S02E04 – The Founder’s Dilemma

Talking About Marketing Podcast by Steve Davis and David Olney

Exploring the gap between a leaders’ vision of what their teams should be doing and their teams’ understanding of and ability to do what they do

If you're a founder (or you work for one), you will find this episode helpful if you've had to navigate that point in a business at which a founder's personal abilities and capacities are overrun by the demands of growth in the business.

It is at this point that founders need to make some profound adjustments to avoid their business imploding.

This crossroads is typically met when an enterprise reaches the 5-15 employee mark.

In other topics this episode, we cover the TikTok security threat, the Guardian's iconic Three Little Pigs campaign, and the way that you think you're watching YouTube but in fact it's YouTube that's watching you.

Talking About Marketing podcast episode notes with timecodes

02:27  Person  This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.

YouTube Is A Case Of The Tail Wagging The Dog

As a business owner or leader in the modern age, you are probably busy producing content, juggling work demands, and being exposed to content in your daily life (or you fret that you are not doing as much creation as you'd like to) but for the Person segment, Steve took a moment to reflect on how our content consumption is being curated and governed by others.

Through an interview with successful science-educating YouTuber, Derek Muller, from Veritasium, on The Skeptics Guide To The Universe podcast, episode 923, we are reminded how much we need to be vigilant.

As Derek explains in the interview, he has been producing videos (including viral videos) on YouTube for a long time (more than 10 years) and maintining success means modifying production to please the website's algorithims. To ignore the changing formula that determines whose videos get exposed to new audiences, is to relegate yourself to becoming irrelevant.

For example, in the early days, YouTube favoured producers who built their list of subscribers. Back then, if you accrued a large number of subscribers, they would then be exposed to your new content and, by default, this signalled the value of the content to YouTube so its algorithm would then share your work with "strangers".

But in recent years, they've changed to different measures of what is popular, front-loading the importance of how many people view the opening seconds, resulting in producers now having to handcraft thumbnail still images with catchy titles and opening sequences that "jazz up" the content to snare a share of the ever diminishing moments of attention of YouTube viewers who increasingly consume contenty by scrolling the site while on mobile devices.

Derek explains this means meatier topics are sadly overlooked in favour of shallower ones. We all lose from this. But YouTube wins.

It's sobering stuff, and Steve argues we need to take back as much control as possible when using services like YouTube. By disabling autoplay and by using your own search terms to hone in on topics of importance to you, you will stay in the driver's seat as much as possible and avoid being sucked into a vortex of titillation.

As an aside, Steve also referenced a Sam Harris interview in which his chat with AI experts, Stuart Russel and Gary Marcus, referenced research revealling that those of us who binge watch TV are UNHAPPIER than people who watch a little. Apparently, it boils down to opportunity costs. We later resent the time we have wasted.

The main takeaway is to take time to curate your viewing yourself, save things for later, and stay in control. The same goes with streaming services. If we go in with a shortlist of content was want to consume, we'll be less likely of falling victim to the infinite scroll.

10:48  Principles  This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.

The Founder's Dilemma

During his years of working as a consultant, David Olney discusses the gap he has discerned between leaders’ visions of what their teams should be doing and their teams’ understanding of and ability to do what they do.

He explains that when leaders have a particular take on how to translate top level strategy into something that their teams can do every day, it often ends up being at odds with what their teams have been historically habituated to do. As a result, teams often lose their motivation and impetus for action, lose faith in their leadership, and move on to other teams and organisations.

While David first noticed this in large organisations, he has increasingly seen it in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which is why he has dubbed it The Founder’s Dilemma.

For the sake of brevity, as you'll hear in the discussion, David notes that founders either hold on to control and information very tightly, blunting their people’s ability to grow and contribute to the enterprise, putting future growth at risk; or they surrender a bit of control and share some information, empower their people to contribute, and the enterprise can grow because of a shared vision, responsibility, and trust.

You'll hear the full discussion in the episode and can also read David's article here: The Founder’s Dilemma: Building your business without blunting your people.

23:34  Problems  This segment answers questions we've received from clients or listeners.

Leaving TikTok

Steve raised the issue of privacy in the digital age arising from a chat with his eldest daughter, AJ.

AJ had watched a TikTok video explaining how much monitoring the app does of its users, prompting her to delete it.

Steve then explained that almost every app on her phone is tracking and selling information about her, even our beloved weather app. This happens when you let the app track your location to serve you with local weather. She didn't realise that her location was then being sold to local councils and other enterprises so they could target her with advertising, etc.

As he explains in the segment, they then went through and made judicious decisions about which apps were to be deleted, which would stay with mobile/location data turned off (except when in use), and which ones provided enough value to live with the privacy trade off.

36:33  Perspicacity  This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case stude from the past.

Three Little Pigs - The Guardian

In 2012, an ad for the Guardian's open journalism won a Cannes Lion Award.

The "Three Little Pigs advert" re-imagines how the story of the three little pigs would be covered in the digital era of news gathering.

Steve and David discuss this ad in the Perspicacity segment to ponder whether it might work today.

Listen to the discussion for the range of items raised but in short they note the naivity of our society back in 2012 where our embracing of the eruption of social media discussion was welcomed as a triumph for humanity.

We have since seen just how dark and manipulated this "town square" can be.

TRANSCRIPT  This is a transcript of the episode. Please note, although checked briefly, this was crafted by an AI tool and will contain errors. For quoting purposes, always check against the original audio.

Caitlin Davis: [00:00:00] talked About Marketing is a podcast for business owners and leaders, produced by my dad, Steve Davis, and his colleague at Talked About Marketing, David Olney, in which they explore marketing through the lens of their own four P's, person, principles, problems, and perspicacity. Yes, you heard that correctly.

Apart from their love of words, they really love helping people. So they hope this podcast will become a trusted companion on your journey in business.

Steve Davis: David Olney, I've got a rather difficult and sensitive question to ask you.

David Olney: I'm waiting with a degree of trepidation and anticipation.

Steve Davis: You've recently published an article, which we've published on our site too, about the Founder's Dilemma. Did you really write that as a message to me, and you've disguised it in a roundabout way by trying to generalise it to the population?

David Olney: I wrote it about [00:01:00] probably 10 founders I've met in the last two years, since working with Rich and you, where I saw, even though everyone's got a different version of the adaptation to their business growing, everyone has the same problem, and that is Growth with extra people is different to growth

on your own.

Steve Davis: So you could have just sent it as an email to me.

David Olney: I could have just sent it as an email to Rich. I could have just sent it as an email to, you know, seven or eight clients. But in all those cases, Yes. It might have had a bit too much of a sting in the tail, whereas what I wanted people to see by being generalized is, no, there's no sting in the tail of this.

There's just, hang on, there's a common theme here. And it's another case where if people in small business got more chances to talk to each other, they'd see how many situations they share in common, even if they're in a different

Steve Davis: industry. On that note, I'm going to spray some stingos and get ready to get into this episode.[00:02:00]

Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps. Number one. The aim of life is self development. To realise one's nature perfectly. That is what each of us is here for.

Steve Davis: David, you're familiar with the saying of the the tail wagging the dog, I imagine?

David Olney: I am indeed, but there are a couple of different ways it can be understood. There's either the Jonathan Haidt version of the emotional dog wagging the rational tail or there is the more common usage in Australia. So you better tell the listeners which one we're working with.

Steve Davis: Well, I'm using the one that also was used as a title for a Dustin Hoffman, and I think Robert De Niro film, I'm not sure if he was in it or not, called Wag the Dog. And it was about how the people who wanted to do warmongering created fake news stories to whip up a frenzy [00:03:00] to get the American army involved in a conflict and get funding flowing, et cetera.

So that is probably the latter. Definition. Yes. Okay. But what it really boils down to is the thing that we assume we are going to be enjoying and making use of is in fact, guiding our decisions and taking control. That's, that's the, the understanding that I was entering into this particular topic and it's, the focus is on YouTube and the use of videos.

So this is for the person. Those of us running our businesses or leading in a, in a role within a business, we're ordinary humans too. We consume media and in our daily lives, we probably make it as well. And sometimes we're not always critically aware of the diet of content that we're shared by the great juggernauts, the invisible.

Juggernaut. That is YouTube with its next [00:04:00] suggested video, Netflix with its next suggested show, or shows related to Spotify, et cetera. And this was brought to a focus for me while listening to the podcast, The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, episode 923. We'll put the link in the show notes where Veritasium.

Now Derek is a long term, very popular YouTuber. He makes educational videos that connect important things from the world of science and evidence based approaches to things with the viewing public. And he was talking about how things had changed. Ten plus years ago in the early days, He would get success on YouTube, as others would, by building subscribers.

We see your channel, we like what he does, we subscribe to you, and you will reward it as the producer, because it meant next time I was on YouTube, it would obediently serve me up any new videos you've created, because it knows that I care, and you'd want respect. [00:05:00] But that is no longer the case. A few years ago, things shifted in which it was all about Whose eyeballs have we got the most of and they were vicious, this is YouTube, in measuring what it means that someone is engaged and it's a very high bar you've got to cross and producers had to stop producing content the way they had been and now change the way they're producing content to work within this world.

Arbitrary, artificial overlay that suits YouTube's needs so it can keep people glued to sell ads. And this is all happening before our very eyes without us noticing it. Let's have a listen to how Derek described it.

Derek Muller: I've seen people come and go like I've seen channels rise and fall and partly I attribute that to quirks in the algorithm. Like I think that [00:06:00] It's never going to be perfect, the algorithm. So in a way you think of like, how is it working five years ago? Well, it was working kind of wrong five years ago, and it was strangely advantaging in certain kinds of content and suppressing other kinds of content.

So it's really strange to me to see how, how things have gone that way. Like one of the earliest. Weird things about YouTube was like, once you had subscribers, then views became kind of guaranteed and your growth was like, there was a real big positive feedback loop. So YouTube has had to combat that. And then sometimes I think they've gone too far.

And so having like a big channel with a lot of subscribers actually. Kind of counts against you and acts as a weight. So I don't know that they're constantly trying to balance all these factors. I don't know how you could make an algorithm that isn't subject to weird circular feedbacks, like, you know, people who run YouTube will say.

The algorithm is the audience. We are just representing what the audience wants. The problem is [00:07:00] there's nearly infinite content and the audience is oblivious to almost all of it, right? So the algorithm has to show them something on that limited screen real estate. So what do you see? I don't know. 10, 20 videos.

Okay. So now they've seen those things and maybe they wanna watch some of them. Okay? So now they wanna watch those things, but they didn't know about the virtual infinity of stuff that was never shown to them. So, Immediately, you get sucked into weird positive feedbacks like that. And I, I don't know that there's a way to break the cycle.

Steve Davis: And one of the things he mentions by the way, is everything hinges on the thumbnail image that shows before the video even plays. That's how dumbed down it is. End of quote. There we go, David. To me, that's pretty sobering stuff that just. Reminds me of the importance of applying a critical phase to any time we hand over the reins of our entertainment or content curation to someone else.

David Olney: It [00:08:00] kind of explains to me why the first thing I tell people to do with YouTube is to turn off the autoplay feature. And it also explains to me why so many very good YouTube content creators are moving their content to Nebula. Because Nebula is still supposedly about make what you want and if people subscribe, you earn money.

Steve Davis: Interesting, I'm not familiar with Nebula, so I will take a look at that. So, I think we all could do that, but to me, the big lesson that falls out of there, apart from that very good advice of turning off autoplay, is just taking the time to curate what we watch, no matter where we are. So, save a link to something for later, to go back to YouTube, so you enter the arena.

With a focus and a purpose and the same with Netflix. I don't get to veg out much these days in the life I lead. And I have caught myself a couple of times just wasting precious minutes of life scrolling [00:09:00] through Netflix to see if there's some. And I've just been saying to myself, I've got to stop this.

I've got to make a little list in my phone somewhere of movies or TV shows that I really want to watch and save that for those moments so I can cut to the chase. Whether it's scrolling stupidly on Netflix or the old days, wandering in a video store and wasting 40 minutes coming out with something that's, well, the least worst, not the pinnacle of human evolution.

And just finally on this, I've got an aside to add, I love Sam Harris. He's got some great material that he creates. And he was talking to some AI experts recently on his podcast, the name of which just making sense Stuart Russell, Gary Marcus, AI. They were talking about studies showing that people who binge watch TV or watch a lot of TV, by the way, are unhappier than people who watch a little.

And the [00:10:00] theory is, it boils down to the regret of opportunity costs. We, we have just wasted all that time, and that feeds resentment, and we kick ourselves. How does that resonate with you, David?

David Olney: It sounds very accurate, and explains why I no longer have a Netflix subscription. On

Steve Davis: that note then, to fill in the void of your world, let's move on to our next segment.

Caitlin Davis: Our four P's. Number two, principles. You can never be overdressed or over educated. Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: During my years of working as a consultant, I've regularly discerned a gap between leaders vision of what their teams should be doing and their team's understanding of and ability to do what they do. That was me quoting you, David Olney, from your article about the Founder's [00:11:00] Dilemma. I think I'll hand over the reins and let you pick up the story.

David Olney: The story is kind of an extension of what we did an episode ago of talking about, you know, Christian Cameron's novels, The Long War, the idea that... Heroes can do amazing things on their own, but they only become leaders if they transition to training people and making it possible for people to move with them and fill the gaps and space they create.

And I started thinking about the same thing for founders of small and medium companies, and that what tends to happen is someone is so passionate that they want to start their own business, and they invest so much time and effort that as it begins to grow, They can't imagine it being anything other than the vision in their head.

So when they start taking extra people on, they tend to do one of two things. They expect that everyone shares the vision. Or they bark orders so that people behave [00:12:00] in a way that guarantees their vision is brought to life, but they don't give their people any agency. So in both cases, it's what I'm calling in the blog post, the Founder's Dilemma.

And that is that the founder has such a clear vision. They either communicate it so precisely that they stop people having agency or they don't communicate it at all other than by barking orders and stop people having agency. And in both cases, this means that growth and taking more people on board to grow the business.

Doesn't work as effectively as it should, because the new people that have been taken on don't get to be empowered, don't get to have agency, they're not trusted to grow their bit of what's happening in something between the founder's way and their own way. And in doing so, growth becomes much harder and more painful than it needs to be.

Steve Davis: I think what's made this hard, because you make a comment that founders spend most of their waking hours doing business or [00:13:00] thinking about how to improve their business. And I certainly, I'd have to say a good 80% of my time is absorbed in thinking about our clients and their different challenges. Things to change within talked about marketing's realm.

I'm fascinated by it. I'm, it's like a moth to a flame. Although without the horrible burning ending, I really hope no charcoal. So there's that on one hand. And I think the world of business, and I wonder if we can chart this back in time and started at the big end of town, where suddenly things shifted in the realm of accounting, that the only thing that was seen as good in business was if the shareholders was.

Got a profit and that works its way down to no care, no loyalty, no reward for giving your time on this planet [00:14:00] towards a business enterprise. And that then tarnishes everything. And there, I'm sure there are small business owners who are assholes out there and just really horrible using type people, but there are also, we know.

Really good humans who want to make a difference and yet the sense that someone could find it valid to be obsessing to some degree similar to the founder they're working for is washed away and diluted by this prevailing

David Olney: Yeah, I think, you know, two important things you've tapped into there. I think the fixation, the fixation on creating value for shareholders is the reason why so many people would rather be in small to medium business than in big business.

Because small to medium, it's still about people and vision rather than shareholders you'll never meet. And I think the second thing you tap into there that if in a small or medium business, [00:15:00] you've got someone working for you with equally as intense a passion for the business, that's either remarkable or they're probably going to open their own business because they've got a dream as powerful as your dream.

Yeah, so if someone is as passionate as you, that is a really rare thing because they might be like you were 10 years ago. You don't have your own business yet, but you're going to, but in the main, the critical thing here is if you're thinking about something all the time, you don't necessarily know how to communicate it to the person who doesn't think about it all the time, who will do a really good job in their hours of work, who will be really committed to being part of a good company and a good team.

But again, it's They aren't imagining being a founder. They aren't imagining being responsible for everything. They're more than happy to be responsible for their bit. But not necessarily for everything.

Steve Davis: And, and that brings in the concept of the [00:16:00] reluctant founder, because I, you were right, I was in that role and obsessing about a business that wasn't mine, but I had, and having all the drive, there was zero sense within me that one day I'm going to jump ship.

Never entered my mind. I loved that enterprise. I wanted to work with it. Turned out the person running it is a person of, you know. Questionable scripples and completely did the dirty on me and other people for whatever greedy scenarios. And I had to start. I didn't want to be doing this, but I have been luckily transferred that passion and learned my way into making it work for people around me.

Not a hundred percent successful, but working on that constantly. And so you've got the reluctant founder as well. Does that play into part of this?

David Olney: The reluctant founder is a different proposition. And I think the reluctant founder is probably the smallest category of founders [00:17:00] because most people that I've met with you and I've met, you know, through Rich in America, just talking to people who've got their own businesses.

Most people either were passionate about it or got so pissed off. Working for incompetent people. Right. They're the two biggest groups. Yeah. I think the reluctant founder is certainly a thing, but it's, it's the smallest group. And I think this is why when I made the point in the intro to you, no, it's not written for you specifically, because you want to work with other people and you want to get along well, and you want to include them in a way where they feel comfortable rather than going must fit my vision.

Like, you know, being a reluctant founder. Yeah, it seems to have led towards you being more open to a form of inclusivity that isn't just get on board with my vision, or I will squish you like the sandwich in the sandwich toaster to be the right shape.

Steve Davis: Yeah. Look, that's proper unit. So to land this, and we'll put the [00:18:00] link to the article in the show notes.

What do we do? How do we solve this?

David Olney: I think there is, I think there's a few key things that a founder really needs to think about. And the first is, how well do they communicate? Do they just bark orders or do they blurt their stream of consciousness about business that's going through their head 14 hours a day? Neither thing is really useful.

If you're barking orders, people will only do what you ask and be afraid to take any action. If you're blurting your stream of consciousness, then people are going to go, whoa. I'm finding out that running a business is scary and that the founder sounds worried about what happens next. Do I really want to be in a job where the founder is scared?

So saying too little and too much, it's very much, who's the person with the three bears? Goldilocks and the three bears? Yeah, that'll do. Yes. Like, you know, the porridge being the right temperature is the rarest thing, but that's what we've got to strive for in communication. It's also a question of [00:19:00] Why did you employ people to only do what you say?

Or to add a little bit more than that. Now, if you want them to add a little bit more than only what you say, you need to define their role clearly and in a contained way. So they know what their remit is. They know how much flexibility they can have. They know how much decision making power they have.

And it's less than the founder. But in some level where they feel they're empowered to do their well defined job well, and they will be respected and trusted to do it well, so the founder can get on with growing the business.

Steve Davis: Interesting that we mentioned Nebula early, because this is still feeling a little nebulous.

There isn't necessarily a step one, do this, but can we ask for a step one, do this? Is there a question we should ask ourselves, or is there a question we should ask the people around us to start this process?

David Olney: I suppose the first thing would be to go, what kind of founder are [00:20:00] you, would be a good start.

Were you desperate to start a business? Were you pissed off with working for other people and started a business? Or were you a reluctant founder? So what's your emotional state behind it? Is it the drive of your life? Is it out of frustration? Or is it how something else went wrong? Because that's going to affect how you build it.

The second question would be is, how do you communicate to your employees? Do you assume they're on the same page as you? Do you tell them exactly what to do? Or, you know, do you blurt everything at them? And none of those are ideal. You know, what you want to do is communicate to them, you know, a decent version of the big picture, but specifically what you need them to do, what the framework is, what the scale of their job is.

So really, if there's a big practical step, it is, if you're going to hire someone or you've hired someone, what is their role? What do you need them to do? How much freedom and [00:21:00] flexibility are they allowed to have? And how much room is there for them to contribute to growing that role and as a consequence growing the business?

And when you write the description of this role down or say it to yourself while driving home from the small business, if you say, no, they don't have any freedom, they don't have any flexibility, they do what I tell them, there's no growth in the role. There's no opportunity for them to be individual.

Think really carefully if you can stop your business at the size it is now, because you're going to have nothing but problems with people. But if you can define the role, define what people's freedom is, what their responsibility is, how they can contribute, how they can add to the growth. Start doing that for each person that works for you and start making sure that when you've got those definitions clear, you then talk them through with your people and go, are you comfortable doing that role?

Are you comfortable with that much freedom? Do you believe this gives you something to grow into where you feel you're really contributing [00:22:00] to the company I want to build, but I want to build it with other people who want to contribute? So really, it's about getting to the point about being able to better define people's role, decide how much freedom you want them to have, are they comfortable with that much freedom or opportunity, and then agree that we're all on the same page by talking.

Rather than by barking orders or a blurred extreme of consciousness.

Steve Davis: And that's why there's a fork in the road with how people might even access our services. Because on one of those pathways, David, you do a lot of mentoring with founders, just at a personal level. We don't do marketing. It's just a personal exploration of where they're at and to get their own thinking straight so that they can then start applying with clarity, some thinking back to their business.

And then of course, there's the, the marketing side when we actually look at the business itself and go through our branding questions and personas and strategy and content and so on and so forth. And I think in the light of the [00:23:00] founder's dilemma article, we now see clearly the rationale. For having those two different options.

Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps. Number three, Problems. I asked the question for the best reason possible. Simple curiosity, Oscar Wilde.

Steve Davis: At the time of recording this episode, it was only announced today that the Australian government is banning TikTok from any government computers. And that means no one in government will use TikTok ever again, doesn't it David?

David Olney: I'm pretty cool with this.

Steve Davis: But of course we know they can still use it on their personal devices and Charlie Helen Robinson, a client of ours and a colleague, from time to time in different roles, she noted that when Facebook was first around and governments put bans on it, everyone just switched to their personal devices.

But from your sort [00:24:00] of geosecurity, geopolitical mindset, you're actually thinking it's a good move.

David Olney: Yeah, TikTok basically is an app. Is a way to just skim data on what entertains people, what they click on, what they're interested in, and if you look at the way it's manipulated, controlled by the Chinese Communist Party within China, it's quite clear that the preferred way to use the app is to alter social behavior.

So it is not just a consumption app. It's a management of social behavior app. Now, it may not be being used that way in Australia, the U. S. and Canada, but the problem is the app can be used that way, and therefore it's not appropriate for it to be on any government device.

Steve Davis: Hmm. Well, as an adjunct to that story, it was only last weekend.

I was driving with my eldest daughter, who's 14. She said she was watching a TikTok video on TikTok about how much TikTok monitors you. And that was the straw that broke the camel's back for [00:25:00] her. She said, Dad, I just deleted the app. I said,

David Olney: Oh, that's what I love to hear from smart young women.

Steve Davis: And I said, that's interesting.

But do you know what, what she said? Did you know that weather app will use that free weather app? Yeah, yeah. Because you have it turned on to give you the weather in your location, it's mapping your location and a lot of information available on your phone is available to the makers of that app, who then sell that data.

And as a fact, My darling, I said to her, I know there are various local government authorities who buy that data so they understand who's moving through their part of the world. It uses it to match to other data to work out whether you're a resident or a visitor. I can learn other things from you so that it can do its social planning and social engineering and marketing.

with the triggering of Bluetooth messages on behalf of local retailers and [00:26:00] businesses to snare your business dollar while you're in town. And she was floored by that insight, and then for the rest of the card journey, opened up all her preferences and looked for location settings and started turning them off and only allowing them for when the app is being used.

I think this is I have heard many people say that most people in society don't really give two rats about privacy, and I think that's because they just don't think about what it actually means in real time. Thankfully, AJ has.

David Olney: Yeah, it's a great solution, you know, that she got to, and that is allow things to use location services only when you're using the app.

You know, that instance, fine, you're here, you get relevant information, but you chose it. And that's that compromise. We want the convenience of a modern world with effective technology without surrendering absolutely everything about ourself to people who are going to make use of it for [00:27:00] commercial gain for themselves, no benefit for us.

Steve Davis: Yeah, exactly. And in her words, it's when she understood just how creepy it was, that's what made her run and make those changes. So maybe we need more creepy awareness of the monitoring that the big end of town is doing on us because that would make us slam the door on the salesperson's foot with more gusto.

Caitlin Davis: Our four Ps, number four, perspicacity. The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it. Oscar Wilde. For

Steve Davis: Persepicacity segment this time round, David, I want to take us back to, I reckon it was 2012, when the Guardian newspapers in the UK won awards everywhere for their hashtag open news [00:28:00] campaign, which was just showing the carton thrust of the fast moving pace of news in this inverted commas modern age.

And they did it. by a retelling of the Three Little Pigs story within all the parlance of modern journalism and social media chatter. Let's have a listen to that, you can have a look at it on our show notes, and then we'll come back and discuss.

So, David, my first question is, Would you look at your children's books with fresh opinions, fresh perspective, if they were all written in news parlance?

David Olney: I think it would guarantee that children never had an attention span longer than three seconds.

Steve Davis: Yeah, that is the downside, [00:29:00] isn't it?

David Olney: Yeah, I think that's the big thing I take away.

And I have to admit, as a kid, You know, grew up on a farm with pigs. Also thought wolves were cool. I was always ambivalent about the story, because at the end of the day, I thought a wolf could do better than trying to blow houses down.

Steve Davis: Or just lurk around by the back door and grab them when it's open.

David Olney: Yeah, like really, he's a wolf. He's an apex predator.

Steve Davis: So, so here we go, so in this segment, we try to look at something from the past and see, apply our thinking to whether it would work today. Here's the thing that I note with my 2023 eyes, is how without criticism, there's a naivety and almost a worship of the fact that Moments after the SWAT team has breached the pig's house, there's the Guardian with a live reporter out front covering the news, and then the open floodgates [00:30:00] of a million people's different opinions coming through on Twitter.

The pigs deserve it. No, the wolf deserves it. And actually, I see that as an absolute negative. of the Twittersphere and the social media sphere. This completely unfiltered garbage pipe of opinion that drowns out any rational voices. That's what I take from it, which is why I think there'd be too much cynicism.

To me, this would be a criticism video if launched today, not one of optimism. What do you think?

David Olney: I agree. What I was thinking as we were listening to the ad, is, here's a perfect example of how too many media channels get in the way of good journalism. Tell me more. So, all the social media, Twitter, Facebook, everything else, there were a lot more now than there were in 2012.

If the journalist gets there immediately after the SWAT team have gone in the door, what do [00:31:00] the journalists know? They put incomplete data out into different media channels and then everyone starts adding their opinion on incomplete data and an hour later, all we have is a mess of incomplete data and a heap more opinions based on incomplete data and it takes on a whirlwind effect of its own where You know, by the end we get to the court case and whatever actually happened and go, Well, what's that got to do with good journalism?

All we just saw is the tidal wave of incomplete media based on people's emotional responses. No deep thought from anyone and no time taken to check the validity of anything.

Steve Davis: And I suppose the other thing there is we don't know if them saying that they had to do this because they couldn't afford their mortgage payments as just an excuse But it then triggers riots and a run on the banks and all those sorts of things, which [00:32:00] of their own might actually be valid, but they were triggered by unreflective reporting of things happening.

And I think that's what I, as a former journalist, that's what I lament greater, the most about the state of journalism today. Once upon a time, although possibly still not perfect, there were editors. Who would wrestle over topics and angles and and so on and so forth still trying to get unbiased, but put things into context.

David Olney: Editors had time to give things context so that they didn't go out incomplete and become the basis for a whirlwind of emotional responses and biased responses and assumptions. So the whole point of editors in a little bit of time was to make sure that bias and assumptions. You know, it didn't play the role they now play.

Steve Davis: Hmm. And when they did, they were then being done deliberately for whatever conspiracy it was. [00:33:00] But it wasn't the aim. I know plenty of journalists who would stare you down, dare you make that. They were actually doing their best and they had the time, whereas now it's, no, no, this angle will get more clicks.

Hmm. So our verdict then... Would this ad work today and win awards? What do you think?

David Olney: I think if, like you said at the beginning, if it was put out today, we would see it as an indictment of the collapse of quality journalism and the excess of crap media.

Steve Davis: I think so. I think that's the case. Almost. We need someone to come to the fore with the antidote for this, but I doubt that sort of video is going to have the cute sexiness

Caitlin Davis: Thank you for listening to Talking About Marketing. If you enjoyed it, please leave a rating or a [00:34:00] review in your favorite podcast app. And if you found it helpful, please share it with others. Steve and David always welcome your comments and questions, so send them to podcast at talkaboutmarketing. com.

And finally, the last word to Oscar Wilde. There's only one thing worse than being talked about, and that's not being talked about.

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