The Zip – Episode 35
It’s spring. Almost summer, really. Let’s say you’re in the mood for camping. But you need a new tent. So you go to your local camping supply store and browse through the tent aisle. Maybe you have a conversation with the salesperson, and he, let’s say it’s a he, he shows you your tent options. Tents for one, tents for two – green tents, blue tents, tents with multiple rooms. But a tent’s a big purchase – maybe you’re not ready to commit right now. You’ve got an idea of price ranges, and now you want to sit on this info for a bit. Maybe you’ll come back in a couple weeks after looking at your budget, and thinking out your tent options on your own.
All good. Goodbye mr salesman. You leave the store and get in your car, and holy EVERYTHING mr salesman is sitting in your passenger seat. “Are you sure you don’t want the green two-room tent? It’s on SALE.”
You kick him out. Obviously. Creepo. This guy must really need his commission.
You go grab some lunch at a local cafe. But WHO’S STANDING BEHIND THE COUNTER in a red-striped apron? IT’S THAT FREAKING TENT SALESGUY.
“Maybe you’d like the extra waterproof tent!” he says. “It comes with 39 storage pockets!”
No! NO! I want my lunch!
But wait, there’s more.
That night – during movie theater previews, mr sales guy pops up. He’s on the sidewalk with a sign during your morning commute. He’s hiding under your desk at work?
Yeah, it’s pretty weird to have a sales guy stalker.
But when it’s online, we’re used to it. There are companies who make profits by following us around the Internet, tracking our patterns and habits, who never asked permission. Who go where we go, hoping for that commission.
And that’s what today’s conversation is about. Well, that and college radio stations and the birth of advertising and the walls social media creates around the Internet.
Because today, we’re talking with Doc Searls, co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto, Silicon Valley marketer, technology commentator, and speaker. And I’ll just warn you up front – this conversation is long. But, to me, it was too interesting to edit.
Doc is a hardcore anti-adtechm advocate, so most of our conversation centers around the virtual version of that crazy tent sales guy. But that conversation isn’t limited to browser cookies and terms of agreement. It also touches on Amazon’s sales strategy and why Europeans care more about privacy than Americans. Doc Searls is a full picture thinker, and I didn’t want to edit out the full picture. Hopefully, you’ll walk away from the conversation like I did – with your mind a little blown, but with new ideas on how the Internet could be different.
The ideas we’re discussing here, on ad tech, the affect local in numerous ways as well, particularly local advertising, an area where many companies haven’t learned to scale WITHOUT using customer data.
So let’s get started.
Welcome to The Zip.