Category Archives: Business & Finance

Connected TV: there’s good news and bad news

CTV is a giant leap ahead as we search for better ways of doing things that are bad for us.

Connected TVI’m doing a little project on Connected TV. CTV – aka Smart TV – is basically a TV/computer hybrid, a category of Internet-connected devices that allows viewers to stream video, listen to music, check email, access social media accounts and search movies, photos and other digital content on the Web. In other words, they can perform most any TV- or computer-based media consumption activity.

More than 60 percent of US households have already migrated their viewing to “Internet TV” devices (such as Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, Google Chromecast TV) and services (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora) as well as multiple Nintendo, Xbox and Playstation consoles. According to eMarketer, “more than 164 million U.S. Internet users access video content via [C]onnected TV devices, and this number is predicted to grow up to 200 million viewers in 2019.”

Advertisers love it because it allows better targeting. As in, it integrates with all those Big Data platforms out there, like the ones used for Web advertising, so that it knows a lot about you. You. You specifically. 

If we’re looking for a silver lining in the CTV cloud, we get fewer commercials and the ones we do get are more relevant. You did an online search for shoes last week? Hey, look – shoe ads on Better Call Saul! This is great news for those of us keen to trade our privacy for convenience so we can spend more money on things we don’t really need.


We live in a Capitalist, Consumerist society that makes hypocrites of us all, don’t we? The only difference between the principled and the clueless is that the principled take years off their lives thinking about it…


Lyft, Uber: the shame of lesser work (and get ready for the automation of white collar jobs)


Automation is getting worse for workers, and the emotional strain is already evident.

I’ve noticed something. When I take a Lyft (I never take Uber, although I imagine the same is true for them), I’m rarely in the car more than a minute before the driver subtly makes it known that he/she has a real job (ie, white collar – today it was a real estate guy) and just does the rideshare thing on the side.

It doesn’t happen 100% of the time, but it probably does happen 90% of the time. Read more

Dear Papa John’s: you need to rebrand. Like, next week.

Papa John's: Better Pizza, More Racism.

The brand now stinks worse than the actual pizza, and it’s going to stay that way.

The F6 shitnado that is Massa Papa John Schnatter continues unabated. The most reecent episode found him dropping N-bombs during a company conference call, and as a result he’s now out as Chairman of the business he founded.

Also, people are rushing to scrub his name off every wall, edifice and bathroom stall where it appears. The latest: Papa John’s Stadium at the U of Louisville will now be called We Have Nothing to Do with That Racist Yahoo John Schnatter Even Though He Backed a Fucking Brinks Truck Up to the Athletic Department Offices Cardinal Stadium.

Louisville president Neeli Bendapudi announced Friday the school will strip the Papa John’s name from its football stadium, renaming it Cardinal Stadium.

John Schnatter, the pizza chain founder, admitted earlier this week that he used the N-word during an internal conference call. Since then, the fallout has been swift: Schnatter resigned from the school’s board of trustees and as Papa John’s chairman. Not only will the Papa John’s name come off the football stadium, Bendapudi also said the school would take Schatter’s name off the Center for Free Enterprise inside the business school. The changes are effective immediately.

Here’s a take for the PJ board from a long-time marketing guy: I don’t care what kind of industrial strength cockroach remover you use, you’re never going to scrape the drippings off that brand.

I know rebranding is hard and it’s expensive, but I’m not sure you have much choice. As long as the guy’s name is on the box, the odor of his hateful, racist legacy will overpower whatever is inside, no matter how many third-rate pepperonis, onions and sardines you pile on it.

Which means sales will be fine in Deplorables country (you’re still The Official Pizza of the Alt-Right®) but maybe not so great everywhere else. And despite the last election’s results, understand that “everywhere else” equals most places.

The name has to go. The logo has to go. Any acknowledgement on the Web site that anybody in the company ever met Schnatter has to go.

And while you’re changing everything, maybe you could do something about the quality of the product itself? Just spitballing.

I’ll leave the details of the new brand to whichever agency you deicide to pay $20 million buck to for an idea that makes not a damned lick of sense.

One problem at a time, you know.

Would Hope Solo make a good USSF president?


Former US Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo announced this week she will run for president of the United States Soccer Federation. The initial response has been … dismissive.

Solo is rightfully regarded as a #USWNT legend (with two Olympic gold medals and a World Cup championship over a 16-year career than included 202 caps), but she has also developed a somewhat spotted reputation in the eyes of many for a series of off-field incidents. It’s safe to say that her personal brand has suffered in recent years despite her status as a national sports icon. Read more

The fake job dog & pony show just nailed me again

It’s time American business and government leaders addressed this unethical hiring practice.


Friday afternoon I submitted an application with a company we’ll call “BoughtOne” This morning – barely more than one business day later – I receive this:

Hi Samuel,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider you for employment. After reviewing your resume, we’ve decided to move forward with a candidate whose skills more closely align with our needs at this time…

They’re going to “move forward” with “a candidate” – singular.

In other words, this appears to have never been a real job. An actual hiring process doesn’t get from application stage to one candidate this quickly. An actual hiring process, at best, brings in two or three candidates for interviews, then makes a call.

This, then, was probably another fake job dog and pony show – which I’ve written about before.

Oh, there’s a job. They’re accepting applications and everything. But the truth is that the job is already filled, usually by an internal candidate. The only reason they posted an ad is because the company has an HR policy requiring them to. These policies are standard in government organizations and just about every corporate entity of any size does it, too.

These policies are well-intended, but in practice are unethical in the extreme.

If you don’t know why companies behave this way, the answer is actually fairly noble. I’m sure we’re all familiar with good old American know-who – the old boy network, it’s not what you know it’s who you know, etc. We’ve seen people handed opportunities based on connections and relationships despite the fact that others might be more qualified. To some extent this is natural – I don’t bid out every possible project when I have a vendor that I know I can count on, for instance, and there are companies out there who know that when they call me they’re going to get everything they need and more. When we have professional relationships with friends, that exaggerates the effect.

Smart companies want to make sure that they’re getting the best candidate for the job, though, and not just the one with the best pre-existing relationship with the hiring manager. So they institute policies that require an open search, that three candidates be interviewed, and in many cases that a minority candidate be included. When managers in the company need to hire an agency or a vendor company for a project, the same kinds of strictures apply – you may have to solicit bids from three providers, etc.

All of which is appropriate – organizations with processes that lead them to retain the best talent are going to have an advantage in the marketplace.

The problem is, as we’ve already noted, the policies don’t work. They don’t keep Director Bob from hiring his old buddy Fred, they just require Bob to put on a good show before hiring his old buddy Fred.

It’s pure corporate Kabuki. And it takes a human toll.

Meanwhile, several hundred people took the time to apply. Many of them are currently unemployed. Many of them are working full-time trying to find work, and there are opportunity costs associated with the application. It takes time to send off a résumé. Depending on the application process (which with some companies is simply ridiculous anyway) it can take an hour or two to do it right. Really dedicated candidates, the ones doing it the right way, take longer, customizing cover letters and the rez so that their application materials speak directly to the company’s needs. It’s not hard to imagine that in many cases, these are the ones selected for the fake interview, which means the Dog and Pony process victimizes the best and most dedicated the worst.

For all these applicants there is an investment – in time, and in hope. When the unemployment rate is 10%, hope is about all some people have, and few things are crueler than fostering false hope in those who need opportunity as desperately as so many in our society do.

Only-Post-JobsI wonder – how many hours do job seekers waste each year in good faith pursuit of fake jobs. Millions? Billions? I wonder how often people lose a shot at a real job because they prioritized the fake job – there isn’t enough time to apply for everything, after all. So you say Job X looks like a better fit than Job Y. Except Job Y actually exists while Job X was essentially filled a month ago.

To be clear, I’m not saying I would have gotten the job in a fair contest. BoughtOne probably got hundreds of applications, and for all I know dozens of those people might have been better suited to the position then me. And if they did have an internal candidate already slotted for the gig, that person may in fact be the best of the lot. All I know is I wouldn’t have applied if my qualifications and experience hadn’t been aligned with the posted requisite. I invested time and energy trying to make sure I was presenting my value in a way they would grasp and appreciate. Hopefully BoughtOne hired a winner, and best of luck to the company and the person who landed the job. I think I’d have been awesome for them, but who knows?

Assuming I’m right about what happened here, I don’t really blame BoughtOne. They’re the case before me at the moment, but they’re playing the game they have to play.

But. This sort of behavior – by corporations, by non-profits, by universities, by government organizations – isn’t simply unethical – it’s immoral. It toys with the lives of people who desperately need a fair shot. People with mounting stacks of bills. People with families. People without insurance.

The problem is the law, which needs to be amended so that it actually works as intended. I’m not an HR pro, so I don’t have a working solution in hand. But there are people out there – business leaders, legislators, industry analysts and journalists – who know the terrain and I’m confident it’s a problem they can solve.

The bottom line is that America’s employers shouldn’t be allowed – or worse, required – to jack job-hunters around. Let’s get on it.

Premier League TV income impasse: are we on the brink of an all-Euro Super League?

European-Football-Super-LeagueControversy over how to divvy up the revenues means uncertainty in England. The outcome of these deliberations could move us closer to a European SuperLiga including the big six Prem clubs (and maybe more than that)…

A couple years ago I wrote about the prospects for a European football SuperLigaThis is hardly a new idea (with Marca suggesting it’s a when-not-if, and perhaps sooner-rather-than-later situation) but at that point I was considering the massive infusion of cash into the English Premier League courtesy of its new TV deals and speculating that as a result the rest of the leagues in Europe would soon have no choice but to form a continental Super League. Read more

I’m passionate about job hunting

You can’t make this stuff up. Fortunately, you don’t have to.

I once sat in a meeting and listened as one of our veeps said, and I quote: “I have a real passion for process enhancement.”

I’m trying to imagine what it’s like being in bed with a woman whose passions run toward process enhancement.

Anyhow, I’ve been doing some job hunting lately. And marveling at the things you find in these ads. Some are simply clumsy or overwrought. Like these:

With ______’s signature process, we extract and create highly compelling content, then skillfully package and distribute it in the form of in-person and digital experiences, cross-platform writings, and media coverage of such innate value that influencers, prospective and current customers, and other stakeholders willingly exchange their support, engagement and/or patronage in return.

Well, okay. As long as they do it willingly.

The Copy Writer, needs a flair for partnering to translate inputs into impeccably organized and well- conceived creative solutions.

I applaud them for understanding that they do, in fact, need a copywriter.

There are also some … themes … that make me worry about our nation’s HR professionals. 

Our client is passionate about building smart property insurance solutions that help adjusters and contractors confidently assess inspection data and automate repair scope…


You’re passionate about the power of the marketplace to connect people and you’re fluent in the technologies and strategies that define and shape the modern marketing world.

Passionate? I get wood over the power of the marketplace to connect people.

Do you have a passion for enterprise cloud technology?

My nipples get stiff just thinking about it.

Got a burning desire to sell barbells?

Ummm. You might want to get that burning looked at.

Are you passionate about crafting customer-centric integrated marketing strategies that drive revenue?

For passionate people looking for autonomy and exciting career opportunities, _______ truly has something special inside.

________ is a high growth, Denver-based startup that is redefining vacation rental management and we’re looking for a smart, passionate, and entrepreneurial individual to join us.

We’re currently looking for a relationship-driven, deadline-juggling, PR genius brimming with creative energy and passion to lead our burgeoning internal PR efforts.

Are you marketing automation guru, with a passion for data, looking to make a direct impact on the success of a company?

I second what Inigo said.

Once more, into the breach….

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