Miruna Codeanu

Twisting the news – 37th edition

In cappuccino on January 25, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Let’s skip the fact that it’s Monday again, let’s go directly to the news: what happened during the weekend, which are the announcements and predictions for this week. It looks like we’re finally accepting that we’re back on track and we stopped summarizing what happened last year and finally moving on, eager or less eager to see what awaits in 2016.

GM-Maven-Car-Sharing-626x417It is the widespread general opinion that Uber belongs to a niche of tech aware millenials but it now seems that Uber is becoming mainstream, being more popular than taxis even among businessmen. Uber is even more popular than car rental, being the top preference for this category. While does hold a premium position in the preferences of businessmen, Maven is coming after them. Maven is the first car sharing service owned by a car manufacturer, GM and offers access to all GM models, available in 21 American states. I’m curious how GM’s expertise with cars will help shape this brand against competition. I’m seeing a lot of competitive advantages for GM, but can the American car maker dance as fast as the audience wants it?

Do you remember my fuss about African development? I am not the only one to believe that we need the development of the African continent. Here’s what Bill Gates says: GMOs will end starvation in Africa, and while I do choose to believe in good intentions, I also believe it is also business and that investing in Africa will soon be a worldwide trend. However, me and Mr. Gates do not agree that China would be a role model for long term sustainable development. From an environmental point of view China is a huge failure, and investing in non sustainable agriculture in Africa would be, again, exploiting African natural resource without a long term plan. However, please remember that while Western civilizations tend to see the African continent as one place, not all African countries are equal: The Sudanese civil war is not over as South Sudan faces a new civil war. Sudan has a long recent history with civil unrest, with two very long recent civil wars and Darfur-now belonging to Sudan- the most recent genocide. My theory usually is that African development can postpone another economic crisis, but we should also consider playing by the rules of the future and not by the rules of the past: as the world becomes a very small place (eg: immigrant crisis) we shouldn’t make the world even more unstable by deepening the vulnerability of certain social categories and we should leave aside the consumerist model for development and think carefully about sustainable growth. It’s also probable that corporations can feel Western societies will develop into other kinds of societies, so they will try to build a safe place for themselves in Africa and inflict the consumerist capitalism upon African countries.

We’re used to believing that solid goods like oil, gold and tokens-currencies are safe deposits for our wealth, traditionally less volatile than anything else. However, Uber is worth more than GM. Meanwhile, in the e-society, the Bitcoin was the only currency to grow in 2015. This might be giving us a clue abot the direction of our future development:


source: visualcapitalist.com



In an attempt to handle massive amount of data and a limited amount of viewers, Facebook is testing audience optimization. The audience optimization tool is basically taking the tools from advertising targeting and making them available when just posting. Obviously, that will not mean that Facebook will promote your posts to the chosen audience, but as your posts are not delivered to the whole audience on your Facebook page, you will now able to select the target audience for a certain post, which is definitely helpful among debates for further optimization and segmentation on social media.

Storytelling marketing has been around for a while now, but when it first started being popular, we had no idea on what to do with the data available from our online presence and how these two could be related. Storytelling seemed on the creative fun side of marketing, while figuring out what to do with big data belonged to analysts and IT departments. Storytelling personalization could also be a name given to what Facebook is doing with audience optimization.

In terms of awesome advertising, we have to campaigns, one comes from Moleskine, and the other one Okamoto Zero One, a condom brand. Moleskine asked everyone to handwrite their Tweets on National Handwriting Day and the result was quite beautiful:

Design that makes the world a lovelier place: Bruzzoni toothbrushes 

When they launched Google Earth, I remember that one of the first things I did was to explore Africa and I can tell you Eastern Africa is host to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Today: Mozambique.

Azura Retreats – yes they have clawfoot tubs, candle lights and African sunsets.


Coral Lodge 15.41

Benguerra Island, by AndBeyond

Lugenda Wilderness Camp

Gorongosa National Park

Absolutely lovely budget friendly alternatives:

Casa Babi – nice option to travel to Mozambique without selling a kidney

Amigo Lodge – nice design for a decent price

Ulala Lodge – respectful towards nature

The Beach Village  – an option for backpackers

As you could probably tell by now, I like travelling and while I love historical place, I believe everything should fall into place, so try avoiding putting money in irresponsible tourism. Please do support local initiatives that respect the environment and the local inhabitants by offering them a place to work and by not spoiling the natural scenery. Please avoid those who invest money in concrete jungles that spoil the natural beauty of such places. Coming from a developing country and living most of my life through a socio-economic transition, I can tell you locals usually try to imitate Western civilizations in all aspects, hoping it will lead to a faster progress. However, please encourage locals to market their traditions and traditional design through tourism, as luckily, we are still all different. If there was something I could teach local people in developing countries it would be to love and market their traditions as much as possible and to design everything as authentic as possible, to hate concrete and plastic.


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