I have no idea how to start this newsletter.
I want to make this whole fucking thing about BLM and police brutality and what good allyship looks like and why this time is different but frankly I’m just not the right person for that. I know what I’m good at (mocking adtech) and what I’ll never be great at (literally anything else).
So while I’m going to start this newsletter with the adtech news of the day, I’m going to make a point of posting books, posts, tweets, videos, etc that I want to rebroadcast at the bottom of each post. If you feel strongly that I should reverse this order or that I’ve misspoken about something or if you have something you think I should share… let me know.
My concern when 2021 comes around and the long-reads on how “unlucky” Quibi was and all the variables that came together to bury it… none will mention that it was actually just a bad product.
Launch Quibi in 2019 and it still dies, probably just as fast.
“As a good rule of thumb, proprietary technology must be at least 10 times better than its closest substitute in some important dimension to lead to a real monopolistic advantage. Anything less than an order of magnitude better will probably be perceived as a marginal improvement and will be hard to sell, especially in an already crowded market.”
Peter Thiel, Zero to One
Yeah, the author is a dick, but the point is valid. Streaming is crowded. Unless you have something truly unique (say, exclusivity on the entire Disney collection) you’re lighting money on fire.
MediaMath explores a possible sale // Digiday
Every single one of you should be pulling reports for the last 90 days to figure out how much revenue you have at risk if MediaMath was to fold up shop tomorrow. I’m not saying that’s the case but if Sizmek taught us anything it’s that when these things happen they happen quickly.
A Call For Change // Black professionals in advertising
Signal boosting this letter. As of this writing, it has over 600 signatories. Please, give it a read.
We are asking all U.S. advertising agencies to take the following actions to address the systemic racism that is afflicting our industry:
Make a specific, measurable, and public commitment to improve Black representation at all levels of agency staffing, especially Senior and Leadership positions
Track and publicly report workforce diversity data on an annual basis to create accountability for the agency and the industry
Audit agency policies and culture to ensure the environment we work in is more equitable and inclusive to a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives
Provide extensive bias training to HR employees and all levels of management
Extend agency outreach to a more diverse representation of colleges, universities, and art schools
Expand residencies and internship programs to candidates with transferable skills who may not have taken a traditional educational path toward advertising
Create, fund, and support Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for Black employees
Invest in management and leadership training, as well as mentorship, sponsorship, and other career development programs for Black employees
Require all leadership to be active participants in company Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and tie success in those initiatives to bonus compensation.
Create a Diversity & Inclusion committee made up of Black and NBPOC employees to help shape diversity & inclusion policy and monitor its progress
Establish a diversity review panel to stem the spread of stereotypes in creative work and ensure offensive or culturally insensitive work is never published
Introduce a wage equity plan to ensure that Black women, Black men and people of color are being compensated fairly
Adweek has more including some background on how this letter came together.
I know I said last week I wouldn’t list things I’ve read or watched that have (hopefully) opened my eyes and made me a more understanding person. Upon further reflection, I actually think that choice was wrong. My job in being a good ally is speaking out and helping those who want to know more but don’t know where to start. Nothing I put below is a silver bullet or the end-all in learning about systemic racism or white privilege, it’s simply stuff that has helped me grow as a person.
If you have articles/videos/movies/books/etc that I should read please send them my way.
The Souls of Black Folk // W.E.B. Du Bois
Between the World and Me // Ta-Nehisi Coates
A People’s History of The United States // Howard Zinn
King Leopold's Ghost // Adam Hochschild
White Teeth // Zadie Smith
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings // Maya Angelou
13th // Ava DuVernay (Netflix)
I Am Not Your Negro // Raoul Peck (Amazon)
Whose Streets? // Sabaah Folayan (Hulu)
Let The Fire Burn // Jason Osder (Rent)
I didn’t really have a place for this last one but it’s timely. Watch the most recent episode of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.
Shameless Self Promotion
Check out Erik and I’s newest episode of What Happens in Adtech. This week Erik and I dig into identity and what it looks like for publishers in a post-third-party cookie world with Kristy Schafer.
Kristy mostly focuses on the buy-side which means she has a giant amount of knowledge not only on identity but how buyers are planning for it in the future.
We also offer an audio-only version of WHIAT on Spotify and iTunes. Subscribe!
If you like the words I wrote above please share it with other smart people:
Ok, that’s all for me. Have a great day, or don’t. I’m not the boss of you!