- Better Odds
- 🔮 Wrapping Up 2023 — #118
🔮 Wrapping Up 2023 — #118
What would your emotional Wrapped look like? Here is mine.
Since this is the last newsletter of 2023, I’m trying to find a good way to summarise the year.
I don’t want to contribute to the “everything is perfect” culture we’ve created. A LinkedIn post from earlier this week, where an awarded entrepreneur revealed his battle with mental issues without anyone suspecting anything, made me feel even stronger about our shared responsibility to make it possible to be human no matter who you are and what you do.
While I am truly grateful for what this year had in store, it has also been hard. At the same time, I think the beauty of bumpy roads is the people who travel with you. And that reaching new levels in life allows for new adventures.
Some feelings are hard to translate into words. If someone could make a Spotify Wrapped of my feelings during 2023, maybe it would look something like this:
🦄 🤖 Welcome to Your 2023 Emotional Wrapped!
As the year draws closer, let's reflect on the rich tapestry of emotions that painted your 2023. From navigating life's complexities to forming deep connections, your emotional landscape has been as dynamic and vibrant as ever.
🌝 🌚 Navigating the Emotional Cosmos
Navigating Big Questions - Like a philosopher on a quest, you delved into topics larger than yourself. The deep thought and contemplation added a profound layer to your year, enriching your understanding of the world and yourself.
New Close Friendships - The joy of forming new, meaningful connections has been a highlight of 2023. Like discovering a new favourite song, these friendships brought fresh melodies of trust and companionship into your life.
Healing and Trust - A journey of self-recovery and building trust — within and with others. This gentle and nurturing process has been like a soothing harmony, healing past wounds and strengthening your emotional core.
Action and Adaption - You've shown remarkable adaptability and courage this year. Each step taken in the face of change was a bold note played in your life's symphony, demonstrating your resilience and determination.
Inviting in the Fear - Bravely facing your fears, you've embraced them as part of your growth. This courageous act, though daunting, has been a powerful movement in your emotional symphony, leading to new opportunities in all facets of life.
🌻 🌵 Your Emotional Landscape: Peaks and Valleys
Most Insightful Period: Deep reflections in March set the tone for a year of growth.
Strongest Bonds Formed: Warm summer months of June and July, blooming with new and deeper friendships.
Key Moments of Healing: Travels in September put things in perspective.
Pivotal Actions: Bold moves in Early October and December, adapting to life's ever-changing rhythm.
Courageous Confrontations: Facing fears head-on at the end of summer and throughout fall.
🔎 😵💫 Deep Dive into Your Emotional Spectrum
Dominant Emotion: Curiosity - A constant companion in your journey of self-discovery.
Newly Embraced Emotion: Authenticity - Welcoming this emotion has opened doors to deeper connections and personal growth.
🌈 💖 Your Emotional Palette for 2023
Black dominates the beginning of the year and early fall, but a rich blend of warm oranges, thoughtful purples, deep reds, and optimistic greens has complemented it beautifully.
🌱 🔮 Looking Forward to 2024
As you enter the new year, carry the lessons and emotions of 2023. Each feeling has been a note in your life's melody, creating a symphony that is uniquely yours. Here's to a 2024 filled with growth, connections, and bold moves.
🥰 👻 Thank You for Embracing Every Emotion in 2023!
As 2024 unfolds, continue to explore the depths of your inner worlds; they provide the colours that paint our lives.
Embrace the clichés. What would your yearly emotional “Wrapped” look like?
Finally, thank you so much for this year. I’ve sent 43 Sunday emails — a lot of news, insights, and personal reflections when you think of it. I will take a break from the newsletter over the holidays and look forward to having some time off to recharge. But I’ll be back in January, as always.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
📍Five Small Things
Read — The three novels that affected me most this year were Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, Assembly by Natasha Brown, and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Recommended holiday reads.
Listen — Did you know that one of the most classic Christmas songs has a beautiful story about late-in-life success connected to it? Darlene Love was a sought-after background singer, working with Elvis, Tom Jones, Cher, and many others. But she never got a true break until she was asked to sing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on David Letterman's Christmas show in 1986 (at 45). That performance became a yearly tradition, and she has released several Christmas albums since.
Learn — Need an icebreaker for your holiday parties? We buy millions of dollars worth of Poinsettia flowers (“Christmas Star Flower”) for the holidays every year. But how has this bright red Mexican flower become so popular — and associated with Christmas? Spend 4 minutes to learn it all.
Explore — What did we search for in 2023? Google’s Year In Search just dropped. Take a look if you want to learn what was the most searched in your country or around the world. ChatGPT made the list in many countries, making it a bit meta that people search for the tool that moves them away from search.
Try — Looking for ways to make ChatGPT write in a voice that fits your brand? Or yourself. Use this character spreadsheet from The Creative Maker and try it out. All you have to do is prompt: “Write like [Character]. Focus solely on his/her distinctive writing/talking style. Emphasise the unique elements of their writing/speaking, such as tone, complexity, and formality. Avoid references to specific works, characters, or notable events associated with them.”
🗞️ The News Section
Houthi Rebels Disrupt Red Sea Shipping, United States and Allies to Heighten Maritime Security
The United States government is actively engaging with the situation in the Red Sea, where Houthi rebels in Yemen have intensified regional tensions. Attacks on Red Sea commercial shipping lanes, crucial for global trade, and over 70 drone and missile strikes towards Israel have heightened security concerns in the region.
These aggressive actions by the Houthis have significantly disrupted commercial shipping, forcing vessels heading to Israel's Eilat port to reroute around Africa, a longer and costlier path. This change is a direct consequence of the Houthi attacks, which have been aimed at ships they claim are associated with Israel, although many of these vessels have little to no actual connection to Israel.
The United States, along with its allies, maintains a strong position against these Houthi attacks, viewing them as a threat to international maritime freedom. The United States plans to launch a special multinational task force under its central command to safeguard these critical shipping lanes. This force aims to prevent further Houthi actions and enhance regional security, focusing more on general security than directly escorting ships.
In a bold response, the Houthis have warned that they will target any naval vessels from the U.S. or its allied countries participating in the task force. They've also threatened to block the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a key maritime route if the Gaza conflict continues. In response to these developments, the Israeli government is closely monitoring the situation and has chosen to observe the impact of the new task force before taking any unilateral steps.
Major Transparency Flaws in Google's Search Partners Network Make Ads Show Up On Questionable Websites
An investigation by Analytics has uncovered a critical transparency problem within Google's Search Partners (GSP) network. For example, one notable Fortune 500 company, initially believing its ads were limited to Google's site, was surprised to find them on various external websites within the GSP network. These locations included contentious sites like Breitbart.com, explicit adult content sites, and even websites potentially under Iranian sanctions.
Another example is how the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had its search ads served on the website of the Iranian Alloy Steel Company based in Tehran. This company is under US Treasury OFAC sanctions under US Presidential Executive Order 13871 – “Imposing Sanctions With Respect to the Iron, Steel, Aluminum, and Copper Sectors of Iran”.
This situation wasn't unique to just a few companies or organisations making mistakes in their ad setups; prominent brands such as BMW and Uber also experienced their ads showing up on Breitbart.com despite their efforts to prevent such occurrences, casting doubt on the robustness of current brand safety protocols. The report further highlighted a lack of clarity in the GSP network, with brands and their media agencies struggling to get precise information on where their ads were displayed. Even Google's documentation acknowledged this gap in providing specific details about ad placements within its Search Network.
Using open-source methods and publicly available data, the report identified advertisements from various government bodies, intelligence agencies, and top-tier companies on sanctioned Iranian websites and adult content sites. This is particularly concerning for brands in highly regulated sectors like financial services.
Temu Sues Shein for 'Mafia-Style' Tactics and Unfair Practices in U.S. Court
The international discount e-commerce platform Temu has initiated legal action against competitor Shein in a United States court. The lawsuit alleges that Shein has engaged in aggressive and unethical practices, including "Mafia-style intimidation" of shared suppliers, misuse of intellectual property laws, and the detention of merchant representatives. It also accuses Shein of seizing devices and threatening those who collaborate with Temu.
Both companies, originating from China, have gained significant traction in the U.S. market, attracting consumers with low-priced products like Shein's $5 T-shirts and Temu's $3 earphones. The lawsuit focuses primarily on Chinese vendors, with Temu alleging that Shein has engaged in illegal detentions, stolen business secrets, and pressured merchants to abandon their platforms.
This legal battle is part of an ongoing rivalry, with both companies having a history of lawsuits against each other. In the past, Shein sued Temu for allegedly encouraging negative feedback from influencers and using fake social media accounts to lure customers. Conversely, Temu previously brought an antitrust lawsuit against Shein, claiming unfair practices in their dealings with clothing manufacturers.
Shein's recent steps towards a confidential public listing in New York, which could value the company at $90 billion, has brought renewed focus to its business methods and supply chain. This move adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing legal disputes between these competing e-commerce giants.
📈 The Insights Section
80% Concerned About Climate Misinformation, and 73% Trust Scientists for Climate Information
The study Climate Change News Audiences: Analysis of News Use and Attitudes in Eight Countries offers new perspectives on how individuals in eight nations interacted with climate change news in 2023, compared to the previous year.
It focuses on shifts in climate news consumption patterns and the developing narrative around climate justice and solution-focused journalism, providing insights into how people worldwide consume news about climate change. The analysis presents several essential findings:
In most of the eight surveyed countries, there has been a slight increase in climate change news, with an average of 55% of respondents consuming climate change news the previous week.
Climate news avoidance and trust in climate information from the news media have remained relatively stable. However, there is a slight decrease in avoidance in the UK, USA, and Pakistan.
Scientists are the most trusted sources of news and information about climate change, trusted by an average of 73% of respondents. They are also more frequently seen as sources in the news media than any other source of information.
Over three-quarters (80%) of survey respondents express concern about climate change misinformation, a figure consistent with data from 2022. Politicians, political parties, and governments are frequently mentioned as sources of false and misleading information.
Survey participants expressed high interest in various types of climate coverage, including news on the latest developments, positive news, and coverage presenting solutions. However, there was no clear preference for the type of solutions journalism they were most interested in.
58% Find Joy in Cooking, New Survey Highlights a Significant Link to Overall Well-Being
A survey from the Japanese food company Ajinomoto Group and Gallup uncovered fascinating links between cooking, shared meals, and overall well-being. Nearly six in 10 people (58%) worldwide said they enjoyed cooking in the past seven days. This showed a gender disparity, with 76% of women finding pleasure in cooking, in contrast to 40% of men. 17% of respondents said they did not enjoy cooking, and 24% said they didn't cook.
People who said they enjoyed cooking in the past seven days are about 1.2 times more likely to categorise themselves as "thriving" in their life evaluation than those who did not or hadn't cooked. Additionally, those who often eat meals with others reported experiencing more positive emotions, as indicated by higher scores on Gallup's Positive Experience Index.
"Solitary diners" in high-income countries — people who habitually eat by themselves — are three times more likely to evaluate themselves as "suffering" than those who eat with somebody they know at least once per week.
These insights emphasise the significant role of cooking and communal dining on our overall well-being, challenging the notion that everyday activities are of little consequence to life quality.
ChatGPT Leads the Way: Fastest Growing Brands in the United States Revealed in New Report
The Fastest Growing Brands 2023 report from Morning Consult Brand Intelligence shows what brands grew most among American audiences this year. The ranking is based on the growth in the share of consumers who say they would consider purchasing from a brand over the year. It showcases companies and products that significantly increased consumer appeal and awareness in 2023.
What are the fastest-growing brands among adults in the United States? It shouldn’t come as a surprise …
If we instead look only at Gen Z, it looks very different:
And as a non-American, it becomes clear that it’s not obvious how much of this would translate into any specific market. But it is interesting to see how much it varies among audiences.
Some other findings from this report:
Generative AI's Breakout Year: 2023 was notably marked by the rise of generative AI, with ChatGPT being named the fastest-growing brand in the US and Open AI in 7th place.
Dominance of Social Media: The list includes four social media brands, highlighting the significant impact of social media platforms.
Influence of Economic Uncertainty: The ongoing economic uncertainty has shaped consumer preferences and the ranking of brands.
Generational Preferences: Different generations have shown varied brand preferences, such as Gen Z's inclination towards Dollar General, due to economic factors and social media influence.
Impact of Celebrities: For example, the arrival of Lionel Messi in Major League Soccer notably boosted the league's popularity, especially among millennials.
PS. If you want the full PDF and don’t feel like signing up for their trial, reply to this email, and I’ll pass it on.
Happy Holidays! Thank you for reading these newsletters this year. I hope you learned a lot. ✨
PS. If you got this email from a friend, click here to subscribe.