Published in Online Spin, August 07 2015.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” —Edmund Burke
Here’s a quick thought experiment: if you are driving a car with four underage drinkers in it, are you responsible for them breaking the law? What if one of the people in the car was selling liquor to the others? What if it was a ride-share system, like a shuttle, where one of your customers regularly sold alcohol to other passengers, serving as a de facto liquor store? At what point do you become responsible for what happens on your platform?
Published in Online Spin, July 31 2015.
It’s a climate commitment milestone. Earlier this week, 13 large corporations announced that they would collectively be committing $140 billion toward climate change mitigation. The commitments take various forms, from reducing emissions to shifting to renewable energy to increasing investment in renewable technology or other environmental initiatives. And the companies range broadly: Coca-Cola. Berkshire Hathaway. Wal-Mart. UPS. Bank of America.
Published in Online Spin, July 24 2015
My favorite new MediaPost publication is the IoT (Internet of Things) Daily. They haven’t asked me to talk about this at all; I promise. But it’s so cool. It’s the one talking about all the bright shiny things, like residents at a senior community wearing sensors so they don’t go wandering off, or a male grooming service adding virtual reality to its offering.
On Wednesday, though, there was a headline that really stopped me in my tracks. Or rather, a headline about somebody stopping something in its tracks: the specific someone being hackers, and the thing they stopped in its tracks being a jeep going 70 miles per hour.
This story is terrifying
Published in Online Spin, July 17 2015
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Technological advancements were destroying jobs right and left -- only for them to be replaced by new ones, with new titles, in new fields. We found ourselves at the risk of societal breakdown at the very moment new opportunities were being created for tens of millions of people. Nobody knew what to make of it.
Published in Online Spin, July 10 2015
Zappos is having a hard time.
Over on Pando, Paul Carr -- who readily confesses he himself was burned by Zappos founder and CEO Tony Hsieh -- takes evident delight in detailing the difficulties the organization faces as it attempts to transition to “Holacracy,” a self-management structure developed by Brian J. Robertson.
Holacracy is the perfect management system for the Age of the Internet: it’s decentralized, platform-focused, built around a concept of circles that are not all that dissimilar to nodes in a network. But it has its challenges:
Published in Online Spin, June 26 2015
The year was 1996. A friend of mine had created a Web site to track bond prices in real time. He had just sold his first ad. “Can you click on it?” he asked me. “Every time you do, I make five cents.”
At the time, like the Internet itself, the problem he jokingly referred to was in its infancy. But that’s no longer the case. As our media consumption has shifted online, the incentives to commit ad fraud have grown. And the Shakespearean irony is that the very thing that makes the Internet seem so compelling for advertisers -- the promise of attribution, of measurability, of precision -- is exactly the thing that makes it prone to exploitation.
Published in Online Spin, June 19 2015
Technology is awesome. No, seriously: awe-some, as in, I am continually in awe of what is possible. In moments, you can create your own versions of famous movie intros. For $5, you can hire someone to paint your logo on their body. You can contribute toward a campaign to make a woman’s “relentlessly gay yard more relentless, gayer.” We live in truly magical times.