Bullshit is there for a reason

As Professor Harry G. Frankfurt once wrote,

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.

Bob Hoffman points out that this is especially true in keynote speeches about online advertising. But all that bullshit is there for a reason. What would happen if you took the bogus scientification and marketing-speak out of the Thought Leader Insights? You'd get something more like these.

  • You don't need to make creative advertising because a machine, or some random person on Amazon Mechanical Turk, can generate a bunch of ads until something sticks.

  • Third-party tracking lets you reach high-value users for less money on low-value sites, because CTOs and minivan buyers regularly visit che3p-viagra.biz and watch the videos all the way through.

  • Fraud isn't a problem because code monkeys in an open-plan monkey house, reporting to douchebags and working for point squat percent of a company in four years, are smart enough to out-hack a fraud developer who is working on his own time, for 100% of the gain, in 30 days.

  • If you just educate users about how web ads work, they'll be happy to let sites they've never heard of excrete untested combinations of code onto the computers and devices where they keep stuff they care about.

None of those will fly in their bare form, but load them up with a bunch of "customer journey" and "deep learning" and now you've got a keynote.

So there may be perfectly good reasons why you might want to apply a substantial layer of bullshit to what you're doing. If so, carry on.

But what if you have a real problem?

  • The web is still a terrible place to build brands.

  • Web advertising is still low-value enough that it won't sustain high-reputation publications when print revenue goes away.

  • Third-party crap is still a security risk.

Then you need an alternative to bullshit, so go read more about getting Bob to speak at your event.

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