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  • 🔮 Unexpected Adventures – #132 (Updated Links!)

🔮 Unexpected Adventures – #132 (Updated Links!)

Trying again with updated links!

Hey,

The links in today’s issue didn’t work. Let’s see if this works better. Thanks to everyone for letting me know!

/Anna

Good morning,

This week, I went to Malmö for an event to learn everything I could about running a B2B software business. I think I did.

But the trip became a bit more adventurous than planned when our hotel was cancelled because of flooding, and there wasn't a single hotel room available in the entire city.

My event partner in crime (and one of my closest friends), Charlotte, and I had to be a bit creative, and we ended up in the guestroom of her family friends one city over.

At times like that, you're happy to travel with friends who are: 1. good under pressure, 2. open-minded, and 3. uncomplicated. We knew it would sort itself out somehow, and it did.

I even think we had a better time than we would have had with our original hotel plan. I met two friendly and interesting individuals who have played an important part in Charlotte's life, which gave me new perspectives on her.

We had interesting conversations and a tasty breakfast. I even got some book recommendations I might pass on someday.

What's the moral of the story? It is important to remember that unforeseen outcomes are sometimes better than what we had planned.

Another consequence of attending a SaaS event is everything I now want to implement in my business. I came home with a phone full of photos of slides with frameworks for everything from product development and growth to business culture, recruiting, and marketing.

One quote that stuck with me from Johnny Warström from Mentimeter was, "We try to reduce the 'hit by the bus' factor, meaning our business should never depend on a single individual". This means they aim for internal transparency and a high level of information overlap between individuals. As the CEO, this allowed Johnny to go on "proper" parental leave for 6 months without disrupting Mentimeter operations.

Many companies can learn from that.

Another consequence of hanging out with SaaS people for two days was finding plenty of new products to test. We've already launched a new website and changed some tools in the Better Odds tech stack. (If anything seems strange with this email, please let me know — or unsubscribe.)

As part of this, I also learned that the [email protected] email address I've happily told you to email if you have comments or feedback has not worked for months. So, if you've sent me an email and I haven't replied, it's worth resending it. 👀

Sometimes, I'm very stupid. At least I caught it now, and not in a year.

Enjoy the reading!

Anna

ArticleHow Tech Giants Cut Corners to Harvest Data for AI in The New York Times (It's a gift link so that you can read without a subscription).

Video – There has been a lot of military activity this week. Are you curious about how the missile defence systems work? Learn in this YouTube video.

ToolLu.ma allows you to create cute and simple pages for events, letting people register and discover them (if you want them to).

Case – What does 🌭 have to do with geopolitics? Learn how IKEA was fooled by Russian disinformation.

PodcastCrisis Leadership Lessons From Polar Explorer Earnest Shackleton from the HBR On Leadership podcast.

The United States is fast-tracking its TikTok ban through Congress

Internet, Geopolitics

What’s happening: In heightened tensions between China and the United States, Apple has removed popular US communication apps like WhatsApp and Threads from its app store in China at the request of Chinese authorities. Concurrently, lawmakers in Washington are revisiting efforts to ban or force the sale of TikTok due to national security concerns.

Why it matters: The app removals in China may be seen as retaliation against US legislative moves targeting TikTok, suggesting a tit-for-tat dynamic between the two superpowers over technology and national security.

The big picture: These actions reflect broader geopolitical tensions, where technology platforms become focal points. In the US, bipartisan support for legislation against TikTok is growing, potentially leading to a ban.

Unusual strategy: Republican leaders introduced the plan to include the TikTok restrictions within a set of foreign aid packages scheduled for a vote on Saturday. This approach might fast-track the process, helping to advance the bill that has been delayed in the Senate.

What’s next: The developments could escalate into further economic implications for tech companies like Apple, which relies heavily on China for its consumer market and manufacturing. Meanwhile, the fate of TikTok in the US hangs in the balance as Congress moves towards a decision.

50,000 canary islanders demand a tourism freeze, citing unsustainability and rising costs

Sustainability

What's happening: Around 50,000 people across the Canary Islands protested under the campaign "Canarias tiene un límite" (The Canaries have a limit). Major environmental groups support the campaigners' demand for a freeze on tourism numbers due to the negative impacts on affordability and environmental sustainability.

Why it matters: The protesters argue that the longstanding tourism model strains local resources, drives up living costs, and has led to housing and water crises. This highlights the need for a sustainable approach, as tourism accounts for 35% of the archipelago's GDP.

The backdrop: Following a year with 13.9 million visitors, activists, including some on a hunger strike, are calling for immediate halts to new luxury developments and a comprehensive review of the tourism sector's capacity.

What's next: Regional President Fernando Clavijo has acknowledged the need for model revisions amid growing concerns over tourism's environmental and social impacts, suggesting potential shifts towards sustainable tourism practices.

Meta's "Pay or Okay" approach to GDPR is not appropriately following EU Law

Internet, Geopolitics

What's happening: The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has decided to restrict Meta and other platforms from using the consent mechanism "Pay or Okay." This approach forced users to pay up to €250 annually or consent to data processing for advertising on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Why it matters: This decision underscores the EDPB's interpretation that consent under EU law must be genuinely "freely given," challenging Meta's model, which coerced users into agreeing to data usage through financial pressure.

Human rights for a fee: Consenting to the processing of personal data is giving up the fundamental human right to privacy. However, the purpose of human rights is that they should not be "sold" or only granted for a fee.

The true cost: The "Pay or Okay" model, where users pay up to €250 annually, is much more than the average revenue of €16.92 per user per year from programmatic advertising in the EU. The EDPB's forthcoming guidelines will likely address the use of financial pressures and their legality in obtaining consent.

What's next: The EDPB plans to expand guidelines on the "Pay or Okay" model, potentially influencing broader online platform monetisation strategies and ensuring they align with GDPR's stringent consent requirements.

Global support for climate action is greatly underestimated

Climate, Politics

What's happening: Surveys reveal that the majority globally support strong climate action, yet people consistently underestimate this support, with a notable perception gap.

Image Source: Our World in Data

Why it matters: This underestimation can stall environmental policies and initiatives, as governments and companies may not perceive enough public backing to make bold changes.

By the numbers: Studies, including one surveying 130,000 individuals across 125 countries, show around 89% support for more political action on climate issues. However, individuals believe that only about 43% support these measures.

Deep dive: The perception gap is influenced by social media and mainstream media, which tend to amplify polarising opinions. This misperception spans across all political spectrums and countries.

What's next: Bridging this gap requires clear communication about the effectiveness and fairness of climate policies, addressing specific concerns, and demonstrating the benefits of action to encourage broader and more informed support.

CO2 and wildfires: an unexpected connection

Climate

What's new: A University of California Riverside study reveals that carbon dioxide (CO2) exacerbates wildfires not just by warming the climate but by fostering plant growth that fuels fires.

Why it matters: This challenges the dominant view that hotter, drier conditions alone are to blame, highlighting the role of increased biomass from CO2 as a major contributor to more severe and frequent wildfires.

By the numbers: The study used models assuming a hypothetical 1% annual increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1850, focusing on the gas's impact on plant biomass and fire risk.

Big picture: The findings suggest that policy efforts should focus on controlling CO2 emissions alongside traditional fire management strategies like prescribed burns to effectively reduce wildfire risks.

Generation Z Surpasses Predecessors in Wealth and Workplace Influence

Finance

What's happening: While we often report about Gen Z's struggles at work, this generation, born between 1997 and 2012, is proving to be the wealthiest generation at this stage in life—significantly above millennials and boomers. It comprises over 250 million individuals globally, of whom half are already employed.

Why it matters: This generation is entering the workforce under economically favourable conditions, with youth unemployment at its lowest since 1991 and significant wage growth, especially in the United States, where hourly pay for young workers recently increased by 13%.

Source: ECONOMIST

Well-paid from the start: According to Glassdoor, select Gen Z interns at big tech and consulting firms like Roblox, Bain & Company, and Amazon land internships with salaries that translate to over $100,000 annually. This trend is a shift from traditional unpaid intern roles, reflecting a significant change in the value placed on interns in sectors such as technology and consulting.

The bigger picture: Gen Z's robust earnings are reshaping their attitudes towards work, fostering trends like "quiet quitting" and prioritising life over labour. Their financial success, however, hasn't translated into a surge in entrepreneurship or innovation, with a noticeable decline in the number of young business founders and patent filings compared to millennials.

Thanks for reading. I hope you learned something new. ✨ 

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