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September 24, 2019

Mobile Is Not a Device; Mobile is a Situation (Thinks Out Loud Episode 259)

September 24, 2019 | By | No Comments

Mobile is a situation: Woman interacting with smart headphonesLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Mobile Is Not a Device; Mobile is a Situation (Thinks Out Loud Episode 259) — Headlines and Show Notes

This shouldn't be news, but mobile is way bigger than you think. No, really. Much, much bigger. And the reason is because mobile is not a device; mobile is a situation. And it's a situation that major players like Apple, Google, and now Amazon are positioning themselves to take advantage of. The question is whether you're doing the same for you business.

The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud takes a look at the fact that mobile is a situation and asks how you get ready for your business to handle that situation in the coming year.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links:

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 49s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Mobile Is Not a Device; Mobile is a Situation (Thinks Out Loud Episode 259) — Transcript

Well, hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. Today is Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 and this is Episode 259 of the big show. Thank you so much for tuning in again. I really do appreciate it. I think we've got a really cool show for you today. There's some really interesting stuff going on. I'm kind of in this neat place today because I saw this story that blew my mind.

There's a story in CNBC that says Amazon is, and I'm reading from the story, Amazon is developing a new pair of Alexa powered wireless earbuds that double as a fitness tracking device. Their codenamed, "Puget", and they're expected to come with a built in accelerometer and be able to monitor things like the distance you run, how many calories you've burned, the pace of running and things along those lines. This is on top of Amazon recently introducing its Echo Auto device, which is a little tiny Echo you stick in your car so that you can use Alexa wherever you go while you're driving. I actually have one, I've been using it for the last couple of weeks and it's fascinating. It's got some problems, but it's really cool when it works correctly.

I think all of these are really sign posts. They really point to a trend that I think we overlook a bit. This is a trend that's been coming for about three years and we're probably not all the way there yet, but that trend is that mobile isn't what you think it is. When you think about mobile, when I think about mobile, when most people think about mobile, we tend to be talking about a piece of glass and aluminum that we're holding in our hands. The reality is that's not what mobile is. That's a device that allows you to be effective, to do computing, to connect with the information and the people that matter to you while your engaging in mobile activity.

As I've said before, mobile is a situation. It's not a device. The device that we're using to interact with mobile, the device we're using in mobile situations is starting to change. I put out a podcast, oh gosh, about three years ago actually when Apple introduced the AirPods called, "The Future of Digital Arrived Last Week". It was Episode 177, so this is a while ago. I want to be fair, we're not quite there yet, but I want you to think about the fact that in the time since Apple introduced the AirPods, they've sold 25 million of them. By one standard, it is the second best selling product Apple has ever introduced. It's sold more units over the first two years of its life than any other product they've ever sold, with the exception of the iPad, which by the way again, mobile device, right?

During the first two years that it was introduced, they also sold six million watches and now Amazon is about to introduce it's smart headphones. The reason is because this is the computer, this is the device we're all going to use in the future. By the future, I'm going to talk about in the moment, but this is the mobile revolution. The mistake is thinking that mobile is always or only going to look like a piece of glass and aluminum that you hold in your hand, but what we're seeing is to truly be mobile, people want to use things hands free. Maybe not always. Maybe not for every interaction, but your customers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of using any device that allows them to access music, and news, and weather, and information, and the people they want to interact with wherever they are.

That's what the real mobile revolution is. I've said this many times before and I will link to the many, many examples in the show notes, but Millennials and especially Gen Z, are going to take these devices for granted. This isn't some cool new tech. This isn't some cool new thing. This is simply a tool that allows your customers to do what they want to do. Now, I'm not going to make any bold predictions about how long it will take before everybody has these, whether Apple makes them or whether Google makes them or whether Microsoft makes them or whether Amazon makes them, it doesn't matter. I want to talk about the fact that there's a famous Bill Gates quote that I'm sure I've used here on the show before that says, "We always estimate the change that will occur in the next three years and underestimate that the change in the next 10." I do want to point out the AirPods have been out for just about three years, going on three years, but if you look back 10 years ago, it's been roughly 10 years since Apple introduced the iPhone. Okay. 11, but I mean, about 10 years. A couple of weeks ago they introduced the brand new one. Have you heard anybody going, "Oh my gosh, the brand new phone is the greatest thing ever. Oh, it's the best one"?

Of course you haven't because the new one is, to be honest, boring. It's great from everything I've heard about it. I actually ordered one. It should be showing up in the next couple of days, but it's boring. Nobody gets excited about a phone any longer. The category has matured to the point where it's no longer interesting. Yes, your customers are still adapting their behaviors, but the phone isn't what's next. It's what is. What's next is coming pretty quickly because it's been coming for the last three years. When things come along that change people's behaviors and change the norms, I usually say it takes five years. I want to be fair because I'm splitting the difference a little on Bill Gates' quote about overestimating three and underestimating 10.

If you figure it's somewhere between those, you're talking five to seven. The fact that you're seeing Amazon start to get into this space and the fact that you're seeing more movement in terms of how companies are thinking about how customers will interact with voice and the places they will interact with voice, we're probably starting to get into a place where that's going to become more normal. It might still take another couple of years, but it's also something that is very much coming and it's very much real. Apple didn't sell 25 million AirPods because nobody wants these. They haven't sold six million watches because nobody wants them. Amazon's probably going to sell some of these smart headphones. I'm not going to make predictions about how many because I don't really know. I do know that anybody who uses Alexa really likes it, so they're probably going to sell a bunch of them.

In a couple of years it's likely we're going to be looking around and say, "Oh my gosh, when did everybody start using these things?" The answer is, about three years ago. The fact of the matter is mobile is a situation, not a device. Your customers expect to use mobile when and where they are using whatever device helps them accomplish the objectives that they have. It's probably going to be some kind of headphones or some kind of watch as the technology gets good enough that you can make them really powerful in a really small package. You look at the new Apple Watch they've introduced, you look at the new AirPods they've introduced. We're getting closer to where you can actually make these things all day, computers that allow you to interact with what you want, where you want.

That's a really powerful difference. When you think about mobile for your business, when you think about how your customers will interact with your products and services using mobile, don't think in terms of a screen, don't think in terms of a device. Think in terms of an experience. Think in terms of how your customers will choose to interact with the information that they need and how you can help them do that. Then regardless of whether it takes three years or 10 years or somewhere in between, you will be ready for that situation that is mobile without having to worry too much about the device.

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week, but I want to thank you again so much for tuning in. I genuinely do appreciate it. I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode, as well as an archive of all our past episodes by going to timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that's timpeter.com/podcast. Just look for Episode 259. While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single episode. You can also subscribe on iTunes, or Stitcher radio, or Google podcasts, or Apple podcasts, or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or Thinks Out Loud. We should show up for any of those.

While you're there, I'd also very much appreciate it if you can provide us a positive rating or review. It's so helpful to other listeners and it makes it easier for people to find us, so that would mean a lot to me. You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to facebook.com/timpeterassociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter or of course you can email me by sending an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

I'd also like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud is brought to you by SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI driven content, discovery, and site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com.

With that, I want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I very much appreciate it. I hope you have a great rest of the week, a wonderful weekend, and I'll look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well, be safe and as ever, take care everybody.

Tim Peter

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September 11, 2019

Gatekeepers Gonna Gate: Apple, Google, and Antitrust (Thinks Out Loud Episode 258)

September 11, 2019 | By | No Comments

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Gatekeepers Gonna Gate: Apple, Google, and Antitrust (Thinks Out Loud Episode 258) – Headlines and Show Notes

Apple's getting in some trouble for how their App Store restricts access to apps that aren't Apple's. Google's getting in even more trouble with antitrust authorities. And Facebook's not super popular with regulators either, facing scrutiny from a handful of state attorneys general too. We live in a world where it's clear that gatekeepers gonna gate. But is antitrust regulation the right answer? Should Google and Apple and Facebook and Amazon have to reveal all the details of how they do what they do?

The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud takes a look both at the reality that gatekeepers gonna gate and asks a series of questions about what you should expect of these tech giants, both as a marketer and as a consumer.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links:

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 18m 58s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Gatekeepers Gonna Gate: Apple, Google, and Antitrust (Thinks Out Loud Episode 258) Transcript

Well. Hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. Today is Tuesday, September 10th, 2019. This is episode 258 of the big show. And as ever, I very much appreciate you tuning in. It's funny the name of this show is Thinks Out Loud. Today that title is probably more spot on than most.

Gatekeepers Gonna Gate: Introduction

The reason for that is because I have said for some time that gatekeeper's gonna gate. It's just the way they behave. It's the world in which they live. There are two new stories this week that got my attention around what gatekeeper's gonna gate might look like as we go forward through the rest of this year and into 2020.

The first was a story from the New York Times that noted Apple's apps ranked first, and I'm quoting, "For at least 700 search terms in the app store. Some searches produced as many as 14 Apple apps before showing results from rivals though," and the article continues, "Though competitors could pay Apple to place ads above the Apple results." I mean, that last line is a killer. If we're saying gatekeeper is going to gate, that pretty much sums it up right there.

They note in the article that searches for podcasts don't turn up Stitcher radio, which I talk about here all the time on the show, very popular podcatcher. They note that searches for music doesn't turn up Spotify. That's crazy. So clearly, this is a gatekeeper who's gonna gate and they're gating pretty hard.

The other article, of course, is that Google has been hit with an antitrust investigation from essentially every state's attorney general in the United States. Facebook has been invited to that party by another half dozen or so attorneys general. Which clearly that's a huge, huge step in terms of trying to reshape the marketplace.

Now, the reason that I think these are both interesting is because they're going to shape the landscape of what gatekeepers and you as a user of those gatekeepers, you as a marketer who tries to get your customers, who tries to reach customers using these folks, that's going to shape the landscape of the world you live in for the next couple of years. Now what's really interesting about this is the New York Times stated, this is from the New York Times article about Apple and the app store. I'm quoting this. It says, "Apple and other tech giants like Facebook and Google will not explain in detail how such algorithms work even when they blame the algorithms for problems."

Now I want to be really fair. I actually agree with the gatekeepers on this one. I have agreed with this approach forever. There are a couple of good reasons why gatekeepers should not make this information public.

The first is we've all seen how open access allows for trolls and allows for trouble. Look at 8chan or some of the more problematic boards on Reddit, or the rise of, well essentially Nazis on Twitter. There are just all whole host of horrible people out there who look for opportunities to pee in the public pool every chance they get. I've said many times before, quoting the French philosopher Paul DeLillo, "When you build the ship, you build the shipwreck."

Should Google's algorithm or Apple's be fully public? I think that's just going to make it easier for the trolls and troublemakers to game the system. There's a really great book by Emerson Brooking and Peter Singer called LikeWar. It's spelled #LikeWar, where Singer and Brooking say that once, every village had an idiot. It took the internet to bring them all together. And I'd add the same is true for every villages resident troll too.

Trolls used to exclusively live under bridges. Now, thanks to the internet, they coordinate their harassment and their hurt on a daily basis using digital to share tips on how to be the most effective and efficient trolls they possibly can be in their attacks. They have all the incentive in the world to keep doing it, to get better at that. Do we really think it's a good idea to provide them access to understand how to do it better? I don't. So clearly I'm not a fan of making the algorithm public for that reason alone.

I also, even in Google's case, more or less agree with their argument about the importance of keeping the algorithm private as a trade secret. I'm a capitalist. I'm a business guy. I think there's a lot of merit in saying there are things that companies are allowed to keep private. I do think the public good outweighs that sometimes and I will come to that, but Google in my experience is uniquely positioned both as a company that dominates the market place and also as one that could lose it all tomorrow.

Google's Power is Brittle: Is That Always True for Gatekeepers?

I've mentioned before here on the show how their power is brittle because switching costs for consumers are so low. Consumers tomorrow could start searching on Bing or DuckDuckGo in an instant. And it would significantly hurt Google's revenues right now. Last quarter, the company made about 85% of its revenues from paid clicks on advertising. Believe me, they'd notice if a large number of folks started searching somewhere else. Let's be fair about this, even switching from an Android device to an iPhone is relatively trivial, if we think about the history of switching costs.

Now, as for the switching costs argument for Apple and Amazon, I'd say somewhat similar dynamics apply. Though to be fair, you have to think that Amazon isn't a switching cost problem for customers. It's really a switching cost problem for sellers. That dynamic, the differences between Facebook and Google and Apple and Amazon, when we get into these details, underscores why actually it's tougher to look at these tech giants holistically than it might seem at first glance.

As an example of the contrasts, Facebook absolutely plays a huge role in digital media. And while it's free for customers to use, the switching costs for Facebook's users are for all practical purposes, infinite due to its network effects. You can't leave Facebook until and unless all the other people you want to connect with do too. The same is true for them in reverse. All your friends and family and fans and followers would all have to agree to leave at the same time and choose to go to the same place to really break free of Facebook's influence.

Now call me crazy, that seems pretty unlikely. Whereas Google and Amazon and Apple, that same dynamic doesn't exist. But all that said, I think it's safe to say that we should all agree that we don't want trolls to have better understanding of the algorithm, and that varying market dynamics might play a role in determining varying approaches to the differing players here.

"Do Nothing" Isn't a Good Answer Given that Gatekeepers Gonna Gate

Now, all that said, I also don't believe that the right answer is to do nothing. Google's power, no matter how brittle it may be, also is enormous. The same is true for Facebook and Amazon and Apple. They have within their respective spheres of influence, tremendous power over the marketplace. In most cases, it's safe to sow that they exercise either monopoly or monopsony power over some piece of the value chain.

So for me, the questions start to become:

  • What markets do they each actually have power in?
  • Is their power monopoly power, monopsony power — meaning they're the only place you can sell to, not the only place you can buy from — or is it some combination? Is it both monopoly and monopsony power? And I think in Google's case you can argue they definitely have some monopoly power and some monopsony power.
    • By the way, this is straight out of the legal framework, I didn't make these up.
  • But the next question is, are they unduly leveraging that power to hurt competition or consumers or again, both?
  • And assuming the answers to those first three questions lead in this direction, how do you best remedy the situation?

Now it's clear, it's apparent given that 50 states's attorneys general think it's worth investigating Google for antitrust, that at least, when it comes to Google, the answers to some of those questions are problematic. At least again, a half a dozen states attorneys general agree that the same is true for Facebook. So there's something there that we need to be paying attention to. I don't think we need states attorneys general tell us this. I think we see it both as consumers and as marketers every day.

Now in the book Information Rules, which I cite regularly here on the show, economist, Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian argue that these dominant players are a natural consequence of digital. I think they're right. Hell, I think the history of the last two decades has proven their point. By the way, I always have to point out that Hal Varian who wrote that book is now the chief economist for Google. So he didn't just put the writing on the wall. He read it and said, "I know where I want to be." But I think we need to look at this and say, "Okay, does this mean we can't compete?" And I'd say the answer's no. Because in that same book we do see you can be a differentiated player. And again, we see example after example where people pull that off or people accomplish that.

So I think we need to think about this in terms of are we competing effectively? The right answer for almost everybody who's going to listen to this show is not to compete by trying to be the dominant player in an information space. It's to be a differentiated player. It's to own your niche and own your customer more directly. It's, as I talked about last week, not to outsource your sales and marketing to any one of these folks. We are all better off when there is a Google and an Apple and an Amazon and a Facebook and whatever else comes down the pipe to help us ensure that no one of them becomes the single dominant player.

I think we have to start asking very serious questions about what role do we want government to play in shaping these remedies. What is an appropriate remedy. And is an inappropriate remedy throwing open the commons to everybody? Because as we've seen with comment boards and we've seen with 4chan and 8chan and things like that, I don't think that's really what we want. I don't think we really want to turn all the power over to the trolls because they have every incentive to take it and ruin it for everybody.

We also have to agree that that can't be the reason just because there might be a shipwreck is no reason to not invent a ship. Right? I mean we've got to be able to turn that phrase around. The reality is we need to take control of the commons in a way that makes sense for us. We need to come up with some basis for agreeing on where it's appropriate to say, "Okay, somebody got too much power and that's making it problematic for everybody." But also they have to be free to make use of their power where it's appropriate to to create a better space there too, and to compete commercially. Because maybe someday we'd like to be those folks.

I opened by saying, "This one's going to be something of a thinks out loud." I don't know that I know the answers. But I do think the right first step in coming up with the right answers is asking the question. And the questions are where do we want this to go? What kind of world do we want to live in? And how do we want to shape the environment in which we compete in a way that's better for everybody? Because if we get that right, all the rest of this takes care of itself.

I'd love to hear your point of view on this. I've mentioned every week that you can email me at podcast@timpeter.com. Again podcast@timpeter.com.

You can find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/TimePeterAssociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @TCPeter. You can find me on my website and send a contact message, whatever you prefer. But I'd love to hear from you about what you think the right thing is here, and how it is that we make sure we're inventing the ship as well as a shipwreck, and making sure that if gatekeepers going to gate we understand where those walls are and where those gates are and which ones we're comfortable with. Because it may be true that gatekeepers are going to gate, but I think it's fair to say that we get a voice and a vote in terms of where those gates can be, and which tolls we're willing to pay and when it is that it's appropriate to actually break those gates wide open.

Now looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time. But I want to thank you again so much for tuning in. I genuinely do appreciate it. I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all our past episodes by going to TimPeter.com/podcast. Again, that's TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 258. While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single episode.

You can subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher radio or the Google play music store or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just search for "Tim Peter Thinks," "Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud" or "Thinks Out Loud"; we should show up for any of those. While you're there, I'd very much appreciate it if you could provide a positive rating or review. It's so helpful. Makes it easier for others to find us.

As mentioned, you can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to facebook.com/TimPeterassociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. Or of course, you can email me by sending an email to Podcast@TimPeter.com.

I'd also like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud is brought to you by Solo Segment. Solo Segment focuses on AI driven content discovery and site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how to improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com.

With that, I want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I very much appreciate it. I hope you have a great rest of the week, a wonderful weekend, and I will look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, as ever, I want to remind you to please be well, be safe and take care everybody.

Tim Peter

By

August 20, 2019

How Worried Are You About Google Next Year? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 255)

August 20, 2019 | By | No Comments

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How Worried Are You About Google Next Year? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 255) – Headlines and Show Notes

Google’s making more noise about ways to stick it to brands and businesses, potentially charging for (currently free) features in Google My Business. Even if your company doesn’t depend on these specific features for your business, it’s part of a larger pattern that demonstrates again how “gatekeepers gonna gate.” And, as we’ve talked about before, that’s a troubling trend. If you’re not worried about Google next year, it begs the question, should you be?

Since we’re begging the question, the latest episode of Thinks Out Loud comes out and asks, how worried are you about Google next year? And whether you’re worried or not, what should you do about it?

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links:

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Neumann TLM 102 Cardoid Condenser microphone and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB audio interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 18m 44s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Notes

  • Should we be paying for Google My Business features?
  • Over half of Google searches result in no clicks
    • as Fishkin points out, a US congressional panel recently asked Google if it was true that less than 50 percent of searches lead to non-Google websites. It was a simple Yes-No question, but the Big G eschewed giving a direct response. Instead, it took a dig at the authenticity of the data cited – without denying it.
  • Should you be scared? Well, it’s a complicated question:
    • Some folks could argue, based on the failure of Google+, the coming shutdown of Google Hangouts, Google Glass, Google KNol, etc. that the company doesn’t know what they’re doing
    • For one thing, Google kills products.
    • For another, it often incorporates features of those products into new products or directly into search.
      • Look at Google Trips and how those features are re-appearing in Google Maps and how several Inbox by Gmail features have made their way directly into Gmail
      • Google Showtimes was a movie search; those features now just appear in Google search given the right search query. For example, “movies playing near me” or the title of a given movie.

Gatekeepers gonna gate.

  • I’m troubled by Google’s access to data
  • They get smarter all the time
  • I’ve been asking whether we should trust data since at least 2014 and hinted at it much earlier than that.
  • Where do you think they learn what people want?
    • Oh, right, folks tell them every day both in use and in queries
    • They’ve got a huge advantage
    • And you could definitely argue they use it unfairly
  • AI won’t take your job. Smart people who use AI will
  • I’m not counting on Congress even with all the recent rumblings.
    • I said Congress would likely do something about this…in 2011. Heh.
    • I’m pretty good at understanding tech trends; I clearly don’t know enough about politics. 🙂
Tim Peter

By

August 13, 2019

Why Verizon Selling Tumblr Should Make Marketers Very, Very Happy (Thinks Out Loud Episode 254)

August 13, 2019 | By | No Comments

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Why Verizon Selling Tumblr Should Make Marketers Very, Very Happy (Thinks Out Loud Episode 254) – Headlines and Show Notes

So Verizon dumped Tumblr earlier this week for a measly $3 million, this less than a decade after Yahoo — which sold itself to Verizon in the invervening years — purchased the social blogging site for $1.1 billion. That’s remarkable. It’s also really great news for marketers, though probably not for the reasons you think.

So what is the reason? Why should Verizon selling Tumblr make marketers very, very happy?

The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud takes a look — and helps you understand why this has nothing to do with Tumblr — and everything to do with your business.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links

Notes

Automattic bought Tumblr for maybe $3 million dollars

  • Remarkable story given that Yahoo paid $1.1 billion for it just six years ago
    • Yahoo in turn sold itself to Verizon just about 3 years ago for a bit less than $5 billion
    • Which means that, in theory, Tumblr represented somewhere between 20% and 25% of the value of Yahoo at the time
    • Clearly, that wasn’t the case
      • Of course there’s a joke going around that since it sold for so little after Verizon banned pornography on Tumblr, the porn was what was worth the billion dollars
  • Automattic is the company that helps build WordPress
  • WordPress is open-source software — meaning it’s free for anyone to use and develop — but Automattic was built by the original developers who built their business around providing managed versions of WordPress
  • Acquia does a similar thing with Drupal
  • I always liked Tumblr because of the sense of community there
    • It was about like-minded people publishing and sharing content that brought them together.
  • Nonetheless its value is more important than its price
    • Here’s why.

We still have the power

  • Yes, Google and Facebook control lots of traffic
  • “Hub and spoke” strategy
    • Hub is your website
    • Spokes are the various distribution and promotion channels you use
      • Facebook
      • Instagram
      • YouTube
      • Twitter
      • LinkedIn
      • Whatever’s next
  • But everything should always lead back to your website
    • You own the platform
    • You’re not dependent on any one source for your traffic — or for your voice
    • You can be found
    • You can be heard
    • When people complain about evil folks who are still published on the internet — and please don’t misunderstand, those people are awful — that’s actually a sign of how resilient the internet is; how powerful it enables individual voices to be
    • Yes, that’s a “When you build the ship, you build the shipwreck” moment
    • But that’s great for you as a company, as an individual, as a movement, as an idea
      • I’m not a Pollyanna about this
      • some of the worst people in the world manage to find one another — and be found by others with similar points of view — because of this
        • To be fair, some of the communities on Tumblr were remarkably toxic
        • My use declined some even before Yahoo bought it because of that
      • So can some of the best people.
    • It simply means you can always be found

Google won’t always be in charge

  • Google’s power is brittle
  • They’re very strong
  • Switching costs are zero
  • Explain switching costs
    • Car
      • New car
      • New insurance
      • If it’s electric, new ways to “fuel” or power the vehicle
    • Business switching from PC to Mac
      • New computers
      • New software
      • Training for your employees on the new computers and software
      • Training for your IT staff on how to support
      • Lots of new cables 🙂
  • Anyone can switch to Bing or DuckDuckGo or Ask or whatever comes next in an instant
    • Google has tried to build more lock-in with Gmail and Docs and Android, but the basic point of switching search engines — which is where Google makes all its money — is essentially free
    • Don’t believe me: Google pays Apple to be the default
    • Depending on whose data you believe, they’re paying between $9 and $12 billion dollars for the privilege.
    • Is that the behavior of the most powerful company in the world?
  • Facebook is far less brittle
    • But, strange as this sounds, they’re also far less influential
    • Do you get 50%/60%/70% of your traffic from Facebook or Instagram?
      • I bet not
    • And a fair bit of what gets shared there originates someplace else.

Anyone can still get on the Internet

  • Tumblr
  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and Twitter and LinkedIn and Reddit and TikTok and apps on App stores other new players that come down the pike
    • I know a guy who’s a marketing thought-leader around using LinkedIn to grow your business
    • Yes, you’re relying on a gatekeeper — a less powerful one, but still a gatekeeper. But you’re also able to get online and get seen and get heard
    • That’s why you’ve got to go “hub and spoke”
  • That’s great for your business.
    • Lots of impressive brands have been built this way
      • Airbnb
      • Uber
      • Etsy
      • Reverb
  • And it’s great for people more generally.

Other big story: The protests in Hong Kong

  • How do we know what’s going on?
  • Because people are able to be heard

It’s not Utopia; it’s not Dystopia

  • Utopia literally means “no-place”
  • Dystopia literally means “not-good place”
  • The Internet is just a “topia.” It’s a place.
  • The good and the bad is how we use it.
  • The good and the bad is in the stories we tell
  • The good and the bad is in the communities we build
  • And the good and the bad is in the people we attract
  • Tumblr got bought for $3 million after originally selling for $1.1 billion
  • If its new owners allow it to foster the right kinds of communities, it will be the best money they’ve ever spent

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Neumann TLM 102 Cardoid Condenser microphone and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB audio interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 17m 44s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Tim Peter

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August 7, 2019

Why Mobile and Data Go Hand-in-Hand for Marketers (Thinks Out Loud Episode 253)

August 7, 2019 | By | No Comments

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Why Mobile and Data Go Hand-in-Hand for Marketers: Business person using mobile to research product

Why Mobile and Data Go Hand-in-Hand for Marketers (Thinks Out Loud Episode 253) – Headlines and Show Notes

Mobile is a big deal. So is AI. So is personalization. When you address those in isolation, each is useful for your business. But when you put them together, that’s where the true power lies. And that’s why mobile and data go hand-in-hand for marketers.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links:

Introduction

Why Mobile and Data Go Hand-in-Hand for Marketers: Incredible Insights

Why Mobile and Data Go Hand-in-Hand for Marketers: Leads to AI

Why Mobile and Data Go Hand-in-Hand for Marketers: All the cool kids are doing it

Bar chart showing smartphone data flows to the world's biggest tech companies. Data from more than 88 per cent of apps in the study could end up with Alphabet

Facebook, by comparison, gets data from roughly 43% of the apps researchers reviewed (Financial Times tracking study, October 2018)

Why Mobile and Data Go Hand-in-Hand for Marketers: Yes, you've got to be careful

Why Mobile and Data Go Hand-in-Hand for Marketers: But that doesn't mean "Don't do it"

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Neumann TLM 102 Cardoid Condenser microphone and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 53s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.