Our kids understand it better than we do. And it’s training them for the token economy.

Image: Roblox SEC filing

The stock market, still caught up in the GameStop trading frenzy, recently put a spotlight on the gaming industry’s latest entrant: Roblox. It debuted on the New York Stock Exchange last week via direct listing and was valued at a mind-boggling $45 billion. The gaming platform of the future has proven itself to be a pandemic mainstay among youth, with daily screen-time usage nearly doubling in the past year alone.

For many parents, this marks a crucial inflection point as many witness an innocent pandemic pastime transform into a booming business. The last time emotions were riding this high was…

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Amazon changed its logo from a dot-com era shopping cart to its signature brown shipping box sealed with blue tape. The image, while clean, minimalistic and innocent, still represents a shipping box — the physical manifestation of our weakening resolve to address single-use, one-way packaging. If an icon update is meant to represent a brand’s evolution, I’m not comfortable with where Amazon is going.

Like millions of subscribers who found themselves unprepared for an unrelenting lockdown, I increasingly relied on Amazon throughout the pandemic. This is a first world privilege of course - one that started as a convenience and…


Illustration by Jozef Mikulcik

In the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma there is a fictional scene depicting a modern family trying to enjoy their dinner, where the mom decides each member of the family must place their phones inside a lockable cookie jar. The purpose is to be present in the moment, away from the distractions of social media. The photo-sharing app Dispo, which launched its beta in February, emulates a lockable cookie jar in the form of a digital disposable camera.

The invite-only beta maxed out its 10,000-person limit and drew immediate comparisons to Clubhouse, the audio-social network recently valued at $1 billion


Technical details don’t seem to matter.

Image by prawny/Pixabay

With its $1.5 billion investment in Bitcoin, analysts estimate that Tesla is “on a trajectory to make more from its Bitcoin investments than profits from selling its EV (electric vehicle) cars in all of 2020.” However it is ironic that Tesla, whose mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy, is benefiting from a cryptocurrency that has a carbon footprint comparable to that of New Zealand.

But the association worked anyway.

On the surface, a digital currency like Bitcoin seems like a natural progression for the brand that is pioneering the digital transformation of the automobile industry. Matt…


How the meme-inspired cryptocurrency became an Elon Musk obsession

A conceptual photo illustration of a Dogecoin as physical currency.
A conceptual photo illustration of a Dogecoin as physical currency.
Photo: Yuriko Nakao/Getty

Forget the Year of the Ox — 2021 is rapidly shaping up to be the Year of the Doge, a cryptocurrency based on the internet meme of a Shiba Inu dog with a less than stellar command of English, hence “doge” and not “dog.” Nowhere has this development been cheered on more than on Elon Musk’s Twitter feed.

On February 7, the Tesla CEO — and arguably the world’s most powerful influencertweeted, “Who let the doge out?” Later that same day he followed with, “No highs, no lows, only Doge.” …


Memes are moving markets and we need to pay attention.

GDJ/Pixabay

The Pandemic Primed Us to View Contagious Ideas as Viruses

Throughout the past year, we’ve been primed with the viral spread of COVID-19 to such an extent that the gravity of the GameStop surge last week appeared less pronounced that it actually was. The viral frenzy thrived through a complicated web of cultural and social fibers, forming an abstract network of impassioned traders as it spread.

Daily dosage of exponential COVID-19 rates have caused us to subconsciously ascribe any contagious packet of information with the properties of a virus. Just like viruses ideas replicate, fuse, and even mutate.

The viral contagion of GameStop’s upward and downward ride is fascinating because…


From the branches of the mighty pioneer to the roots of Palantir

ArtsyBee/Pixabay

You know the feature in WhatsApp where you can ‘star’ a message? I came up with that idea during my time at BlackBerry. BlackBerry owns the patent for it. When WhatsApp introduced the feature in 2016, BlackBerry didn’t do anything about it.

What could BlackBerry do? Politely ask WhatsApp to license the patent? Sue in patent litigation court?

Yes. That’s what I thought BlackBerry would do to protect the intellectual property developed by its impassioned engineers who believed till the very end that the smartphone keyboard would reign supreme. …


Photo by Rachel Hisko on Unsplash

An anecdote in Disney PIXAR’s movie Soul captures 2020 beautifully. “I heard this story about a fish, he swims up to an older fish and says: ‘I’m trying to find this thing they call the ocean.’ ‘The ocean?’ the older fish says, ‘that’s what you’re in right now.’ ‘This’, says the young fish, ‘this is water. What I want is the ocean!’”

This anecdote is striking because 2020 made us realize that we’ve all been like the little fish at some point this year. …


TikTok is more of a game than a social network.

Photo by Juan Camilo Navia on Unsplash

When new technologies emerge we have a tendency to pin it to a frame of reference within our comfort zones. TikTok is often regarded as a social networking app. Its popularity has given rise to many theories trying to explain the cause of the meteoric rise.

Numerous articles on TikTok branding strategy tend to emphasize that brands should ‘be authentic’ on TikTok. Authenticity, however, is table stakes at this point. We had established very early in the pandemic that tone-deaf posts that highlighted celebrity lives didn’t cut it any more.

The pandemic brought about a serious shift in how we…


The sweet irony of pumpkin spice.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Picture a crisp fall morning. Orange hues from the morning sun fall on a carpet of leaves that are resplendent in their transformation to warmer shades of amber. The leaves rustle so loud they drown out incessant social media notifications. It’s ASMR without the screens. The beauty can trap you into a rare predicament between saving the sight for yourself and capturing the perfect fall IG post.

Why the predicament? There exists a belief in the deep depths of our consciousness that the presence of a smartphone, a succinct amalgamation of everything capitalism has to offer, will somehow disturb the…

Tabarak Khan

I write about the psychological, emotional, and cultural factors that affect our decisions. Engineer | Brand Strategist | Curious

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