Thomas R. Wells posted an interesting take on why advertising is running amok in an article on 3 Quarks Daily. He postulates that the root cause is that there is no monetary price on our attention: we don’t expect to be paid for having our focus put on an advertising. The result is that competition only occurs between companies vying to fill slots with their own advertising. Because there is no cost associated with acquiring our attention, there is no push-back against the natural force to market to us.
Conceptually, there seem to be some good arguments against this. First, the cost lies therein that in order to capture our attention, money must be invested in creating something that we want to watch, like a TV show or a sports event. Second, human attention is limited: true multi-tasking does not exist, and we can only hold 7 ‘chunks’ of information in our minds at any time. But either way, I don’t think anyone wants the amount of attention they have to be the limiting factor in how much advertising they see, or everything they want to pay attention to turning into a bait-and-switch for advertising.
Thomas suggests that the solution is a kind of grass-roots movement, were individuals reclaim their right and demand to be rewarded monetarily for their attention. Once everyone signs up, advertisers will have no choice but to be limited not only by competition for the channel with each other, but also by the costs of the channel itself. However, he doesn’t talk about a framework for that movement: how can you get people to sign up? How do you get to 100 users? 1000? 7.1Bn? At TwoSense we think the way to start is to create a new channel that users control, and that they monetize themselves. Such a channel is far superior in quality than any other bait-and-switch channel, and can out-compete all other channels even with the extra price tag. Eventually, we hope users will dominate that market, with the support of the TwoSense framework.
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A recent article on Forbes by Tom Morton equates Big Data and its potential to be the long-promised jet-pack for business. We’ve all heard the stories of the millions made through process optimization, or real time programmatic advertising, even automated selection of cast and plot for TV shows like House of Cards, or rock bands planning tours based on where the data says their fans are. But jetpacks were supposed to be for everybody. We all walk out the front door and jet to work, or take off in your car from the highway and fly to a party (that one might actually be on its way). So while Big Data is making businesses and marketing more effective, what has it done for the little guy? What has it done for us lately? Where’s our jetpack?
In some areas, people have been positively affected by big data directly. Advances happening in health care are far better than a jetpack, even if they are not immediately perceived as such. Companies like 23andMe are creating a space of preventative medicine like we’ve never seen before. Also triage and symptom diagnostics are about to radically change. We will no longer have to rely on the experience of a single doctor, and gone will be the horror stories of having mis-diagnosis after mis-diagnosis for Epstein Barr. However, some critics would argue that the individual is not equipped to handle that information, and will inevitably make poor decisions with regards to their health. You can’t handle the jetpack! The jury is still out on that one.
At TwoSense, we would like to see more Big Data focused towards the user. Why shouldn’t the data revolution make your life run better? Help you decide which job you should take? Or what you should have for dinner? The first step towards this is to have the individual be able to bring their own data into the game, and be able to use it for the purposes they choose. The current paradigm of a private data silo for each app or company will just not do for jetpacks. We’ll be launching an app soon to help users re-acquire their own data and put it to work for themselves. If you’re interested stay tuned, or sign up for our mailing list!