The New King of Gen Z
ONE TO WATCH
20-year-old YouTuber and singer Conan Gray is the latest internet icon Gen Z is obsessing over. Gray signed with Republic Records last year after the viral success of his self-released song “Idle Town” that racked up 12.6 million views on YouTube and 23 million streams on Spotify. His recently released single, “King,” is all about the age-old situation of being “friendzoned” however, much of Gray’s content speaks to modern issues unique to Gen Z. From songs about being a Gen Z, like “Generation Why” and “Crush Culture,” to vlogs on his YouTube channel exploring modern masculinity, such as “i'm a girly boy and i don't care (kinda),” to his endearingly honest musings on Twitter, Gray’s work offers a fantastic look into life as a young person today.
Forget Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-hour rule” to become a master of one’s craft. In Japan, one must reach Takumi, or roughly 60,000 hours dedicated to said craft. With that in mind, Lexus is celebrating both Japanese culture and its artisanal experts, with a 60,000-hour documentary that follows a carpenter, a chef, a paper-cutting artist, and a Lexus automotive worker. Although Lexus isn’t expecting viewers to tune in for that long (if the film was viewed in its entirety, it would take up to seven years), they are hoping the stunt will draw in viewers to watch a 54-minute “condensed” version. A move away from bite-sized ads, marketers such as Lexus are experimenting with long-form content as this format continues to take off.
The Tia Clinic is giving health care and wellness for women a much-needed makeover in New York City. An extension of the popular AskTia app, which connects users with practitioners for health-related questions, the Tia Clinic provides primary and gynecological care, acupuncture, and community events that promote wellness such as group meditation. The waiting room, or what the Tia Clinic calls “the living room,” is stocked with Recess beverages, vibrators from trendy Instagram brands such as Unbound, and other wellness goodies. In the checkup room, robes are provided instead of hospital gowns, and doctors discuss personalized sleep habits and menstrual cycles with patients that have already been recorded through the Tia Clinic app. Operating on a $150 annual membership fee, the Tia Clinic not only redefines health-care through personalization and technology, but makes it fun and more importantly women friendly.
IN OUR CARTS
Ownership-averse Millennials have taken renting to new heights, leasing cars, clothes, handbags, and even pets. Now, one of the companies that pioneered this rental-obsession, Rent the Runway, has announced that it is partnering with another Millennial favorite, West Elm, to allow customers to rent West Elm’s wares in the near future. Predicated on the logic that Millennials may not be homeowners but still want a space that is well-decorated (translated: Instagrammable) yet affordable, the partnership would expand on RTR’s existing fashion-based offerings and give commitment-challenged millennials the flexibility they crave.
With the Momo challenge recently sweeping YouTube, parents everywhere are reexamining the content their kids consume. Enter Tankee, the first digital gaming network for kids 6-12 years-old that wants to be a safe platform for kids to consume and share age-appropriate content related to gaming. Similar to Twitch, the app features hundreds of hours’ worth of video featuring kid-favorite games like Minecraft, ROBLOX, Rocket League, and more. Plus, all of the content is carefully curated and vetted by a team of actual humans. The timely app was selected as the winner in Entertainment and Content at this year’s SXSW Pitch event (formerly known as SXSW Accelerator), which is sure to give it a boost in the app store among parents with a renewed interest in keeping their kids safe online.
While banning plastic straws is a great start, it’s not enough to solve the pollution and sustainability problems associated with single-use products. Enter Vessel, a Boulder-based non-profit aiming to cut waste by supplying kiosks full of stainless-steel reusable cups at participating local coffee shops. Users simply need to sign up for a Vessel account online, enter their credit card information, ask a participating coffee shop barista for a Vessel cup, and scan the QR code linking that cup to their account before their beverage is prepared. Once they’re done with the Vessel, they have 5 days to return it to any Vessel kiosk at absolutely no cost (failure to return will result in a $15 charge). The non-profit is ultimately looking to get people to be more mindful about bringing their own cups, which—considering that Starbucks alone hands out an estimated 4 billion disposable cups a year—is definitely something worth thinking about.