• Chatting Up A Storm
    I've been talking about a "meta-app" for ages. It looks like China may have found it in WeChat. We in the Western world have been monitoring the success of TenCent's WeChat with growing interest. Who would have thought that a simple chat interface could be the killer app of the future?
  • Creating Distraction From The Real Media Transparency Issues
    It would seem convenient for agency holding companies to sow some seeds of doubt about the integrity of Ebiquity, which is heavily involved in the U.S. media transparency investigations. So Ebiquity's subsidiary Firm Decisions has been summoned into court by Group M, WPP's media buying agency.
  • Targeting In The Cross-Hairs
    To quickly review 30 years of advertising history: Targeting was sloppy. Then, it was better. Now, maybe, it's too good?
  • 137 Million Reasons We Should Be Terrified Of Technological Unemployment
    In May, the COO of the World Bank noted that, "For the first time in history, the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen below 10%." Surely a graph of change in incomes over time will reflect these positive trends - right?
  • Don't Blame The Salespeople -- Blame The Quotas
    A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, or in this case the Spin Board, last week: My column touched a nerve. Apparently people are very opinionated when it comes to salespeople. You either agreed with, or were diametrically opposed to, my piece on what makes a bad salesperson.
  • A Possibly Premature Post-Mortem Of Yahoo
    Last Thursday, Yahoo held its annual shareholder meeting, during which CEO Marissa Mayer dealt the company a doubled-down kiss of death. She said that the goals of the board were fully aligned with one clear priority: "delivering shareholder value to all of you." She further noted that, when dealing with the divesture of all that once was Yahoo, she's "been very heartened by the level of interest in Yahoo. It validates our business processes as well as our achievements to date." It's basically the same as the butcher saying, "This cow is no longer viable as a cow, so I'm ...
  • How We Shop Now
    In his excellent new book, "The Inevitable," Kevin Kelly describes 12 technological forces that are shaping our future and which we'd be wise to accept and align with, rather than fight. The fun starts when you cross-pollinate the different branches to see what might turn up, e.g., a Billboard chart of the top songs created by AIs (the HAL 100?), or using VR to visit an actual war zone or the surface of a comet. This is, in a sense, what good startups do, building new products from current tech in alignment with future trends. Mobile shopping seems like another ...
  • What Makes A Bad Salesperson (Hint: See Below)?
    I have been an ad and marketing guy for a while now, and I've been sold by some of the best and some of the worst salespeople across the industry. Many of the best I've maintained strong relationships with for many years, but the bad ones? Eh... not so much. What makes a bad salesperson? It's actually very easy to point out:
  • What Would A 'Time-Well-Spent' World Look Like?
    Technology is our new drug of choice, and we're hooked. We're fascinated by the trivial. We're dumping huge gobs of time down the drain playing virtual games, updating social statuses, clicking on clickbait and watching videos of epic wardrobe malfunctions. Humans should be better than this.
  • Cannes Is No Longer An Ad Festival
    Did you go to the Cannes Lions ad festival? Lucky you. A week (or a couple of days) in some of the most opulent (and expensive!) hotels in Europe, or a well-appointed Airbnb, or perhaps just slumming it in an F1 Hotel (France's answer to Motel 6). Regardless, being on the sunny French Riviera beats any day in the office. My conclusion is that Cannes is an ad festival by tradition only anymore. What it has turned into is a tech-deal-makers meet, agency-deal-makers swap meet.
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