Breakfast Notes #17 (Art Market, Digitalisation and Corporate Hell)

Breakfast Notes #17 (Art Market, Digitalisation and Corporate Hell)
Photo by Hunters Race / Unsplash

Good morning everyone.

Today, I am experimenting with a new and minimalist format. Let me know what format you prefer.

I'm big into The Soldiers Series right now. It is the world's first military, national team selection match televised on Youtube. The challenges look gruelling, and for a conscript soldier, it was fun to watch how the Korean soldiers adapt on the fly.

For an exemplary display of situational awareness, watch how one soldier figured out that the bunk they were assigned to was a challenge in disguise. (It's the 41st minute)

The Insane Art Market

The most expensive artwork I ever bought was a $45USD print of Joseph being sold by his brothers as a slave. Naturally, I was surprised to learn how the art market is booming.

The 2021 Deloitte Art and Finance survey found that ultra-high-net-worth individuals have USD 1,481 billion worth in art. (Yes, you read that right) Interestingly, the most volatile asset class is Fine Art with price fluctuations of around 20%, while Chinese 20th Century Art is the least volatile at 0.17%.

Visualization Of The Day


Xi Jin Ping (Second From Left), The Boy Who Would Rule China.

A reminder to all that even the most impressive leaders, technologists, entrepreneurs and writers were once kids, trying to find their way around.  

Corporate Hell

The late great David Graeber, who was an influential American anthropologist and author of the books - Bullshit Jobs, The Dawn of Everything and Debt: The First 5000 years famously argues that there are millions of office workers across the world who are toiling away in vapid and useless jobs, and they know this bullshit. From clerical workers to consultants, they are all trapped in meaningless labour.

He lamented,

Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don’t like and are not especially good at.

The follow-on question would be, how can we escape this fate and work towards heaven? A simple inversion would do the trick. If what Graeber described as hell, then surely,

Heaven is a collection of individuals spending a significant bulk of their time working on tasks they love and are extraordinarily good at.

In other words, workplace heaven is not one stocked with vending machines and ping pong balls but where employees are often immersed in flow.

Proxy of Digitalisation

To get a good proxy of how digitalised a country is, look at how their government communicate policy and regulations online.

Here are the food import regulation instructions of the two countries.

  • Brunei. In February 2021, the Bruneian government established the BDFA that would take over functions from the Ministry of Health and streamline processes for food regulation. Yet, the agency still does not have a website a year on. Take a look at their website and you will find broken links, typos and haphazard formatting. To apply for a food import license will undoubtedly be cumbersome.
  • Canada. By contrast, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website provides a step-by-step guide to visitors on how they can apply for import licences. Each instruction is concise and coherent. Prospects can literally follow the checklist step by step in their application.

Do you like or hate this new format? Let me know!

May The Sun Shine Upon Your Face,


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