The power of providing value quickly

I want to share a short interaction that I had today. In marketing and SaaS there is a lot of talk about time-to-value. How long does it take for a potential customer to get value from your solution?

In a private slack community that I am active in, Michelle posted a frustration that she was having with Facebook data.

Years ago I presented at a conference hosted by IMPACT branding and got to meet Peter Caputa who was starting the company DataBox. In the years since the conference, Peter and I have been twitter friends. Through Peter’s tweets about growing DataBox, their client obsession, and, my usage of their product, I was familiar enough with how it worked. I made the comment with the link to Michelle for her to check it out.

60 minutes later. That is one hour. Michelle went from a business problem, to exploration of, starting a trial, connecting her accounts, and, finally to a solution.

How long in terms of time and steps does it take for a potential customer to learn what you have to offer, then get value from you? Is it 60 min? Why not?

A Rose by Any Other Name – messes with search results

There is interesting news out of MIT. A team used synonyms for words to attack NLP (natural language processing) systems and reduce the quality of results. They tested this on Google’s BERT system to show how their app (TextFooler) can expose areas that need improvement. NLP systems are at the core of Google, Siri, and, Alexa so efforts like this can help them to get better.

The academic paper can be read/downloaded from THIS LINK

“…tiny alterations to the input can flummox an AI and make it misclassify what it sees. TextFooler shows that this style of attack also breaks NLP, the AI behind virtual assistants—such as Siri, Alexa and Google Home—as well as other language classifiers like spam filters and hate-speech detectors” Full post is available at

Starting a new category: Great Books

I love reading, I love my Kindle and I try to keep two books going at all times. The first book is something related to my professional life. The second book is something fun, a mystery, spy, sci-fi story.

Using the kindle has a great benefit of being able to highlight any text in my books and it syncs to the cloud. They give you a link that contains all your books and the notes you have selected.

The above image is my notes from Fanocracy that I am currently reading. What I am going to do it a post for each book once I am done reading it and I will share my notes and the connections/ideas that they spark.

Facial recognition controversy

There are several stories today that are related to the same issue, facial recognition and one controveral company. Clearview AI, is gathering lots of photos, your photos and using them in their system, without your permission and then selling your image to law enforcement.

I don’t like when companies take the approach that they can just scrape personal information and then use that as an asset they sell. You are taking resources, not paying or getting permission for the very resource that is key to the value prop of your business. It is just a sleazy business practice.

Here are three of the many sources available:

NY Times: “The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It”

Mashable: “Controversial facial recognition company claims it has a First Amendment right to your public photos”

The VERGE: “YouTube demands Clearview AI stop scraping its videos for facial recognition database”

If you want to Opt Out you need to live in California or the European Union. On Clearview’s site the privacy request forms are only available for select people.


I hope the other leading social media companies join YouTube in shutting this down.

UPDATE: According to Mashable, Facebook has joined YouTube in sending a cease and desist letter to the company to stop. (source)

Engaging the community to update the Marketing Technology Landscape (2020 update)

There are thousands of technologies and agencies participating in the marketing industry. Every year the team at Marketing Land compiles a giant list of companies and puts them into a PDF and Infographic.


Trying to keep up with all the changes in the landscape is daunting and that is where the crowd comes in to help. As Scott Brinker says; “With the frothy M&A environment we’re in, we also miss mergers and acquisitions. We miss launches and pivots, where companies leap from one category to another. We miss name changes and logo changes (thank you, rebranders). And we miss the unfortunate endings of companies that drop into the martech deadpool.”

Martech 5000 from Marketing Land

Three ways to help

Contribute a new or updated martech vendor here.

Report an acquired or defunct martech vendor here.

Download the 2019 Excel spreadsheet here.

Let’s help get the landscape up to date

It is time for brands to take down content gates

It is 2020 and, this may be the year that click–walls come down. I was listening to Shep Hyken‘s podcast episode with David Meerman-Scott discussing David’s latest book, Fanocracy, when the subject of gating came up.

A little background on gating. Years ago, marketers were in a race to build big email lists. The plan was that once we got your email address, we could reach out to you directly and not have to pay ad rates to reach you. Then, with the rise of content marketing, gating became the main feature. Gating content would give you a straightforward metric, how many people filled in the form to read the article, infographic, white paper?

The evidence to tear down the gates is that according to David, a brand can see a 50 to 1 jump in content engagement by removing the friction. It makes sense; a brand creates content to inform new people about what the brand knows. It is the start of the relationship. When a brand uses gates, they are starting the connection with an ASK, give us your email, before we tell you anything. I have been a fan of David for years, and Fanocracy has a rising star co-author Reiko Scott.

It is one thing for David and Reiko to give a prominent brand example of removing the gate, increases engagement, and improves the relationship with the reader. Still, coincidentally Shep had run an A/B test of this concept with one of his white papers and found that the idea holds for small scale brands.

If you are twitter, make sure you give a shout-out to Shep Hyken, David Meerman Scott, and Reiko Scott.

100 Customer Experience STATS for 2019

The website has a great resource for Customer Experience stats.

Gartner predicts that 89% of businesses are expected to compete mainly on customer experience.

Gartner have also predicted that by 2019 more than 50% of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.

I like that they have collected all these snippets of information and link to the sources so that you can read the source materials.

Thanks to Lindsay Willott for pulling all this info together!

You can find them on twitter here