The Week Kick-off: Restaurants, clubhouses, and flying taxis

In this week’s kick-off, we’re looking beyond the regulatory headlines to more frivolous affairs. We’ll be popping into Vogue Café Bejing, followed by an exclusive invite-only Clubhouse, and of course just the thing you need after all that venue hopping: flying taxis. But before we delve into this menu of media delights, it’s important to note that something serious is going on in Mediaville right now, and excuse us if you’ve Reddit elsewhere already…

Reddit trading

The short on this is that WallStreetBets is a Reddit group that has existed for years, and at the time of writing has 5.7 million members. As the name implies, the subreddit is all about stocks, discussing potential winners and losers, and in a sense using the network effect granted by social media to empower armchair investors (or retail traders) with the same market influence that has traditionally been the preserve of big financial institutions, like hedge funds.

So in the case of GameStop specifically, Wall Street had bet on the company losing value. WallStreetBets members saw this trend and invested in the company, sending its value in the opposite direction, and significantly influencing the market. It’s a trend that trades on multiple factors, explained eloquently by The Guardian last Thursday: “people bought in because they believed in the argument, others joined the rush because they believed there was going to be a rush, and still others joined in just because it was fun.”

Trading intricacies and market repercussions aside, WallStreetBets ascent into the mainstream represents another significant moment for social media. The BBC reported that, “For many, the aim was to make stockbrokers and hedge funds lose money,” while Analyst Neil Wilson told the channel, “It’s a generational fight, redistributive and all about robbing the rich to give to the millennial ‘poor’.”

After the assault on the Capitol last month and all of the column inches that have (rightly) subsequently been dedicated to its discussion, this latest event in the WallStreetBets saga again reminds us of the increasingly real impacts of social media platforms outside of the confines of their digital walls.

Vogue restaurant

Last November, Condé Nast opened Vogue Café Bejing. The real-world brand extension offers a sophisticated dining experience, inclusive of a reception desk built from 700 copies of the magazine. It may seem a strange time to be talking about restaurants, but of course China appears to have done a much better job than the rest of the world in controlling the spread of Covid-19. And so the magazine mastication centre remains open for business…

FIPP Reporter, Pierre de Villiers, last week interviewed Markus Grindel, Managing Director of Global Brand Licensing at Condé Nast, about the hottest spot in – well, surely the world – right now, and you can read that interview in full here.

From the restaurant to the Clubhouse

Sticking with FIPP reporting, Sadie Hale this week takes a look at Clubhouse, the exclusive invite-only app that’s finding a following within celebrity circles:

“If you’ve noticed the buzz around an exclusive, voice-only forum called Clubhouse, you’re not alone,” she writes. “As well as attracting a lot of hype and FOMO among regular users, its casual, drop-in setup is popular with big names in the music industry, like Drake, and has attracted other high profile users such as Oprah, actor Jared Leto, and model Jodie Turner-Smith in a short space of time.”

You can read the feature in full here.

Flying taxis

And as promised, we’ve got flying taxis! The consistently excellent Sifted (‘Startup Europe explored through grown up reporting’, back by the Financial Times) reports that “The UK’s first air hub for flying taxis and autonomous delivery drones is to be built in Coventry, with the backing of the UK government.” Cities are increasingly looking to air-taxi solutions, as well as drones, to help reduce congestion, as well as the emissions associated with traditional transport. According to the report, NASA has predicted that urban air mobility in the US alone could be worth up to $500bn in the near-term, but is currently being held back by a lack of infrastructure.

And sticking with tech side of the industry (we’ve seen so many regulation-orientated stories come through recently that we’ve barely had time to focus on anything else), Sifted also has a list of 21 fintechs to watch in 2021, according to top founders.

And for our part…

FIPP has now published a new report in partnership with Tipser, looking at the The State of Content and Commerce. Launched last week at our latest FIPP Insider webinar, Tipser Founder and CEO, Axel Wolrath, highlighted key findings from the report, and told the audience that embedded ecommerce allows publishers to shift away from over-reliance on a single revenue stream. You can find out more about the webinar, and download the report in full here.


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