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We are in the process of becoming data [LeWeb]

We’re making far more data than we can derive actual value from, says John Battelle, Chairman and CEO of Federated Media Publishing. Battelle reckons that, as human beings, we are in the process of “becoming data” ourselves.

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Speaking at this year’s LeWeb London conference, the author and internet media enthusiast says that “we change our behaviour based on the technologies we endorse”. The more we use technology and interact with certain technologies the more our behaviour changes and we adapt.

“When we have data on everything: cars, bodies — we’ll have to ask what kind of a culture we want to live in,” he says. On average each person creates around 500GBs of data in year, for Battelle this is quite concerning because of questions around who owns that data.

Battelle reckons that the data we generate shouldn’t be owned by a big internet company like Google, Facebook or Apple. Rather, he says that “we need to be the platform for our own data”. As individuals we have to start taking responsibility for our own data rather than allowing it to stay in the hands of big companies.

“Each of us needs to take individual responsibility of our data,” says Battelle.

The author says that in this society driven by data that we are in danger of taking everything that is physical digital and hence its all becoming liquid and shareable. He argues that this is the reason we have so many entrepreneurs today: if everything is liquid someone will try to “solve for that problem”.

This is the subject of Battelle’s next book, which is concerned with looking at the artifacts of today and what will happen when they become the norm and “a billion people start using them.”

“In the future, big companies might start insisting that their employees use products like Fitbit because their insurance will go down” because their workforce would be healthier, he says.

Batelle says the book will explore issues of knowing everything and “almost all that is knowable will be known” and we’re entering that era now.

As a co-founder of Wired Magazine, he is optimistic about how society will adapt to the future with the immersion of technology and data.

Advertising is about content and context

There are very specific trends in advertising that are emerging, he says, arguing that the big trends — programmatic ad-tech, open conversation and native (content) advertising — will eventually be the future of advertising. Batelle argues that a form of native advertising will soon emerge such that the right type of advertising will be “placed in the right place and in the context and that is an extraordinary thing”.

“Advertising is content and it should be good content the consumer wants to consume,” he says. “Marketers need to be able to have a conversation with their customers, outscaling the digital.”

Corporations have to learn how to be what they are, because corporations are people, he says. This means that they have to figure out our to be have a real human voice.

He argues that “marketing isn’t wrong or bad, it should be done well”.

Battelle says he is “100% certain that there will be ads on Google Glass”. He feels that while Google Glass will be a success it will probably not be in the next year.

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