Tag Archives: #ptexp

Technology Amplifies Our Behavior

Last week there was a lot of news and talk about the abuse of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica.

If you did not read about the breach, here is the summary:

“Cambridge Analytica used a quiz app to scrape data such as users’ identities, their friend networks, and likes from millions of Facebook users. Users inadvertently gave consent by agreeing to the user conditions in the app. The company later used that data to build targeted political ads for political campaign’s, The New York Times, which conducted the investigation along with The Observer, reports. (read the full article here on Futurism)…”

I am not here to comment on whether or not this is right, wrong, or who is to blame whether it is Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, Political Campaigns, or us as the end users.

I leave that judgment to you. To make on your own. To use the information available to you and to draw your own conclusion.

I do want to point out the obvious.

This is nothing new.

Big brands, marketing firms, advertising agencies, small businesses, governments, and political campaigns have been using these tactics for decades.

Whether it has been in the form of print ads, newspaper articles, radio spots, or television commercials “consumers” (defined as the end users of content) have always been subjected to messages that are trying to tell us a particular story.

If the messages are really good, they usually nudge us to take action.

An action based on emotions. The action to purchase, to join, to support, to share, or to participate.

The gold standard used to be demographics.

The ability to generate insights about groups of the population based on their education, nationality, religion, and ethnicity. If you are able to understand these common traits you can hopefully develop messages and stories that will resonate with segments of people and encourage them to take an action.

As our world continues to evolve, we have transitioned from demographics to psychographic segmentation.

The ability to understand smaller groups within a population allows us to design messages that will resonate with specific subsegments of people.

As we begin to understand people’s motivations, their patterns of thinking, how they perceive the world, and how they feel towards specific topics we can target audiences with more specific and precise messaging.

Again, this is nothing new. A prime example of this type of data is Nielsen Media Research.

In today’s world, it is not unimaginable to segment down to the zip code or street address of people and to understand their buying patterns, their watching patterns, as well as how their dietary choices, their activity level, or how they view the most recent political campaigns.

Facebook is not the originator of this type of business model, nor will they be the last. Google, Instagram, Snapchat, Nielsen, and many others have been doing this for years. Yes, even our hospitals and medical research have been in this business and will continue to be in this business.

It used to take months and sometimes years to generate this kind of insight and actionable data.

Today’s technology accelerates the generation, testing, implementation, and targeting of this insight. It now happens in clicks and is summarized in minutes.

With our blind acceptance and acknowledgment of the terms and conditions combined with our app happy downloads for ease and simplicity only exacerbates the problem.

We need to remember that we are consistently being marketed too.

We need to remember that with every click, swipe, and like that we generate data that is being used by others to develop more messages to target us and the people like us.

We need to remember that as we sit and point at Facebook and other social media companies that there are three fingers pointing back at us. We need to share in the blame. We need to own our own decisions.

We must be responsible for our decisions, our data, and the “news” we believe in the content we consume.

Just like the food we ingest, we too must take responsibility for stories we believe.

Delivering care, the consumption of content and building trust happen at the N of 1.

As always feel free to email me at cancergeek@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter and Instagram as CancerGeek



Executive Presence

Recently I was in Haifa, Israel and took part in a 2-day meeting with other executives within the company.

I (we) spent a majority of the time locked in a conference room talking about everything from financials to product development to investment to building a team.

Upon returning to the U.S. my GM (general manager) pulled me aside to provide some feedback.

I was told that I needed to work on my executive presence. I was being reminded that it is important to “speak up” and to add a “comment” to the conversation to demonstrate my leadership.

I was reminded that this is part of the culture, and if I do not speak up, my executive leadership would always be questioned.

I thanked my GM for the feedback and said I would take it into consideration.

I took time to self-reflect.

I have always been more of a listener and an observer. I turn off all of my devices, use a notebook, and take notes. I usually ask questions to ensure I understand the meaning, the intent, the perspective.

I have a habit of not speaking unless I have the ability to add perspective, insight, or value to the conversation.

I have made a conscious decision to act this way.

I made this decision many years ago when I would sit in meetings with middle management and executive leaders and always wondered why people spoke when nothing meaningful was being contributed. I would watch people try to fight for one or two sentences, and then often ask myself why did they feel they needed to say what they did because it often did not add to the conversation.

I decided to do some reading on executive presence. I read the following articles/books:

  1. Deconstructing Executive Presence on HBR — https://hbr.org/2012/08/de-constructing-executive-pres
  2. The 7 Traits Of Executive Presence on Business Insider — http://www.businessinsider.com/the-7-traits-of-executive-presence-2013-9
  3. The “IT” Factor on Muse — https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-it-factor-how-to-have-executive-presence-in-a-meeting
  4. Executive Presence by Sylvia Ann Hewlett — http://www.sylviaannhewlett.com/executive-presence.html

While all of this reading gave me perspective on the topic of executive presence, I still questioned whether I really had a problem or not.

Fast forward to this week.

We had a customer visit headquarters this week to walk through our technology and meet the product development team.

The customer was from Europe, and the team was comprised of Oncologists, Physicists, and Radiologists.

We had all of our“big bosses” stop in to say hello and be a part of the conversation with the customer.

My GM stayed for the entire 8-hour visit.

There was a point in the conversation with the customer in which they began to talk about how does this technology help them to discover cancer earlier, change the treatment of a patient, or help them monitor the survival of their patients.

Our engineers, our research, and even my GM were silent.

I began to speak and was able to articulate how our technology helps them to see cancer sooner, to understand if it is cancer or something else, and enables them to monitor the success or failure of a patient’s cancer treatment.

The customer continued to ask questions. I continued to draw a solid line from the work they do on a daily basis back to our technology and the future development I am planning for our platform.

After the customer meeting, my GM pulled me aside and told me the following,

Andy, you are the only person I know of in this company that can have that type of discussion. You manage to articulate how our technology meets the needs of physicians, specialists, physicists, and the patients they care for on a daily basis. I am not sure how you do it. I am always impressed with how you change the conversation and make it meaningful to customers.

I smiled and said thank you.

I sit here and have been thinking about both conversations.

Do I have executive presence or am I missing it?

Is my executive presence just different?

Do I have executive presence for customers but maybe not for internal leaders?

I made a realization.

Asking myself all of these questions is just banter. It allows fear to take over the dialogue in my head.

I will own that I have positives and negatives.

I will always be a natural observer. I will always be an active listener.

I will not add to a conversation just to say I contributed. I will only speak when I have something to contribute that is of value to others.

I will double down on my strengths.

Connecting to patients and physicians.

Drawing straight lines between their challenges, struggles, and loss of time to the work I do on a daily basis.

I will double down on owning my Emotional Intelligence. (EQ)

I will continue to build relationships, deliver the ‘Why” to patients and physicians inside healthcare, and lead by example.

I lead at the N of 1 because healthcare is delivered at the N of 1.

As always feel free to email me at cancergeek@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter and Instagram as @cancergeek