In his weekly Week van Koot, Koot writes about ‘Blind’, the worldwide gossip site for tekkies looking for a new job or judging the companies they work for. Also highlighting corporate attitudes in the US abortion uprising, an example of text from the copywriting service Jasper, a study showing that fonts matter for how fast a person can read on screens and an attempt to explain why the US filmmaker Johnny Harris (1988) is such a web marvel at the moment.
Gert Koot writes it off on a weekly basis: everything that pertains to him and the profession in the wild world of branding, media and entertainment. Koot worked for more than twenty years at various advertising agencies and was also the marketing director for a while. For several years now, Koot has had its own consulting company under the name Branded Entertainment and advises on new and digital media. As a teacher, he is associated with, among others, SRM and NIMA. In this column on Marketing Facts, Koot discusses ‘what to discuss’.
# 1 The marketplace’s top 100
Every year, a16z publishes the marketplace’s top 100. An overview of startups over the years. In other words, a combination of newcomers and companies that have now come into being that once started as startups. It gives a nice picture of the places where it’s all going on right now. Nineteen companies are now “trained” thanks to IPOs, SPACs and acquisitions. But there are also 37 “freshmen”. Some striking points: The predominance of Instacart continues to exist. The live shopping app Whatnot had the biggest YoY leap ever. Ticket sales, food and beverage and education had the most new participants. (“covid bounceback”) For some categories, however, covid created lasting habits. In particular, the Games and Shopping / Collectibles categories continued to grow, exceeding previous baselines before covid. Although they were not on the Marketplace 100 list, NFT marketplaces exploded in 2021.
# 2 Blind Ambition
To me, this is actually another beautiful and pure example of the first power of the internet. Blind was founded in 2013 in South Korea and available in the United States two years later, describing itself as “a trusted community where more than 5 million verified professionals communicate anonymously.” You must have a verified corporate email to participate (a personal email gives you read-only access to restricted content). The App Store claims that currently “87,000+ companies are represented on Blind.” Users come mostly from the world of technology. Discussions are being conducted by software engineers working at Microsoft 74,000, Amazon 66,000, Facebook 24,000, Uber 20,000 and Apple 15,000, among others. Blind is a mix of Glassdoor and Reddit. Users share their pay, look for a new job or rate the companies they work for. They also gossip about internal events in their businesses, discuss broader themes in the tech industry, and exchange stories about the cultural elements of tech hubs like the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, such as dating issues or an increasingly impenetrable housing market. So in a market where demand far exceeds supply, countless recruiters are busy looking for suitable candidates, the people involved have a wonderful place where nothing remains secret. Proves again the necessary value for the company culture! Read all about Blind in this story by Fadeke Adegbuyi.
# 3 Calm down Wade
In line with the same “corporate culture” is the current development around the much-discussed abortion legislation in the United States. Now everyone has heard of the high-profile case “Roe v Wade”. The Supreme Court ruled that most laws prohibiting or restricting abortion were unconstitutional when it ruled that the ‘right to abortion’ was enshrined in the constitutional ‘right to privacy’. Meanwhile, a Supreme Court majority decision appears to overturn decades of legislation by reversing the constitutional right to abortion under Roe v Wade. So what do you do as a company? We have recently seen companies increasingly take a stand when it comes to social issues.
Also in this case there are preparations. Several large companies with employees in places like Texas and Oklahoma have announced their own initiatives to preserve access to medical treatments criminalized by state lawmakers. Employers like Citi, Apple, Yelp, and Amazon specifically include abortion in their expansion of existing programs that reimburse employees for expenses such as travel expenses associated with seeking medical care that are not available near the employee’s home. Others, such as Uber and Lyft, have pledged support to transport people seeking abortion and to legally defend drivers against abortion-related lawsuits. It takes a very long time, but slowly it becomes clear that doing business is more than just satisfying a shareholder. One can call it deliberate entrepreneurship.
# 4 Growth design
We can now see them as “friends of the show”. The talents of growth design. Using a simple and understandable demonstration, they use insights from psychology to show why some things just work better when you use this knowledge. This time the story is about an ad on Instagram. Remarkable to see that something so extremely simple can be so effective. See, click and learn.
# 5 Google Cookies
Will it all finally happen? Earlier this year, the French data protection agency CNIL fined Google 150 million euros for using confusing language in cookie banners. In the past, Google allowed users to accept all tracking cookies with a single click, but forced people to click through different menus to reject them all. This asymmetry was illegal, CNIL said. So, and we’re happy about that, Google’s new cookie banners offer clear choices: ‘reject all’, ‘accept all’ or ‘more options’ (to exercise more detailed control). The new menu will appear on Google Search and YouTube if users are not signed in to an account. (If you’re signed in, you can adjust your tracking options via Google’s data and privacy menu).
# 6 The future of the Internet is marketing copy generated by algorithms
The intro to this article is as follows: As we move further into the 21st century, more and more aspects of our lives become governed by algorithms. Facebook determines which postings we see in our news feed, Google shows us the results of our searches based on their complex ranking system, and Amazon recommends products based on our previous purchase history. It is no wonder then that online marketing is becoming more and more dependent on algorithms to create effective copywriting. So what does the future hold for the web – will marketing be dominated by machines, or will human creativity always be necessary? Read on to find out…
This intro is not written by a passionate journalist who runs his fingers over a keyboard. It’s the result of the software from the copywriting service Jasper. Jasper can also write content tailored to Facebook ads, marketing emails and product descriptions. It is part of a series of startups using GPT-3, a technology from artificial intelligence company OpenAI, to write texts. Will the copywriting profession end after all? Probably not, but there is definitely a place in the market for this application.
# 7 Meetings
“People face 250 percent more people every day than before the pandemic,” said Mary Czerwinski, head of research at the Human Understanding and Empathy group at Microsoft. “This means that all other work will be moved to later. Last week, Microsoft released a study that provides an eerie reflection of working life. Traditionally, the researchers said, employees have two productivity peaks during their work day: just before lunch and just after lunch. But since the pandemic, a third and minor tip has emerged late in the evening. Microsoft researchers call this phenomenon ‘triple peak day’. Prior to the new survey, employees allowed Microsoft to track their “keyboard events” – a fun euphemism for sending emails or using productivity applications on a work computer. While most people did not show a third mountain work in the evening, 30 percent did. They worked almost as much at. 22.00, as at 8.00. So perhaps we should reconsider the meeting phenomenon in relation to its effect on the working day.
# 8 Johnny Harris
Johnny Harris (1988) is an American filmmaker, journalist and YouTuber, currently based in Washington. So far nothing special. But why attention to Johnny Harris? All videos Harris posts on YouTube go viral. A score of more than 2 million views is a kind of standard. But 10 million. is no exception. Only the special thing about these views is that his topics are about current news. From the crisis in Venezuela to the war in Ukraine. So what is the success behind these videos then. This explanatory video explains what characterizes Harris’ videos. I just think we can all learn something from it. First visual evidence and then the context, first the experience and only then the interpretation in order to understand it.
# 9 Font
Are some fonts age-oriented? The choice of a font very often has to do with the identity of the brand or company. It’s a design discussion where specialists can go crazy. However, studies show that the speed at which you can read online depends heavily on the font and your age. When you reach a certain age, you can not read as fast as you used to. This may be due to vision loss or cognitive changes. But now it turns out that it may also be due to something else: alderistic fonts. An important new study has found that fonts matter for how fast a person can read on screens. Shaun Wallace, a doctoral student in computer science at Brown University, wanted to discover “the gain in reading efficiency that can be achieved by manipulating font choice alone,” according to the study. Sixteen fonts were tested based on their online popularity in newspapers and PDFs. Interestingly, the fonts people claimed they preferred were not necessarily the ones that helped them read the fastest.
# 10 Google Multisearch
Google extends its mobile image search to allow natural language searches so you can say “a dress like this, but longer and in green”. Machine learning changes the answers that computers can give to our questions. But this again shows that the number of possible solutions is infinite.
† This week’s podcast
No “podcast of the week” from audio agency Airborne this week. But that gap was quickly filled because our weekly host Jeroen de Bakker was a guest on the BNR podcast “De Technoloog”. Because Podimo, the Danish podcast company, is establishing a foothold in the Netherlands and knows how to tie a number of important makers exclusively to itself. Does it give the media a new revenue model? And what about all the traditional media companies that also do podcasts? The technologist went to investigate the case and asked sound expert Jeroen de Bakker for help.
This week’s news at the clubhouse
Fresh out of the oven and still hot. The written version now also in audio. Bring your mental breakfast and start the dialogue. Almost every Sunday at 9:00 in the clubhouse. Led by Sylvie Verbiest. Jeroen de Bakker as table owner. And this week no one spoke column by Tino Stuij. But next week in a long performance.