It’s another case of brick-and-mortar institutions losing to
There were 3,813 data breaches in the first half of 2019 compared
to 3,200 good old physical bank robberies in the entire 2018.
To be fair, we are not exactly comparing apples to apples.
The data figure is global, and the bank robbery figure is US-only.
But you get the idea.
Just like on ecommerce stories, data theft grew 52% year
over year while bank theft is less than half what it was 15 years back.
Jaime Mejia of Verb came across these figures while reporting
on the massive Ecuador data breach of 2019, which exposed the personal
information of 17 million people.
Almost the entire population of Ecuador.
He found that the industry of theft is also undergoing a
deep digital transformation.
You can read about it on “Hackers: what do they do with your personal information?” Now available at our online store in Spanish.
When we published a survey on the MAX among pilots of the 737 model, most journalists and industry experts we contacted were surprised that we did not believe the MAX brand would ever take to the air again.
Most journalists were taking for granted that a recertified, improved MAX would soon be flying again. It is now clear it may never do so.
Even if it passed muster with the Federal Aviation Authority, how many passengers—and at what price—would board a MAX again? Yes, you guessed.
Wild as it may sound, the MAX may now be as good as scrap metal. And there is no easy solution:
- If the MAX is deemed unworthy, the cascading costs of such a catastrophic scenario are beyond this author’s imagination, involving indemnity for airlines and massive losses for Boeing.
- Yet Boeing is “too big to fail”. Sounds familiar? What do you do when, roughly, half the commercial air traffic in the world runs on the airplanes made by Boeing?
These are surely extreme scenarios with no ready-made solutions to address them.
One of the most enduring mysteries of this year is why, and how, did the just-fired Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg managed to hold on to his position. The aircraft maker has suffered the worst crisis in the 103-year-old company following two crashes caused by the MCAS stability device on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that left 346 dead.
It was high time for Muilenburg to go. Yet Chairman Dave Calhoun has the unenviable task of figuring what to do with a clearly unreliable airplane, or one not many passengers will want to fly, and restoring confidence in the company.
At Verb.company we are trying something new. We are running
a test of selling digital news reports by the copy. We have set a low price per
copy and made our first report available at our online store. Like the
character in the Futurama TV show who always says “Good news,
everyone” before sending the crew on another suicidal mission, we are
taking a sunny view on the face of horrible odds.
We believe that people will pay for certain news on the
Internet. Most of the news industry disagrees and we are hoping to prove them
wrong. Our core tenet is: the value of information is inversely proportional
to the number of people who have the information. For example, the fewer
the people who know where to dig for gold, the more valuable that piece of information
is: if you are the only who knows it, then its value is huge. Our business is creating
valuable information from scratch.
The hardest thing in our model is to split news from
advertising. For newspapers, low traffic is “bad news”: for two hundred years,
they got paid on the number of readers. That business model is now in crumbles.
But that is only true if you are selling advertising. If you are buying
advertising, you want the least possible reach that will maximize your sales:
more bang for the buck. That is what Google and Facebook are offering
advertisers to lure them away from news media. For example, instead of buying
an ad that will reach 100,000 people hoping to reach the two thousand potential
customers willing to buy your gold watches, you can now buy an advertisement in
Instagram to target people who have shown an interest in gold jewelry and walk
near your store every day.
In our model, we are no longer sellers of advertising but
customers of advertising. We are using the same technology that is wreaking
havoc on the news industry, very accurate and affordable online segmentation, to
find the customers willing to pay for the information we are creating. Google
and Facebook dominate the advertising industry but have had a hard time telling
the truth from lies. In their model, it may be impossible.
Yet their audience segmentation is a valuable aid to sell
our reports. And we at Verb.company can separate the wheat from the chaff. The news industry has time-tested methods to approach
the truth. We have adopted the toolbox of classic journalism to do it. That’s
why we have created a newsroom modelled after the newspaper ones.
In other words, we use Google and Facebook to
sell our editorial products. We are not their partners, nor beneficiaries, but
customers. The famous business principle applies: the customer is always right.