Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Scott Monty - Strategic Communications & Leadership Advisor

Street fighting

Street fights and intelligent discourse on Medium — including by the New York Times — Yahoo! doesn't have much to cheer about, the tech and media outlook for 2016, what journalists want, Twitter apologizes to developers, Facebook is favored by ad executives, YouTube now has a paid option, what makes a 21st century company, Uber gets more cash, Airbnb puts its foot in its mouth, the problem of podcast surplus, content personlization is next, measuring impact rather than size, real quotes, our weekly trivia challenge, the podcast pick of the week, an opportunity for agency owners from our sponsor and more, it's The Week in Digital.

A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.

Each Monday we publish 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. A new issue is available every Monday morning. Please subscribe to keep up to date on developments.

News items are in regular text; additional commentary has been added in italics.

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Live video preview of The Week in Digital - Oct. 25, 2015
Live video preview of The Week in Digital - October 25, 2015
Posted by Scott Monty on Sunday, October 25, 2015


  • Two contentious sets of arguments happened online last week, and they happened on Medium. [FEATURED TOPIC in this week's video above. You can view it for more in-depth commentary.]
    • In the first, Amazon's SVP of global corporate affairs Jay Carney refuted the New York Times' report from this summer that indicated Amazon was a horrible place to work. And then, the NYT's executive editor Dean Baquet replied in kind on Medium! Check out Ben Thomson's intelligent analysis hereThis is a remarkable occurrence, seeing that Baquet has the Times at his disposal. But it goes to show how taking the fight to the streets is sometimes necessary and even more powerful than traditional media.
    • In the second, Susan Crawford wrote of her disdain for Uber on Medium in Getting Over Uber. Tim O'Reilly countered on the same platform with Getting Over Taxis. The simple interface, the ability to highlight text (and see what others have highlighted), the ease of sharing and the ability to add commentary all make this a robust and lively community for discourse.
  • There are disruptive forces affecting the marketing industry identified by the Association of National Advertisers. From the Internet of Things to competition from agile/nimble competitors, the space is heating up. When you add the battling forces of consumer expectations, the advance of new technology and the complexity of the industry, you have a volatile mixture of forces. Ultimately, the role of marketing is expanding. It's a great time to be in marketing.

  • At last week's MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Avinash Kaushik stressed thinking like humans and not like robots to focus on user intent. His formula is: See. Think. Do. Care.
  • The 2015 Business Wire Media Survey showed that journalists prefer compelling multimedia-rich corporate news content, social media shares, not social media pitches, and updated, responsive online newsrooms for media research.
  • CNN has launched Great Big Story, a direct response to the likes of BuzzFeed and Vice, meant to appeal to "urban-located, globally curious 25- to 35-year-olds." Let's hope they understand this demographic better than they understand their waning television audience.
  • If you want a sense as to where the tech and media industries are heading next year, take a look at the presentation from business strategist Michael Wolf [embedded below] that focuses on topics such as messaging, streaming audio, gaming, cord-cutting and more.

Trivia question: Instagram's new Boomerang app will record 1-second videos. What makes this different from animated GIFs? *


  • Instagram
    • This year, nearly 33% of companies with 100 employees or more use Instagram; next year, it will be nearly 49%. By 2017, it will surpass Twitter, according to eMarketer. That is, assuming Twitter doesn't improve.
    • In their latest "Taking Stock with Teens" report, Piper Jaffray shared that teens' most important social network is Instagram. Of course, it also shows that Facebook hasn't changed in importance since last year, despite all of the "sky is falling" predictions.

Collaborative Economy 

  • Fortune takes a look at what makes a 21st century corporation. There are at least six truths to consider:
    • It doesn't take a lot of physical capital.
    • Human capital matters more than ever.
    • The nature of employment will change as the gig economy takes off.
    • Winners win even bigger than before, leaving less for the defeated.
    • Corporations' lives will be shorter than ever.
    • As more value comes from intellectual property (and human capital, above), income can be shifted to tax havens.
  • Crowd Companies recognized businesses that are succeeding in the collaborative economy with its first annual Crowd Companies Awards. Autodesk, BMW, Intuit Swisscom and Whole Foods were among the recipients.
  • Home services company Thumbtack has hired its first CFO and a political operative from Airbnb. They manage 200,000 service professionals in 50 states.
  • Uber
  • Airbnb
    • Airbnb found how much revulsion it could create with its passive-aggressive ad campaign. Now that Airbnb is paying its city taxes, it seems that the room-sharing company would like to tell San Francisco how to use that money. In one instance, it directed this at the library system: We hope you use some of the $12 million in hotel taxes to keep the library open later. The new sharing economy tells the old sharing economy how to behave.
    • The CMO quickly apologized and said that the ads would be taken down immediately.


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  • You know NPR has become a thing when "NPR voice" has taken over the audio waves. You can thank Ira Glass and Susan Stamberg.
  • But NPR is losing younger listeners, leaving it with an older but generous audience. I guess that NPR voice is something of a siren call after all. Maybe NPR needs to switch to vocal fry as its new voice.
  • Chicago has its own cooperative that supports podcasts. And it's all thanks to Cards Against Humanity. The power of a local network of 30 shows is not to be underestimated when it comes to advertising possibilities.
  • Pandora is having some issues. In Q3 it lost $85 million and its stock dropped 30% upon the announcement. With increased competition from Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music, its success isn't as guaranteed as it once seemed.
  • However, Pandora isn't alone in one instance: along with the music industry, Pandora thinks YouTube and Spotify aren't playing fair in that they allow users to listen to whatever they want for as long as they want. That's exactly why Spotify is growing in popularity.
  • There are too many good podcasts out there. What happens when we have a podcast surplus?
  • Podcast Recommendation of the Week. This week, check out Six Pixels of Separation, hosted by marketing whiz Mitch Joel. Each week, Mitch interviews a guest from the business world and asks some of the most insightful and probing questions. Subscribe today. Do you have a podcast recommendation for us? Add yours to our Google Sheet:  smonty.co/yourpodcasts


Metrics / Measurement / Data

Privacy / Security / Legal

* Answer to the trivia question above: 

When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading 

  • Mitch Joel sat down with Seth Godin to discuss and debate the ongoing ad blocking crisis. As usual, Seth had some important insights to share. Take a listen to this episode of our recommended podcast this week.
  • It can be rough out there. Inspire your boss and colleagues with some definitely real quotes.
  • The human brain isn't primed for the number of choices it faces today.
    • Believe me, I know. Whether it's toothpaste, orange juice or yogurt, brand extensions are making for a less-than-ideal consumer experience.

Did you enjoy what you read this week? If so, please consider becoming a patron, which means you can pledge as little as $1 a month — or any amount you wish — to help support this newsletter by going to PatreonA dollar a month? That's 25¢ for everything you've read above.

I advise agencies and brands to help them improve their corporate and digital acumen. Please get in touch if you'd like to put my experience and digital smarts to work on a project, to consult with your group, or to address an audience at your next corporate or industry event.

Image credit: Kuba Bożanowski (Flickr)