The Year Here

17 Dec 2020

This week: A look back at what you clicked, and why it matters.



How to cheerfully sum up a horrendously heinous year? Insights! Everyone likes a good insight.

And we do mean in the data sense. Revealing, in a totally non-Social Dilemma-y way of course, the behaviours of demographic subsets of a target market.

Or, to put it in layman’s terms: y’all like to eat.

• Of the top three most popular articles we linked to this year – two were on the food industry. “If Restaurants Go, What Happens to Cities?” – which explored why eateries are a fundamental social glue – and “7 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed How We Shop for Food” piqued your interest. Both by a publication we’re also partial to: The New York Times. (Turns out we’re not alone. Millions “spent the summer freaking out” and subscribing to the NYT).

• While you were interested in the COVID-moves of retail giants (“Why Lululemon is betting on pop-up shops during the holidays,” and “Harrod’s bold new bet: Suburbia”) you were more curious about ”Can Brand Accelerators Save Emerging Labels from the Pandemic?” – BoF’s report on the potential of accelerators as sources of support and cash for budding businesses. Eyes, they’re on the prize.

• We don’t need stats from social to know that a good cause has your support. We’re proud to be part of a community that stands on the right side of history. You believe in making spaces accessible to everyone. And with so many of you bootstrapped entrepreneurs, no wonder small-business advocacy struck a chord. When bookshop owner Sarah McNally told Bloomberg Businessweek: “I’m just outraged. I’m just so outraged.” – it resonated. GTK Gens Y and Z aren’t called authentic activists for nothing.

In keeping with your go-getting bent, a lot of you were also intrigued by this Fast Company piece on the redefinition of success. Less ruthless, and more responsible.

So yes, back to those insights. This is what you’ve shown us about yourselves. A motley crew: socially aware and savvy.

The idea for The Week Here was conceived when we were all pretty freaked out.
Week after week, it’s become our way of attempting to make sense of the world. We got to know you, and we hope you got to know us a bit more too.


“This is the year that’s felt like a decade,” wrote Rob Walker in Marker.

10 years 9 months ago the first edition of TWH asked whether there’s an upside to a pandemic. We queried: “What happens when we view this as an opportunity for businesses to build their resilience, and for communities to band together?”

A lot happened, indeed.

• Creativity flourished. Humanity did what we do best: adapted. Everywhere we looked we saw collaborations and, frankly, rather genius innovation. But we can’t chalk up every new thing to COVID – a lot of what’s trending today was already around. This pandemic has been called ‘The Great Accelerator’ – an accurate moniker whether you’re in banking or retail. What we paid attention to: the surge in secondhand, a return to craft, renewed scrutiny of supply chains, and real love for local shops.

• There is perhaps no other industry with the shorter end of the stick than hospitality, which has been forced to adopt new business models on what’s felt like a weekly basis. Whether it was feeding frontline workers, converting into community kitchens, shifting to meal-kits, or becoming grocers – it’s no surprise the restaurant world is dominated by independent operators. The people in the food business are truly made of sterner stuff.

• It’s also been a year of incomprehensible loss. Tragically, more than 110,000 restaurants have shut down across the U.S. and 72% in the UK fear permanent closure. Nearly 100,000 small businesses have closed in the States and most that remain need more federal aid. In England, 21,000 shops are set to shutter. With small businesses facing a credit shortage, or Brexit red tape – governments everywhere have their work cut out for them next year. We hope they rise to the task.

As we go to press, so to speak, there’s real promise in the form of vaccines being rolled out around the world. “It could make a difference to our lives from now on, couldn’t it?” said William Shakespeare, one of Britain’s first recipients of the jab. Yes Bill, we do agree.

Calamity has a funny way of crystallising what matters most. There are a lot of takeaways from 2020, to put it mildly.

Which one’s the kicker? You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s (almost) gone.

Words by Amy Tai, creative consultant and native New Yorker now based in London.