Do you trust me?

Reading time: 4 minutes

I was listening to the April 1 Dithering podcast this weekend. A little after the 7-minute mark, Ben and John started discussing a recent Bloomberg article.

The Bloomberg article, titled Apple and Meta Gave User Data to Hackers Who Used Forged Legal Requests, read a little suspicious to me. Maybe it was because Apple’s iCloud was down a few times in over the past week or so.

Anyway, the eleven or seconds captured below is a good summary of the article and more so about how the title did a terrible job leading into the story.

The title is so disconnected from the actual story. I have to imagine Bloomberg PR has received a call from Apple PR.

While the disconnect is pretty silly, the discussion around trust grabbed my attention.

How do we really know who is on the other end? If someone is sending us something, how do we know they are the ones who actually sent it?

It’s about trust, right?

I think a lot about this, especially when it comes to cybersecurity updates. I mean, think about it – we’re telling our clients to open an email (or other method of communication) about a cyber risk that may be about that particular method of communication!

If it’s about spamming, spoofing or phishing, why would they open our email?

Because they trust us.

We trust people.

Do we trust technology?

There’s this thing called trusted domains. At least, it was a thing when I was in the IT world. Trusted domains meant exactly that: This domain trusts that domain to communicate with. Carry on.

Slack brought this into the current workplace with Slack Connect:

Slack Connect is a secure way to collaborate across companies — right in Slack. Unlike email, which leaves your team at risk of spam and phishing, Slack Connect and verified organizations help ensure your team is working with trusted partners.


For example:

  • I’m sending this email from my ‘’ domain
  • (Actually, I’m not. I’m sending it through Ghost)
  • (Who is likely sending it through another mail exchange)
  • And it shows up as from my domain

You trust that I am sending you this email, both from my name and from my verified email address. (Thank you for subscribing and reading!)

And I trust that Ghost is sending this on my behalf.

(I’ll ignore SPF, DKIM and DMARC records for now.)

You and me.

What does this have to do with business communications?

In today’s world, everything.

From digital transformation to the demand for simplicity, why is it taking us so long to get closer to our clients, employees and partners?

Many businesses today are focused on scale: How can we do more with what we have today? Transforming our infrastructure using digital and process automation has created the hope and hype we can do more with less.

Nowhere is this more true than in communications.

Social media, email marketing, billboards, etc.: We place one message in front of many in the hopes we net one golden MRR fish.

And where does that trust end up?

  • Are you messaging to me?
  • My unique needs?
  • My unique challenges?
  • Or are these communications platforms used to create a broad message that will (hopefully) appeal to me?

From a lead generation funnel standpoint, this broad messaging makes sense.

This may fall under brand or marketing or even advertising. And if you’re part of a smaller B2B technology firm, this may full under general marketing.

Which is cool.

Until the complexity sets in.

Advertisers will need to get more creative with their targeting strategies. Multiple tiers of targeting will be required to get the most out of a complicated ad ecosystem where each bid has its own unique assortment of identifiers attached.

You’re already competing with your competition. And by going down the route of broad messaging, you’re now competing with all the other noise in the market.

By approaching the traditional funnel approach, we’re doing a disservice to our clients and communities. We’re pushing them away from us, creating a distance that results in less trust in our business and in our people.

Take remarketing as an example. Those Stan Smiths you added to your Amazon cart? Listen to Brian Morrissey explain the deterioration in trust with our audiences we’ve created using remarketing.


when was remarketing created


March 2010: Remarketing launched in AdWords


Let’s all start over.

Actually, let’s not.

Rather, let’s focus our efforts on our clients. Our employees. Our partners.

And retooling our technology to focus on creating simple experiences.

We can start by focusing our efforts on trust.

(Hint: Web3 is all about trust. Trust in individuals and the technology they are using. Trust in people and technology.)

Let’s use our technology-focused communications platforms to create meetings with people, knowing trust will be a long-term outcome.

From a technology perspective, start with data. Focus experiences on gathering first-party data as a by-product of your trusted communication efforts.

Gathering data directly from the consumer has become critical. Growing email lists with newsletters is the most popular option for gathering first-party data: 63% of US marketers and agencies were already doing so as of June 2021…

Make it so easy to connect with your team, it’d be nearly stupid for your audience not to give you their data.

And by their data, I’m guessing you don’t need sign-up forms with sixteen different required fields to fill out.

  1. First name
  2. Email address
  3. Phone number

Two of those three fields are required.

Now, more than ever, consumers demand simplified brand experiences

In today’s incredibly noisy world, we need to work on getting closer to our audiences. Digital advertising, social media, email marketing – they are being used to distract our audiences, creating long-term distrust in our brand, our people and our technology.

Let’s focus on fixing that.

  • The Shakeout From Apple’s Privacy Update: How AppTrackingTransparency Affects Publishers and Advertisers (link)
  • Digital advertising’s data reset (link)
  • World’s Simplest Brands–Ninth Edition (link)
  • US Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spending 2022–Navigating Innovation in Identity and Consolidation in Ad Tech (link)
  • Apple and Meta Gave User Data to Hackers Who Used Forged Legal Requests (link)
  • Dithering podcast (link)
  • Primary and Trusted Domains (link)
  • Slack connect (link)
  • “Generic lead generation funnel” (link)
  • when was remarketing created (link)
  • Abstract: The Art of Design (link)

Notes and stuff.

  • USMNT World Cup group is excellent, although the knock-out round will be a challenge (assuming we come in second in our group). By the way, Idris Elba was off in the presentation. And did Carly Lloyd kinda get the shaft in presenting time?
  • Yay. The podcast is back.
  • I bought a 16mm 1.4 lens recently. It sits on a 2/3 sensor, which brings it up to about a 22m lens. You’ll see some sharper images using this lens soon.
  • We watched the Abstract: The Art of Design episode on Platon’s photography. What a terrific story.

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