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Rishi Taparia - Issue #39

This week we look at Amazon's fake reviews, how Zara keeps customers engaged, Amex breaking through t

Rishi Taparia

April 29 · Issue #39 · View online
Links and posts largely on fintech, commerce, climate and energy with a few random tidbits here and there

This week we look at Amazon’s fake reviews, how Zara keeps customers engaged, Amex breaking through the Chinese wall, what stops Amazon from becoming a bank, why referring to Go-Jek as a ride-hailing company is unfair and more. Enjoy! 

How merchants use Facebook to flood Amazon with fake reviews
Why Zara Succeeds: It Focuses On Pulling People In, Not Pushing Product Out
How Wharton Launched Warby Parker--and Dozens of Other Companies Just Like It |
American Express closer to breaking into elusive Chinese market
Punjab National Bank (PNB) is calling in private detectives to help recover loans
Why Amazon and Google Haven’t Attacked Banks
Chase customers can now use their voices to unlock their accounts
Go-Jek ventures into video streaming, partners with Vice on original content
The News Is Good for Baidu
Random Tidbits
What the Mona Lisa Tells Us About Art in the Instagram Era
Quote I’m thinking about: On my trip to Rome I completed Italo Calvino’s If on a Winters Night a Traveller, a fantastic, albeit at times vertigo inciting novel which I won’t go into too much detail here. However, in the opening chapter there is a passage where the narrator describes an experience in a bookstore which I found delightful. In lieu of a quote this week, I have copied for you the passage in full below. 
You went to the bookshop and bought the volume. Good for you. In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn’t Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You’ll Wait Till They’re Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out In Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody’s Read So It’s As If You Had Read Them, Too. Eluding these assaults, you come up beneath the towers of the fortress, where other troops are holding out: the Books You’ve Been Planning To Read For Ages, the Books You’ve Been Hunting For Years Without Success, the Books Dealing With Something You’re Working On At The Moment, the Books You Want To Own So They’ll Be Handy Just In Case, the Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer, the Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves, the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified. Now you have been able to reduce the countless embat-tled troops to an array that is, to be sure, very large but still calculable in a finite number; but this relative relief is then undermined by the ambush of the Books Read Long Ago Which It’s Now Time To Reread and the Books You’ve Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It’s Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them. With a zigzag dash you shake them off and leap straight into the citadel of the New Books Whose Author Or Subject Appeals To You. Even inside this stronghold you can make some breaches in the ranks of the defenders, dividing them into New Books By Authors Or On Subjects Not New (for you or in general) and New Books By Authors Or On Subjects Completely Unknown (at least to you), and defining the attraction they have for you on the basis of your desires and needs for the new and the not new (for the new you seek in the not new and for the not new you seek in the new). All this simply means that, having rapidly glanced over the titles of the volumes displayed in the bookshop, you have turned toward a stack of If on a winter’s night a traveler fresh off the press, you have grasped a copy, and you have carried it to the cashier so that your right to own it can be established. You cast another bewildered look at the books around you (or, rather: it was the books that looked at you, with the bewildered gaze of dogs who, from their cages in the city pound, see a former companion go off on the leash of his master, come to rescue him), and out you went.
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