This week on the podcast we’re joined by Neil Shankar, a Tiktok creator who covers brands and design trends. Neil has over 300M views on the platform, and has a wealth of thoughts to share about how he adapts content to please the algorithm, or how he sees it as a “pet” that he has to train.
Isn’t it interesting that we analogize content algorithms with stratified, hierarchical relationships? As a Tiktok consumer, Neil describes the algo as his pet - “don’t show me this, don’t show me that. Good boy. Bad dog.” In Visions, we described the dynamic of the algo as a godlike being. From that report:
We've created new invisible gods whose blessings are fleeting, and whose curses are everlasting. But instead of life eternal, we discover more bands like Anderson.Paak.
A recent update to Amazon Alexa might help you cope with a lost loved one, by telling them to turn off the lights for you every night. Dante’s often-ofterlooked third level of hell: being forced to spend eternity as a disembodied AI to your surviving family; only for them to scream at you for playing Three Dog Night instead.
In reality, there’s a sympathetic influence that happens in our relationship with machines. It changes us, and we change it in turn.
From dog to god (unintentional symmetry, but we’ll allow it), and all points in between.
Big Retail Go Boom? Retail could be facing a trend of bankruptcies. Following last week’s Chapter 11 filing by Revlon, many analysts are bracing for a wave of pain to work through the retail sector. Despite retail sales increases year-over-year, inflation accounts for most of the topline dollar-amount growth. Supply chain and poor demand planning may lead the way to insolvency and debt protection by many in the industry. And speaking of going boom… this guy fought off a demolition excavator using fireworks.
DTC Go Boom? In a recent Twitter thread, Sean Frank, the founder of Ridge Wallet, investigated Touch of Modern, a DTC Men’s Fashion Marketplace, and their recent distressed asset sale. In the thread, Sean alleges that they are refusing to pay vendors for products purchased prior to May 28.
Coming Soon: Price Hike. Glossier has a banner going across the top of their website announcing a rise in prices coming on July 6th, due to increased costs of production. The banner includes a statement that the company wants users to know early so they “can get any favorites beforehand.”
“Silly and Pointless”. The Verge says this “won’t appeal to anyone”. Samsung teamed up with Starbucks for a special ‘bux-branded pair of Galaxy Buds 2. I’ve seen what my Airpods case looks like, and putting that into a food-form-factor is epically gross.
Sweetgreen Rewards…AND CHALLENGES. The pitch went one of two ways: either nobody actually read the brief before signing off on placeholder copy for Sweetgreen’s new rewards program. Orrr, the CEO named it and nobody wanted to tell them the name sucks. “Sweetgreen Rewards and Challenges” rolled out today in their mobile app. Life is challenging enough. Did we need more from our salad?
Cycle Anonymity. Period tracker apps are working to make user’s data secure and even anonymous after the overturn of Roe v. Wade caused many women to delete their apps in light of trigger laws.