How and Why

By Laura Bokobza

💙💛 - How and Why - Issue #23



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Laura Bokobza
Laura Bokobza
👩🏻‍💻 I am Laura Bokobza. You’re receiving this email because you signed up to How and Why, a weekly curation newsletter (1 email a week, every Monday at 7:30am (CET), to make sense of the marketing, tech, and innovation news from the prior week, just before going into the next one.). Thank you !
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Hello !
💙💛 I told you so on LinkedIn on Friday, I’m dedicating the Big One to the response of the Business and Tech world to recent events. While I usually read between 30 and 50 articles to prepare the long form, I read over 100 for this edition. The need for curation has never been so acute! This edition is therefore exceptionally long, I hope you won’t hold it against me.
🐦 Last week on Twitter : a reminder of a Web site’s basics, Yuval Noah Harari’s POV #MustRead, the Crypto Powerlist, TikTok stats before recent events, Elon Musk‘s stalker is also stalking Russian oligarques, Amazon closes (a lot of) physical stores, but opens a Beauty shop on TikTok, a nice inclusive initiative from Walmart to welcome.
  • 🇺🇦
  • The rumors about the March 8th keynote
  • The best marketing may be counter-intuitive
  • Two stories : Tumblr & TikTok
🤵‍♀️ And of course the lady of the week.
Don’t hesitate to reply to this email and let me know what you liked or didn’t like, it’s always and still a work-in-progress !
The big one
I don’t know about you, but my head is splitting, I just want to sleep. Literally. I don’t sleep anymore, and (very) badly. I fall out of bed before 4am every day, which is even earlier than my usual 5:30am without alarm.
We’re all affected by the events. One more proof of the proximity bias, of course, since the current conflict war is not the only one at the moment. However, it is the one that occupies our media, our businesses, our minds and our hearts. And partly with reason, since the geographical proximity makes it a real danger. And partly not, with in addition to the proximity the identifiable victim bias that is played to the full by the media, social or not, and our daily lives too, no doubt. We even have the Marvelization of some protagonists, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (boomerang return of his use of networks?). A risk amplified by the over-information around this war. And a very futile attempt to memify or “pop-culturalize” a reality that is nonetheless there, to distance itself. But I doubt it’s a good solution.
Usually, once I’ve chosen a topic for this week’s Big One, I read 30-40 articles around the subject, and select far fewer to share with you. This week, I read over 150 documents. From traditional media, tweets, newsletters from individuals, press releases from companies, Reuters dispatches… Because they are there. Available. Tempting. Always with the question of the source in mind - not so much in terms of reliability, but in terms of prism. Of angles. Of bias, precisely. Anyway, I digress, because this is not at all what I promised you as an analysis, and others do it much better than me, like Benoît with Flint.
I’ve tried to sort things out a bit, I hope it will help you to see things more clearly.
Information and disinformation on social networks
All wars have had their waves of propaganda and disinformation, but rarely has the speed of propagation been so great. TikTok’s algorithm is “ideal for war”. Meta has a hard time fighting fake accounts. Twitter releases a list of trusted sources.
We all need to be extra careful to avoid amplifying what might be false, like these 10 myths. There is even an urban legend called the Kyiv ghost.
Ukrainians tried to hijack Google and TripAdvisor reviews to inform the Russian civilian population of what was going on.
Business, tech, ad, and advertiser measures taken vis-a-vis Russia
But platforms haven’t just tried to fight misinformation, they’ve also responded in a more comprehensive way (Social Media Today regularly updates this article on the subject). As an illustration, Reddit is banning ads and links. All platforms block RT, by the way. Spotify has shut down its Russian operations completely, though it has been open for less than 2 years.
Western companies reacted as well, Big Tech and Media of course but also luxury companies, or others like Nike or L'Oreal, which stopped their activities in Russia. One may (cynically) wonder if this is out of conviction or to make sure they don’t lose the favors of their Western customers.
The advertising world has announced that Russian agencies will not be eligible to compete at Cannes Lions in June. Global agencies have also taken steps to accompany their teams in Ukraine. Even the staggering amounts of sports sponsorship have a (dirty) smell…
Helping Ukraine, on their soil of from ours
Ukraine is one of the breeding grounds of Tech, and companies that have staff there try to help them both to leave and to stay ( had even anticipated a safe house in Lviv).
From elsewhere, too, Tech is trying to help. Tim Cook informed that Apple would double all employee donations to certain associations. Revolut does not charge for donations to Ukraine from many countries (and will give the Ukrainian Red Cross the same amount as its customers). AhRefs CMO is constantly tweeting to fight misinformation and encourage donations. Several initiatives have been posted on ProductHunt (including Help Ukraine Win which was #2 of the month). Sifted suggests several ways to help if you have a startup.
While Station F, Jobgether and the entire French tech community are organizing their support, the most visible tech boss on the topic remains Elon Musk, who delivered (in record time) Starlink terminals to Ukraine to prevent the country from being cut off from the Internet. Trung Phan looks back at the complicated history of the tycoon’s relationship with Russia.
Cyber-security, even cyber-warfare
As terrible as the front on the ground is, it’s not the only one in this war that is also cyber. And who says cyber says borderless. France is getting ready with the ANSSI, while private companies in the sector are asking for more information sharing to be more efficient.
Beyond France, it is the whole of Europe that is preparing. Official channels remain discreet, while the names (and malware) Cyclops Blink and HermeticWiper are circulating, with Microsoft on the front line alongside the Ukrainian IT Army. Even the most famous hackers have taken sides: Conti for Russia, Anonymous against.
Role of cryptos
One of the tech novelties since the last war on European soil is blockchain. Donations to Ukraine are pouring in, but the non-fungible side of crypto and other NFTs is not the most useful right now.
The Russians also use cryptos, and it seems difficult to attack them on that ground. Which hasn’t escaped the attention of US lawmakers.
Russia’s response
Russia has of course responded and wants to censor Facebook… But not Instagram or WhatsApp. More to bully the others then? As for the country’s most prominent Tech company, Yandex, the “Russian Google”, it is very openly aligned with the government and censorship.
A possible “Internet divide”
Since 2019, there is a law in Russia that allows it to set up a “sovereign” Internet called Runet, which would allow it to control the access of the population, like China. Are we going to achieve a separation? It is possible. A new iron curtain that would isolate at least 140 million people.
Even on such a serious topic, I’m sharing a few tidbits gleaned here and there that made me smile - or not. Apple Maps‘ passive resistance to putting Crimea back into Ukraine (unless accessed from Russia), for example. The Ukrainian Librarians Association, which had to postpone its conference, but plans to hold it tenir “after the victory”. And much less funny, the spike in traffic to a 10-year-old site: a damage simulator following a nuclear explosion, Nukemap.
There, I tried to give you a comprehensive view of what’s going on. I could have gone on to the recent blockades announced by Visa and Mastercard or Russia’s likely rapprochement with China for its much-needed technological supplies. But that’s already a lot, isn’t it?
Food for thought
🐦 Twitter & Web3
📵 M no more in MWC ?
😰 Etsy seller fees soar
😜 Learn (or teach) through comics
Token of appreciation
🎁 A completely unnecessary but absolutely essential thing from the depths of the Internet.
How the European Map Has Changed
If you like this newsletter, forward it to 3 friends ? Pretty please ?
💨 Seasonal
💪 Best Practices
💰 Business
📊 Trends
📚 History
🛠 Resources
Every week, a woman whose Twitter antics makes my TL better, funnier, sunnier…
Lisanne writes about (good) email, (bad) email, copy… and she has a really cool newsletter called Connectable.
Lisanne Nausner
Did you like this issue ? Help me improve !
Who am I ?
Sparring partner, business coach, part-time COO or CMO… What I do has been called many names, but I have one goal : to help you accelerate, structure, or transform your business ! Oh, and I’m a Board member.
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Why "How and Why" ?
Keeping abreast of everything that is published today is exhausting. There is too much to read, and as we’re too scared to not read (FOMI, anyone ?), we spend a lot of our waking - and sometimes not working - hours trying to stay afloat.
As I do it anyway (both out of need for my clients and out of sheer curiosity for, well, everything), why not share with you what I’ve thought useful ? On top of my posts on Twitter and LinkedIn, I’ll share with you every week what has inspired me, surprised me, what I found insightful, or sometimes just funny.
Curator is the new creator. I didn’t come up with that, Marie did, and I have utter faith in her trendspotting.
Want the French version ? Right here.
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Laura Bokobza
Laura Bokobza @lbokobza

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