The world is changing at an unprecedented pace, and with that comes a new set of challenges. The more I look around, the weirder and wackier things seem to be (Conscious AI, Cultivated Meat, UFOs, Elon, High Schools with planetarium, and even common dating practices like taking walks on a first date = cringe, etc.. ). On top of that, information is becoming outdated faster than ever before. If only we could go back to simpler times.
What am I trying to say? Expect a new email from me every 1-2 weeks, filled with my latest insights and updates.
I’m still figuring out what or where this email newsletter thing is going, but with how fast innovation and information move, waiting a whole month to share the latest just doesn’t seem right. Content and new insights has a short shelf life these days. My aim is to ensure that you don’t miss out on any crucial developments or amazing discoveries (at least, as I see them) that might be lurking in various rabbit holes across the vast expanse of the wacky world wide web. So, here we go..
The main theme for this week’s edition is:
- Big Ideas + 2023 Trends
- AI + Education?
- Social Commerce + Gen Z
- Climate Tech
- Gen X Across The Globe
- New Social Consumer Apps
- Creativity and more!
Reply in the comments if there’s anything specific you’d like to see. And please forward to 1 person that might find it valuable!
🔥🔥🔥 Must Read > ARK Investment Management - 12 BIG IDEAS for 2023
Innovation is Taking Off!
Out of all the reports I've read this year, this 153-page gem is a personal favourite. It's definitely worth checking out, even if you just skim it. Unlike other predictive reports, ARK nails it when it comes to linking all the themes together.
🔥🔥🔥 Must Read > The New Gatekeepers - Ben Evans
The End of Free Money
This report from Ben is another must-read - it's packed with incredible insights. Grab a second coffee.
The Future of Education? Artificial Intelligence In the Classroom
The Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of AI in Education with Reid Hoffman
Of the many transformative possibilities of artificial intelligence, its potential to impact education is among the most exciting. It’s also one of the most contentious.
Reid Hoffman sits down with Chat-GPT for a fireside chat. And it's a mix of awe-inspiring, terrifying, awesome, and breathtaking, to say the least.
“As an AI language model, I can enhance the education experience by supplementing and augmenting human teachers, enhancing the learning experience with interactive and engaging content, and increasing accessibility to education.”
This episode had me vibrating, man. So many jaw-dropping and mind-blowing moments! While strolling through Stanley Park, my mind couldn't help but drift off to the potential of this technology to level the playing field for emerging markets and underprivileged countries. Should governments focus on investing in AI chat-based education systems over traditional streams? Seems like a huge Duh! Who owns and operates these LLM systems? And how can we get everyone on board?
I had another realization about the concept of AI literacy, similar to the time when reading and writing were first introduced, where children were taught these skills while their parents couldn't fully participate in them, creating a divide between the pre and post-literacy eras.
So, it’s crucial to onboard parents, educators, and children in a thoughtful way. As I mentioned in an earlier discussion, mastering the skill of prompting - knowing how to prompt effectively - is essential. This sets the stage perfectly for our discussion of AI GUI, which we’ll explore further down this page and next week (link to post incoming.
I'm all about ‘learn by doing’, so check this episode out and open up a ChatGPT browser! Blog Post: https://greylock.com/greymatter/ai-in-the-classroom/
This podcast with @RosalindPicard about Engineering Emotion & AI was a pleasure to listen to. For those playing or building with AI, this is a must-hear.
The pod explores the topics of regulation, big data, and unexpected challenges
Takeaways: create with a sense of curiosity and ethics in mind.
Social Commerce & Youth Culture Unveiled
The next big trend in the creator economy and DTC e-commerce world is boutique marketplaces. A collection of curated products from around the internet can now be provided by creators as their own online store or marketplace. Own your site, checkout, customer. No affiliate links, or promo codes.
Here are some other discoveries or insights:
- Instagram sunsets live shopping, and TikTok has discontinued its e-commerce efforts within Reels, as it was unable to gain traction outside of Asia. Social commerce or video commerce is a widely adopted tactic in others markets like China but has yet to take off in North America or other parts of the world. However, I stumbled on a few marketplaces worth checking out: Whatnot from YC, talkshoplive, and a new beta marketplace called ISO, which was created by former Snap teammates. The phenomenon of live streaming the unwrapping/boxing of collectible cards is in full display and people go ape.
- Instagram’s launch of Broadcast Channels is an attempt to adopt the Super App model. The feature allows creators and brands to own ‘private traffic channels’, encouraging them to invest more into the platform and create unique experiences for their super followers. If successful, these experiences offered through Channels could potentially replace or replicate email marketing within a messaging platform, similar to what happened with WeChat.
- Buffer launches an AI Assistant so you can easily generate ideas with just one click and repurpose your existing content multiple times, which can help you increase engagement across all social media platforms. Buffer AI Product Page / Video walkthrough.
- I recently discovered Pietra, an end-to-end e-commerce enabler based in New York. They offer influencers a complete platform that provides sourcing for physical products, white-labeling, fulfillment, e-commerce, and shipping - all as a single solution. This led to discovering Popchew, a ghost kitchen on demand for influencers cover 45 cities across the States, and print on demand platform Spring. It seems that Mr. Beast utilizes both Popchew and Pietra. There is certainly an opportunity for someone to create a comprehensive, sustainable solution with viable supply chains, but that may not be as profitable and could even be slightly anti-consumer. Perhaps Everybody.World will get there.
Curious about Gen Z's views on the future of work? Check out this tweet that summarizes an ongoing trend:
Keep an eye out for a forthcoming blog post and deck dedicated to Gen Z and the Future of Work, but in the meantime, here are a few additional shares:
- Streaming platforms in China provide users with the ability to search locally. This leads to influencers setting up outdoor portable streaming stations in wealthier neighbourhoods to attract attention and higher tip$. Additionally, they enjoy gathering as a community versus being at home. The attention economy is on full display.
- So WTF is Digital Fashion in 2023? In this Substack, Dani explores the contrast between physical and digital fashion (IRL vs un real), particularly the growing trend of direct-to-avatar sales. While this space may have lost some momentum due to the NFT market downturn, I’m optimistic about the potential for direct-to-avatar fashion to promote sustainability once it’s on a low-emission blockchain or off-chain altogether. Do you own online swag?
- OpenSea just dropped their fees to 0%
- The 2020 post by Other Internet titled ‘Squad Wealth‘ is definitely worth revisiting, especially in light of my recent thoughts on the future of work. Although I may have already shared it in a previous issue, the concept of small groups working towards ‘squad wealth,’ or what I like to call ‘squad actualization,’ is still relevant and compelling. The idea behind squad actualization is that a small group can work together on a shared external mission that aligns with their personal core values and flow, with the potential for experiences of transcendence, or levelling up as a collective. This approach can lead to a powerful sense of purpose and fulfillment, not to mention the potential for achieving impressive results as a team.
Gen Z Trends
“For any brand or individual that wants to embody realness, the margins have become the only safe place to be.”
“For the young and online, a fluctuating or fluid self isn’t just allowed – it’s table stakes”
Don't be a mid. Read the full report with dedicate microsite pages for the following:
🏗️ Test Flights - Builders Gotta Build
- Airbuds. Social Consumer is making a comeback! There’s plenty to explore, but the team at Cappuccino recently released Airbuds, one of the best apps I’ve seen in a while. What does it do? It adds a social network layer to your music playlists, allowing you to connect with your friends, discover, and share your favourite jams. If you’re a music enthusiast, you’re going to love it. Speaking of music-based social networks, the idea of connecting with your close friends through an AirPods app that combines music, social connections, and personal well-being has been on my mind for a while. Although the pandemic slowed things down, I was actively working on two products that leveraged the Spotify API and user base: Pump Up The Jam (which I couldn’t get to product-market fit in a crowded wellness market, but big thanks to Simon who helped build it) and Felix.fm (though customer development hit a few snags as people are often very private about their daily morning routines - I’ll share more on this topic one rainy vancouver day).
- The new @theoasisAI app is beautifully simple and useful. Hit record, ramble, and it summarizes what you said in several different formats. Super handy for writing an email. blog post, or social content. Download the Oasis TestFlight iOS Beta now.
- Stops is a humble endeavour to deepen your love with Photography. Forget about overlay grids, photographic rule books and cameras with 100’s of knobs. These are not essential. What you need is a camera that makes you fall in love with the process. Download the Stops TestFlight iOS Beta now. Created by eff.
The shutdown of Zenly by Snap is likely to pave the way for new and exciting social consumer apps that are both beautiful and playful. I have a strong feeling that France will emerge as the next Social Consumer hotspot.
Are you currently working on any innovative ideas or products, and do you need some extra beta testers or feedback? Let me know!
Social Impact + Climate Tech
- Mill offers a kitchen bin that dries, shrinks, and de-stinks leftover food, eliminating food waste. Matt Rogers, a former Apple engineer and co-founder of Nest, is using his passion for climate challenges to fuel a new company called Mill that aims to turn food waste into chicken feed. They just came out of stealth mode with a $100 million investment from Prelude Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Google Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Mill has 100 employees. Its headquarters are in San Bruno, Calif., and its R&D facility is in Seattle. Press Release, or visit https://mill.com/ for more details.
- Crusoe is on a mission to align the future of computing with the future of the climate. In layman’s terms, green bitcoin mining via flaring. I first learned about them by watching an insanely high-quality YouTube video produced by Goldman Sachs.
- Government greenwashing? In Australia’s Outback, a controversial cash crop is booming: Carbon.
Gen X - Curious about what kids are really doing online?
If you’re a parent and want to better understand what your kid is up to online, particularly in terms of video content, social media, and education, and establish some guidelines, then this report from Qustodio is for you. Some takeaways:
This report sheds light on the online activities that children worldwide are most engaged in.
- In the coming years, the challenge will be to strike a better balance between screen time and family time.
- Addressing the ongoing tension between screen time and family time will remain a key priority.
- Families are playing an increasingly active role in their children’s digital experiences.
- Ensuring children’s online safety requires a collective effort from parents, educators, and policymakers.
- The popularity of platforms like Roblox and YouTube is truly remarkable! Or. at least I found it nuts!
China and India Are Poised to Become the Next Global Powerhouses
Incredible as it may seem, India now boasts over 750 million internet users, up from nearly zero just a decade or so ago. China, the world’s most populous country now has over 1.03 billion internet users, which is more than triple the amount of the third-ranked United States, with only around 307 million internet users.
A curated list of interesting content from the future, IRL, and across the web:
- Apple is making significant investments in Safari, and they recently made a major announcement regarding the release of iOS and iPadOS 16.4 beta 1. This release includes support for Web Push and other features for Home Screen web apps (including 135 new features in webkit). Essentially, this means that in the short term, website builders can leverage the browser to offer push notifications and other features, without the need to develop a native iPhone application. Announcement and look at the Safari release notes word count.
- Work in tech? Find a fast current, not a large body of water.
- While adding small plants to your home may seem like a good way to improve CO2 levels, according to Alex Van de Sande twitter thread, their impact is minimal. What I'm really interested in is getting a CO2 sensor! What if your bedroom or home is C02 rich? How would you ever know?
- Although I don't closely track innovation in the navy or army, I have a soft spot for the wonder of flight. Check out this massive seaplane and funding announcement from the us navy. Also, this youtube explainer on Giant Ekranoplans. A quote from the new announcement:
“seaplanes that would fly less than 100 feet off the ground and carry 90 tons of cargo more than 6,500 nautical miles”
- Jerry Seinfeld Interview: How to Write a Joke. Although he can be a bit of a control freak, there's no denying that he delivers. After all, good things often take time. A trait shared by many of the greats.
- “Being honest counts. Start with the ordinary before extraordinary.” Ricky Gervais Tells A Story About How He Learned To Write.
- Feeling creative block, or a lack of imagination. Try the ‘cut up technique’ pioneered by William S. Burroughs and discussed here by David Bowie.
- Could you work in this writing shed? In 1982 ROALD DAHL takes the BBC to his very humble writing shed, where he does all his work and shares his daily process.
- Piano Genie, an intelligent controller that allows anyone to improvise on the piano!
- Nice architect vibes, especially the Blodgett-Calvin Residence. Slides 01, Slides 02.
- Interesting pod > Turning Canned Water into a $700M Media and Health Company, What Makes Truly Great Brands, How Founders Can Build Their Brand From Day 1 Today with Mike Cessario, Founder and CEO @ Liquid Death.
In the slow lane:
- Baseball set me up for life. John Jaso walked away from Major League Baseball at 34, potentially leaving millions of dollars on the table. The sea was calling.
- Step off the aspirational treadmill and forego some material opportunities in exchange for more time to spend enjoying the things that make for a good life.
- A Night in the Club, Then Early to Bed. A wild night out starting at 7pm. The Before Midnight parties promise all the thrills of a hedonistic night out, but with a respectable finish time for older dance music fans. It’s Annie Mac from BBC Radio 1.
Questions or Quotes Swirling in My Head
“Every Solopreneur I know faces similar struggles: Fears of irrelevancy, feeling fraudulent, impostor syndrome, wondering if they are “good enough”, chasing other people’s success, yo-yo’ing confidence, etc. In a weird twist, this is what keeps them driving forward, too.” - Justin Welsh
“As an artist, I’ve done research in all sorts of libraries, large and small. Whenever I hit a new one, I search the catalog for personal diaries, the more raw and homespun the better” - Kristin Posehn
“Never take your gifts for granted, move away from anyone who does. They’re not for free, they’re not accidental”. Goethe said, ‘What we nurture in ourselves will grow, that is nature’s eternal law.’ Amid the distractions, your gifts are waiting for your attention. Believe in them.
Thanks for reading. What are you working on these days?
Reply if there’s anything specific you’d like to see. And please forward to 1 person that might find it valuable! Have a great week!