Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Step aside Gen Z, meet Gen Zalpha

February 28, 2023
Hello, Insiders. This week, I’m focusing my notes on the war in Ukraine. Today, a big question: How will this end? Well, one year on from Russia invading Ukraine, there’s no clear answer. Military experts have shared how the war could play out, from a stalemate to victory for either side.

The truth is: Neither side is ready to concede that the war won’t go as well as it wants. Putin is still “convinced” he can win. China attempted to play the role of mediator and has called for a cease-fire, though the Kremlin has shot that idea down.

New UK intel says his current plan is to exhaust Ukraine. Meanwhile, Zelenskyy believes Ukraine will “prevail.” He wants to retake land Russia has held since 2014.

Our military and defense team is covering this conflict, and they’ll continue to keep us informed on all the important developments. As for today, let’s get to the news.

— Nicholas Carlson


In today’s edition: The generation of teens and 20-somethings who are about to have major spending power, the hidden costs of refinancing your student loans, and inside Qantas’ sweet new suites. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.


Murdoch, XFL, & more

  • Rupert Murdoch admits Fox News hosts “endorsed” election lies and wanted to make Trump a “non-person” after the January 6 riot. More here.
  • Elon Musk is once again the richest person in the world. He overtook Bernard Arnault, whose net worth Bloomberg estimates to be $182 billion. Read the full story.
  • Quarterback AJ McCarron took a 98.5% pay cut — to $60,000 from $4 million — to play in the XFL. Find out why.

Meet Gen Zalpha

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images


You’ve heard of Generation Z. You may have heard of Generation Alpha. Now meet Generation Zalpha.

Much as the name implies, the Zalpha generation can best be described as a combo generation encompassing all of Gen Z and Gen Alpha. This is different from a micro-generation like the zillennials, born from 1990 to 2000, right between millennials and Gen Zers.

Confused yet? Then you’re probably not a Zalpha. Members of the generation are young, they’re internet-savvy, and marketers are clamoring for both their cash and their expertise.

The internet-native Zalpha generation is a prime target for brands for a key reason: its potential spending power. Zalphas’ spending is predicted to grow much faster than other generations’ over the next several years.



The “holy grail” of shoes, Volkswagen drama, & more

Liam Eisenberg for Insider


  • The hidden costs of refinancing your student loans. Private lenders hold $128 billion in student-loan debt. But those who refinance actually end up paying thousands of dollars more in interest over the long run. Here’s how it works.
  • Ex-Amazon managers say they were pressured to cut successful workers. A former programmer team lead said that this was part of Amazon’s strategy to meet attrition goals — and that when managers resisted, they faced retribution. Go deeper.
  • Authorities say a Thai drug lord evaded capture by having extensive plastic surgery. He was described as looking unexpectedly like a “handsome Korean man” upon his ultimate arrest, reports say. Check out his transformation.
  • “I earned $100,000 as a TikToker for the first time last year.” Tej Patel, who has about 60,000 followers across social media, reflects on what he would have done sooner, or differently, when he first started posting. His do’s and don’ts.
  • The police say Volkswagen refused to track a stolen car with a 2-year-old inside. A carjacker knocked and ran over a pregnant woman to steal her car. Volkswagen still asked for a $150 fee to track it. Here’s the full story.
  • The “holy grail” of sneaker collections is about to go on sale. Six sneakers Michael Jordan wore during game-clinching NBA Finals games are set to be sold, not auctioned, by Sotheby’s. Learn more.
  • A couple who met on Facebook married a week after meeting in person. Shalonda Trent said her family begged her not to marry someone she was yet to meet in real life, saying he only wanted a US visa. “You have to take risks in life to get where you want to be.” Read the full story.

Qantas’ sweet suites



See Qantas’ new cabin suites on what will be the world’s longest nonstop flights. Beginning in late 2025, the Australian flag carrier Qantas plans to fly from Sydney to both New York and London. And for those willing to trek up to 21 hours in the sky and pay up for comfort, Qantas has unveiled innovative first- and business-class suites to keep passengers relaxed on board. Check them out.

The magic behind “Pinocchio”

How Netflix’s “Pinocchio” created lifelike stop-motion animation. Insider spoke with “Pinocchio” puppet fabrication supervisor Georgina Hayns and animation supervisor Brian Leif Hansen about the labor of love behind the film, which breathes new life into the over-century-old art form of stop-motion animation. Check it out.

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This edition was curated by Nicholas Carlson and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, Dave Smith, Nathan Rennolds, and Kevin Kaplan. Get in touch:

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