What I am watching today = June 18, 2019
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross
Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia
Hong Kong, Magic Mushrooms, Trump 2020, Facebook + Cryptocurrency, Argentina, Sustainable Fashion
✔️ Hong Kong leader apologizes in bid to appease protestors
✔️ First pot, then magic mushrooms? Decriminalization is spreading
✔️ Trump plans to live-tweet Democratic debate #Duh
✔️ Facebook wants its cryptocurrency to one day rival the greenback
✔️ Can $40 exercise classes save the attenuated American mall?
Thoughts on logos and branding
Frequently I am asked to help an organization with creating a logo or updating a logo - some paid gigs, many seeking a free consultation.
Based on years of experience and repeated patterns, here are some quick thoughts:
1. A logo is important, but it isn't that important: Having a stellar product and world-class service is far more important. I have worked with numerous executives who fret more over the shades of blue then how they are delivering their service and making sure their products do what it says it will do. Frankly tweaking colors and designing a logo is more fun and easier than building a global supply chain or executing superior customer service.
2. Think small and impactful: A logo is a tool to quickly provide a recognizable symbol of your organization - it's even more important as consumers are spending more and more time looking at small screens. Logos no longer enjoy the mass of a box or a bag - now they need to make an impact that works for Instagram and Twitter. Think small and impactful - you are now competing for attention on a crowded smartphone screen.
3. The Eiffel Tower test: Remember, when the tower was unveiled in 1889 nobody liked it and experts criticized it as a blight on the Paris sky. Now years later it is an iconic, instantly recognized, and a symbol of a nation. So think long-term and don't listen to experts - your logo isn't for them.
4. Your name and the associated letters are powerful: Beyond a logo or brand stamp is your name. And your name is your name. You own it. Take advantage of it. Embrace it. Repeat it. Use it.
5. Keep it simple: You are not some avant-garde artist. Keep your logo simple and remember what matters = a stellar product and world-class service matters more deserve more of your attention and energy.
Hong Kong leader apologizes in bid to appease protestors: WSJ reports, Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam made her first public apology after a record number of demonstrators took to the streets Sunday, but stopped short of fully withdrawing controversial extradition legislation.
Nikkei: Hong Kong chief signals unlikely to revive extradition bill
Carrie Lam apologizes in person, asks for 'another chance'
WP: China wants Hong Kong’s loyalty and love. It is getting distrust and disdain.
The political crisis shows how Beijing’s long-term efforts to win hearts and minds appear to be stumbling.
🇺🇸 State media blamed U.S interference.
Weibo posts supporting Hong Kong's protesters were removed.
Protest anthem “Do you Hear The People Sing” was wiped from Tencent’s QQ Music service.
@isaacstonefish: More than 25 percent of Hong Kong's population of 7.4 million people protested this weekend. By proportion, these are the largest protests in modern history. Absolutely stunning.
Tyler Cowen: Democracy is not coming to China anytime soon: The current system has delivered rapid growth and relative stability for decades.
AFP: Waves of Chinese tourists invade North Korea
Xi to NK: China said Xi will make his first state visit to North Korea this week, a trip seen as bolstering Beijing’s bargaining position ahead of a possible summit with the US.
China's new home prices keep climbing, suggesting that the housing market remains robust.
China's stimulus may give copper a lift this year. Pro-tip: the price of copper is a good tool to gauge where the economy is going - it's a metal bought in advance of future use.
Bloomberg: US colleges worry trade war imperils flow of Chinese students
Trump administration is split over arms sale to Taiwan: As the US pursues the sale of more than $2 billion of tanks and other weapons to Taiwan, the Trump administration is split over the potential repercussions the deal may have on efforts to reignite trade talks with China.
Team Trump divided.... no way...
The Australian dollar hit the lowest level in over a decade.
India slaps back at US with tariffs, lobbing small but strategic strike ahead of G-20 summit: WP reports, the penalties run as high as 70 percent and affect agricultural goods such as apples, almonds and walnuts, as well as chemical and finished metal products.
Russia, China vie for influence in Central Asia as US plans Afghan exit: WSJ reports, rivals are wary of Islamist militancy spilling into neighboring countries, while Beijing seeks to safeguard its Belt-and-Road Initiative.
Trump adds troops after Iran says it will breach nuclear deal: NYT reports, Trump ordered another 1,000 troops to the Middle East as he again vowed that Iran would not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled that the bank could cut interest rates or expand its giant bond-buying.
Economists are increasingly concerned about recession risks.
Tories: Boris Johnson’s hopes of entering the final run-off with the backing of more than half of Tory MPs received a boost today as Andrea Leadsom came out in support.
Today: Conservative Party MPs hold the second ballot of the process to elect a new leader.
The British pound remains under pressure amid political uncertainty.
Ireland to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
EU court rules against autobahn tolls: DW reports, the ECJ has rejected the fees known as "vignettes" after Austria, with support from the Netherlands, had lodged a complaint. The EU has said the German concept for the fees breaches anti-discrimination laws.
The yellow-vest 'movement' in France is fading.
Venezuela’s collapse frays its economic ties with Russia: NYT reports, economic ties between Venezuela and Russia are fraying. Russian banks, grain exporters, even weapons manufacturers have all curtailed business with Venezuela, driven away by the very economic collapse they intended to help Russia’s South American ally withstand.
Argentina blackout is embarrassment for Macri: FT reports, president imposed unpopular electricity price rises he said would improve the system.
Jacob Gallagher: Does ‘sustainable fashion’ really mean anything? https://on.wsj.com/2XUYgej
"The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10.5 million tons of textiles wound up in landfills in 2015, the last year for which it collected data."
Even if a piece is sustainable, “if it’s wack…people probably aren’t going to buy it.”
Anjana Ahuja: Our dark, quiet skies could be dazzled by satellite pollution: An extraterrestrial turf war is pitting astronomers against operators and stress-testing space governance.
Can $40 exercise classes save the attenuated American mall?
Bloomberg: First pot, then magic mushrooms? Decriminalization is spreading
World population to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.
Empty cabinet: Axios reports, no president in recent history has started their tenure with as many extended Cabinet vacancies as Trump. He has already racked up more than four times as many days with a vacant Cabinet position as any other president since Ronald Reagan at this point in their presidencies.
Americans are increasingly confident in their ability to find work if they lose a job today.
Today: Trump visits Orlando, FLA USA to officially kick-off his 2020 re-election bid. Trump will have an 8:00 pm rally at Amway Center.
NYT: Four years ago Trump was seen as a sideshow. Now he is the show.
“You go from what was probably a pretty low-stakes election to a high-stakes one,” said Brendan Buck, a former counselor to Paul D. Ryan, the last Republican speaker of the House. “When there were so many people who didn’t think he was going to win, who didn’t think it was even possible, your vote didn’t seem as important. That today has totally shifted.”
“You always have to have your base, but it sure helps to have a majority in American elections,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster whose clients include Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a former rival to Trump.
Trump bets a strong US economy will outweigh voter concerns about his unorthodox style and polarizing policies.
Trump is expected to once again offer himself as the outsider - but it’s a much more awkward pitch to make from inside the Oval Office.
Sample size of one, but telling from a voter in Ohio: "Sure, Trump is crazy. But the Democrats will nominate someone even crazier. I am sticking with Trump."
Bloomberg: Trump should be a shoo-in for 2020, but low approval holds him back
The bottom line is that incumbent presidents seldom lose re-election, especially with a peacetime economy as strong as the U.S. presently enjoys.
With poor poll numbers against Democrats, president faces coordinated opposition – but history may be on his side.
“At the moment he is on the ropes. His job approval rating has settled down to 42% or 43%. He’s down in every one of those key battleground states – New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.” -- John Zogby, a pollster, author and founder of John Zogby Strategies
WSJ: Trump plans to live-tweet Democratic debate
@marcaross (21 Dec 2018) Trump to hold at least 12 live tweet sessions starting in June 2019.
@marcaross (May 16) I can't wait for the Trumpster to live tweet the Dem debates in June and July.
Hope Hicks, once a close aide and communications director for Trump, becomes on Wednesday the first member of his inner circle to testify to the congressional panel leading a probe into possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
LAT: Pelosi faces a tough summer trying to keep Democrats away from impeachment talk
Nancy Pelosi again tried to deflect questions about impeachment Monday. Minutes later, Rep. Katie Porter called for impeachment.
FT: Trade tensions weigh on Fed meeting this week
Expectations grow that US central bank will move towards monetary easing.
Tariffs remain a major topic on corporate earnings calls.
Senator Marco Rubio filed legislation on Monday that would prevent Huawei from seeking damages in US patent courts.
Joe Biden suggests he has raised nearly $20 million for his White House bid.
@MorningConsult: Our latest Democratic primary tracking data is now live:
Biden: 38% (+1)
WSJ: Political ad spending will approach $10 billion in 2020, new forecast predicts https://on.wsj.com/2XUQSPT
The 2018 midterms generated ‘shockingly high’ campaign ad spending.
Digital advertising and fundraising capabilities, along with the increasing competition between parties, are among factors fueling spending.
“Fundraising on the internet is bigger than ever, and candidates have more reach into low dollars than ever before, and it results in more cash in the system."
Brigadoon DC | Aperitivo
Thursday, June 27
5:30 - 7:30 pm
1426 H Street, NW
An aperitivo is often described as being similar to the American happy hour, but when it's a Brigadoon gathering, it’s much more than that.
This is a free to attend, cash bar gathering designed for meeting old friends and making new friends.
RSVP - here.
Facebook formally announced plans to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra, promising a secure blockchain-based payment system backed by hard assets and designed for mainstream users.
Facebook plans global financial system based on cryptocurrency: NYT reports, the effort, with partners like Mastercard and Uber, will use a cryptocurrency called Libra that Facebook has worked on secretly for over a year. The project will have to overcome concerns about Facebook’s power and its ability to protect private information.
FT: Facebook unveils global digital coin called Libra
Initial backers for new currency include Visa, Uber, Vodafone and Spotify.
Project aims to bring stable currency and fee-free money transfers to billions of users.
Facebook wants its cryptocurrency to one day rival the greenback: Bloomberg reports, social-media giant says Libra will be better than Bitcoin. But the company is late to the party and other payment initiatives have stumbled.
Alex Webb: Facebook's libra cryptocurrency needs more friends: Advertisers don’t look convinced by the social network’s plans for a stablecoin.
Sotheby’s to be sold: French billionaire Patrick Drahi is buying Sotheby’s for $2.7 billion, ending the storied auction house’s 31-year run as a public company as it seeks to expand its digital business targeting art collectors more accustomed to online shopping than live auctions.
The deal announced Monday pulls the inner workings of the art market even deeper into the shadows. As a private company, Sotheby’s will no longer be required to disclose quarterly results, which had put it at a competitive disadvantage compared with arch-rival Christie’s, owned by another French billionaire, Francois Pinault.
Bloomberg: Sotheby's deal extends France's discreet grip on finer things
Heathrow expansion to cause ‘30 years of misery.’
Mobileye expects to see self-driving cabs hit the road in 2020.
Big advertisers and social media form alliance to fight ‘unsafe’ content online: WSJ reports, Procter & Gamble, Facebook and others tout the benefits of addressing hate speech and other problems together.
"The Global Alliance for Responsible Media and announced during the ad industry’s annual Cannes Lions festival, will develop specific steps to protect both people and brands from what marketers call “unsafe” content."
FT: Top 100 global brands 2019: the full ranking https://on.ft.com/2IoBOoj
For the first time Amazon tops ranking compiled by WPP’s Kantar.
There are 15 Chinese names in the top 100 this year, up from only one (China Mobile) when the rankings first began in 2005.
There is a change afoot from individual product and service brands to a new era of highly disruptive ecosystem — a shift pioneered by several top-ranked brands, including Amazon and Apple.
Here's how 10,000-Plus MBA students grade their schools https://bloom.bg/2IoPL5M
RIP: Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress and jeans queen, dies at 95
FIFA Women's World Cup = Today
Italy v Brazil @ 3:00 pm
Jamaica v Australia @ 3:00 pm
Knockout stage qualified teams:
The top two placed teams from each of the six groups, plus the four best-placed third teams, will qualify for the knockout stage.
Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.