The economics of cool

February 9th, 2024

Together with

We’re in the Age of Soloculture. Rob Engelsman and Alexa Beck, the founders of the strategy shop Quick Study, have coined this brilliant term to describe “the unique worldview a person holds based on how they consume, manipulate, and contribute to the transmission of information.” While Soloculture is as unique to an individual as a fingerprint, it can be shared as a way of helping people understand each other better, especially since so many today feel like they’re living in their own bubbles more than in years past 🙋‍♀️. The latest Study Guide is focused on sports (in honor of Super Bowl Sunday) and why sports are the last true monoculture and how Solocultures made that happen. You don’t wanna skip this read.

In other news… OpenAI is developing AI agents to take over your work, audiences love throwback series, and constant innovation is at the core of what brands are considered “cool.”


Top Trends

YouTube → Knuckles

Google → Kobe Bryant

Reddit → Christian Bale

Was this email forwarded to you? Subscribe

New episodes every Thursday. Tune in.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

“Let me handle this.” // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Midjourney

OpenAI preps a robot takeover… of our devices

The Future. OpenAI wants to take over your work with the development of two AI agents — one for tasks localized to your devices and another for completing web-based assignments. When rolled out, the agents could radically displace human clerical workers as everything becomes automated — possibly making chatbot managers the hot new job on the market.

Personal autopilot
OpenAI is working on AI agents that take over your mouse and keyboard, performing the tasks in real time.

  • One would complete complex tasks on your device like creating a spreadsheet from a document of information or filling out your tax forms.

  • The second agent would take on web-based tasks like curating data from different sites (similar to Perplexity or Arc Browser), booking flights and hotels, or even building travel itineraries.

Both agents would require express permission from users to perform the tasks, would likely have to be given access to all of a user’s relevant data, and would need to be stored on the user’s device locally. ChatGPT, on the other hand, currently does its computation in the cloud.

These technologies are still in development and have no release date. But, when they do release, they’ll take OpenAI one step closer to creating what CEO Sam Altman called a “supersmart personal assistant for work.”

facebook logo  twitter logo  linkedin logo  mail icon  URL Button
ENTERTAINMENT

Courtesy of USA Network

Streaming audiences crave character commitment

The Future. In 2023, audiences rewarded popular, long-running, throwback shows (Suits, Friends, NCIS) with outsized viewership, turning older series into fresh hits. Partly a consequence of strike delays, a push for committed comfort viewing, and the “Netflix effect,” streamers could start to invest in longer-running series (but fewer overall shows) as a way to both boost engagement and cut costs.

  • According to Nielsen’s rankings, the top 10 most-watched shows in 2023 were all series acquired from networks or cable brands —  this includes the big winner of the year, Suits, at a sky-high 52 billion minutes viewed.

  • The Top 10 shows logged a cumulative 339.5 billion minutes of streaming — the biggest total in four years (when Nielsen started releasing end-of-year totals).

  • This makes it the first time that no streaming originals cracked the Top 10 in four years, even though overall streaming viewership grew by 21%.

Last year’s Top 10 shows were so popular that they accounted for a total of 3% of all streaming in 2023.

It clearly pays off to have hit syndication… but having 100+ episodes ain’t as easy as it sounds.

So, now we want to hear from you…

YOUR DAILY POLL

We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Do you watch reruns for comfort?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

66.9% of you voted No in yesterday’s poll: Would you join a virtual march?

“This is just more fake BS that distorts and cheapens the reality of life.”

“It would be disingenuous ‘cause I get distracted too easily.”

“This is just silly. The type of ‘activism’ that gives you all the altruistic feels without getting your actual hands dirty.”

“Depends on the march.”

“What is the point? Protests were meant to be disruptive, not dialing it in. Jeez, how lazy are we?”

facebook logo  twitter logo  linkedin logo  mail icon  URL Button

We dig bringing TheFutureParty newsletter to you at no charge. And it’s all thanks to our sponsors. When you support them, our newsletter can keep growing. Support our sponsors here.

Extremely simple skincare

The world is complicated these days. And the last thing we need is to make our skincare routine way too complex on top of it.

Tiege Hanley is an easy-to-use skincare system created with men (and those who identify as men) in mind.

Tiege Hanley’s skincare system comes with all the basics:

What more does your skin need?

30% off! You’ll get that, too, on your first box — plus a FREE gift.

CULTURE

Nike Mags from Back to the Future 2 // Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Young consumers love brands that are cool

The Future. YPulse, which tracks and measures “coolness” across 1,200 top brands, released its annual report, detailing the brands Gen Zers and millennials consider to be… well… the coolest. Since constantly innovating is at the core of what’s considered cool, brands that make sure they’re on the cutting-edge of emerging trends (even when they never fully take off) may keep getting the cool points.

The economics of cool
YPulse defines “coolness” as “unique and stands out from their competitors.” Which brands fit the bill?

  • For 13 to 17-year-old consumers, the top brands are TikTok, Nike, and YouTube. 

  • For 18 to 24-year-olds, they’re Nike, Fenty Beauty, and Jordan. 

  • For 25 to 39-year-olds, they’re Nike, Savage x Fenty, and YouTube.

If you’re thinking, “that’s a lot of Nike, Fenty, and YouTube,” you’re right… and that’s purposeful. YPulse chief content officer MaryLeigh Bliss told Axios that each of those brands constantly innovate, keep up with trends, are inclusive and diverse, and have either major celebrity founders, partners, or endorsers — all the hallmarks of what makes a brand cool.

Is being cool important to a company’s bottom line? It would seem so — 69% of 13 to 39-year-olds report that they’re more likely to purchase from a brand that’s considered cool.

facebook logo  twitter logo  linkedin logo  mail icon  URL Button

Highlights

The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Post Malone and Swae Lee’s “Sunflower,” featured in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, is the first single to ever go Double Diamond (20 million streams or downloads). Read More → riaa

  • The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has added a category for Achievement in Casting — the first category to be added to the Oscars since 2001. Read More → deadline

  • Tiësto has pulled out of the first-ever Super Bowl DJ slot due to a family emergency. Read More → variety

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Target is considering launching a paid membership like Amazon Prime or Walmart+ as a way to boost lagging sales. Read More → bloomberg

  • Luxury ecommerce platforms aren’t so hot with consumers right now as nearly every marketplace had sales decline last year. Read More → bof

  • Killer Mike sold out of the “Michael Broom” — a literal broomstick he put up for sale after he swept the Grammys Rap category. Read More → complex

Tech, Web3, & AI

In partnership with Shortform

  • Google is retiring the Bard chatbot branding in favor of its new “Gemini” system. Read More → nyt

  • Singapore-based Brilliant Labs have debuted minimalist AR glasses, called Frame, that’ve caught the eye (and investment) of Niantic CEO John Hanke. Read More → techcrunch

  • Uber posted an annual profit for the first time in the company’s history. Read More → ft

Ever wish you could speed-read the world’s best nonfiction? Without sacrificing depth for speed? Well, now you can. Shortform gives you full insights from bestsellers in minutes — plus, an experience as fun as it is fulfilling. Their reliable summaries guarantee to turbocharge your learning journey. Don’t read the books; master them. Ready to join the smart reader revolution? Get a Shortform free trial now.

Creator Economy

  • Instagram is apparently working on a feature that would allow users to let AI respond to their DMs. Read More → theverge

  • Bluesky added roughly one million new users on the first day it allowed public signups. Read More → engadget

  • X became the top-downloaded app yesterday after nude images of Drake went viral on the platform. Read More → theverge

Like what you see? Subscribe Now or Partner With Us

Keep the editorial team going! Buy the team a coffee! ☕️

Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

Join the conversation

or to participate.