Remote work is bringing the city to the suburbs

A person walking two small dogs strolls along a grassy path while talking on their phone.

In the spring of 2020, many of the typical draws to cities — plays, nightclubs, restaurants — shut down. Space took on a premium, as small apartments close to others felt particularly claustrophobic. All of a sudden, a big home in the suburbs for the same monthly price as a tiny apartment in the city got a whole lot more attractive. The lifestyle also seemed safer, as you could travel in the isolation of your own vehicle and play in personal green spaces with less fear of infection. More companies than ever are allowing employees to work from home, and studies say that between 13 and 45 percent of the workforce is now remote some or all of the time.

Source: Remote work is bringing the city to the suburbs

How Netflix affects what we watch and who we are — and it’s not just the algorithm

The possibilities of streaming have inspired a new “classificatory imagination”. I coined this term to describe how viewing the world through genres, labels and categories helps shape our own identities and sense of place in the world.

While 50 years ago, you might have discovered a handful of music genres through friends or by going to the record shop, the advent of streaming has brought classification and genre to our media consumption on a grand scale. Spotify alone has over five thousand music genres. Listeners also come up with their own genre labels when creating playlists. We are constantly fed new labels and categories as we consume music, films and television.

Source: How Netflix affects what we watch and who we are — and it’s not just the algorithm

The next big thing in podcasts is talking back

“Podcasting has always been this sort of one-way street,” says Mike Mignano, head of creation platform at Spotify. “A creator publishes content; the audience listens; that’s it.”

Now, however, interactive elements are making their way into the space. Spotify is giving all its Anchor creators the ability to make polls and Q&As and is testing interactive ads. Other apps, like Facebook, are trying things as simple as just allowing listeners to leave comments — a mainstay YouTube feature — while podcasting apps in China already allow listeners to build “listening circles” and “discussion groups.”

Source: The next big thing in podcasts is talking back

Slackers of the World, Unite!

Illustration of stacks of emoji, notifications, green phone buttons, thumbtacks, @s, and other artifacts from Slack

But even if you don’t use Slack, or something like it, you live and work in the world Slack helped create. It’s a world where openness and transparency are prized; where work is something we are always kind of doing; where who we are at the office and who we are outside it are closer than ever before; where all of these dynamics mean that sometimes things go very wrong, especially for people in power.

Source: Slackers of the World, Unite!

The Fight to Rein in Delivery Apps

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the business model of food-delivery apps went largely unconsidered by the diners who relied on them for midday kale salads and late-night taco feasts. Platforms such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub often charged restaurants commissions of up to thirty per cent per order, and they were evasive about how (and how much) their couriers were compensated. But for most restaurants delivery comprised only a fraction of total sales. Then the covid-19 pandemic turned virtually all restaurants into takeout-and-delivery-only businesses, and the brutal economics of the delivery apps became a matter of life-or-death urgency, for both the restaurants selling food and the couriers delivering it.

Source: The Fight to Rein in Delivery Apps

Google search’s next phase: context is king

Google is going to begin flexing its ability to recognize constellations of related topics using machine learning and present them to you in an organized way. A coming redesign to Google search will begin showing “Things to know” boxes that send you off to different subtopics. When there’s a section of a video that’s relevant to the general topic — even when the video as a whole is not — it will send you there. Shopping results will begin to show inventory available in nearby stores, and even clothing in different styles associated with your search. will ask more detailed and context-rich questions.

Source: Google search’s next phase: context is king