If you can't beat them..


Time has been really tight this week so this newsletter will take a slightly different path.

I’ve chosen to do a quick round-up of things that have caught my eye over the last few days, threaded together by a theme of ‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’

Seven examples from seven sectors. Each signalling a novel change in course, leading to unlikely collaborations, copycat features and welcome relief from pain points.

Normal service will return next week. Have a great weekend!



1. Hire a hacker

It can be good business to work with rather than against the hacker community. HackerOne’s 100,000-strong army find and fix bugs for the likes of Shopify, Snapchat, Twitter, Uber, Nintendo and US Dept of Defense. Being a poacher turned gamekeeper pays well. To date $14 million has been paid to hackers and highest bounty on offer stands at $50,000.

2. Service saviour

It’s now possible to get somebody to deal with call centres for you. For a fee. Complaints aren’t going anywhere but we can change the way they make us feel.

Service app will take on your customer service issues and take a commission on any money recouped. It’s as easy as that.

3. A game of patience

The challenge for The Economist is simple enough: Ad revenues are collapsing and the publisher needs to convert its 44m social media followers in paying subscribers. That’s easier said than done of course. It’s a courting process than takes nine weeks to bear fruit but they’ve managed to cut the acquisition cost by half. How? Read on.

4. Nicknaming London

The dramatic changes to London’s skyline draws marmite reactions. As a nation we’ve quickly warmed to divisive architecture by giving them novelty names: Cheese Grater, Walkie Talkie, The Gherkin, and so on. Monocle discusses who is behind this rebranding exercise and why it happens in the first place.

5. Facebook Discovery

Not content with owning our social circles, Facebook is venturing into LinkedIn and dating-app territory. New feature “Discover People” is an attempt to grow and re-energise your network based on people near you or like you.

6. Original content is making a comeback

Apple is finally dipping its toe in the streaming series water with ‘Carpool Karoake’ and Dragons’ Den style ‘Planet of the Apps’ soon to launch on Apple Music. Dramas will follow, taking longer to produce.

Apple aren’t sure where it’ll lead them but with Netflix able to turn away $2.29bn in advertising every year you can be sure they’ll find a way to make it work.

7. Early-age financial independence

With children getting their first mobile phone aged 10 it was only a matter of time before banking followed. Greenlight is a debit card for kids, allowing parents to preload money for certain stores and track how it’s spent. Pocket money will never be the same again.



One final thought...

Got a burning idea for a side project? Give it your all for two weeks and ship. Don’t wait for perfect.

Stuart Goulden