A Chinese podcast called “How to Make Your Voice More Attractive” has 218,000 paying subscribers. Overall, the market in Chinese self-help subscription podcasts was worth $7.3 billion in 2017, compared with just $314 million for all advertising-funded podcasts in the US. [Jennifer Pak]
When he took over the bookshop chain Waterstones, James Daunt gave individual store managers control over which books to stock and how to display them. Over seven years, returns dropped from 20–25% to just 4%. [Robbie Millen / Benedict Evans]
Vanilla pods now cost $500/kg, roughly the same as silver. Madagascan farmers have briefly become vanillionaires, causing chaos in areas where the nearest bank might be a day’s walk away. [Annah Zhu]
A Spanish bakery will install a ‘thermal breadbox’ on the side of your house (for free!) and deliver warm bread every day [Pablo Alarcon]
This was interesting to read about losing a week’s worth of photos from a memory card failure. I have had my own woes with memory cards and USB drives failing without backups being done. The costs are quite prohibitive for restoring hardware failures as indicated in the piece. The main lessons are getting many cards (reading negative reviews to judge failure rate), backup often and use a camera with dual card slots.
Some negative customer reviews are frivolous because they are rooted in user error, or because they concern themselves with delivery rather than the product’s quality or performance. However, negative reviews are generally more significant than positive reviews.
If you think that one shouldn’t focus on the negative while the vast majority of reviews are positive, consider that on Amazon, the average rating for a product is 4.4 (out of 5) as found here by analyzing 7 million reviews. Even a product with an average 4.0 rating (4-star) is below average. The large majority of products are rated above 4.0, so the difference between a great product and a subpar product is less than 1 (star) on average. On the other hand, we’ve just seen that the number of 1-star reviews for different cards varies by a factor of four.
And what kind of new concession should be offered? That is easy. What Mr Johnson would need to win a second referendum is an emergency brake on free movement of people, allowing the UK to limit the number of EU nationals moving to Britain if it has surged beyond a certain level.
In retrospect, it was a big mistake on the part of the EU not to give Mr Cameron exactly this concession in his renegotiation of the UKâ€™s terms of membership early this year. It was the prime ministerâ€™s inability to promise that Britain could set an upper limit on immigration that probably ultimately lost him the vote.
Mongolia will become a global pioneer next month, when its national post office starts referring to locations by a series of three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names.
The new system is devised by a British startup called What3Words, which has assigned a three-word phrase to every point on the globe. The system is designed to solve the an often-ignored problem of 75% of the earthâ€™s population, an estimated 4 billion people, who have no address for mailing purposes, making it difficult to open a bank account, get a delivery, or be reached in an emergency. In What3Wordsâ€™ system, the idea is that a series of words is easier to remember than the strings of number that make up GPS coordinates. Each unique phrase corresponds to a specific 9-square-meter spot on the map.