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Episode 51, The Atomic Number of antimony, the number of S's Alexander Hamilton wrote as part of the Federalist Papers. Well, Alex, aren't you the sexy beast? When I turned 50, I felt pretty good about myself. And then I turned 51 and realized I was just barreling towards death. The lesson there. It doesn't matter, we're all going to be dead soon, let's bring the shit out of this thing called life. Welcome to the fifty first episode of the show and today's episode, we speak with Jason Kent, the CEO of Digital Content Next, the only trade association that exclusively represents digital content companies.
Jason previously spent nearly two decades leading and transforming digital media businesses, including many years as the head of CBS Interactive Sports Division. We discuss with Jason the latest around Australia's media bargaining code and Facebook and Google, as well as other broader trends in the digital ecosystem. OK, what's happening? A third covid-19 vaccine has entered the mix as the United States is coming up on a year of social distant gatherings. And Lockdown's the FDA authorized Janjua a single dose covid-19 vaccine last weekend.
And shipments of the vaccine have already begun this week. This is exciting. No, this is exciting. The Washington Post reported that Merck and Co., a pharmaceutical company and JMJ competitor, will help manufacture the vaccine under a deal arranged by the Obama administration. Biden officials described the partnership as historic and that the two companies recognize this is a wartime effort. Well, here's the thing that's not historic.
What's historic is that the U.S. has decided this isn't a war. Why? Because the people in charge of the government don't really feel the impacts of the war. If this pandemic was killing thin, white, rich people, we would have had an entirely different response to this. But because we've been able to outsource it mostly to people of color, lower income people, overweight people who tend to over index, around front line essential workers who are much more likely to be exposed to the virus, much more likely to have comorbidities, much more likely to not have the insurance or the confidence or the money or the resources to address the virus if they contracted.
But have we really had the full throated CAPITALIS response this nation is capable of? And you can bet that not only where we are cooperating intercompany in past wars, we were pivoting those companies to the fight. We were absolutely turning all guns on the war and we have not done that here. We have not done that here loosely because again, I think we've been able to outsource a Jangi expects to deliver more than 20 million doses around the country by the end of this month and 100 million by June.
According to the CDC, roughly 15 percent of the US population has received at least one dose of a vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci said on NBC's Meet the Press that all three vaccines are really quite good and encourages Americans to get whichever one is most available to them. Dr. Fauci also stressed on CBS's Face the Nation that just because covid-19 cases have declined in recent weeks, it does not mean we can declare victory because we're not victorious yet. Bit of a bummer.
Bit of a wet blanket, but he's probably right. Well, not probably he is right now.
Let's listen to the governor of South Dakota who claimed at CPAC that she thinks sometimes Dr. Fouche is wrong.
Well, way to go out on a limb. What what leadership qualities you demonstrate disparaging a 79 year old man who is an epidemiologist awarded the Medal of Freedom and doesn't have his head up his ass like like you looking or Jones for your conservative whack job cameras anyway, anyway. And other news, Bloomberg has reported that Robinhood, the online trading platform that is addicting people all over the nation, plans to file confidentially for an IPO this month. Meanwhile, the company is facing 51 new lawsuits in wake of last month's GameStop and other meem stock.
Short squeeze as per The New York Times Robin Hood said in a recent regulatory filing that it has received requests for information from federal prosecutors, the SEC states, AGs and other financial regulators due to the company's trade restrictions in January. Robin Hood is also being investigated for how it displays information about options, trading and cash positions to users. In some, it displays them as if it's fun and it creates an environment that gives you the sense that everyone's making money but you and you just need to take more risks and you just need to trade more.
You just need to trade more. I think Robin Hood is the new menace. What are the menaces have in common? They are basically have a business model that just fights for nothing but attention. They get no money from subscription like a Netflix. They get no money from trading fees. They get money from selling order flow. And in order to get more money for more flow, flow is a function of interaction. So they try and get you to trade more and more and more.
And here's the bottom line. The tagline for Robin Hood should be Robin Hood. The more you trade, the more you lose. This is a menace and they create addictive, dark kind of psychological tricks to get you to trade more. And what's happened here? They know they know they're running afoul of the SEC, whether it's around disclosure or properly articulating a risk. But they don't care because they see it as a cost of doing business and they look at these suits.
And say, OK, we'd rather not have them, but we're down with that, even if our regulatory bodies, even if government has said, OK, we're breaking the law or we're doing things that are bad for the economy or injecting risk where there doesn't necessarily need to be that risk, maybe we're addicting young men and women to trading. And ultimately, over time, 80 to 95 percent of people who trade or day trade lose money. OK, OK, that's fine.
It's a cost of doing business. Just as Facebook said, we will continue to let our platform be weaponized by foreign governments. And if we get fined five billion dollars, so be it. That's one percent of our market cap. Let's continue. Let's continue to engage in the ultimate business model. And that's not the innovation economy. It's the exploitation economy. Robin Hood is the new menace. What would we do? What would we put in place if we could go back in time, a decade and stop some of these negative externalities from emerging and growing into such profit machines that those organizations could then leverage that economic power to basically overrun Washington and let those externalities run amok?
What would we do?
Well, we are here right now with Robin Hood. Robin Hood is a menace disclosure. I invested in public a competitor. Why did I invest in public? Because I think we need online investing. I think it's a wonderful thing. But we need organizations that embrace women, that embrace people of color, that don't sell their order flow. They don't have options that don't push margin. In other words, that actually encourage young people to build economic security through investing.
What is the investment committee at Goldman Sachs thinking? Taking Robin Hood public and arming them with the capital such that they can continue to overrun Washington and create all sorts of damage to the Commonwealth and young people? We are at that moment. What would we do? Well, let's do it. All right.
Enough about that. Let's wrap up with some other business news and check in on the partnership between Apple and Target. Tajai Tajai Target announced last week that it will double Apple's footprint and select Target stores and expand offerings in stores and online. Target said in a statement that the initial 17 stores will have a dedicated space for Apple products and employees will receive specialized training from Apple.
Will then Target stock has risen more than 70 percent over the past year as of market close on Monday, and the company's market cap is around ninety three billion dollars. OK, so in other words, in other words, Target is a company that has benefited immensely from the second order effects of the pandemic.
In addition to this new initiative with Apple, Target also has partnerships with a number of companies, including Disney, Ulta Beauty and Levi Strauss and Co.. I think Target is a very innovative company. They're sort of Wal-Mart with a skosh a cool sort of what JetBlue is to Southwest and they're able to get a tiny bit of price premium, which makes for a great business.
The big boxes, no doubt about it. They've just benefited from what is arguably called the full shareholder act for big box companies, where for a short period, companies or stores were essentially closed or there was federal mandate closure of them. And then the big box guys have benefited enormously. Apple going into distribution or apple building many temples to the brand within a target that just it actually feels right. It's capital light for Apple Store within a store piggybacking off of the infrastructure target.
Target has done a good job taking kind of little cool brand, salting the store with a little bit of a little bit of jazz, a little bit of jazz, hands on aisle five, whether it's whether it's Joe Boxer shorts they bought, I think most, you know, Moschino Oakshott.
One of the things that happens when you get older is the part of your brain where you can do accents literally dies. I used to be able to do a fantastic impression of my Scottish father.
Now I just sound like I'm having a stroke. Something in your brain literally dies around access. I don't know. Is it Moschino? Moschino?
I'm sure you'll weigh in on Twitter and tell me what it is anyway. Anyway, I think this is an interesting idea. And distribution, it's very easy to be a purist. It's very easy to be a purist. People say, alright, to me, you have owned and operated vertical distribution bows. You have owned and operated vertical distribution. But should you be in Best Buy? Should you be in Target? Right. Should you be in Home Depot?
Yeah. You need to think about other points of distribution. You just need to make sure you need to make sure that the gross margin dollars you're going to get a non aspirational distribution will compensate for what might be, if you will, kind of milking the brand. I'm not sure Target is going to help Apple's brand. I bet it's going to be a much different experience. And walking to an Apple store, I think Apple could open a coffee bar in their stores and probably impact Starbucks performance or the performance of Starbucks stores around them.
But I think they'll probably hit the cash register pretty hard here. I think there's probably a lot of people at Target. Or in there every day, who will see the brand or be exposed to the brand in a non destination format? What do I mean by that? What do I mean by that?
Well, when your kid goes with you to shop, he or she gets stimulus and says, OK, I want seven cans, enormously quick and most specifically Nutella. Like we cannot pass Nutella without what becomes a crack like addiction response where my kid goes and grabs another cart just to fill fill it with Nutella, that random non-plan, exposure to the Apple brand on a regular basis, as opposed to the episodic exposure that is the destination.
Shopping around Apple will be good for the brand and good for Target. Good for Target. Good for Apple. Good for the planet. By the way, let's close it out with the most underreported story in business. Amazon is testing a stable quoin south of the border and Mexico mes amigos cola coin.
Why are they doing that lack of regulation down there? Amazon and its processing power, Amazon in its interface, Amazon and its relationship with 83 percent of U.S. households vis a vis prime in its 180 million users in the U.S. Basically everyone with a credit card uses Amazon. They are going to launch a coin there. Crypto market has gotten so big that it has agreed Greenlands going of organizations. Look for Amazon, look for Wal-Mart, look for Tesla. Tesla.
Oh, my God. That scares the shit out of me. A Tesla coin and also Facebook. They've changed the name of their coin from Libra to don't kid yourself Facebook. We know it's the same sociopaths and your lipstick behind that coin. Anyways, Amazon testing a coin south of the border just as just as the automobile manufacturing market has now gotten so valuable with Tesla that Apple is reconsidering going into autonomous driving or producing their own car partner with someone to produce a car.
The crypto market has become so valuable and so attractive that you're going to see some large players with a lot of processing power, a lot of interface with consumers, a lot of brand credibility. Get into the space. Who jumps first? Who jumps first? Probably the biggest one or the one that would be the craziest one or the most interesting would be a Tesla coin. Probably the one in the best position to do it over the long term is Amazon.
Wal-Mart. That would be the gangster move. That would be the gangster move. That would be the empire striking back. And then Facebook is the one that absolutely should not do it as the key to tyranny is three steps.
So the three step the three step to tyranny is you get control of the media, then you can control the economy. And then as a third step, you get control of the military.
Facebook, let's let's look at how they've done on that first step when they took control of the media, huh? How did that work out for us?
So, yeah, the idea of Facebook and their coin, I think it is a terrible idea and I hope they do ends up in the same place that the Libra coin ended up, and that is in the land of fucking nowhere. Stay with us. We'll be right back for our conversation with Jason Kent. Did you know the people who work with financial advisers end up with 15 percent more money to spend in retirement, no matter what stage of life you're in, thinking about your financial future doesn't have to keep you up at night.
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Welcome back. Here's our conversation with Jason Kent, the CEO of Digital Content, next. Jason, where does this podcast find you? I am just outside D.C. and Virginia. Nice. So let's bust right into it. Give us a state of play on Australia versus Facebook and Google and what it means to the broader ecosystem.
Big developments last few weeks. So that was that was the result of multiple years of antitrust and bad investigations out of Australia. And they ultimately put forward a law that at a simple level is a public policy move to say, hey, we want to fund journalism better. And there's these two companies that are dominant platforms and we're going to require that they actually sit down and negotiate with news publishers and they were successful. It's passed into law. It was endorsed by all parties.
I'm not a perfect law, but it will have an effect on the global world and we already seen that happen.
Now, give us an overview of the law. How does it transfer power? What does it do?
So essentially, if you were a dominant news, a dominant platform on the digital side. So Google and Facebook. Then you are required to your designated by the government at that point and you're required to negotiate with any news publishers that you want to have their content on your platform. And so it's interesting that actually uses the marketplace by providing this stick of of regulation to say, hey, go negotiate with each other. And if you choose not to negotiate, then we're going to put you through this mandatory process in which the government gets involved.
But then interesting enough, if you still can't come to a price on the very end, it has this unique way to do arbitration that's called baseball arbitration by nickname, where both companies basically lay down their price and they're incentivized to come close together to the real value. And if they don't, then the government will pick one of those two prices.
So, again, it's using the marketplace to negotiate.
There was criticism that this was just Rupert Murdoch behind the scenes pulling the strings. What are your thoughts on this yet?
Obviously, the the Murdochs have a significant influence on the Australian news marketplace and the government. It's a heavily concentrated news market. I think it's overplayed for sure. Every single publisher, over one hundred fifty thousand dollars of revenue is much better off after this law was passed. So the rhetoric around Lync tax we heard and Rupert Murdoch driving it, I think was overplayed. The Guardian nine, ABC Australia, all these companies endorsed and supported it and they wouldn't have done that if if it was simply helping one company.
And do you think if you could if you could use that legislation as a role model for how it gets incorporated in the US market, what do you think it would look like? Is there any chance of that legislation coming here? And if so, what does it look like? How would you improve on it?
It's further off. There's there's and there's lots of tools that can be played, but we can learn from Australia is that there's an ability to collectively bargain to as news publishers. And so that's being discussed in law here in the US is let everyone actually work together to negotiate. That will help with bargaining power, a recognition that these two companies have an imbalance in bargaining power. Right. And so you start to walk through the six hundred plus page report that the the triple C's, the competition regulator in the Australia market produced.
And you learn a lot from that. And it's actually it's playing out in the work that's being done in the antitrust lawsuits here in the US and in the UK and in Europe. Everybody's learning from this. And what they're finding is that we have two companies that have an extraordinary amount of power and it's tied back to their unique ability to collect data. And so back to your question. A US law would actually recognise the extraordinary power of those two companies as relates to the advertising market, and it would treat them differently, give them a heightened level of of responsibility, heightened level of responsibility.
What does that look like? Well, I'll give you one example. You can actually say that Google and Facebook can no longer collect data to use for targeted advertising unless the users intentionally interact with Google, Facebook. That's that would basically eliminate all tracking by Google and Facebook. I think what most people don't understand is a majority of the data that Google and Facebook have that they use for target advertising. It doesn't come from using their services. It comes from when we're actually choosing to use somebody else's service and they're able to to listen in, if you will.
So let's just say that those two companies can no longer collect data unless you're actually choosing to interact with them at that moment. That significantly balances power on the data side.
Let's talk a little bit about Section two 30. Do away with it, modify what would be your solution as it relates to two 30?
That's a complicated one. It's a good question. And it's it's back on the agenda. Certainly, you know, all sides have concerns with any modification of it. And because it does provide a lot of practical use, especially around, you know, limiting liability for trying to clean up your content, that was the original original purpose.
So the area where I think there is most interest that would be helpful is around how content is amplified. So the algorithm side of it, it's not just that the I think Facebook would love for us to continue to fight about what can exist on its platform. Can Donald Trump exist on its platform? Should he not? Should inform me on this platform, on their platform, should he not? Should they not? But the more interesting discussion is around when Facebook decides to provide velocity and reach and stick that content into our feeds.
So an example would be maybe let Donald Trump exist on Facebook, but don't put him into somebody's feet unless they're explicitly saying, I want Donald Trump in my feed.
So they're so. So figuring out a way for freedom of speech should not equal equal freedom breach or taxing algorithms of amplification. But specifically, two thirds is more about exonerating them from liability, right, that, quote unquote, innocent interactive platform shouldn't be held to the same standards as everybody else. But at the same time, if you were to do away with it, I think the comments page or the comments section on The New York Times dot com would pose a legal risk for them.
Do you think there should be carve outs? How how do we. It feels like something's got to happen. The legislation is outdated.
Yeah. I don't think there should be a carve outs. I think that the liability protection is really important. But you know that the if you mentioned the comment section on a news publisher, that those comments aren't taken and then inserted in front of other audiences so that they actually spread across the audience, they just exist on the platform. And so that, you know, drawing that line around actually what takes that content and promotes it and sticks it in front of people is really where, again, I'd focus.
And what if you think about the media ecosystem. Right. And this notion that there's well, I've always thought that one of the biggest problems here is not forcing identity. I look at LinkedIn, it seems fairly civil. It doesn't feel like it's been weaponized. It's not perverting our elections. It's not causing teen depression. And then I look at Twitter and Facebook or specifically even Twitter and I think, OK, when I look at my comments, I just don't know who that really is and why they're making that comment or why they're trying to hurt someone's credibility or catalyze an argument or a fight.
Why wouldn't we have or what are your thoughts on enforcing identity?
It's a complicated one. I mean, you know, there is value in being able to be anonymous, right. Especially to to expression. So it's really in the incentives underneath underneath that. And I think Twitter I will give Twitter credit. I hear you know, I hear all the critics on this, but I think they are trying to they're trying to deal with the problems and they're doing it at the very top of the company. You hear Jack Dorsey coming out and I think sincerely owning mistakes when they make them.
That's I mean, that's one thing I never hear from Facebook is owning a mistake and then saying, you know, we screwed up and here's how we're going to fix it rather than trying to bury it. Twitter is trying to protect the ability to be anonymous on its platform. I don't know if that works for the long run, but they're dealing with it through the algorithms and the incentives and trying to label tweets. They were way ahead of Facebook on that at the end of the 20/20 kind of election cycle.
So but couldn't we just explore this further? And obviously, I'm my bias is pretty, pretty obvious here. But the argument it always seems to digress to you around anonymity is what about the journalist in the Gulf who wants to report on human rights abuses and what happens if they're outed that you're playing into the kind of the autocrats handbook when you identify all these individuals? And it strikes me that it just wouldn't be that difficult to figure out a mechanism that you say on one anonymous account and then the algorithm kind of just observes the anonymous account and goes, all right.
Is the anonymity here for anything valid, anything socially, you know, any sort of social justice? It strikes me that the purists here really play into Twitter who I don't share your view on on. My sense is that he speaks in thoughtful tones and looks very concerned and earnest and then does fucking nothing.
But you believe that that Twitter I mean, labeling tweets. But don't you find when you look at Twitter and you look at all the individuals who are really coming after you or being incendiary, and then you find they have seven followers and it's not a person.
I mean, it just seems like it's it seems like there's got to be something that can be done here. And I wonder if Twitter is pulled off Facebook and deployed to and delay and obfuscation because a third to 50 percent of their traffic engagement accounts are a function of these bots. You I'm shocked you're as harsh as you are on Facebook and then this is benign. Or you give Twitter the benefit of the doubt and I hear you so.
Pulling that back a bit, so, yes, there probably needs to be better treatment or levels of of accounts and on Twitter, they just hinted at this idea of super followers. So maybe they're starting to differentiate at that level beyond just the blue checkmark, which has its own issues. And, you know, and there are tools in where you can filter out the garbage so you don't actually get distracted by those accounts that have very little followers. What really matters, though, is the power of those accounts.
Are they able to provide velocity and reach and spread content? And that's where I see Twitter making impact. There is a desire I mean, the common thread and this isn't just a Facebook or Twitter issue, it's also a Google issue, is that, you know, ultimately they don't want intermediaries.
They want the algorithms making all the decisions. And there's a lot of power there. And that's where they drive the profits, both on the advertising content side. And so, you know, one of the things we we sent a letter I sent a letter to Google Facebook back in twenty sixteen about our concern about this information and toxic content. And we pushed him really hard on the idea of brands are proxies for trust is what we describe it like the New York Times brand next to a Twitter account or Facebook actually matters and there's there's value there.
And so anonymity is kind of the opposite of that, right? You don't know who the account is. You don't know who they work for. You don't know who's paying them. So I hear your point.
And, you know, there's a lot of different issues that both companies are fighting.
Do you think, given it does feel as if some of the work you've done, some of the I mean, generally the work that Facebook and Google and Twitter have done to erode trust over the last five years, but it feels as if the worm has turned. It feels as if the general gestalt or the view of these companies systematically has done a 180. Do you think that companies like The New York Times, Gannett, McClatchy, kind of the few remaining, I guess McClatchy is controlled by hedge fund.
Gannett is public New York Times as public. Do you think those are good businesses and good stocks to own over the next several years? That there will be some there will be some leakage or return of power and shareholder value and economic strength back to the traditional players? The timing is everything, right, but but the institutions across the board, trust is down and and so, you know, hopefully think the government's headed in a more positive direction now and has better leadership in that way.
We'll see other areas of trust, particularly journalism and news publishers. I think there's a lot of opportunity. I think if you study, if you study where, how, how trust is built, it's built when when there's vulnerability. And and so the news and she has a lot of vulnerability right now. And if there's more bargaining power of the financials turn towards the value of their brands. That's that's business opportunity. Yeah, that'll translate into stock price.
And I think we're seeing that with some of the companies. I mean, you certainly mentioned New York Times and they've been a very positive story in that way. But we need broader success there, particularly local. Local news is a deep concern.
Talk a little bit about streaming video and media companies or broadcast television companies, the cable channel. Any thoughts can you predict or what do you if I said, Jason, give us some predictions around how you think the media ecosystem is going to going to change who's going to gain value, lose value over the next three to five years? Any shots? I'll hesitate to pick winners and losers because of what I do for a living in terms of I'm a relentless advocate for the value of news entertainment.
But my bed's always on content creators, long term and brands long term.
And so a couple of things I think are overplayed right now is subscription fatigue. This idea that that when you get tired of of paying for content or having to pay multiple sources for it, I think that is a whole new generation that is is comfortable paying for content. We've done research on this and and they think about pain differently. If they see something they value, they'll they'll fork out five bucks or ten bucks and subscribe to it. And so I think there's a huge opportunity that we're seeing play out in the video market over the top, whether it be signing up for Disney Plus or HBO, Max, or, you know, there's a dozen of them, it seems.
Now, you know, we talked about that a lot last year, going into twenty twenty when it was going to be a big a big opportunity for the industry. We didn't know about the pandemic.
So I think that probably just accelerated some of the shifts we're seeing. What do you think?
Look, I it's dangerous because impulse marketing.
But I saw an ad for Paramount plus some like a media, like I've got another one. And then I'm like, oh, that's have Star Trek, I'll sign up. I mean, it just I agree with you. I think consumers don't want more choice. I think they want to be more confident in the choices they make in a small or a handful. And when I say handful, I mean FiveFingers. I think five streaming platforms is not not a ton.
And the value these guys offer is so extraordinary that you have to have Netflix sets. And I don't think that's an option. But you have kids, you have to have Disney. Plus you think, OK, I like some of the additional content on Hulu I really need is kind of one program. When you look at the investments they make, the value is extraordinary. You get in general, you get about a billion dollars of original content for every dollar a month.
I mean, what other I can't think of any other value that offers as much or any other sector that offers as much value. So I'm with you. I think that we're just getting I think a lot there's going to be a lot of winners will be consolidation. But it feels like I don't I don't know.
It feels like there's room there's room for a bunch more talk about the new guys, like, you know, review sub stack only fans clubhouse. Any thoughts about the new kind of the new stuff popping up? I think they're all fascinating.
I think in some ways they're you know, they're still building the brands.
And so that the element of kind of of trust in knowing who I'm going to who's adding that is anybody even adding it is vulnerable. But the direct access to individual writers and if it's a writer that you know and you already love and have an affinity toward and now they're on substract, then great. It's just another way to reach me, you know, clubhouse. And what Twitter is playing around spaces is is fascinating in terms of live audio and changing up the dynamic that was kind of built off of podcasting.
So, I mean, again, I think it all connects back to do I have some sort of relationship that I know what I'm going to get from this party that I'm going to, whether it be the the writer of the sub stack piece or the person I'm going to listen to in the room on clubhouse. And that trust has to either come from the individual or it comes from the the brand that or the institution they're working for that's willing to pay them to be out there representing them.
But do you when you when you look for when you see sort of this, do any of them strike you as being you know, if you had to say I this one, I think is going to be a much bigger than it is right now and three years. Do any do any of this really strike you as, wow, they kind of get this they're skating to where the puck is headed.
Put it, I think clubhouse. Clubhouse. Yeah, clubhouses. And what is it you like about it.
The same thing that was special about podcasting is, you know, the thing that's great about radio, you can just, you know, put it on your ears and then go about doing other things. Passo It's passive. Yeah. So and as much as people are going into clubhouse and finding interesting discussions that they can just listen in to, just like they would listen to a podcast, then that's a fascinating untapped opportunity. And I don't know if you've looked at this at all.
We had Professor David Uremic on the show, who is the head of the finance department at NYU Stern, and he was saying that he thought that crypto currencies, that the most powerful players would be the media companies that Facebook, Google and Amazon would launch their own coins because they had the most ability to promote those coins. And they also had processing power to support the mining or whatever, whatever is required to. Have you given any thought to crypto and media?
A bit in trying to shore up some of the issues in the way advertising technology works, that there's it's a whole messy world that that, you know, people will get nauseous even just trying to understand it. But what if you just take this simple idea there's a market or an advertiser that wants to reach a user and how do they get that ad in front of them? And the environment in which the ad runs, which used to have value where your ad ran, then you cryptocurrency can solve a lot of issues there in the chain of command in terms of knowing who the publisher is, who the advertiser is.
And so there's been some work explored there. But that's really the focus on the payment for for media. Haven't spent as much time there, but I think there's probably significant opportunity there, too. And maybe that's where where that discussion was focused. Friction is our enemy still. And so a lot of the problems for media companies, it's just it's hard, right, to go to their website. You have to click and find it. You have to subscribe.
You have to log in. So you know, where the media companies have failed and where the tech companies have succeeded is eliminated. A lot of friction in the marketplace.
And Marc Andreessen, credited with the Netscape browser, said one of their biggest failures is not building in micro payments, such that even if it's half a cent, a cent a nickel for for reading a New York Times or Washington Post article that could be easily transmitted, that five cents would have solved a lot of problems because it's the ad model and the subsequent need for attention that has let us down really, really dangerous roads that if we'd figured out a way to make it more just easier to pay content providers.
You know, Netflix hasn't been weaponized by the foreign intelligence arm of the Russian government. Right. It's really the ad driven guys. They create. They create problems. You spent a lot of time in sports. Any thoughts around online betting, the intersection between sports and media? Where do you think that's headed?
Yeah, I spent almost 20 years my whole digital career actually, before I did this job in sports media. And, you know, fantasy sports was absolutely what brought people back on a regular basis and made them habitual consumers of sports, watching all the games on TV and caring about all the games. And so game gaming, gambling is just another spin on that. And you're seeing a lot of new new products, new opportunity, a lot of money pouring in to the gambling space.
And I think that, you know, there's probably significant upside still in that area and in the information space around it and just kind of goes with it. So, you know, everybody will be chasing kind of like in the financial markets or maybe chasing more information, deeper information, faster than than the other party. And that's the market. And kind of final final line of questions, if you will, Jason, you get into it on Twitter, you're like me.
You occasionally get, you know, for lack of a better term, you get into it, you'll push back on people and you're not afraid to mix it up.
And this is more this is more I think we're sort of, I don't know, cut from the same cloth, if you will. We you know, we don't shy away from saying provocative things or don't shy away from a fight. And even I was just thinking this weekend, I got into it with some B.S. and I thought, what? You know, and then by Sunday night I'm like, why do I do this? Why?
It's like I end up walking away. I don't like I'm like, did anyone benefit from that other than Twitter that encourages rage and confrontation and dunking on people, you know, what is your thoughts around the balance between defending your positions and then ending up in this? And I'm projecting here this kind of being part of the toxicity, because I want to be clear, I'm part of the toxicity. I can't resist when some venture capitalist tries to dunk on my work, I'll get back in their face and then it feels good for about a minute.
And then afterwards I'm like, what was the point of that? Why, you know, was I hangry? What was, you know, what was going on? What are your thoughts about kind of mixing it up online?
Yeah, and I certainly try to be provocative and not shy away when people pile on, you know, the other day that, you know.
The use of Twitter, the use of social media is consistent with kind of why I took this job was that, you know, there's there's problems in the media ecosystem. There's too much power with a few companies. It's undermining trust. And how can I. Bring those discussions to a place where they actually can make a difference, and so that involves being controversial, that involves telling people something they don't necessarily want to hear, involves sometimes criticizing some of the most trusted and respected journalists out there.
I feel like they got something wrong and and but hopefully doing it in a respectful way. And Twitter, because of the character limitation, sometimes fall short. Now, where I probably go even further is is criticizing the leadership of Facebook, of Google, because ultimately, you know, if you're not willing to sit down in the case of Facebook, you're not willing to sit down in front of, you know, parliaments and and, you know, the public's representatives to answer questions, which is happened.
And how else do we how else do we challenge them and make sure the rest of the world knows where they're screwing up?
Yeah, yeah. It's if you had to just so lightning around companies that you think will be more or less powerful in five years.
Facebook less. Google less, Twitter more. Apple more. Washington Post, more Amazon Media Group. More Netflix, more Viacom or. Ginette. But you know, the live upside on a lot of upside. Yeah, it'd be hard to think of. Yeah, that's a that's probably what that means. In other words, you think they're not going to go out of business. And full disclosure, I just invested in GetNet, which is my if it's my contribution to journalism, I think it's an opportunity.
I think a lot of local.
Do you think. Full disclosure, I you know, one, I don't invest in any other companies you just asked me about directly to. I do work on behalf of all the news entertainment companies. So I am so you can this in a different way across the board, just in a different way.
I like it. Jason Kent is the CEO of Digital Content, next to only trade association that exclusively focuses on the future for digital content companies. Jason previously spent nearly two decades leading and transforming digital media businesses, including many years as the head of CBS Interactive Sports Division. He joins us from his home outside our nation's capital. Jason, thanks for your time today, sir.
Thank you for having me, too. We'll be right back. Want to hear something amazing, Discover matches all the cash back here and on your credit card at the end of your first year automatically with no limit on how much you can earn, how amazing is that? In fact, it's even more amazing because Discover is accepted at 99 percent of places in the U.S. It takes credit cards. So when it comes to discover, get used to hearing. Yes, more often.
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Welcome back. It's time for officers, a part of the show where we answer your questions about the business world, big tech, career advice and whatever else is on your mind. If you'd like to submit a question, please email a voice recording to our satisfaction for DOT. First question.
Hey, Scott, this is Michael from Benton Harbor, Michigan. Twitter finally seems to be making some moves, even if it means they're becoming somewhat of a Frankenstein of the consumer Internet. They have the copycat fleets from Snapchat and SpaceX to match clubhouse. They picked up a miniature substance through the review acquisition. And most recently, they pitched investors on their super follow concept, which allows users to post exclusive content to a group of their paying followers, essentially recreating Patrón within Twitter.
Is this enough of a subscription play to become less of a rage machine? How does Super Fallows compare to your proposal that they charge accounts over a certain number of followers, a monthly fee? And do you still want them to pick up CNN? I'm curious how this revises your outlook on Twitter overall, including their stock price and the CEO's job security. Thanks for taking my question. Michael from Benton Harbor, Michigan, Aren't you a sexy beast? What is sexy intelligence?
There are three reasons that women are attracted to men. First is resources. And that sounds terrible, but it's true. Why? Because kids are more likely to survive if the head of household or the male in the household actually can go into the cave with more mastodon is that's not even a word weight mastodon mammoth, whatever, whatever. Providing right. Number two. Number two. Orrego number three is kindness. Right. Which is nice, smart.
Make sense. And number two, the number two reason women are attracted to men intelligence. And you, my friend, are a sexy fucking beast of that and Teligent question. OK, I like your rundown. I like your rundown. So what do we think? What do we think?
I think that effectively I thought that the notion of super followers was really an interesting, nuanced product development around subscription. I'm not sure I entirely understand it. I don't know if it's going to create enough revenue to move the needle. I still like going bigger here and going it going bolder and announcing that everyone eventually over 10000 followers on Twitter is going to be charged. I think that would recast the company as a subscription company and just take this thing to outer space.
But there's no doubt about it. I spoke to a senior executive of Twitter literally yesterday, and he said that there's just additional renewed pressure and productivity on their product development team. And this is evidence of that.
And I just don't think there's any getting around it. I purchased a bunch of shares in Twitter a year ago when it was in thirty to thirty two bucks a share, wrote a letter to the board. I did not hear back from them. I sold my shares at 45. They went down again, I bought back in and then Elliott showed up and signed my letter with a billion dollar pen and got three board seats. And you have seen Twitter bust a move.
First of Jack, I, I and I'm realize I'm taking credit for this, but I think I played a role on it. Ruined Jack's Africa vacation. I ruined his safari.
So no safari barnstead Senor Jack. That's right. That's right. Developed some shit at Twitter. So the shareholders who bought into this thing when it went public at fifty bucks a share and were sitting on shares at thirty two versus every other social media platform shareholder who had seen their wealth explode.
It was about time that you gave a little give a little bit according to Supertramp, Jack.
Anyways, they are doing that, and I think that that's a lot of the product development you reference is really powerful. Their stock closed at 70 bucks on Monday. It's got a market cap of 60 billion. I'd like to see them acquire CNN. I think the next step is for them to make some acquisitions around content and go more vertical and create a more differentiated offering. I think they could pick up CNN for about seven or eight billion dollars, which would be about a 10 percent dilution.
The day they announce it, the day they announce it, it gets paid for by the market. It would be a free acquisition. It was like when Amazon acquired Wholefoods, who predicted that, oh, my God, I'm feeling especially insecure today and boasting all over the place. But the day they announced the acquisition, I believe the acquisition price was 12 billion, but that stock went up by 15 billion when they announced that boom. Isn't it fun to shop on someone else's credit card?
The same thing would happen if they acquired CNN. I don't know if they will. I don't know if AT&T wants to give it up to Twitter. But nonetheless, you're going to see a series of acquisitions of small content players and maybe a bigger one by Twitter. They have NMO. They have when I say mode, they have momentum. I think this is one hundred dollar stock. If they show any signs of life around subscription, if they show any mojo around content acquisition, I think Twitter, no doubt about it, has its MO and its Joe back.
And by the way, Dorsey is one of those moer, Joe, because he only spends half the day at Twitter and he spends the rest of the day at square, whereas 90 percent of his net worth. Can you imagine what this company could do if it had a full time CEO? Call me crazy. Call me crazy. You have to give them props.
Over the last 12 months, they've made a lot of progress. I think the outside pressure has helped. And I think Twitter is finally beginning to command that space it occupies. Look for further moves into subscription and ideally, ideally, some acquisitions going vertical around content.
Thanks to the question, you sexy beast. No Docx high priority.
Thank you for letting us to some question. My name is Son from California. I love your show and thank you for showing up every week. My question is, with limited resources like time and money, where would you put your resources on either creating new products or content creation? And I mean, ideally would be nice to do both, but if you can't, where would you put your energy into?
Thanks, Sun from California. You sound as if you're on a yoga retreat. You seem, I don't know, just at comfort and at ease with everything. So namaste de my sister. OK, so I don't know. I think it depends on look, I think both content creation or product development are both fantastic places to be. And I think it just comes down to your skill set. Do you have a feel for Yueyue X? Do you have a feel for actual industrial design?
Do you love product management? Do you have organizational skills or do you have creative skills and the ability to maintain production calendars and the ability to bring together guests technology, a viewpoint, kind of what you do or what we try to do here every week. So I think it's a function of you sitting down maybe with a close circle of colleagues and saying, if you're really serious about this and saying what are my skills? And do they lend themselves more to do they fit more to the to the assets or the skills you want to bring around product development or more around content creation.
But I think there's absolutely those are both, you know, content creation or product. Yes. It's a question of where you think you have skills and what you think you would enjoy more. It's the two are usually related, but I don't know my answer.
So my answer. Product or content creation? My answer is yes. Number three.
Hey, Scott, my name is Emile and I'm calling in from beautiful San Francisco. I'm twenty six years old and I work at a fintech startup. Your episode on loneliness really resonated with me because without an office I felt alone disconnected. As a result, I'm currently recovering from crippling burnout, which has negatively impacted my productivity in both my work and personal life. What advice do you have for someone that is suffering from burnout? Thanks for all that you do.
I really appreciate how much I've learned from you.
Take care of Scott. All right. Thanks for that question. Email and also your your willingness to be brave and raw and talk about when I was your age. I would never admit to anything negative or suffering. I thought, oh, you know, me strong like bull. And I wanted to be perceived as being able to handle everything. So I think key to being emotionally and physically healthy is and also always, you know, being willing to ask for help or at a minimum be willing to say I'm struggling with something.
So anyways, good on you. The World Health Organization defines burnout as a syndrome conceptualizes resulting from chronic workplace stress. That is not. And successfully managed, according to research done by three professors at UC Berkeley, Rutgers, first of all, go to people who actually know what they're talking about. And then, of course, I will resist. Or despite the fact I have no domain expertise, I will absolutely provide my opinion because that's what I do.
So these folks from UC Berkeley, Rutgers, Deakin University, Bernard, has six main causes, unsustainable workload, a perceived lack of control, insufficient rewards for effort, lack of supportive community, lack of fairness, mismatch values and skills. So what I take from that is in your workplace, is it the sheer volume of work that's getting you down? Because that's I think that can be solved. I think that that can usually be a function of having boundaries are going to your colleagues and your boss and saying, I'm burnt out.
I need to I need to have some boundaries around work life, or I need you, my my superior or my colleagues to take the following things off my plate. Or you need to do a better job of managing people's expectations such that you can have less volume. I think that's a more solvable problem than being in an environment where you don't feel appreciated. You're in over your head in terms of you don't feel like you're given an impossible task that stress you out.
You're in a constant state of insecurity and anxiety. There's productive anxiety. And that is there's a lot of pressure on to get something done. I just have unproductive anxiety when I worked at Morgan Stanley, and that is I didn't really know what they wanted for me a lot of times where I felt like I just have no idea how to fucking do this. And it wasn't like a learning environment where you're pushing your boundaries. And I just have no idea how to figure out the true interest costs of this bond.
My boss has left at 10 p.m. and ask me to have it done by six a.m. I just had no idea how to even calculate it. And it wasn't a very loving, nurturing environment. Investment banking in the late 80s. Anyways, I can tell you what helps me, what helps me in terms of burnout. I find time with family and friends. Time with my boys almost always centers me one because they demand my attention. Some people play golf or do yoga because to get headspace or to reduce their tension because it forces them to be in the moment, I find my kids force me to be in the moment because they are selfish jerks and I say that affectionately, but they demand my full attention and I find it restorative and rejuvenating.
The other thing that really helps me is exercise. I enjoy whatever that hormone is, whatever that norepinephrine release is. When I exercise, I feel as if I feel stronger, something about sweating and getting the impurities and the stress out. I feel better about myself, just whatever that is. Exercise for me has always been my kind of my anti depressant. And also there's a lot of evidence that shows just being out in nature, just being in fresh air and doing something as simple as taking a walk on a regular basis.
I think dogs are a wonderful form of stress release and that is living in San Francisco. If you have if you have the opportunity and it's not easy to get a dog, I think that the quiet time it forces on you to walk the dog, a lot of people see that as a stressor. And I can see that especially if you have a dog in New York and you have to walk the thing during winter. But I've always had dogs and I find that they're incredible points of stress relief.
They consider it's just totally uninterrupted, unconditional love. They need you. It's nice to be needed and they force you to get out of your head space. But anyways, in some assessing your workplace, assessing if it's a volume thing or an environment thing, and then attempting to take concrete steps to address either or both of those and then time with loved ones. Exercise or a dog. Thanks for the question. OK, algebra of happiness. This is a rough day at the Galloway household.
Yesterday, we put our dog down. This was really difficult for us, as I imagine it's difficult for so many people, you don't realize what a what a what is an integral part of your family, your dog is until obviously you lose it. And I was I've been trying to wrap my head around why is everyone so upset? Obviously, you know, beyond the obvious of losing. Losing the dog, our dog, Zoe, 14 and a half of useless useless are this this incredibly sweet and loving breed.
And I was thinking, it's a few things, but for me, it's really it's it's a marker of the loss of time.
So I got Zoe as a surprise for my girlfriend and being the selfish person I am. It wasn't as much that I was trying to be generous towards her as I was trying to put off having a kid, my girlfriend, and expressed an interest in having a baby.
And I was still kind of more focused on my own arrested adolescence and my ability to maintain my selfishness. So I didn't want to have a kid. So I thought, well, maybe I can use a dog as a delay mechanism. And I went down to Pennsylvania and got Zoe from breeders. By the way, some of the weirdest people in the world, you'll ever meet her dog breeders. But that's another story. And I brought those puppy home, this little virtual puppy, and it did not it did not serve as the prophylactic I had hoped.
And about 38 weeks later, we welcomed my oldest son and it's really been his dog. There's something that happens, I think, with a baby and a dog when they're around each other. They obviously bonded. My oldest used to to when he first came home, first thing you would do is play with the dog and then he'd go out and clean up the dog's waste. And I think there was just a bond there. And so when Zoe got sick, I think it was especially hard on him.
And we went when we went to I had never put down a dog before. When we went to the vet, we're sitting out back that that night she had trouble walking and we came out in the morning or when we woke up in the morning, she had lost control of her bowels and had collapsed. And we knew something was wrong and obviously took her to the vet. And the vet said she had internal bleeding. And it was you know, it was kind of over.
And we got the whole family together. And it was of course, it was one of those very weird scenes where we asked if we could put her to sleep outside. So we're in the back of this that are this veterinary clinic with the Valero gas station next to us in the Costco parking lot and a car alarm going off. And it was just shocking how I shouldn't say shocking, but just how upset.
Shocking, but not shocking. How so? My son was. But there's just no getting around it. It marks it's not only you're not only grieving for your loss, but you're grieving about the passage of time. I'll never have. My infant son back, he's a different person now, he's a 13 year old and hormones are raging and he's very difficult or not very difficult to see above 13. He has trouble wrapping his head around loss. I think this is one of the many wonderful things dogs do for you.
Is they? You know, their loss is tragic, but it's not profound, and I think it really helps kids wrap their heads around the finite nature of life such that they can have some perspective around it. I do take some inspiration and I think we all do. We were talking about this last night. You know, our dog spent her last day on the beach. She was surrounded by people. Who loved her immensely, and I think in a strange way, and people always say this, but the way we treat dogs at the end of life in many ways is more humane than the way we treat humans.
Yeah. Anyways, Zoe spent her last day of 14 years on the planet surrounded by people who loved her. With the the boy who she was raised with. And anyways, we'll miss her a great deal. Our producers are Caroline Chagrinned, Andrew Burrows, if you like what you heard, please follow, download and subscribe. Thank you for listening. We'll catch you next week with another episode of the property show from Section four and the Westwood One podcast network.
You've heard Rich Eisen on the radio and seen him on TV. Now he has a new podcast called Just Getting Started. Tell us about your new show for getting ahead. Rich with guests from the world of news, business, sports and entertainment. My new show is going to give you their most in-depth, firsthand stories that focuses on the humble beginnings and humbling moments that we can relate to in our own lives.
The new podcast is called Just Getting Started. With Me, Rich Eisen.
Listen on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your shows.