The Lede, Thursday, March 1, 2018
By David Royse
Who Needs Out of Touch Government? Do the Right Thing
The top of the news in the United States today is again mostly about guns – and about some big retailers making decisions on how they’ll handle gun sales, without new laws telling them they must do so.
Many among you will say they didn’t make decisions about what’s good for society, they made decisions based on what’s good for their bottom lines. They read some tea leaves about where American public opinion may be going on gun violence and there was a business case for change. Likely true.
But an interesting thing about companies making these changes ahead of any government regulation is how much quicker broad corporate policies now change to match something closer to what most people want. That is likely a function of the social (and economic) pressure that happens much faster these days because of the speed of information flow – and the voice that “Everyman” has because of social media. Twenty years ago, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas teens wouldn’t have had anywhere near the platform they have now.
Politico’s Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen wrote an interesting piece about this last week (even before the big retailers took stands on guns). Their primary argument is similar – social media is driving much of this. But they also link it to government being out of touch with what people want, while companies have a financial incentive not to be so out of touch.
Whatever the cause, there’s no question that consumers now expect companies to have “values,” something that wasn’t really a thing just a generation ago.
It’s a different environment from the days when government had to fight with cigarette companies over their products, require cars to have seat belts and put laws in place to keep them from polluting so much. Many would argue, of course, those things might still be needed.
But it’s an interesting question – have we gone from the days when people said “what’s good for GM is good for America,” to a day when, thanks to modern communications platforms, we can say “what’s good for Americans is good for GM?”
I welcome your thoughts. @daveroyse on Twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org
One interesting healthcare story worth your time today:
“Drugmakers are racing to scoop up patient health records and strike deals with technology companies as big data analytics start to unlock a trove of information about how medicines perform in the real world.” Reuters
Good Ideas in Tech
A Cool Use for Algorithms
From the Orlando Sentinel:
Can the same data-crunching technology that matches potential couples based on personality, values and interests help Florida’s foster children get adopted? It’s a question that a wealthy Boca Raton tequila company CEO, his wife, child-welfare workers and two nonprofits have come together to answer.
NOTES FROM THE AGE OF DISRUPTION:
Is slowly making it known that it owns Whole Foods. NYT
Had revenues up 24 percent from the prior year, a little better than Wall Street expected. CNBC
Is hoping to leave its Venice, Cal. home. Curbed
Filed for an IPO. Benzinga
Motorola investing in drone AR startup Edgybees. TechCrunch
Finally, in case you missed it.
Take us out, Robot Head