Friday Reading #92

For those readers who have followed Goodstuff and Friday Reading for a while, you’ve probably heard us talk about SWAN UK quite a bit over the years, it’s a cause close to our hearts. Thousands of children every year are born with rare genetic conditions which are impossible to diagnose, leaving families uncertain and often isolated at an incredibly difficult time. Today is Undiagnosed Children’s Day, aimed at raising awareness of these issues and what SWAN can do to support them. Please share with your friends and family, it has a real impact for this small but fantastic charity.


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High fashion can be a perplexing world from the outside, from the experimental eccentricities on the catwalk of London Fashion week to the mind boggling prices some will pay for a plain white t-shirt. So when luxury handbag brand Balenciaga recently created a $2150 homage to the humble blue plastic IKEA bag, it was met with the predicable mix of befuddlement and derision. This week IKEA responded with a straightforward, tongue-in-cheek ad reminding us how to spot the real thing, from the crisp packet rustle when you shake it, to the 40p price tag. 

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After the ad disaster that was Pepsi, Heineken have released their new (anti-Pepsi) ‘worlds apart’ experiment. It depicts pairs of strangers with polarizing opinions (think feminism & climate change), neither aware of the other’s views, building a bar together. Once the bar has been built they discover the other person’s views shown to them by film, and are given the option to leave or sit down, have a beer and discuss their differences. Amongst the political and personal views portrayed through the ad, the message still remains; have a beer and chat about it. Importantly, the beer is not the answer in itself – but it’s a means to working things out on a human level. A smart, honest insight which never feels forced or contrived.

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Love them or hate them, Amazon’s model of an amazing blend
of low prices, thought leadership in technology and profitless prosperity has
made them one of the most influential companies in the market. In a recent
letter to shareholders
, Big Jeff outlined his philosophy which elucidates a lot
of Amazon’s strategy, victories and failures. Essential reading for all, fast
decision making, customer focus, embracing of trends and a focus on the goal
rather than the process.

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Trawling through the streets of London, ducking in and out
of underground stations, annoyed by the busy hustle and bustle of the
slow-moving commuters and dreading your 9am meeting with what’s-his-chops…relatively
low on the list of things to do for most would be to check the quality of the air that is
quietly infiltrating your lungs. However, Silicon Valley start-up Sprimo, want to make air-testing a thing, an actual thing with their new
handy (quite literally) air tester which plugs into your iPhone
to give you
‘real-time air-quality scores’. The ‘tiny device checks the air for VOCs
(volatile organic compounds)’ so you can always be up-to-date with your daily
intake of…well…air.

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