Must Reads 269

>> 3-3-3

Good Morning Must Readers, This week’s newsletter is #269. Five years in and there are still some incredibly interesting themes shaping the future

This week’s important themes summarised:

  • Business 3’s Know how people are motivated by neuroscience to help improve performance and feedback loops

  • AI Ads Why Google, Microsoft and co will force ads until revolt from their customers. AI isn’t accurate enough to safeguard brands

  • Hybrid  Why smarter brands will remove mandates to win battles against big brands. Perks were levelled now it is time for mandates to be challenged & why will smart operators and savvy business people

  • Forever Artists How music could be shaken up by AI and being able to create forever music when artists retired or even pass away…

  • Healthier Food Snacks  We are experiencing the best and worst times for food, some of the unhealthiest snacks are remade health(ier) & then for others the worst food for made even more calories heavy. Why? Humans want balance but we crave what we crave…always have always will

» The 3-3-3 Milestones 3️⃣- Business is often broken down into threes, here’s a breakdown of how you can look at milestones in sets of 3 whether you are a CEO, consultant or coach.

Sign Up To My Other Weekly Newsletter Leaders Letters — Here’s an upcoming deep-dive on Management Vs Leadership 👇

Why most people look at management wrong and why a manager of managers is the hardest jump in most people’s career

» AI Ads 🤖- This is the least surprising story of the crazy 3 years since chat-based AI has gone into the mainstream (despite the announcement of 100m many stopped using chatgpt tech), Microsoft and Google are inserting ads into AI-generated results and brands are not happy you cannot opt-out. The issue for most will be the content they are associated with (and the inaccurate aka AI hallucinations). Most brands should have fears that AI-driven results will be out-of-date and inaccurate by the time of showing the result and paying for this “privilege” doesn’t sit well with me and likely won’t for most Marketing & Growth leads. Expect AI ads to be gamed like every other ad network.

» Netflix Pop Up 👩‍🍳- I am a fan of pop-ups when they are done right.
Netflix is opening up a pop-up restaurant to promote its new cooking show. We will see more brands go back IRL > URL to gain press and drive consumers to touch, smell and taste their brand again. Online-only brands can be really hindered by restricting their presence when they are a touch-to-trust product. This is something that won’t go away and I recommend many other brands use their Marketing budgets in creative but highly connected ways to their brand.

Have you seen the bear cubs playing at the Airbnb?


Me & the homies 15 picnic baskets deep

» Hybrid Issues AGAIN…🙄 Every work battle needs specific narratives, some used for good and others used as scapegoats. In this cycle “hybrid” is being used negatively in the press and in company policy changes to be this year’s villain. Many employees are fighting against more days in the office versus working outside of the office (I said before if we were to change the wording from office and home & then reword it to ‘workplace home’ & ‘workplace office’ could refactor how some people think of hybird. Brands did not adopt the tech and invest in better tools to make hybrid work, work). So recently when Google (Davis Polk and JP Morgan) are all adding in-office attendance as part of performance reviews. This means they have to be present in the office 3+ days every week. It’s creating real divides, office mandates are now being used in performance reviews with logging based on card swipes at Google. Employees are rightly annoyed.

Hint: Win Hybrid By Being Smart 🧠: If you cannot create a balanced discussion around for and against hybrid, companies will likely lose top talent for more flexible working environments.
FWIW if you are a smaller company you can win this mini battle by offering more flex and improving the tools rather than forcing employees into meetings rooms to “collaborate” and onto more video calls when they’re in the actual office. Very few of the best ideas or problems solved are ever released by brands are actually created in the office meeting rooms or in forced in-person collaboration sessions - it just feels like they were. Unless you are Pixar with Pixar pluses I highly doubt big campaigns are always made and created in person and then not collaborated on in silence.

» Forever Artists 🎙️- Will-i-am predicts that artists will be making music forever now that AI can create music. I believe most successful artist has two to three generations they entertain before they naturally die out, unlike classical music most artists die out with their fanbase. This poses the question of how will global music icons like Beyonce and Taylor Swift think about legacy and generational money from music will impact their approach to making music and touring.

++ Trivia Time ++ How much revenue did YouTube make in Q1 through iOS and Google Play stores? (A) $500m (B) $530m (C) $550m (D) $600m

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— Brand Saga’s —

» The Starbucks Ice Saga 🥶- This highlights the highs and lows of social media and its impact on business in 2023. Starbucks is changing their ice cubes and feeling the noise (the good, the bad and the ugly comments) across social media. Starbucks’ secret other than its menu of over 85k drink choices (sizes and customisations) is the name on the cup and encouraging UGC to promote their drinks. This story highlights the problem so many others are going to face when making changes.

» Reddit Gone Dark ❌- The US’s 9th most visited site has had a bad two weeks with changing how it charges 3rd party apps, making API calls too expensive meaning many apps just can’t make Reddit actually usable for most users. Redditors went gone dark (stop using or moderating) across the most popular subreddits to support the 3rd party apps. I use Apollo which makes Reddit usable for me (and super mods use) and they would need close to $30m to continue to operate at its current pace. Here’s a good breakdown of the drama that has been Reddit trying to make a profit (finally). FWIW Facebook, Twitter and other social networks did the same - it’s a copy-and-paste model for social networks to become profitable.

If you are in the creator space this is a brilliant and detailed interview 👇

» Healthy Donuts 🍩- Taking the junk out of junk food is something many people have strived for years. In recent times we have seen many of our favourite sugary treats re-imagined to become healthier. In a recent wave, we saw everyone attempt to see low-cal options, from 22-23 we saw bigger and more food bounce back. I predict healthier treats become a constant however many people want the extremes and we will see a huge number of companies come back with huge calories and huge portions just to go against the cultural movement.

» Sold Out ⚽️- The women’s soccer world cup (in 🇦🇺 & 🇳🇿) is a month away and the ad inventory is almost sold out on Fox, this is a huge sign of how much investment is being made and how women’s soccer is being watched and importantly discussed by far more people!

» Why Finland Is Satisfied Winning World’s Happiest Nation 🇫🇮- Finland wins the world’s happiest nation frequently and it’s down to work/life balance and high-level trust in their society according to the annual happiness studies but maybe we are viewing the question wrong, is satisfaction more apt than happiness? In a world where work and home life are blurred more and more & the demand for our time and attention is increasing, do we need to revisit or refocus our lives?

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++ Answer Time ++ YouTube estimated an impressive $530m (B). For context, TikTok was $1b (yes billion from January to the end of March).

Have a great weekend and I’ll land in your inbox next Friday,

Danny Denhard