Super Apps, Leadership Neighborhoods, and Roundup #20
From France’s forecasts and Argentina’s tourism to Lego ducks and DNA advances, the intrigue and irreverence continue—and tricky questions emerge.
Image from XK studio’s work for Apple
We’re back — now with a whole bunch of new subscribers in the mix. Hello!
Thanks to recommendations on Substack (looking at you, Henry) and the magic of the algorithms, this pandemic-born experiment has been picking up some steam.
At the top of this issue is the biggest of the new, then the quick links roundup below moves through a pile of intrigue across business, culture, life, tech, science, and more.
Yes, Elon and Twitter make an appearance in this issue—but with a new scoop of perception.
No, I have not included the incredible ChatGPT in this issue—but I do love that its emergence reemphasizes the inevitable future of the “Infinity Articles” shown in the last issue.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s roll into the twentieth issue of The New New.
Two Big Things
What do Elon’s Twitter and Satya’s Microsoft have in common? They are both looking to bring the China-based WeChat “Super App” model to the world.
Lost in the daily drama around the Elon era of Twitter is his vision for its future. Driven by his original vision for his old 90’s company, X.com, and inspired by Tencent’s uber-popular China-based WeChat app, Twitter may soon transform into a Super App. For example, Twitter is now registered with FinCEN for handling money transmissions.
It turns out Elon is not the only one who has Super App visions dancing in their heads.
Microsoft is reportedly considering also building a “super app” that “could combine shopping, messaging, web search, news feeds, and other services in a one-stop smartphone app.”
In a “can’t beat ‘em, infest ‘em move,” these potential Super Apps would create ecosystems within ecosystems. New walled gardens within walled gardens. Apple and Google are watching closely. Microsoft news is leaking. Twitter visions are buried in other drama. But, when the dust settles, expect Twitter to be part of the pending race to build the first true Super App outside of China.
Two forces are colliding, and they will transform the future office space design.
Force #1: More than ever, employees want their leaders to be transparent in how they run their businesses, but the challenge is that remote work makes visibility and access trickier than ever.
Force #2: Within hybrid work models, companies and their employees recognize that offices remain a key piece in driving culture and innovation, but the challenge is in gaining the momentum that will make commutes worth the trouble.
At the intersection is a unique opportunity to redesign workspaces. The opportunity will change executive expectations and shape a new generation of leadership behaviors. What is the opportunity? It is in designing offices with leaders in the heart of the action.
Or, as McKinsey’s Workplace Strategy and Change Leader Phil Kirschner tells it: “‘Congratulations [executives]. You are the new amenity. It used to be the gym, the cafeteria, being able to bring puppies to work, whatever it is, but the executives are the new amenity.”
Rounding It Out With the Roundup
Stretchable Screens, pushing beyond foldable and rollable, these new smooshable displays can work across curved surfaces such as skin, clothing, and furniture
FakeCatcher, detecting deepfake videos by analyzing “blood flow”
Minifig Duck, Lego’s first-ever 3D printed object is a throwback to their first-ever toy (and will be a collector’s treasure)
Working with Others
Partner Ops, as businesses shift from go-to-market to go-to-ecosystem, a forgotten “ops” is returning to the forefront
Offsite Startups, working out the kinks of a travel industry in its infancy
Tourist-only Exchange Rates, Argentina is discouraging all-cash transactions (and collecting more taxes) from visitors
PASTE DNA, building on the CRISPR gene-editing system, MIT researchers have designed a new tool that can snip out faulty genes and replace them with new ones
Two Fathers, One Egg, a new technique for same-sex conception is raising some tricky questions
Lowering Weights, rather than lifting them, may be a more efficient way to increase muscle mass
Eye On What’s Electric
Electricity Forecasts, France’s main TV station now include energy forecasts as part of their daily weather reports
Self-charging Headphones, using “Powerfoyle” technology, this solar cell-covered wearable converts all forms of light into energy
Tree-powered Batteries, transforming a by-product of wood production into a lithium-ion battery
Plant-based Fur, moving forward by advancing a “fiber augmentation and finishing process”
O+, a new framework for sustainable brand experiences that is built for on where sustainability narratives are headed next
Still Rattling Around
Until the next issue, let’s get re-allured by the alliterations in Issue 13 by seeing how dinos, dragons, dark zones, and debranding were only a small part of the intrigue. (Plus, I still cannot get “mouth haptics” out of my mind.)
The New New is an irregular—and often irreverent—roundup of emerging experiences, culture-driven experiments, and scoops of perception.
Now, let’s go put down the weights and call it a workout.
PS: Please keep the feedback and suggestions coming. I love digging into all of it.