What happened in 2020? Test your knowledge with our quiz

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic this year was so wide-ranging that it shaped every news event that followed its spread across the planet: the Black Lives Matter protests, a US election with historic turnout, China’s creeping takeover of Hong Kong, and more.

At each turn, Quartz tried to unpack the implications of the pandemic’s effect on corners of our lives, from supply chains to our offices. We also sought to make meaning of the challenges many of our readers face, such as understanding the next generation of workers, and learning how to make better decisions at a time when the sheer number of them paralyzed us.

These attempts resonated with our readers. Of the 50-plus field guides we published this year, these were the most popular amongst our members:

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Author: Quartz Staff

“Let’s be like Covid and catch each other”: How Indians romanced on Tinder this year

The pandemic will perhaps be remembered as one of the most complex, near-operatic times in modern history. And true to an opera, young hearts found a way to meet, talk, and maybe even find love.

For Indian users of Tinder, it became a platform to talk about everything happening IRL, but not IRL. At least not without masks.

Not only was the mask emoji among the most used, but masks were also an essential part of Tinder bios in India between January and November. Since Covid-19 began its spread in India in March, mentions of masks in Tinder bios were up 2.5 times by April. For lovers of brevity, the mask emoji was used five times more in April than it was before that.

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Author: Manavi Kapur

5 new rules for managers who are ready to buck conventional wisdom

A few years ago, a management professor I had met in Los Angeles was visiting New York and dropped by the office for coffee. “How are you?” he asked. “Not great,” I confided. “I think I’m a terrible manager.”

Just that morning, in our newsroom’s main Slack channel, I had sketched out a plan for covering a big breaking news story. A young reporter involved in the plan pushed back on a key piece of it, in a reply that everyone in the Slack channel could see. I considered her reasoning but found it faulty, and messaged her and her direct supervisor explaining why. We pressed on with my plan, which turned out to be the right call.

I had won the argument and proved my point, but I still felt lousy, and not because I had overruled someone (I was confident enough to feel no guilt about that). What was bothering me was that I couldn’t imagine ever openly questioning a ranking editor’s request like that when I was a young reporter. And so I deduced that if I was being questioned in that way, then I must have been doing an awful job of carrying myself with any authority.

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Author: Heather Landy

What cool means today

💡 The Big Idea

In 2020, it’s cool to care. And the changing nature of cool is affecting what shoppers buy, who they follow, and how companies behave.

Here’s the TLDR to our field guide on the new meaning of cool.

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Author: Quartz Staff

Your company needs a shadow board of young, non-executive talent

If there’s anything this year has taught us, it is to expect the unexpected. It’ll be the maxim heard in every boardroom and executive-level meeting for the foreseeable future.

The two great inflection points of the year—the Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement—have already upended the status quo and forced businesses to change their operations, their communications, and their diversity, equity, and inclusivity policies. Some moved fast, responding almost immediately in ways that were relevant to their customers and their employees. Others either lagged behind, missed the mark, or, particularly in response to the BLM movement, were paralyzed by indecision for fear of getting it wrong.

These crises have highlighted that, as business leaders, we were ill-prepared for sudden change. Uncertainties rendered us vulnerable. And the financial, social, and psychological fallout has been punishing, with companies like Hertz and J.Crew filing for bankruptcy due to the pandemic.

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Author: Rebecca Robins

What companies need to understand about Gen Z

Today’s teens and young adults have never experienced life without smartphones. They’ve grown up connected to their peers, influences, and brands across the world through a screen. That’s led to a completely different relationship with corporations compared to previous generations. With an estimated $150 billion in spending power in the US alone, according to the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, companies can no longer depend on traditional cultural gatekeepers to reach today’s young consumers. They’ll have to meet Gen Z on their own terms.

Quartz’s latest presentation looks at the progressive priorities driving Gen Z, from the environment to body positivity, and what this means for companies hoping to connect with young people.

A powerpoint slide showing Gen Z's attitudes toward climate change and the environment.

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Author: Quartz Staff