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The100: Class, algorithmic tyrannies & jumping sticks

“Welcome to AirSpace”

We (or maybe just me?) may moan at what the algorithm churns out in our “because you did this, you might be interested in that” sections. However, more dangerously, algorithms are flattening our culture. Kyle Chayka has written a book on it and, using cafes as an example, has summarised her thoughts:

“In the case of the cafes, the growth of Instagram gave international cafe owners and baristas a way to follow one another in real time and gradually, via algorithmic recommendations, begin consuming the same kinds of content. One cafe owner’s personal taste would drift toward what the rest of them liked, too, eventually coalescing.”

The burden of opinions

Perhaps a new year’s resolution should be to give up some opinions? According to Adam Waytz it may help you feel lighter, happier, and less combative as a result:

“Frequently, I have had an experience—common to many I assume—of walking into a meeting with no strong opinion on which room a seminar should be held in or who should sit on a committee to allocate office space. Yet, because of my obligation to make a decision, I voiced my preferences and then exited the meetings feeling bogged down by a newfound sense of accountability. As my research and that of others has shown, to grant someone the agency to act on their opinions is to grant them the heaviness of responsibility. Perhaps it is no coincidence that voicing an opinion is referred to as weighing in.”

“Consumers love brands that don’t stand still”

Helen Edwards is encouraging us to focus on innovation this year. And not necessarily disruptive innovation either. There are, in fact, 4 other routes you could travel. Helen goes into detail about each, but in summary: 

  1. Incremental innovation (look at current workarounds)
  2. Find new ways to cross the line between product and service
  3. Reduce one product characteristic to improve another
  4. Process innovation and introducing efficiencies (hello again, AI)


You’d think we’d be over it by now, but one thing you can guarantee is that the Brits will talk about class. Our obsession with class is illustrated firstly by one article saying Britain loathes the middle classes and another saying ads use Northern accents to depict the working class. As this old clip shows, was the north south divide really depicted by how often people eat fish and chips?

And finally…

A touch on the niche side, but if you like watching moving maps, this zoomable map of European train journeys is an absolute rabbit hole. I know you’ll go to where you live and watch the train moving along the line.. I did. It’s ace!

The winners gallery from the Close-up Photographer of the Year is properly impressive. Although, I must admit, the invertebrate category gives me the heebie-jeebies.

And I absolutely loved this via Ali Taylor:

Latest from the research oven:

Our first self commissioned study of the year is on alternatives to HRT during the menopause. Hugely relevant for health and personal care, of course. And, according to the Waitrose Food & Drink deck (page 18) in that trends folder I shared in the last The100, it’s on food & drink radars too.