Weekly Reading

I'm still working my way through Catherine Nixey's The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World, a couple days to go and it'll be done with it 🤞. It's not a bad book per say, but, well, I guess I'll get into it next week when I'm done with it.

I started this week off by reading an article on shipping containers, specifically their use in architecture. I don't think a better symbol of the global economy exists, but I sure as shit wouldn't want to live in one.

This article's being doing the rounds of the email community since it was published early last month, but I've been a bit slow on the uptake. Was e-mail a mistake? Using a hyphen in email certainly is, but let's ignore that glaring oversight. I've never been in a position where I find myself inundated by a million emails at work and I've certainly never been one of those inbox zero folks (as the 47k unread emails in my promo tab can tell you) but increasingly I understand the frustration of being inundated by endless messages and notifications from other services. This article doesn't talk about the attention economy, but that's precisely what it's about. It's not an email problem and we need to look at the bigger picture and realise that it's a lifestyle problem.

I've started seeing contactless donation points dotted around the city, most recently at the Wallace Collection, but as we move towards an increasingly cashless society it's nice to see them being used for charitable causes.

Not all is good in scooter land with high-poverty areas of San Fracisco not being served by Scoot, despite promises being made to the contrary.

Renowned fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester's enjoying the country life and making some gorgeous homeware in the process.

The Jeffrey Epstein story keeps unfolding, with news surfacing of John Brockman's involvement in Epstein's opaque world. This is a fascinating read on how the world's of culture, science and finance collide and one agent's involvement in the very middle of it.

Ever see a story about a weird patent filed by a tech company? Here's the reason why.

The G7 summit was held in Biarritz last week (24-26th August), is it still fit for purpose?

Derek, aka Die, Workwear wrote an excellent article on the Slow Death of Glamour, following the recent bankruptcy filing of Barneys and the tectonic shift in fashion marketing we've seen in the last decade from glossy fashion magazines to social media influencers.

Perhaps the real problem is that the age of authenticity killed our ability to believe in glamour. Without any reason to go to Barney’s physical locations, getting out of the house just became an extra step to acquire something you can get online.

Thanks to The Outline I discovered a fascinating project called Every Noise at Once that seeks to map out all of the various musical genres that can be found on Spotify. So far it's a really fun way of discovering new music that sounds similar to stuff I'm already into.

Considering investing in Uber? Yeah, you probably shouldn't do that.

A crime's been committed in outer space, now what?

I love Moneylab, their latest challenge is to reach $15k in MRR in 6 months, you should follow their progress, you're sure to learn something on the way.

In a similar vein, and unashamedly taken from that last article, let's talk about startup costs. I'm working on a 'lil project right now (👀) and this was a much needed read.

The tracking debates continue unabated, Farhad Manjoo shows us just how much data can be slurped up in a few web browsing sessions. On a similar line the clowns at the IAB are desperate to save their skin, here's hoping the recent cookie guidance from the ICO puts the final nail in the online ad industry's coffin.

and finally, hot off the back of last week's book finish (On China by Henry Kissinger), QZ have published a thorough breakdown on China's increasing economic presence on the African continent.

In just over two decades, China has grown to become the biggest foreign player on the continent. It is now Africa’s largest trade partner, its largest infrastructure funder, and its fastest-growing source of foreign direct investment, pledging $60 billion in 2018 versus just $5 billion in 2006. Top officials from China regularly tour the continent, with premiers and foreign ministers making 79 visits to 43 different states between 2007 and 2017, according to consultancy Development Reimagined.

Looking for something to listen to? Belief Defect's the way to go.