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The Future of Personalization

Don’t get too excited – it’s a McKinsey paper. 

The future of personalization – and how to get ready for it.

  • Physical spaces will be ‘digitized’
  • Empathy will scale
  • Brands will use ecosystems to personalize journeys end-to-end

… wait – what?

“Empathy will scale.”

You can’t make this stuff up. Talk about buzzword compliance!

Then – when I was looking for a suitable image to use for this post … I came across this doozy from Sitecorp.

Content is empathy at scale.

Good Grief!


Remember the ‘Semantic Web’?

Don’t you get fed up with the alphabet soup of tech terms that people introduce into our daily conversation?

It gets worse …they then go on to use terms that most people can’t understand to ‘explain’ what they are talking about!

And even when we do get simple language it still doesn’t get there … because we essentially use product descriptions and features and don’t describe the benefits to ordinary people.

Take Web 3.0 .. please!

If you read the interwebs you would think that a new religion came of age in 2021. Google Trends tells a different story.

So when you are next reading about Web 3.0, forget about Crypto, Algorithms, DIDs, Sovereign Identity, NFTs, Wallets, Coins, Blockchains – and all of the rest of it. Just know that IF we get Web 3.0 right … and it is far from clear we will – but if we do …. then it is the start of finally realizing the value that everybody expected back when this web thing started.

I thought this was an interesting little doohickey that you might find an interesting explanation – though I have some issues with a few of them.

Behavioural Advertising for example. God I hope not. I wish it read ‘Intent Casting’ – but that’s an idea that doesn’t seem to have arrived in the mainstream.

And despite Zuckerberg’s best attempts Blogs are not going away.

But more importantly, some of the thinking is just BAU!

One of the most important things I would add is that Web 1.0 was ‘pipes’, Web 2.0 is really all about platforms. Web 3.0 is all about protocols. That’s one of the People First Tenets!

Commerce Language Learning Newsletter Value Work


Earthday, NYC, April 22nd 1970
Commerce Language Learning Newsletter Value Work

On The Frontline.

The Frontline Might Be Different.
But It Is Still A Frontline.

Garbage Language

We need to stop it.

“We’re waiting on specs for the San Francisco installation. Can you parallel-path two versions?”

Good grief … I think Molly Young is channelling me.

… at the very bottom, customer service. Which, by the way, has been rechristened “customer support” or “customer experience” at most companies — as though the word service might remind the college graduates recruited for these roles that they will in fact spend their days pacifying irritable consumers over phone, chat, text, and email. 

As you know – Language is one of the People First pillars.

I have no reason to write more on this article – it only becomes a block to you reading it yourself.

Language People First
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What Is A Gig?

As I was publishing this post from John Maloney, I thought I would look up the word gig … it makes for an interesting read.

Language Work

The Gig Is Up

Counting both noun and verb forms, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) lists and defines thirteen separate ‘gigs’. 

‘A flighty, giddy girl’ was where it all started and then ‘spin’, ‘whirl’, ‘whirligig’, ‘fool’, giggle and ‘joke’ are all in one way or associated with the word. Even when you get up to the 18th century where it meant ‘light one-horse carriage’, its origin might be ..

perhaps based on the ‘bouncing, whirling’ sense of the earlier ‘gig’.

Language Newsletter
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Rewriting History

Guernica – Picasso – 1937

Did John Lyndon Hate The Floyd?

Is Pink Floyd a punk band?

Are people really surprised when Roger Waters delivers protest?

Why is the film not Called ‘Us and Them’?

All this and more in this week’s newsletter.

Read More
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Friends Don’t Let Friends Write Content

I have had versions of this article on a number of different blogs and publications for years. The time has come to formalize it, since content, its ownership and how we think about it, is central to the principles of People First.

“Why is it so difficult to find a freelance writing gig?

A recent question from someone in one of my many groups …

My reply …

Because the people who pay for writing have no clue of the value, which is why they call it ‘content’ which we know has no value and is homogenous ‘filler’ that can be swapped out at a moments notice.

My Content Rule …

Don’t Call It Content

…. book, novel, short story, article, white paper, promotional piece, advert, painting, sculpture, song, opera, photograph, image, graphic art, poster, fine art … anything … anything but ‘content’.

If you want a general catchall phrase, how about material? It’s the words that creative used to use – it meant something. Stood for something. It had value.

Our work, soul, passion and beliefs need to be respected and treated with dignity. Calling it content does nothing like that.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


Because as long as ‘we the creators’ fall into the trap of using low cost, homogenous, non-descript words like ‘content’ to describe our work, our soul, our passion, our beliefs then our work will continue to be viewed as ’free – to – cheap – to – low – cost’, as ‘homogenized, non differentiated, interchangeable fodder’. Moreover, we then only have ourselves to blame and the resultant payment for your art, your thinking, your ideas, will continue to race to the bottom.

It is not in the interests of any creator to allow that, so why allow their interests to define how we think?

Content is a horrible, generic, cheap, ‘anything will do’ kind of word. Which is why ‘content’ has no value. It is also important to know that it is in the best interests of the buyers of our sweat, labour, thought and time to keep their price down. But our costs are not kept down. So our net earnings suffer. And they are suffering badly.

And it has to start with you – the creator, because it isn’t in the interests of buyers to change their behaviour and vocabulary – ‘they’ want great work at no cost.

From a while back now – but well worth repeating ….

It’s the amateurs who make it tough for the professionals

Harlan Ellison

I wonder if that is how this kind of thinking comes about? As I wrote when I first saw this …

For all those of us attempting to get paid for value by people who wouldn’t get value if it smacked them between the eyes.

John Philpin

Content is a horrible, generic, cheap, ‘anything will do’ kind of word. Which is why ’content’ has no value.

“I draw and paint on paper using pen, ink, and watercolor. I then scan and publish my work on this web site. People then visit and read this graphic novel, or if you prefer, webcomic. Occasionally, I write a blog post like this one. There is art and there is commentary, but there is no content and there are certainly no consumers.”

Don Macdonald – August 24th, 2011

All Creators Should

STOP using THEIR words
to describe
OUR work. OUR soul. OUR passion. OUR beliefs.


START using OUR words
to describe
OUR work. OUR soul. OUR passion. OUR beliefs.