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Politics in the time of love; Meet the alcohol influencers

Politics seems to be playing a non-negotiable role in relationships for many youngsters today. Marketers seem to have found a new way to market alcohol, riding on the popularity of social media influencers. In today’s corporate landscape, gender diversity in tech extends beyond the boundaries of HR.

Politics in the time of love; Meet the alcohol influencers

Wednesday February 14, 2024 , 5 min Read


Love is in the air, but not for Paytm.

Brokerage firm Macquarie Equity Research has downgraded Paytm parent One97 Communications' rating to ‘Underperform’, stating the company is "fighting for survival". The downgrade is driven by an estimated 60-65% reduction in revenue across payments and distribution business segments.

Meanwhile, the fintech company is trying to reassure merchants that they won’t face disruption post-February 29 when Paytm Payments Bank Ltd can’t accept any deposits. It said it would migrate their settlement accounts to a bank of their choosing and was talking to leading banks for the same.

Paytm’s shares again hit the lower circuit on the stock market, down 10%, ending trade at Rs 380 per share on the NSE.

In other news, the Government e-Marketplace, an online platform for public procurement, has surpassed Rs 3 lakh crore in gross merchandise value till February 12 of this financial year. Services procurement has doubled to Rs 1.3 lakh crore in FY24 as of yet from Rs 66,000 crore in FY23.

Elsewhere, the National Company Law Tribunal has accepted an insolvency plea against Sporta Technologies—the parent firm of Dream11—over an outstanding license fee totalling about Rs 7.6 crore. 

ICYMI: Researchers have found a manmade megastructure that’s 10,000 years old. It’s now under the sea.

And lastly, jilted lovers unite! Australian toilet paper company, Who Gives A Crap, has launched the ‘Flush Your Ex’ programme to turn old love letters into recycled toilet paper.

Talk of tough love! 

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Politics in the time of love
  • Meet the alcohol influencers
  • Diversity, inclusion for women in tech

Here’s your trivia for today: When was the oldest-known Valentine's Day message written?


Politics in the time of love

Politics seems to be playing a non-negotiable role in relationships for many youngsters today, especially in urban settings—impacting everything from short-term dating decisions to long-term commitments. 

Along with hobbies, sports, and other shared interests, Gen-Z and Millennials are navigating the dating landscape in polarised times while weighing in on political views and ideologies before making a choice.

Why it matters:

  • A recent study by dating app Bumble, across 2,000 Indians aged 18 to 40 from 10 Indian cities, reveals that a sizeable 69% find it important for their potential partner to be aware of current politics.
  • People’s expectations of their life partners have expanded to include political awareness concerning issues important to them, such as feminism, patriarchy, gender, minority rights, caste, religion and their intersectionalities, and how the role of an administration is affecting them.
  • One’s political ideology may not surface as a point of contention in the initial few dates but reveals itself in subsequent meetings—when conversations move towards life, choices and family, says counselling psychologist and expressive arts therapist Sasi Vijayan.
Politics and dating

Funding Alert

Startup: Supertails

Amount: $15M

Round: Series B

Startup: Noccarc

Amount: $2M

Round: Undisclosed


Meet the alcohol influencers

In the absence of government regulations around social media advertising of alcohol, alcohol influencers are here to stay. In a country where alcohol marketing is tough and restrictive, marketers seem to have found a new way to market their wares, riding on the popularity that social media influencers enjoy and the unique relationship they have with their followers. 


  • While some liquor companies carry an age-barrier disclaimer in the Instagram page bio, many do not, simply because there are no rules that govern the way the brands need to operate in the country. 
  • Goa-based brand Pursue Hard Seltzer portrays the design, aesthetics and taste of its brand extensively on its social channels. It has partnered with social media influencers Shivan & Naresh and Sufi Motiwala to promote its content. 
  • Apart from freebies and gifts (usually bottles of alcohol), brand associations give influencers access to events hosted by the brands—such as exclusive previews, tastings, and sampling sessions. 
alco influencers


Diversity, inclusion for women in tech

According to Women in Tech Report 2024: Insights & Trends by ANSR, 70% of survey participants think diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the tech industry are currently used for marketing and should be ingrained in core business values instead.

Key takeaways:

  • In today’s corporate landscape, gender diversity in tech extends beyond the boundaries of human resources, and stands as a critical business imperative, shaping organisational cultures and driving success.
  • A striking 41% expressed excitement about the future of the tech landscape in India, which stems from the fact that more women entrepreneurs and tech innovators are entering the industry.
  • Among the women surveyed, 60% of respondents with 5-10 years of experience believe that companies should be held accountable for equitable hiring practices.
women in tech report

News & updates

  • Love at first strike: Thousands of drivers for Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are expected to go on strike across the US on Valentine's Day as they seek fair pay. These drivers, who work as independent contractors, have accused the companies of offering unfair wages and taking the majority of their commissions.
  • Small respite: Apple’s iMessage is not designated as a “core platform service” under the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, the European Commission announced. The decision means the service won’t be hit with tough new obligations, including a requirement to offer interoperability with other messaging services.
  • Technophobia: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman cautioned that "very subtle societal misalignments" around AI could have dangerous consequences. Speaking at the World Governments Summit in Dubai, he reiterated his call for an international body to oversee AI that’s likely advancing faster than the world expects.

When was the oldest-known Valentine's Day message written?

Answer: 1415. It was a poem written by Prince Charles d'Orleans to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London.

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