They say that if you ask the wrong question, you are guaranteed to get the wrong answer. Asked as, “Can YouTube ever be brand safe?” the answer is no. There is no possible way to make YouTube, or any environment that relies so heavily on user-generated content (UGC), 100 percent brand safe. Asked as, “Is YouTube safe for my brand?” is a better question, and it is the proper lens for any serious marketing discussion.
I wrote an article back in April 2009 entitled Metamerica: Evolving The Governance Of A Digital Democracy. It begins, “Dateline New York: April 3, 2021” with breaking news about a massive, catastrophic data breach. So how would the Great Data Crash of 2021 happen? Or, perhaps more importantly, why have the questions I posed in 2009, and the very clear predictions of known consequences of our digital society, not only gone unanswered by our leaders but in many cases gone unasked? Let’s look back to help us see the future.
Recent studies predict that by 2025 there may be as many as 100 billion IoT devices deployed worldwide. That’s roughly 14 connected devices or sensors for every person on Earth. My good friend Rob Mesirow and I have been spending a lot of time talking about the most practical ways to integrate “smart” technology into business processes.
At the last ShellyPalmer Innovation Series Breakfast at CES, I had a Socratic discussion about the influence of the big technology platforms and other emerging technologies on our lives and the need for responsible innovation with David Sapin, US Risk & Regulatory Leader, PwC. Then the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica news broke. Since then, our thinking has evolved.
Apple is the most valuable tech company in the world. So when its CEO lambasts other tech companies for "weaponizing [user data] against us with military efficiency," people are going to take him seriously. After all, Tim Cook is the de facto leader of the tech world. While he didn't name names, his vilification was clearly aimed at his corporate peers (which ordinarily would be good clean fun), except as presented, his accusations sounded like self-serving corporate posturing. Of course, there is another possibility ... Tim may have just been speaking metaphorically.