Meet The Woman Tasked With Saving Uber From Itself

We sat down with Uber’s chief human resources officer, Liane Hornsey, who emphasized her desire “to stamp out anything that is a remnant of the past.”

Over the last six months, Uber’s been rocked by a series of scandals that brought this soaring unicorn back down to earth. It all really started with Susan Fowler’s blog post on February 19, 2017, that detailed incredibly poor management practices and a human resources department that prized the success of the company over the needs of its employees even in the face of sexual harassment allegations. Since then, revelations of sexist and other inappropriate behavior at the top of the company have dominated headlines, including an outing to an escort bar in South Korea and an executive obtaining the medical records of a rider who was raped by her Uber driver in India.

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Building an Absolutely Fabulous Customer-Centric Business

The convergence of marketing, context and technology has redefined what it means to be a successful organization in the information age. To be successful, you have to be customer-centric. But what does that really mean?

It means building an organization that – from bottom up and top down – is customer obsessed. Companies aren’t successful because of a single person. Success is built through a collective people working towards a common goal. So your whole organization needs to be invested in the customer.

And saying you are customer centric and customer obsessed doesn’t cut it. It needs to be present throughout all processes and leading the charge for the way you craft your brand and marketing strategies. Strategies need to start and end with the user. UX and designs should constantly be validated against personas. The way experiences are built have the technology to empower users in their experience. Saying you are customer centric doesn’t cut it anymore.

So how does your organization actually become customer-centric?

First you have to build a foundation for customer-centricity by getting internal buy-in and creating/promoting that vision from within. From there, you have to know your users and use data to understand and anticipate user needs. Lastly, you need to have a digital experience platform (DXP) that powers the customer-centric experience and a feedback loop to continue to evaluate efforts and deliver on authenticity. As you go through the steps of becoming customer centric, you are empowering each touchpoint in your brand experience to know the user and deliver on their needs.

Want more? Don’t worry, we’ll give you more.

As absolutely fabulous agency/tech partners-in-crime, Genuine and Acquia are here to give you step-by-step guidance on becoming customer obsessed. We bring together the world of product and service, so we have a unique point of view on what it takes and we are honest about it. Because when it comes to strategy and customer experience, honest evaluation is key. And when you look in the mirror darling, we want you to look fabulous.

So stay tuned and stay engaged. Reach out. Ask questions. Expect honesty. And most importantly, stay fabulous!

The post Building an Absolutely Fabulous Customer-Centric Business appeared first on Genuine.

My generation is not oriented to tech’: How ad tech executives’ fathers describe their kids’ jobs.

Digiday — June 16, 2017

By Yuyu Chen


Peter Krivkovich Sr., father of Peter Krivkovich Jr., AdRoll chief operating officer and chief financial officer
When I initially tell all those not in the communication business what Peter does, I would say, “Once you go looking on the internet, they find you and they follow you. They know your interests, and they stalk you until you surrender.” After their “Oh, my God” I tell them that it is about highly sophisticated and constantly optimized software, as well as algorithmic software systems that help companies better understand and deliver messages to their clients and prospects that result in higher sales probability. If I draw blanks, I go back to the stalking explanation.

Read what other ad tech executives’ fathers said about their kids’ at Digiday

The post My generation is not oriented to tech’: How ad tech executives’ fathers describe their kids’ jobs. appeared first on Cramer krasselt.

Friday Reading #99

99 red balloons, floating in the summer sky, 99% invisible, we’ve got 99 problems but an intro idea ain’t one. We’re getting awful close to the big centenary….


Salience is something we bang on about a lot at Goodstuff, paring communications down to their simplest and most distinctive so they can be easily though of. It’s famed political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby’s favored approach, applied with effect in the 2010 election with David Cameron’s relentless focus on the economy. But S______ and S_______ L_______ quickly became a hated cliche, indicative of robotic politics, not empathy. Why is that? The Drum argue that the issue lies with the inflexibility of the message across channels, an analogue campaign for a digital world.

For us it highlights the importance of understanding the context of communications. When no one is looking for you (as with many brand comms), brutal simplicity is necessarily to cut through – but when everyone is watching, all the time, greater finnesse is required to keep them watching.


In typical Zuckerberg-fashion, big Mark wants to make customer service even more user friendly by teaching his 100,000 strong bot-empire the art of negotiation.

The purpose of the upgrade was to allow businesses to interact with users on a more complex level, allowing them to negotiate deals across a number of different services including taxis and shopping deliveries, by using bots.

However, as the bots were required to learn more than just basic language syntaxes and pre-determined algorithms, they were trained on natural language negotiations between two people -but unfortunately, went above and beyond what engineers thought was possible. They found instances where the model was feigning interest in a valueless issue, so that they could later ‘compromise’ by conceding it. A fascinating example of the unexpected consequences of AI, and an example of its growing sophistication

Maybe next time we’ll think twice before asking bots if our bum looks big in this though…


Yep, it’s real. Honestly. Some bright spark working at Colgate in the 1980′s tried to get on board with the frozen ready meal trend by suggesting you might want to eat a branded dinner before brushing your teeth with Colgate. Funnily enough, it didn’t take off. It’s just one example from The Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden – a new institution dedicated to showcasing boundary pushing innovation disasters, from coffee Coke to female pens. Helping us to learn from the mistakes of the past, and raise a wry smile along the way.


Since the 1860s, the price tag has been the sole way that
retailers indicate price and flog their ways to the average punter like you and
me. In the online space, the idea of a stable price tag has largely gone out of
fashion – brands like Amazon, Secret Escapes and others allow customers to plug
into a marketplace reflecting the dynamic supply and demand, and changes the
prices to reflect this. Great stuff for online, but bricks
and mortar retailers are now moving into
this space to deliver flexible
pricing, and attracting the highest value customer at the lowest price point

You might recognise the women in the bath from a previous edition of Friday Reading – it’s Louise Delage, the fictional Parisian influencer created to raise awareness of everyday alcoholism. It’s just one 25 campaigns Adweek have pulled together as their tips for Cannes glory, the full list is a feast of inspiring ideas and brilliant case studies. Making the cut from past Friday Reading entries are Nike’s ghost running, and the little girl facing down the Wall St bull.

How independent digital agency Cramer-Krasselt built its trading desk.

Digiday – June 12, 2017

By Yuyu Chen

For independent shops like Cramer-Krasselt, the shift to programmatic presents challenges. They don’t have the resources to pour into proprietary tech like the big holding companies. For Cramer-Krasselt, that has meant stitching together ad-tech partners to form its own trading desk — and educating all of its employees on the ins and outs of programmatic.

“For a long time, media-holding companies maintained the agency trading desks as a centralized profit center, and the next trend is midsized independent shops started getting into programmatic by working with companies like Digilant and Choozle,” said Eric Bader, managing director and co-founder for digital consultancy Volando.

The system (named “DesCK”) was moved out of beta last year, and now, the agency has an ad-tech team of 10 to run programmatic campaigns for clients including Edward Jones Investments, Cedar Fair Entertainment and blender brand Vitamix. The agency uses the technology infrastructure developed by its data management and five demand-side platform partners including The Trade Desk, and then adds its own data and budget-control system on top of that.

“We would be locked in if we build our own tech from scratch because there’s a cost, and once you want to change things, you cannot adjust quickly,” said Chris Wexler, the agency’s director of media and consumer engagement. “By leveraging others’ tech infrastructure, we can be very nimble in terms of what we want to buy, how we want to buy and how to measure it.”

One big differentiator in Cramer-Krasselt’s trading desk is that the agency has built it as a multi-DSP tech stack, with one single DMP that is governed by a proprietary analytical, fraud and budget management system that “significantly” enhances the agency’s DSP and exchange partners, added Wexler.

“If we had built DesCK with just The Trade Desk, while the tech is good, we would be missing out on the best results for our clients,” he said.

Cramer-Krasselt built its DMP based on Salesforce-owned Krux and then uses that DMP as “the core source of truth” to get the cleanest view of data possible. This is because if a marketer buys programmatic inventory from a publisher, for instance, the publisher’s own analytics may show it has 100,000 impressions per month, while comScore may say that the impressions are 90,000. Then, Google shows that the actual number should be 80,000 monthly impressions, while Cramer-Krasselt’s own ad server reveals that it is 70,000 monthly impressions.

“The numbers are moving around, so we need our own DMP to assess those data discrepancies and evaluate one DSP over another,” said Wexler.

Another differentiator in Cramer-Krasselt’s tech stack, he added, is its budget-control system that ensures that ad spend is being executed in the most appropriate way possible. The agency hired programmers on its ad-tech team to write algorithms to help manage budget properly and turn data sets into different formats. “[The budget-control system] ensures that our traders execute the plans with significantly lower error rates than we have ever seen via managed service partners in the past,” said Wexler.

But from an industry perspective, Bader believes that agencies developing their own software is not a good idea. “I cannot comment on Cramer-Krasselt, but generally speaking, agencies are not designing algorithm or logic — they need great programmers and coders to do that right,” he said. “Let’s be realistic, agencies are not in the software business — they are service companies, so developing their own platform is folly.”

While the data, tech and client-service side of its programmatic business are all centralized at Cramer-Krasselt’s headquarters in Chicago, programmatic expertise is distributed across the agency’s offices in Chicago, Milwaukee and New York City. The agency’s head of digital strategy periodically travels to those offices to give Cramer-Krasselt’s 429 employees programmatic workshops.

“We have run programmatic training for every person — both media and creative — in the organization. It is a new currency, a new approach, a new way of thinking and a vital thing for everyone to understand,” said Wexler. “One of the things we are thinking right now is how we can improve creative in programmatic.”

Wexler thinks that one biggest hurdle in building a trading desk is ownership of ad-tech companies constantly changes, and there is much consolidation in the space. Meanwhile, recruiting the right talent and retaining it is another challenge as programmatic is a hot market right now.

“Having the ability to be transparent is also hard,” he said. “It is one thing to say, but it is another thing to do it right.”


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Friday Reading #97

Summer time is starting to descend on Corinthian House this week, well paired with the smell of bacon wafting across the terrace to sooth sore heads this morning. It’s all in the name of charity, raising funds to help our good friends at The Alzheimer’s Society. Adding to the charitable good natured fun, some Goodstuffers have started a photo challenge to help raise awareness of our other favourite cause, SWAN UK. Simply post a picture of you as a child with the hashtag #SWANphotochallenge, asking five friends to do the same, and donate £3 to our Just Giving page. Seeing the cherubic baby faces of your friends can’t help but make you think about the 6,000 equally lovely kids who are born each year with sydromes so rare they are often impossible to diagnose.


I don’t know about you, but I was partial to a sneaky power
nap during double maths on a Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately for children in
the future, it’s going to get more difficult to have a cheeky siesta once
teachers start using facial
to find out whether students are actually listening while they
talk about long division. AI is currently being developed and tested in France
that can identify whether or not students are paying attention by using
software to examine eye movements and facial expressions. The software is
currently being used to build patterns which can then predict when students are
more likely to lose focus, and thus may be able to notify them. Facial
recognition is increasingly being put to use for security purposes so it’s
interesting to see it used in the field of education.


Imagine a world where your drunken 3am tweets, @’ing your
least favourite politician to demand a better healthcare system (and a greasy
kebab) could prevent you from going to the USA. Imagine a world where the
American Dream is just a distant memory because you once tweeted TFL
complaining about the ridiculous delay in the unbelievable heat
which made you late for your in-laws dinner-party. Well yes, it’s happening.

Donald Trump has requested that anyone seeking a visa to
travel to the USA must provide 5 years of social media handles, along with 15
years of biographical information as well as previous telephone numbers and
email addresses.

Whilst critics have argued that this will ‘lead to long
delays in [visa] processing’, supporters of the new requirement believe that
social media can supply important information about possible terrorist
networks, and help keep dangerous individuals out of the country.

What about a piece of technology which has the potential to make it less likely you’ll make it through the new US border laws? Snapchat spectacles, the lighthearted party cousin to the sci-fi Google Glass, is finally going on sale in the UK. For the bargain price of £129, you too can record 10 second clips of first person circular video through disco coloured sunglasses. The innovative circular video format is designed for mobile, so it can be viewed in both portrait and landscape orientations in full screen.

It’s on sale now through the boring old website, but also through Snapbot vending machines which are popping up all over the country in locations which change every day.  


Microsoft are
attempting to turn the internet upside-down, ‘paying’ users to use Bing rather
than other more generally favoured search engines. Thousands of searches are completed
every second, with a whopping 86% being made on Google. First launched in 2016 in
the US, the incentives scheme is a rewards program for using Microsoft’s
which launched on Wednesday in the UK. Collect points by searching on
Bing or purchasing an item from the Microsoft Store and exchange the points for
items… simple! And we thought reward schemes were limited to coffee shops.

No I don’t know what they were thinking either, look at that girl in the middle, she can definitely peek past the paper blinkers. But let’s not get too hung up on the reference image, the real story is an interesting new piece from former PHD planning director and remarkably square jawed media thinker David Wilding for Campaign. He points out the limitations of a media measurement world blinkered to coverage and frequency – a system which ignores the texture and quality of a plan, and sells creativity short. There’s no simple solution, but some smart points on how we can think more expansively about the way a plan is evaluated in four core areas: ideas, impact, mindset and context.