Monday, February 25, 2019

Unintended Consequences — February 25, 2019

Creators need to understand the potential impact of their actions, as evidenced by Honorius and Mary Shelley; skills needed in the age of A.I.; understanding the breadth of autonomous technology is important; the state of influencer marketing includes more scrutiny on relationships and authenticity; retail growth predictions; making Facebook ad-free is difficult; Pinterest is going public; TikTok is the latest advertising casualty; Vox and Sticther expand their partnership; the companies that are sneaking cameras into home devices and airplanes; how much hashtags matter on Facebook and Instagram; treat your weekends like vacations; remembering Sluggy; and more in the Unintended Consequences edition of The Full Monty for the week of February 25, 2019.

The Full Monty makes you smarter faster, by curating essential digital business intelligence every week. Links are below with commentary in italics. Please sign up for our email updates to make sure you don't miss a thing.


Top Story
Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous
Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy
Retail Apocalypse
Privacy / Security / Regulatory
Measurement / Analytics / Data
Mental Nourishment


I thought it might be time to remind you about what Scott Monty Strategies does. Having spent 6 years in an executive role at Ford in charge of digital and social strategy, I coach big brand and agency executives and their teams on how to grow their business by better connecting with their stakeholders, particularly through digital transformation efforts. I welcome the opportunity to explore a relationship with your team.

Top Story

When you're creating something, there's got to be some consideration for its impact on humanity. Whether it's a new communications method, a transportation breakthrough, or a piece of entertainment. Part of intelligent design is understanding how it will be used by the masses (should you be successful enough to see mass adoption).

It's where Facebook tripped up and didn't anticipate the nefarious uses of its platform for election manipulation and fake news. And they're still struggling.

YouTube and Pinterest are making strides in this direction after running into similar issues. YouTube is demonetizing anti-vaxxing channels, deleting channels that led to questionable pedophile-related comments, and creating a one-strike warning and stricter rules for punishment. Pinterest simply "broke" its search tool for anti-vaccine searches. Facebook has also taken strides to reduce a number of fake news pages.

But each of these platforms is self-serve: that is, they each allow users to create their own channels by design. The utopian view was that they'd be used to bring people together. It seems they're doing just that — but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

Economists in particular assume that humans make rational decisions. But if history has taught us anything, it's that emotion will always supersede rationality. As much as we like to pontificate from the sideline or armchair, we're driven by emotions.

Philosophers refer to innocent evil: people with moral intentions make decisions that result in immoral consequences. And this is why the technology industry could do with a dose of history, psychology, classics, and philosophy.

Or Timeless Wisdom.

"I had begun life with benevolent intentions and thirsted for the moment when I should put them in practice and make myself useful to my fellow beings. Now all was blasted; instead...I was seized by remorse and the sense of guilt." 
— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

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About this week's image: In The Favourites of the Emperor Honorius by John William Waterhouse (1883), Honorius feeds his pigeons, indifferent to the news that Rome has fallen. According to Gibbon, "the amusement of feeding poultry became the serious and daily care of the monarch of the West" and who "passed the slumber of his life, a captive in his palace, a stranger in his country, and the patient, almost the indifferent, spectator of the ruin of the Western empire, which was repeatedly attacked, and finally subverted, by the arms of the Barbarians." (The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, Chapter XXIX)

Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

The latest in A.I., machine learning, and bots; mobility and autonomous everything.
Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ

Aᴜᴛᴏɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs / Mᴏʙɪʟɪᴛʏ

Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

Industry developments and trends, including advertising & marketing, journalism, customer experience, content, and influencer relations.

Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ
  • It’s ironic that companies often spend significant resources on external strategy advice while ignoring one the most fruitful sources of strategic insights: their own employees. Unfortunately, employees whose ideas about strategy aren’t listened to may quit — and take their ideas with them. (MIT Sloan Management Review)
  • This year will mark a major milestone in the world of advertising. For the first time, digital ad spending in the U.S. will exceed traditional ad spending. (eMarketer)
  • The Global State of Influencer Marketing 2019 from Talkwalker found that brands will continue to invest in influencer marketing, but will focus on long-term relationships and will be on high alert regarding authenticity (and the bot-generated boosts some influencers generate). (MarTech Today) Those who game the system are eventually found out.
  • The top 10 CPG categories in 2018 were largely dedicated to our pets and our self-care. (Marketing Charts) Advice: f you've got an idea for a new product, make it be for how we look or feel, or how we take care of our pets.
Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ
  • Budding communications professionals may wince at the focus on video lately, but there's good news: video requires captions and transcripts. (Wistia) I recently addressed a college communications class and mentioned the importance of becoming good writers, above all — it's what will track to any corner of the profession.
  • If it's a day that ends in 'y,' there's outrage online somewhere. And when big brands have to deal with angry netizens, it's a matter of acknowledge, apologize, and investigate. (WSJ) And of course, it's a matter of knowing what to respond to and what to leave alone.

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Retail Apocalypse

Humans are a transactional species, and the practice — if not the very notion of what retail is  is undergoing a historical metamorphosis. 

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News to know about relevant social media and technology platforms that may affect your business.

Fᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ / Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ / WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ
  • Pinterest secretly filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO this year. The company saw a 50% increase in revenue over the last year. (TechCrunch) Get in line, along with Lyft, Uber, and Slack.
  • TikTok has told agency partners in the U.S. that it is working on a biddable advertising option on the platform, signaling it is looking to further open up to advertisers.
    • Related: here's a short version of the TikTok playbook sent to brands, agencies and influencers. (Slideshare) It's happening again...


The latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.

  • Just as Amazon shocked the retail industry into wokeness, Neflix did the same to the entertainment industry. Hollywood is racing to catch up with Netflix, with Disney in hot pursuit. (Variety) Good longread about the state of the industry.
  • Spectrum cable subscribers can get streaming access for just $15 a month. (The Verge) Another move showing how cable companies understand the threat and need to change if they don't want to be disrupted out of business.

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Privacy / Security / Regulatory

Business disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.

Pʀɪᴠᴀᴄʏ / Sᴇᴄᴜʀɪᴛʏ / Hᴀᴄᴋɪɴɢ
Rᴇɢᴜʟᴀᴛᴏʀʏ / Oɴ-Dᴇᴍᴀɴᴅ Eᴄᴏɴᴏᴍʏ


Measurement / Analytics / Data

The future is not in plastics, but in data. Those who know how to measure and analyze it will rule the world.


    How can you energize your team and give them actionable ideas for boosting customer engagement? It's all about applying Timeless Wisdom to your process — practical and relatable lessons drawn from historical and literary contexts, updated to inform business growth. 
    Combine this with Fortune 10 executive experience and some great stories, and you'll be happy that you spent a fraction of what it costs to send your team to a major conference. I'll spend anywhere from an hour to a whole day with your team and give them the power to develop trusted, lasting relationships with your customers.
    Let's chat and see if I can customize a session for you.

    Mental Nourishment

    Other links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.
    • Since 2015, Jeff Wysaki has been making fake toys and signs and leaving them in public. Now you'll be able to enjoy them in person at the Museum of Toys pop-up in Los Angeles. (The Verge) I want a bag of Muppet Screams.
    • The sculpture of ancient Greece has captivated us for centuries. Why we've been fascinated by it for so long.
    • When we think of our Saturdays and Sundays as vacations — rather than days we’re simply not at work — we return on Monday happier and more refreshed, according to research. (UCLA Anderson)
    • If you're a public speaker and you want to know how to make people laugh, you need to employ twists in your stories. Twists come in several different flavors: the put-down, the aside, and the exaggeration. (The Accidental Communicator) 
    • Joe Sirola passed away recently. You may not recognize the name (or even the face), but odds are you saw or heard him in a commercial. I remember him fondly for his turn as Sluggy Patterson, a fictitious character developed by Volkswagen, who supposedly invented the "Punch Dub" (or Punch Buggy or Slug Bug) game. (Vimeo) These videos were a favorite of mine during my time at Ford.

    Top image credit: The Favourites of Emperor Honorius by John William Waterhouse, 1883 (Google Art Project - public domain)

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