As many of you know, I sing in a band here in NYC. We call ourselves LUXURY. For a bunch of guys who, for the most part, stopped trying to 'make it' years ago, we're actually pretty good. How do I know?
A few months ago, indie rock Gods The Meat Puppets 'borrowed' my band's drummer, Ted Marcus. Ted played on their album, and will be touring with them to support the album. First show is in Austin at SXSW. This probably means the end of LUXURY, but nothing would make me happier than to see him do well. Ted's a great musician, and an even better friend. I've known him since college, and I can't wait to head to Austin to hear them play.
Btw, LUXURY's last show is at the Mercury Lounge this Friday, February 2 at 9:30pm.
A recent article from Kate Kay at ClickZ. It focuses on the work of the NY AG's Internet Bureau:
In conjunction with its investigation of alleged spyware firm Direct Revenue, New York's Internet Bureau found Priceline.com, Travelocity.com, and Cingular Wireless were among advertisers using Direct Revenue's software to target their ads to Web users.
I'm not entirely comfortable with the precedent that this sets, although I wonder if this will help create traction for TRUSTe's Trusted Download Program. The original set of standards (which Chapell & Associates helped to develop) included a provision for an Advertiser Registry. The Registry would, among other things, presumably create a safe harbor for Advertisers that purchased media through ad supported software "certified" by TRUSTe.
Jeff Jarvis posted on the impact that YouTube is already having on the nascent 2008 Presidential Race.
The revolution will not be televised. It will be YouTubed. The open TV of the people is already turning into a powerful instrument of politics - of communication, message, and image - in the next US presidential election. Witness: Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards; Republican Sam Brownback; and more candidates just announced their runs for the White House not in network-news interviews, nor in big, public events, but instead in their own online videos.
The advantages are many: the candidates may pick their settings - Edwards in front of a house being rebuilt in New Orleans; Clinton in a room that reminds one of the Oval Office. They control their message without pesky reporters' questions - Edwards brought in the video-bloggers from Rocketboom.com to chat with him; Brownback, a religious conservative, invoked God and prayer often enough for a sermon; Clinton was able to say she wants to get out of Iraq the right way without having to define that way. (emphasis added)
I'm beginning to wonder if YouTube will have the democratizing effect that many believe that it will. Once upon a time, someone running for President WOULD in fact need to subject themselves to questions from pesky reporters. And once in a while, those pesky reporter would get the candidates to speak off script. They'd force the candidates to actually defend their positions.
The recent campaign commercials/announcements from Senator Clinton and others allow them to make those announcements with far less direct scrutiny. Is it really good thing that Senator Clinton doesn't need to provide us with any specifics regarding her solutions to Iraq? I know that might help her get elected, but it's not really helping to... ya know..addresss the problems over there. I don't pretend to have the answers, but I can tell you that an open exchange of ideas isn't such a bad thing. And forum in which the candidates present their message to the electorate free of give and take with an independent third party does not necessarily facilitate political discourse.
I recognize that most of the major media abdicated this responsibility in the run up to war in Iraq, but someone needs to hold the politicians feet to the proverbial fire. And yes, we can post comments on most blogs (assuming that the more pesky comments aren't deleted) and we can create our own blogs - but there's a difference between responding to criticism (or not) via a rehearsed podcast and being forced to respond to critics because Tim Russert is asking you tough questions on national TV.
Otherwise, you don't have political discourse... you have theater.
My friend Mike Spinney asked me to contribute to a piece he's working on. Initially, I thought we wanted advice for businesses starting out. Turns out, he wanted specific advice on issues of privacy...
For what its worth, (and so it doesn't go completely to waste) I'm sharing my thoughts here...
Be Flexible – As you ramp up your business, be prepared to change you model frequently – and sometimes, drastically. When you get started, assumptions you make about the marketplace are often as likely to hit the bullseye as the darts you used to throw at some late night party in college. Sometimes you’ll ‘accidentally’ hit the mark perfectly; as often as not those assumptions will be way off. And that’s ok. The key is to continue to refine those assumptions as you learn and grow as an entrepreneur.
Look for Partnerships, NOT mentors - Many entrepreneurs start out looking for others who can help them. It’s never a bad thing to learn from others with more experience. However, if you want someone with more experience to take you seriously, you need to figure out what you can bring to the table to help them as well. While it may not always be a 50/50 partnership, nobody is going to put much energy in something where they are giving 90% and getting 10% in return.
Seth Godin recently posted on some of the benefits of Web 4.0. From Seth's Blog:
Web4 is about making connections, about serendipity and about the network taking initiative.
Some deliberately provocative examples:
I'm typing an email to someone, and we're brainstorming about doing a business development deal with Apple. A little window pops up and lets me know that David over in our Tucscon office is already having a similar conversation with Apple and perhaps we should coordinate.
I'm booked on a flight from Toledo to Seattle. It's cancelled. My phone knows that I'm on the flight, knows that it's cancelled and knows what flights I should consider instead. It uses semantic data but it also has permission to interrupt me and tell me about it. Much more important, it knows what my colleagues are doing in response to this event and tells me. 'Follow me' gets a lot easier. Google watches what I search. It watches what other people like me search. Every day, it shows me things I ought to be searching for that I'm not. And it introduces me to people who are searching for what I'm searching for.
Seth listed a bunch more. All are great ideas, and undoubtedly be useful to some people, some of the time. But that's just it. These ideas are ONLY valueable to some people some of the time. Maybe I want David in the Tuscon office to know what I'm doing, but maybe I don't. Perhaps what I'm doing is confidential per my company President. Perhaps I'm working with them on an IP issue and David is talking to them about who their favorite paper supplier is. How does web 4.0 know all this? Under anything resembling current models, it doesn't.
So that means that I would need to go into all my devices and setup an increasingly complex permissionings system to account for hundreds (perhaps thousands) of situations. The alternative is for me to set all these permissionings to default, which means that I'll be receiving too many messages I don't want, and sending out more information than I'm comfortable with.
The part about collecting the data is easy. What's hard is setting up the permissioning process so that you can make use of the data...
Btw, my old friend Mike Song just published a book geared towards helping us make sense of our digital choices. I'm sure it's worth reading...
In March, I'm speaking on a panel for the Internation Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Summit in Washington. The topic is "Privacy as a Career." I started thinking about the topic while on a plane the other day, and jotted down a few thoughts.
This piece will probably be published in the IAPP monthly magazine in February, but since many of you aren't part of the IAPP, I thought I'd share it here as well. I think many of the themes here are applicable for privacy pros and non-privacy pros alike. ____________________________________________________________________
At the IAPP Privacy Summit in DC this March, I’m proud to tell you that I’m participating in what I think is both an interesting as well as important panel. Namely, Privacy Career Planning: Guidance from Successful Privacy Leaders. My co-panelists, representing some of the smartest in our profession, will discuss different privacy structures and roles, and share insights into how each organization embraces privacy as a career path. I’m particularly excited to take part in this because I don’t think we talk about this kind of stuff enough as privacy professionals. In fact, I’m so eager to talk about this that I couldn’t wait until March to get things rolling. So, in the spirit of beginning the conversation, I’d like to share a few observations about the privacy profession.
It’s going to take another 5 - 10 years for the role(s) of the privacy professional to solidify.
For some this may seem hard to believe given that it’s been over a century since Brandeis penned the “right to be left alone” article, and over 30 years since the development of the Fair Information Practices. But the reality is that we’re still in the nascent stage of privacy as a profession and a career path. And I see that as a positive thing. There’s some room to grow here. In fact, if you think about it, the opportunities in front of us are staggering. But this means we don’t necessarily have anything resembling a ‘typical‘ corporate privacy office, a ‘typical’ privacy consulting firm, or even a ‘typical’ privacy role.
Privacy offices emerge out of different needs and amidst very different organizational structures and cultures. My roots are in law and interactive marketing, so I tend to approach things from a different mindset than say, someone coming from the auditing world. Similarly, it stands to reason that a privacy office which sits in a corporate legal department is going to have a very different outlook, and a different approach from that of a privacy office residing in the compliance, or marketing, or finance division. I think this is going to change, but I also think such change will be gradual. And I REALLY think that we in the privacy profession can have a significant impact on what our ultimate job functions look like. (Notice I wrote that we “can,” not that we “will.”)
Just as privacy offices are in flux, and privacy roles are changing, the career path of the privacy professional is a moving target.
Bear with me on taking a minor diversion, but I’ve noticed that many of us tend to get mired in the (current or proposed) law or regulation du jour or the latest social issue, or the latest process improvement. We could all benefit from taking a step back and looking at the proverbial big picture and our place within the organization as a whole. So the question shouldn’t necessarily be, “Is your current job title a destination or a journey?” Rather, the question one should be asking as a privacy professional is “how can I use my unique skill set to create positive change within my organization?” Through this lens, it is much easier to see your job title as a journey – and an interesting one at that.
Privacy skills should be PART of your toolkit – not the entire toolkit.
It seems to me that if you have insight into the processes around safeguarding data, you may also have insight into processes around leveraging that same data to create value. For example, you may be able to help build trust metrics for online communities. Or you may have insight into customer outreach via permissions management programs.
Some of the aforementioned projects do not lend themselves to what I would characterize as traditional privacy roles. Nevertheless, they are challenges faced by businesses every day. And, more importantly, they are challenges which many in the privacy profession are well suited to address. By definition, if you are reading these words, you are in possession of a unique set of skills. Use them to address your organizational obstacles without worrying about whether it is technically within the ambit of the privacy function and I’m sure you’ll see your career prospects soar.
Be willing to roll up your sleeves
I know we’re all busy. And amidst all this activity, it’s pretty easy to settle into a routine. And if that routine does not include regular interaction with other business units, you’re not going to be as effective as you’d like.
It’s not simply about crafting a compliance checklist and throwing it over the wall to the folks in marketing. And it’s not about setting up a one-time breakfast meeting with a colleague from IT. As privacy professionals, we need to have regular and consistent involvement in the other business units of your organization. Like my friend Reed Freeman likes to say, “Invite yourself to meetings.” Expanding your influence, exposure and value within the organization is an ongoing process that requires a significant commitment of time and energy. But if you make that commitment, I can tell you from experience that you’ll have a much easier time achieving your objectives – and you’ll probably have a more interesting and satisfying work experience and career trajectory.
This is just the Beginning
I really see this as simply the beginning of the conversation. In other words, don’t worry – I’ve got lots more to say on this topic – and will, at the March Summit. And my fellow panelists also have some fantastic perspectives and experience to share. What’s key for me, is that the conversation should go on far after the panel has ended. And I invite each of you to take part in that conversation.