Forbes has introduced something called BrandVoice, which it describes thusly:
Forbes BrandVoice allows marketers to connect directly with the Forbes audience by enabling them to create content – and participate in the conversation – on the Forbes digital publishing platform. Each is produced by the marketer.
In the old days — before content became king, before everyone was induced to panicked desperation about generating content, and before content became more important than people — BrandVoice would have been called advertorial or infomercial. Today, BrandVoice might be considered native advertising. I don’t know. But I do know this: If people were still more important than content or data, we wouldn’t have this many marketers — or publications of formerly inviolable integrity like Forbes — trying to put this many things over on us.
To wit: As part of this new … uh … feature, BrandVoice ran a piece called, “Is The Data Scientist Era Coming To An End?”, which said this, in part:
The advent of visualization tools (such as Oracle Big Data Discovery) … make [sic] it possible for non-technical business people to analyze mountains of unstructured data in Hadoop as well as structured data in a data warehouse.
Aside from the fact that the title of the piece manifests the logical fallacy of Begging the Question, (presuming this is, indeed, the Data Scientist Era), it misses its own most telling point, which is this:
The user isn’t even aware of the statistical models and machine-learning libraries being used to parse the data and populate the graphics on the screen … no PhD in mathematics or statistics required.
Translation: If people don’t spend their time analyzing data — or earning graduate degrees for the purpose of analyzing data — they’ll have time to do other things like talk to each other, interact, collaborate, cooperate, and learn things beyond the ability of data to teach. If they’re not careful — and if they’re in marketing or sales and the people to whom they talk are prospects — they might learn even more things beyond the ability of data to teach. If the absolute worst comes to pass, they might even learn something about their own humanity, about more important ways to contribute to their companies, and about the traits they share with the people to whom they’re marketing and selling that are impossibly beyond the ability of data to teach.
William James — philosopher, psychologist, physician, and educator — considered to be the founder of American pragmatism, wrote this:
Organization and method mean much … But contagious human characters mean more.
Amen. If we read more William James and less data hype, we’d all be more contagious human characters.
Oh. One more thing: Be sure to watch for my December post in BrandVoice, in which I’ll be offering holiday discounts on my patent-pending Asphalt Yoga Mats.