The Weekender by Strategic Elements: May 29, 2020

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Big reads and big ideas shaping public policy, consumer trends, and cultural innovation.

May 29, 2020
Curation and commentary from the Team @ Strategic Elements


Will the coronavirus pandemic open the door to a four-day workweek? The world is watching New Zealand. Decisive early action, along with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s empathetic style of leadership, quashed the country’s coronavirus outbreak in fewer than 50 days, earning it a place on the shortlist of nations the rest of the world is looking to for guidance — not just on how to fight the initial wave of the pandemic, but on what could come next. So, when Ardern uploaded a video to Facebook last week floating the idea of a four-day workweek, an audience outside New Zealand took notice, judging by the headlines. Amid the flexibility, companies have had to show in response to the novel coronavirus crisis, what once in many quarters would have come across as a fringe notion no longer seemed so unthinkable. Washington Post

Some studies show workplace productivity and satisfaction go up under a shorter, more compressed schedule. Finland’s prime minister has touted the idea, the UK’s Labour Party has campaigned on it, and companies including Microsoft in Japan and Shake Shack in the United States have succeeded in trying out versions of it.

Why can’t the US keep up with Estonia? Doing things online has long been a way of life in Estonia, the tiny Baltic state where almost all services – including banking, elections, government assistance, ordering prescriptions  – are digital. If the current crisis has one positive outcome, it may be to force America to be a bit more Estonian – with governments that are more accessible and efficient. The Atlantic

Coronavirus might spell the end of tech hubs. That’s a good thing: Matt Clifford opines, the world is currently running a forced mass experiment in remote working – and some of the most important technology companies have decided that there’s no going back. In the wake of the pandemic, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, and others have announced that they’ll offer a permanent option to work from home to most employees. It’s a shift that, if sustained, will have profound consequences – not least for how we think about innovation. Matt Clifford in Wired

“If we get remote work right, Silicon Valley will finally lose its mojo.” — Matt Clifford, chief executive and co-founder of Entrepreneur First.

From Tiffany Blue to Louboutin Red: The power of owning a color: Just a handful of luxury stalwarts are so synonymous with a color that consumers can instantly equate the shade with the name. So, how does a brand own a tone, and should smaller labels try? Business of Fashion

Color registration is “one of the most elusive elements of a brand.”

The new space race: Not long ago, public interest in what lies beyond Earth seemed to be fading, and NASA appeared to be on life support. Now, a thrilling era of space exploration has begun, fueled by the potential for tourism among the stars, the ingenuity of private industry, and the ambitions of a few billionaires. Wharton Magazine

“Private industry taking risks to increase access to space frees up our resources so we can put them into next-generation technology.” — Peter M. Hughes, chief technologist for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center


57% of the 450 financial workers surveyed expect to be working from home between 1 and 3 days a week once the pandemic has passed, according to research from Deutsche Bank.

20 percent: The estimated increase in household waste Germany and Austria experienced from mid-March to mid-April.

Houston in July will start powering all of its city-owned properties with 100 percent renewable energy, reaching its goal five years ahead of schedule, Bloomberg reports.

The US television advertising market is expected to drop by more than 11 percent this year, down to $67.3 billion from $76.2 billion last year, according to Moffett Nathanson Research.

92 billion: Spain, which draws about 15 percent of its total GDP from tourism, stands to lose as much as 92 billion euros ($101 billion) in revenue this year as a result of travel bans.

43 percent: Share of ballots in the last Estonian parliamentary elections that were cast online.

In the last 15 years, 52% of S&P 500 companies have disappeared.

90 percent: Share of households in the US that have a microwave oven.

72% of fans expect pro and college sports to resume by the end of the year; 48% believe they’ll be ready to attenda live sporting event by then, Morning Consult reports.


Why Yeti is a strong lifestyle brand:

– They chose a customer.

– They charge full price despite the half-price substitutes.

– You’ll find YETI stickers on laptops, trucks, boat windshields.

– It became a status symbol in just three years.

– The products are excellent.


Web Smith is the founder and editor-in-chief of 2PM and was the co-founding CMO of the DTC brand Mizzen + Main.

Have a great weekend. See you next week.

Strategic Elements

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