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3MinSB - Issue #36: Targeting



October 29 · Issue #36 · View online

Thoughts on life and the everyday.

Hello world and welcome back!
The impending election has at least my mind wandering, so keeping the intro short. I recently ran across some interesting metrics on the Facebook advertising spread and spend for both parties’ candidates. Much like other apps built around engagement, the strategy uses ‘profiles’ to target specific user groups with shared properties. Voter data sets are constructed through public voting records, and multiple data sources are used to fill gaps and validate existing data points. The data can then be augmented and synthesized to provide some level of insight into the voting base and act as the source for targeting and personalized ads. MIT Technology Review noted that the current election will be decided in the suburbs, requiring a slightly adjusted strategy to capitalize on specific media usage and demographics.
Encourage you to check out the metrics behind Facebook advertising before a potential site shut down- Facebook has already written to the researchers claiming violations for scraping their data.
I’m excited to see how campaign strategy shifts with cleaner data and optimized targeting models. In the age of AI, winners will be driven by effective media strategies rather than political ideologies.
Round 36!

What I'm Watching
Films written by Aaron Sorkin. I watched Moneyball this past weekend as well as The Social Network and Molly’s Game in the few months prior. All differ greatly, but reading into the mind of the creator revealed similarities across broader storylines and thematic elements. The films all speak to some progressive, unorthodox realization of reality. The protagonists’ endeavors are driven by some intense misfortune or personal pain, all which seemingly have no ‘simple’ answer.
Highly recommend all three, though Social Network is an absolute must watch.
There are some fascinating videos on the ‘Sorkin’ process that better define his methodology and depict such elements in play.
Aaron Sorkin - How To Develop Characters
How I Wrote The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin's Writing Process)
Update - The first video shows some of the interactions between Sorkin and Social Network director David Fincher. Just watched another Fincher-directed movie last night: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Overwhelmingly intense.
What May Redefine Social Networks
The Facebook Oversight Board. I wrote about the board a few months back, and more specifically the shifting of focus from technology driven initiatives to moderation and oversight.
The Board is meant to act as a supreme court of sorts, non-partisan and independent from Facebook’s core team. As social platforms continue to grow and ideas propagate further, the need to better assess content and evaluate against established standards will grow in parallel.
I’m sure this initiative and the need for a more structured and encompassing governing force will continue to take hold over social networks. If these platforms influence public perception which dictate choices for candidates and subsequent policies, the need for platform oversight becomes ever more crucial.
Oversight Board to Start Hearing Cases - About Facebook
Who I Feel For
The team at Quibi. Any startup venture requires a certain level of aptitude and tenacity, but taking on the social/video market is another level of willpower. Short form video content is ever-evolving by nature; preferences for such quick bites rarely stick in the same way preferences for long-form movies often do. Quibi inhabited a strange space in between streaming platforms like Netflix and our short-form friend Tik Tok, though never carved out a defined sweet spot.
I’ve seen countless articles and posts that ‘predicted’ the fall of Quibi and its inability to survive with COVID, as well as a bashing on their helplessness and falling customer interest. It’s difficult seeing the celebrations of predicted failures more prominent than an unexpected success. Andrew Chen, a partner at Andreesen Horowitz, wrote a post that I feel quite succinctly addresses the millions of general consumers who ‘foresaw’ such a conclusion:
All the people rushing to their keyboards to type in their “i told you so” hot takes on Quibi:
It’s gross. Building a company is hard, why celebrate a fail?
Go build something instead of using your energy to let twitter know how smart you are the say the consensus thing.
Prob not a lot of Quibi team reading social media today but:
y'all tried something hard. Respect. I thought the app was well done. The vertical video, scrubber UI, and lots of new content all the time.
If you apply to a co I’m involved w/, I see Quibi as a badge of honor, not a fail
For the haters-
It takes zero courage predict startup failure. Most fail. 50% return <1x invested, 10-20% get a small bit of return. It’s just hard
I don’t read a tweet trashing a startup, then conclude the author is so clever. But I get people want to get their follow count up
Here’s how I judge your startup hot takes:
Consensus + positive = cheesy
Contrarian + positive = genius
Contrarian + negative = skeptic
Consensus + negative = jerk
I just find the latter takes to be gross/annoying. You’re not smarter than anyone. Just punching down for fun?
Backlash is easy to come by. Taking risks is not.
Thank you all for reading! Until next week.
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