Business Society Technology

The Reconnomics Weekend Reads

Each week, I share ten of the most interesting articles from the past seven days. Here is this week’s selection. Enjoy!


1. How an Apparent Saudi Hit Job Has Shaken the World

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman asserted in an interview with Bloomberg that Khashoggi had left the consulate after just a short time. But the prince has yet to provide any evidence to support that claim. Unfortunately, all surveillance cameras failed that day, though the manufacturer of the system swears that such a thing is not technically possible. (Der Spiegel)

2. Are celebrity women executives good role models for women?

In constructing women as being completely in charge of their own destinies by displaying confidence, control and courage, not only do the systemic barriers that women confront remain unchallenged, but failure becomes an individual problem: they are simply not trying hard enough. This encourages women to search for faults in themselves. The books fail to acknowledge that while women may be able to control certain aspects of their careers, sustainable change will only be possible if unequal systems and structures are altered. (London School of Economics)

3. Fireflies and algorithms — the coming explosion of companies

This situation is crazy in our data-driven world. It is also unsustainable, not because it’s irrational – although it is – but because there are powerful forces that will change this, and in the process change the very nature of companies and company information. This change is coming, like it or not, and the result will have profound implications for society, not all of them positive by any means. (

4. As the US and China seek to win the trade war, the whole world could end up the loser on climate change

As it stands, China produces over 9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, making it the world’s largest emitter. The US comes in a distant second, emitting about 5 billion tonnes annually. If these two countries, which together are responsible for 38 per cent of annual global carbon dioxide emissions, are unable to find common ground on climate action, it is all but guaranteed that humanity will miss its last chance to prevent catastrophic global warming. (South China Morning Post)

5. Establishing an AI code of ethics will be harder than people think

Establishing ethical standards also doesn’t necessarily change behavior. In June, for example, after Google agreed to discontinue its work on Project Maven with the Pentagon, it established a fresh set of ethical principles to guide its involvement in future AI projects. Only months later, many Google employees feel those principles have been placed by the wayside with a bid for a $10 billion Department of Defense contract. A recent study out of North Carolina State University also found that asking software engineers to read a code of ethics does nothing to change their behavior. (MIT Tech Review)

6. The virtual reality dream is dying

Everyone I know who’s tried a VR headset is blown away by the experience, but no one really wants to go deep on it except for what amounts to a rounding-error percentage of enthusiasts. Someone needs to break through with a seriously downsized and much more sophisticated offering… and the tech (nor the business incentive) is just not there. Apple has made a clear bet on augmented reality and Google already took a soft swing with VR that didn’t even get a mention at the company’s last press event, so don’t hold your breath for a white knight. (The Outline)

7. Measuring the fashion world

We were not surprised that speed to market was identified as the top priority by most of the fashion executives in our survey sample. Indeed, concern about speed has been a constant theme in our discussions throughout the industry. We explore the reasons this topic is so relevant to fashion companies—and highlight the dangers involved with failing to accelerate speed to market. We also compare performance across different segments of the industry, highlighting the structural differences in the industry that drive the distinct paces in go-to-market processes. (McKinsey)

8. How Instagram Saved Poetry

Five years later, the poetry world has been rocked by myriad other social-media stars. Cleo Wade, the 29-year-old known for her inspirational mantras (“You want love? Be love. You want light? Be light”), has her words on billboards in Los Angeles and Times Square. Atticus, who wears a mask to keep his identity hidden, can count Emma Roberts, Alicia Keys, and Karlie Kloss as fans; his upcoming fall tour will include 12 performances in cities across the U.S. and Canada. R. M. Drake, who first began sharing his poetry in 2011 using Tumblr and DeviantArt, now has 1.8 million followers on Instagram; he’s also published 12 books in print, several of them international best sellers. (The Atlantic)

9. An Oral History Of Voguing From A Pioneer Of The Iconic Dance

My first time visiting the West Village was in 1982, and I’d seen people doing the movements and stuff, but I wasn’t really sure what it was, because I didn’t frequent there much. It wasn’t until 1983 that I really saw it a lot, because I was there frequently, and I saw people on the west side piers, which was where all the gay people hung out — it was a place to congregate, a safe haven. And I saw this dance. They were, like, fighting, but they were dancing, and I was like, “Wow, I’m getting it full force.” I was blown away. They were modeling, they were freeze-framing, but there was also some Egyptian cutting, some hieroglyphic undertones and martial arts, and I was blown away. (

10. Frank Stella’s Riotous Interpretation of Moby-Dick

Stella infuses passion into his Moby Dick prints with riotous neon colors and ecstatic patterning choices that create a vast network of aesthetically divergent layers. The empty bar of a music score in “The Candles” (1992) wriggles across the print’s surface as a reddish-pink swath of mesh netting is pierced from above by what appears to be a hazy, yellow-green heat map. This particular print visualizes the fiery balls of lighting (also known as St. Elmo’s fire) that illuminate the masts atop Ahab’s whaling ship, the Pequod, during a thunderstorm in the book. (Hyperallergic)

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