What 2023 Can Learn From 2022

2022 was, like most years in human history, somewhat of a mixed bag. There was hope early on as the world began to reopen after two years in the homemade sourdough bread-scented grips of COVID-19 lockdowns. We saw the return of the Singapore Grand Prix, Baybeats, the Singapore Writers Festival. But we also saw Vladimir Putin lose his marbles, and Chris Rock get Will Smithed in the face. With these in mind, let’s look at the biggest takeaways from 2022 that might help us with our decisions in 2023.

Just… just get the hell out of Twitter.

We knew as far back as 2016, when a bit part actor from Home Alone 2: Lost In New York used it to galvanise an entire population of America’s white supremacists and make himself President, that Twitter is toxic. So when South African man-child (and the last person you turn to for solutions when trying to rescue a Thai youth football team from a flooding cave) Elon Musk announced he would be buying the social media platform for a mind-numbing US$44 billion and in the name of ‘free speech’, we thought even less of it. As the completely expected fallout came (including a universally lambasted pay-for-verification model), Twitter has become a dystopian wasteland of Elon Musk impersonators, conspiracy theory nutjobs and Only Fans models trying to develop a secondary portfolio. If your 2023 resolution is to Marie Kondo your smartphone interface, this should be one of the first apps to delete.

Stop doing interviews with Piers Morgan.

Forget quiet quitting. Loud, manic, raving, getting-yourself-fired was the faux pas du jour in the second half of 2022 when superstars Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) and Cristiano Ronaldo did blockbuster interviews with controversial British talk show host Piers Morgan to whine about other people in their respective industries…and consequentially lose their jobs. Ye lost his sponsorship deals and partnerships with Balenciaga and Adidas. Ronaldo got his contract with Manchester United prematurely terminated. So if you have issues with your workplace and would like to tell Piers Morgan (or anyone else, really), speak to your human resources representative first. This message was brought to you by our HR department.

If a finance bro talks about effective altruism, it’s not-true-ism.

Effective altruism is a philosophy that utilises empirical measurement, evidence-based solutions and tangible action to benefit a society or community as much as possible. For serious philosophers, it is a never-ending thought experiment with too many variables. But for the CEO and Founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, it was the veneer he puts over his companies to secure funding from well-meaning but ill-informed investors – including, unfortunately, Singapore’s own Temasek Holdings, who had to write down an investment of US$275 million. In a statement, Temasek said, “Perhaps our belief in the actions, judgement and leadership of Sam Bankman-Fried … would appear to have been misplaced.” The lesson here is that if a finance bro talks to you about effective altruism, it’s most likely bullshit. Am I curtailing the freedom of finance bros to speak about effective altruism or to adopt it as a corporate ‘value’? No, certainly not. But effective altruism isn’t their jurisdiction, just as the rights of the LGBTQ community should not be decided by a room of heterosexual people, even if they have gay friends.