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Live long and prosper 🖖 readers,

This is Adam Koves, Cambre’s resident geek on all things related to Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Marvel superhero movies. When I am not thinking about who the strongest Avenger is, I am obsessing about international trade. And this week was rather big for us trade geeks, as the European Commission is setting course with an Open, Sustainable and Assertive Trade Policy for the next decade. No surprise that digital issues got a prominent spot, as the policy outlines the EU’s ambition to work with other countries to set global rules and standards for the digital world. Time will tell if Brussels succeeds, but in the meantime all eyes are on the transatlantic duo to lead the way.

Hungry for more? Tune in to our online event on 4 March at 11:30-12.30 CET. Our distinguished panel, consisting of high-level Commission officials, MEPs, CEOs and trade experts – and moderated by FT trade guru Alan Beattie – will unpack the EU’s new trade strategy for you.

And that’s not all. On 11 March at 17:30-18:30 CET, our #BrusselsCalling series of media debates will go to a new level, with European Commission EVP Margrethe Vestager as guest moderator. Watch this space!

Is Spanish Tech the next French Tech? [TechCrunch]

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wants to turn his country into an “entrepreneurial nation that is going to leave no one behind” by 2030. Newly appointed high commissioner, Francisco Polo, is tasked with bringing a nationwide entrepreneurial economic transformation starting with the Startup Act, which intends to simplify the act of starting up in the country. While Spain traditionally suffers from digital divides and lower startup investment compared to its neighbours, its urban density and youth workforce could appeal to more app-based businesses in the future. Spain is even using a portion of the Covid-19 recovery fund to attract and retain talent and investment. Spain’s commitment to becoming an entrepreneurial nation is clear, we’ll be watching closely!

Bruce + Barack: this weekend’s podcast list 🎧 [The Verge]

Fully embracing his life after presidency, Barack Obama has recently announced that he is co-hosting his very own Spotify-exclusive podcast with rock star Bruce Springsteen. The coolest duo 😎 out there is providing insight into their private conversations about race, fatherhood, marriage, and the state of America. The first two episodes premiered on Spotify on Monday and are genuinely wholesome in projecting the friendship, openness and vulnerability shared by Obama and Springsteen. In the first episode they get right into the challenges of their disparate childhoods, their hometowns and their families and friends and the racial discrimination they both witnessed from very different angles. They make for a great Saturday listen.

Online dating but Gen-Z style [TechCrunch]

There is a new player in the world of online dating apps. Snack is a newly founded dating platform that aims to combine the short videos made popular by TikTok with the desire to find your partner in crime. Rather than swiping right or left, Snack asks you to create short videos of yourself and post them on your feed. Other users can scroll through available videos and like them. If both parties like each other’s videos, the option for direct messages becomes available. The app is in its very early stages and still lacks key features such as the ability to edit videos like TikTok. So far, Snack has received $3,5 million in funding. It’s certainly worth to keep an eye on this one.

A frozen tundra in Texas [Wired]

As the world watched Perseverance, NASA’s Mars rover land on the red planet it’s hard not to wonder how that can be achieved, but a functioning electricity system in the US cannot. Last week millions in Texas were without heat, electricity, and water (full disclosure: this Cambre writer is an energy nerd who has family living in Texas). Thankfully, the few wind turbines in Texas that weren’t frozen over helped keep the entire state’s grid from collapsing. The solution? Renewables + grid interconnections. And while the Wired article linked above focuses on microgrids that can be disconnected from the larger grid, we think that more connections is the way to go – like the energy communities that are supported in EU legislation.

About this week’s editor, Adam Koves:

I joined Cambre two years ago on a sunny August day as a trade nerd and I don’t think I have managed to change my internal reputation since (not that I wanted to). I am the guy who follows WTO quota schedules, FTA negotiations and enjoys a podcast about anti-dumping regulations. I was born and raised in Budapest, but have been living abroad since I finished high school. I am also a huge nerd in every other way – Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Warcraft (for the Horde!) – you name it and there is a high chance I am a fan. Feel free to message me, if you want to discuss the elvish society – and if you need help navigating the world of international trade, you also have my sword, bow or axe. 

In case you haven’t had enough

Pokémon’s 25th anniversary: celebrating more than two decades of pocket monsters [The Verge]

A.I. Here, There, Everywhere [New York Times]

NASA’s Perseverance rover beams back first images from its wild landing [The Verge]

Start-ups seek to breathe new life into stagnant wheelchair industry [Washington Post]

Europe kicks off bid to find a route to ‘better’ gig work [TechCrunch]

This 26-year-old CEO is helping esports grow up [The Verge]