The Immediate Future for Adtech Startups

I spoke at the AppNexus Summit a couple of weeks ago. Brian O’Kelley read my post on adtech investing trends and asked if I could expand during the session. The video is online (my part at 1:48), but I thought I’d write it up also. I figured in the AppNexus audience of 600 that there […]

Your personal data is not worth anywhere near what you think it’s worth

I see a lot of Root Markets-like businesses. Companies creating a way for people to own their own data and profit from it rather than letting someone else profit from it. The idea is appealing: other people are selling your data, it’s your data, why shouldn’t you sell it yourself? But most of the people I […]

That joke’s not funny anymore

“[Y]ou have to assume that humans are capable of looking at facts, finding root causes and formulating solutions. On my planet there’s not much evidence to support this assumption… If humans had the ability to look at facts and make good decisions, think about how different the world would be. There would be only six […]

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Not at scale, anyway.

A year ago I wrote, re investing in social marketing, “The social loop will share superficial characteristics with the display loop, but it’s really completely different… the area with the most near-term leverage will be tools that help communicators understand the impact of how they are communicating and then help them make better decisions.” This […]

Disruptive innovation, buy vs. build, the most pernicious lie in business, and how to know if you’re fooling yourself

If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.  —Ralph Waldo Emerson, big fat liar No matter what the dictionary […]

The new adtech is disruptive, and that’s a good thing

I was at Luma Partners’ Digital Media Summit today. Great event, saw lots of familiar faces. I watched the adtech panel. Of the people I didn’t get a chance to invest in, these are four of the smartest: Brian O’Kelley, Joe Apprendi, Michael Barrett, and Mike Leo. Mike Leo said something that struck me as […]

The client does not care if you are intellectually stimulated, Kendall, they just want the goddamned sales curve to start moving up

Every revolution has its reactionaries. I was going to respond to Kendall Allen’s article The Math State, but didn’t, for a few reasons: it wasn’t convincing enough to need a response, I’ve stated my answer to the objection elsewhere, and Joe Zawadzki is a better writer than I am. I want to note, though, that […]

Almost a license to print money

Advertising, in time, proved almost a license to print money, and the effects on broadcasting of the revenue model it introduced can scarcely be overstated. It gave AT&T, and later the rest of the industry, an irresistible incentive not just to broadcast more but to control and centralize the medium. To see why, compare the […]

Advertising, the Fallacy of Perfectibility, and the Best Minds of My Generation

Between men and brutes, there is another very specific quality which distinguishes them, and which will admit of no dispute. This is the faculty of self-improvement… perfectibility… It would be melancholy, were we forced to admit that this distinctive and almost unlimited faculty is the source of all human misfortunes; that it is this which, […]

OpenRTB and Architectural Innovation

I sent out a good number of emails on Sunday asking for opinions on OpenRTB.  People were mainly dismissive, partly because of the secretive way in which it was concocted, partly because some think Google is better accomodated than challenged, but mainly because the current goals of the spec are slight.  After reading the spec, I […]