Hey folks!

France just did something interesting. They’ve encased their famous baguette (French bread) into a postal stamp. And it actually smells like a bakery!

But why are they celebrating something as basic as bread?

You see, a baguette isn’t regular bread. It’s probably made with just flour, water, salt and a leavening agent. But the delicate art of making it is something only signature bakers have mastered. Apparently, it’s “250 grams of magic and perfection” as President Emmanuel Macron puts it. And you can be sure it is, because it has even made it to the list of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2022.

And to celebrate this humble culinary jewel, Philaposte, France’s postal stamps printer has inked stamps with the bakery scent, with the French postal service rolling them out for sale on May 17th ― the day of the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.

Inking these stamps was also as delicate as the art of making a baguette. Thanks to the ink which has microcapsules that release the fragrance if rubbed. So the printers had to be very careful about not breaking them, so that only customers could scratch and sniff these postal stamps.

That makes us wonder, how much time until India’s rose and saffron scented gulab jamun, golgappa or Kolkata biryani make it to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, because it would be great to have postal stamps smelling like Indian food, don’t you think? 😉

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵

Find You by Pineapple Express

You can thank our reader Avadhi Jain for this lovely rec!

A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀

Taj wants to build homes

You can now live in a Taj branded home! Thanks to Chennai-based real estate player, Ampa Group, who has recently partnered with Taj to launch their first Taj-branded residences in Chennai.

But why does Taj want to build luxury residences, you ask?

Look, during the pandemic Indian Hotels, Tata’s subsidiary was one of many hotel groups that delivered food from their kitchens to people’s homes in cities like Mumbai and Chennai. That made them realise that people loved relishing luxurious food from the comfort of their home.

But that wasn’t their only prompt. They’d observed that other luxury hotel chains like Ritz Carlton, Leela Hotels and Four Seasons were capitalising on the rising demand for premium living. Simply because high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) or big business owners, entrepreneurs and others who have assets of over $1 million (or about ₹8 crores) are on the rise. For context, by 2027 the number of HNIs will grow to 16.5 lakh, up by 107% from 2022’s figures.

And these folks want to experience the services they experience while on their travels at home. They’re even willing to pay an average premium of about 30% for these branded residences over non-branded ones.

That’s exactly why Taj, which Tata also owns, hopped onto the bandwagon, announcing another Taj Hotel in Chennai in 2022 with branded residences as part of the hotel complex.

And now that it has found a real estate partner, it wants to explore this avenue in eight other Indian cities where luxury living could be all the rage. It’s luring HNIs with facilities like on-demand housekeeping, home dining and special access to Taj’s signature restaurants too.

Does that make luxury living the next big thing?


How AI will push Royal Challengers Bengaluru to perform better

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) was kicked out of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL). But they could make history by winning the next season! How’s that?

Well, the team has scooped up AI technology developed by IIT Madras’ CESSA (Centre of Excellence in Sports Science and Analytics) to help improve its players’ performance and cricketing skills. Simply put, the AI engine will use extensive models to learn from historical data of players’ performance and spit out analysis that often misses the eye of fans and cricket observers.

But can it actually improve player performance?

You could look at boxing as an example. CESSA’s SmartBoxer AI system monitors boxers through multiple cameras and breaks down every session, telling them how well they’re utilising the ring and how they could improve their movements or punches.

Similarly, many sports like chess, boxing, badminton and others have latched onto AI tools of late.

It makes sense too. Because sports are extensively driven by statistics. That’s exactly why even India’s former cricket team captain Anil Kumble has bet on technology to start Spektacom, a startup that makes AI-based smart bat stickers. With these stickers on your bat, you could simply analyse, say 100 balls and see how many of them hit the bat’s sweet spot. You could then improve your performance from that point by checking how you should change your bat’s movement or placement.

CESSA’s AI engine could do something similar to improve RCB’s player performance, but with just past data.

And guess what? RCB’s women’s team also shook hands with AI tools last year to build its team. And coincidentally, they’ve won the WPL (Women’s Premier League) title this season.

Could AI work its magic and make RCB’s “Ee Sala Cup Namde” slogan come true for the men’s team in 2025? RCB fans will hope so. But we’ll only have to wait and see.

Jargon of the day ✏️

This Day in Financial History 📜

20th of May, 1873 ― Blue jeans are born

The copper rivets on your denims may seem like a fashion accessory today. But way back in the 19th century, their actual purpose was to strengthen pants.

In 1853, a young merchant called Levi Strauss travelled to San Francisco to open a branch of his business. It sold stuff like clothing and fabric. And over the next two decades Strauss made quite a name for himself and his trade.

One day he received a letter from Jacob Davis, a tailor and one of Strauss’ regular customers. He’d come up with the idea of putting metal rivets on pant pocket corners and the base of the button fastening and wanted to patent it. Thanks to a labourer’s wife who’d requested Davis to make a strong pair of pants for her husband that wouldn’t fall apart.

But the humble tailor didn’t have enough money for the expensive paperwork that patent filings required. And since Strauss was also known to be a philanthropist, Davis thought that he could be the perfect person to team up with and patent the innovation. Strauss obviously must have seen great potential in the idea and jumped in without further thought. And that’s how we got our copper riveted jeans.

But yeah, they weren’t called jeans back then. Jeans was a term that people started using in the 1960s. Probably because they felt that the term ‘waist overalls’, as they were formerly called, was too old fashioned.

The rest they say is history, as over 1.25 billion pairs of blue jeans sell worldwide every year. Humble beginnings!

Readers Recommend 🗒️

This week our reader Karthik Varma has come back with another recommendation A Life on Our Planet, a Netflix documentary by David Attenborough which documents his exploration of the world in all its wild variety and wonder.

Thanks for the rec, Karthik!

Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁

Siddharth Bose! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch. And for the rest of you, we’ve moved the quiz to our weekly wrapup. So make sure you answer all the questions correctly and tune in here next week to check if you got lucky.

That’s it from us this week. We’ll see you next Sunday.

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