads a 60-hour relay of free online WalkShops to boost your wellbeing & inspiration in their annual World Wide Wander on the 25-27th September. You can sign up here. 

Walking in a heavy thunderstorm at night in NYC.