Volv Concierge Issue #37

🤗 The biggest theme of 2024 no one saw coming

Hey, fam!

Priyanka here, and I'm back deciphering trends with a special deep dive into the most prevalent theme of 2024. But, before that, let's look at a trend that has become very apparent this week.

📰 The world is DONE with its leaders. This energy manifested in really hostile ways recently.

  • An anti-violence crusader critically shot Slovakian PM Robert Fico five times in a point-blank assassination attempt. The 71-year-old amateur poet was protesting the government's attempt to control state media. Meanwhile, in Iran, thousands were seen CELEBRATING the death of President Raisi with fireworks, memes, and jokes. It was also trending on TikTok. The 'Butcher of Tehran' is no joke — he is held responsible for thousands of deaths.

  • In the US, this apathy means people don't really care about the election like they did in 2020. Does anyone even feel like it's election year in the US? In 2016 and 2020, people were actively voicing their opinions on social media. Celebrities and companies were publicly backing candidates and rallying support from their fans. This year, though, there's barely any chatter. The CEOs are sitting this one out, except Peter Thiel and Vitalik Buterin, who want you to bet money on the race...

    The main reason: People are dissatisfied with both candidates. 2024 seems to be mirroring the tumultuous year of 1968 with Nixon. Cardi B, who isn't voting for either, said it best: "People got betrayed." Want literally anybody else? Yep, that's also an actual candidate you can vote for, by the way. Go nuts. Unfortunately, old leaders are running the world, and they aren't going anywhere.

🤝 Communities are making a serious comeback in 2024, but with a twist

People are, very literally, dying of loneliness all around the world. It's been four years since we heard about social distancing, but we're still deep in the loneliness pandemic. Gen Z is over dating apps. Speed dating is in, but so are AI girlfriends, and 'Friends for hire' is now a thriving side hustle!

However, people are realizing that follower counts are not wholesome, and 'parasocial relationships' (one-sided connections with celebs) are not real friendships — sorry, Swifties. People now crave meaningful interactions. What's thriving? Celebrities like Reese Witherspoon are cashing in on book clubs. Members-only clubs are everywhere, and private group chats rule the world. In fitness, the "sport social era" has people turning to exercise for community building. Running clubs and golf clubs are skyrocketing. Even your grandma's favorite, Mahjong, has a seat at the table. Steve Jobs famously said, "People don't know what they want until you show it to them." But now, companies are very keenly listening to what people want. 

The reason: Communities today are making and breaking companies. Emily Weiss struck gold with Glossier via community building. She has now become an icon, at least in my eyes. But that was just the beginning. Mainstream brands like Lego are now leveraging their community's collective creativity. 'Lego Ideas' allows designers to submit concepts, and the Lego community votes on what should go into production. There's nothing more genius than that. Even Bumble is hopping in on the trend of moving away from one-on-one interactions with its recent acquisition of Geneva, a popular platform creating IRL communities.

The irony is that while communities are becoming mainstream, they're also becoming harder to find and join. As soon as social media peaked, privacy tanked. People are going to great lengths and paying handsome amounts for privacy. With that, even communities are migrating from social to private platforms with privacy and control. Public discourse is out; group chats on Telegram, etc., are in. Aman New York's uber exclusivity and Soho House's no-photos policy are quite literally the antidote to the social, digital persona expected from everyone today. And, looking at the success of private members' clubs, even restaurant memberships are springing up at an alarming rate because, at this point, why shouldn't they have a piece of the pie?

 Vibes for the week:

  • I'm super into Afrobeats rn and I literally Shazamed this song from a car blasting it at a red light while I was crossing the road in Paris.

  • Founders and marketers, you have to read this book. It's the Volv version of a book on marketing. Short but packed with practical insight.

I'd love to hear from you! Leave your feedback here.

This newsletter was edited by Ishita Sen.