Archives for posts with tag: vc


Just like many of you, most of my digital life exists in the cloud. Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, Goodreads – you name it. It’s so convenient, it frees me from owning any equipment or learning something as scary as running my own server.

Lately, I’ve been having doubts about this decision.

While many of us discuss the wisdom of sharing data with advertisers (and the questionable benefits for advertisers), recent reports make me wonder if that’s not just a side show. In the good old days, when somebody wanted to get access to any information in my possession, they had to subponae me personally. In this new brave world of cloud computing, they don’t bother with me. They go directly to the companies I’m storing my information with. (And, once in a while, they do the right thing.)More often than not, these companies don’t even inform me of this legal action and share information based on their needs. Not on mine.

Terms of Service protect the company. And keep me vulnerable.

Nobody ever read the “Terms of Service’ of any platform we’re using each and every day. The latest Apple update was more than 50 pages long. Who bothers with that? We’d rather click the “Agree” button and get excited about the newest feature update. That’s human nature. But, when pushing that button we basically give companies the power to share our data based on their ethical standards and the demands of VC’s and Wall Street.

Look, most of us have nothing to fear. We just want to live our lives, make the world a better place and enjoy the time we have left on this earth. But, we should never forget the famous quote from Pastor Martin Niemoeller:

“They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up”

There are only two solutions to this problem:

  1. We trust our data to a company that creates a cloud server that protects the rights of the users who store data on it. (Problem is, why would I trust this specific company? What track record would they need to gain mass adoption?)
  2. We own our own data. Just like we own our printed documents. Our diaries. Our thoughts.

I don’t know about you: I vote for the latter.


This post was first published on Jack Myers’ MediaBizBloggers site.

Last week’s Monaco Media Forum with the theme “Mobilization” was a fascinating event filled with superstars of the media, advertising, VC and emerging technologies world. As usual with conferences of this magnitude, the most insightful conversations took place outside of the main event center.

It is pretty apparent that the advertising/media industry continues to optimize ways delivering relevant messages to people: Data warehouses, behavioral targeting, and contextual targeting – you name it. While the powerhouses of that industry shared the main stage, emerging technology providers and VC’s are starting to build new tools that focus more on the intent of people.

Advertising faces a race to the bottom: studies have shown that the least desirable customers click on ads and paying people specifically to look at advertising is likely to catch lower income people with time on their hands – not a good option for marketers. Sure, we’re getting better at delivering relevant messages to people but the success rates of our marketing efforts are fairly low and the privacy questions comes up more often. Which leads us to the question: Where are we going from here?

The Intention Economy

A more effective way of engaging with people is to build tools that engage both parties (customers and vendors) in ways that work for both. While CRM systems are very one-sided in their benefits, ask vendors to bear the burden of the whole engagement and don’t allow customers to engage on their own terms, VRM systems (Vendor Relationship Management) help customers to be equipped with tools that transform them from followers in the marketplace to leaders. Let me give you an example:

Location-based apps are the big craze in the emerging media world right now. I visit a place, check-in and the marketing tactic is to receive special offers from the place itself or competitors. The VRM idea would be different: It’s noon and I plan on going to lunch in 10 minutes. I declare my intent to restaurants within a specific radius, even specifying my budget and the size of my party. Restaurants have now the opportunity to engage with me during the next 10 minutes to send me specific offers, based on my intent. Clearly, brands have a real captive audience for a limited amount of time and don’t need to waste any advertising inventory with guesswork.

VRM used to be an intellectual framework, nothing more. The Monaco Media Forum convinced me that entrepreneurs are starting to buy into this concept and building the necessary tools to bring VRM to life. I saw apps and sites that are based on the VRM model, and I’m convinced that the end of data collection for advertisers (Foursquare, Facebook) is near. The future is bright and the future is based on intent.