Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

What Uber felt like this week

An Uber-mega PR crisis that takes on a life of its own, the continued importance of mobile, global internet growth numbers, Facebook continues to cut down on spammy posts, clean up your Twitter history, Snapchat gets into payments, Amazon books some travel, Spotify inks a deal for ridesharing music and hints at a future of podcasts, when it's time to invest in measurement tools, how Google judges quality content, what's affecting global payments, the best business books for 2014 and more, it's This Week in Digital.

A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.

Each week, I compose a newsletter that includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, business, digital communications and marketing in order to keep leaders up to date on changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in your job. And now you have the option of just subscribing to this newsletter if you wish.

If you’re on Flipboard, you can get these links by subscribing to the This Week in Digital Magazine.

Just a note: we'll be on hiatus next week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

And if you wouldn't mind answering a simple, one-question survey about this weekly update, it would be greatly appreciated.


  • It's never a boring week at Uber, whose culture has been called into question in recent months. And this week it was like a soap opera, as an Uber executive suggested that the company should hire researchers and investigative reporters to get personal information about any journalist who writes negatively about the car service company. (re/code)
    • And lest you think it's just a Silicon Valley spat between a tech company and an insider publication like PandoDaily, the New York Times has picked up on it and the Pentagon distanced itself from the Uber executive who made the comments. (Bits Blog and BuzzFeed)
    • You know you have a reputational issue to address when a leading venture capitalist notes that Uber's culture is driven by "ruthless execution combined with total arrogance," while a widely-read digital publication states that Uber has an a-hole problem. (Business Insider and Vox)
    • You definitely have a problem when you get a letter from Senator Al Franken, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Technology, Privacy and the Law. (U.S. Senate)
    • The latest development was on late Thursday - somehow - a confidential deck of Uber's finances were "leaked" to the press. (Business Insider)
      • Given the hiring of one-time White House advisor David Plouffe as head of policy and communications, and the talk of "oppo" researchers, a so-called leak such as this is very reminiscent of controlled leaks that are fed out in political campaigns to distract from the main issue. 

  • Is bad brand behavior out of control? Gawker sets up a dedicated page for bad brand tweets rather than having to write a new article for every one. (Gawker)
  • Mobile is overtaking television as the primary screen for time spent per day. (Flurry)
  • Mobile growth isn't only limited to smartphones: in New York City, old phone booths will be converted into "Links" that will feature touchscreens, wifi and charging outlets. There will be 10,000 hotspots eventually. (AdWeek)
  • 2015 will be a big year: we'll surpass 3 billion people online, and by 2018 over half of the world's population should be online. (eMarketer) Other notable highlights:
    • 2014: Brazil will supplant Japan as fourth-largest internet user population
    • 2015: Mexico will settle firmly into the eighth spot, eclipsing Germany
    • 2016: India will jump the US as the second-largest internet user population
    • 2017: Indonesia will reach the top five, overtaking Japan
    • 2018: China will eclipse three-quarters of a billion users, after showing accelerating growth in each year in our forecast

The future of the internet, as seen globally


  • Facebook
    • Last Friday evening, Facebook announced it will be reducing overly promotional posts from brands in your News Feed. (Facebook)
    • Get ready for Facebook in the enterprise. Long the mainstay of solutions like Yammer, Jive and Chatter, Facebook is working on its own solution for internal social networking. (Mashable)
    • Conscious of the limitations of its main app when it comes to specialized needs, Facebook has released the Groups app for better control and connection. (Facebook)
    • Forrester is back again with a report with limited research, claiming that brands are wasting their money on Facebook and Twitter. Claiming that brands don't have relationships with customers on the platform, analyst-lite Nate Elliott seems to miss the point that most brands haven't taken the proper step to build relationships because they've been too busy advertising at consumers. Of course they're not seeing ideal results. While we agree that it's important to have a strong owned media presence, any marketing strategy should contain a variety of platforms and tactics. (WSJ CMO Today and SHIFT Communications)

What brand resources customers use
As usual, Forrester does a bang-up job of determining the what, but not the why.

Collaborative Economy


Metrics / Measurement / Big Data


When You Have Time: Essential Reading / Listening / Watching


Image source: Jesus Solana (Flickr)