How free porn enriched the tech industry — and ruined the lives of actors

Journalist Jon Ronson describes his new podcast series, The Butterfly Effect, this way: “It’s about what constitutes a reputable person and what constitutes a disreputable person.”

More specifically, The Butterfly Effect is a four-hour, seven-part exploration of the impact of the tech industry on the porn industry. It’s about the way free porn sites, notably PornHub, have made it very hard for porn workers to make a living.

The music industry has gone through similar upheaval, but musicians get more sympathy than porn actors (and can make money doing live gigs), Ronson says.

In the podcast, Ronson interviews Fabian Thylmann, PornHub’s millionaire founder, along with a spectrum of sex industry performers and creators struggling to make ends meet. For instance, Ronson profiles Mike Quasar, a porn cameraman and director, who tells Ronson he’s powerless to stop his films from being instantly pirated online. (The volume of streaming sites and sharing methods makes it hard for porn companies, often strapped for resources, to fight piracy.) Some porn stars make niche custom videos — performing content in ways requested by specific fans, for a fee — in order to survive financially.

For two decades since Them, a best-seller on extremists, Ronson has been creating engaging, funny accounts of people on society’s margins. The Welshman turned New Yorker’s last book was So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, about the internet pile-ons against the likes of inappropriate tweeter Justine Sacco.

In a wide-ranging conversation — lightly edited and condensed — Ronson discussed porn’s future, Alex Jones, and legitimized bullying.

Alexander Bisley

So these sites like PornHub, which are stealing porn and giving it away for free, have wildly depressed the money available for productions and the fees the performers are able to get, right?

Jon Ronson

Yes. So a lot of people are making a lot less money and are working much, much longer hours to make that money. That’s happening a lot. Whereas the people in charge of PornHub are making so much money they don’t know what to do with it.

These tech people who’ve never set foot on a porn set in their lives, these optimizers and algorithm people and AB testers, these “respectable people” — they’re the ones who seem to be causing the most trouble [in] the lives of porn performers.

I saw time and time again, people [in the porn industry] would have to move from pretty nice houses to much smaller houses. Porn performers have to go into escorting to pay the rent. More and more producers are going out of business. So in many ways it’s decimating the San Fernando Valley, but the tech people are doing very well.

The tech takeover of the world isn’t being criticized enough. It’s having these seismic changes, and people tend not to think about it because they’re giving the world what it wants, which is free porn.

Alexander Bisley

What do you think the future of porn will be, given this seismic shift?

Jon Ronson

I was just reading a comment on Slate that addressed this question. The commenter — Allen Garvin — wrote, “Dirty magazines are dying, porn shops are dying, mainstream porn video companies are dying (or else getting into extreme fetishes). People that go to porn conventions or show up at strip clubs to see specific porn actresses are getting older each year, with young men failing to replace them because they get their porn for free.”

I think all that’s true. So what will take its place? Amateur porn shot on cellphones. Some of those people will get deals with PornHub, and the like, where they’ll make some money from clicks, but it’ll be a fraction of what they would have made in the pre-streaming days.

And the people who built the industry? Some will move into customs and niche fetish stuff; most others will just vanish away into the ether.

Alexander Bisley

One of PornHub’s tech guys, exploiting performers’ work, boasted to you: “I’m not a piece of garbage, peddling smut.”

Jon Ronson

When I ask him about the people whose lives were being decimated as a result of the business practices, he went, “Ugh, okay. Their livelihood.” He talked like a tech utopian, somebody who thinks the tech world can do no wrong. A lot of tech people go out of their way to not think about the negative consequences. You shouldn’t not think about those insidious consequences.

Alexander Bisley

Tech guys like the one you quote above basically dehumanize the labor?

Jon Ronson

Yeah. In the same way we dehumanize people that we tear apart on social media. Or in the same way that despots from the past dehumanized their victims. We just don’t wanna think about it. And that’s one of the reasons my public shaming book got some backlash, because people didn’t want to be confronted with the truth of the psychological tricks they play on themselves to not feel bad about the bad things they do.

Alexander Bisley

Since Them: Adventures With Extremists, your book and documentary series about conspiracy theorists, the idea of humanizing the dehumanized has featured in your work. Alex Jones, a far-right conspiracy theorist that has interviewed Trump on his show, was one of your early subjects, both in writing and in documentary. Did you go too far in humanizing him?

Jon Ronson

I’ve thought a lot about this, and I think Alex has changed. Alex is a different person now compared to how he was when I first knew him in the late ’90s. A lot of people who work for Alex would probably say the same thing. So the way we should regard him, the way we should write about him, should change. He’s changed partly because he’s more powerful now, and he’s richer, and he’s got an ally in the White House, and some of his conspiracy theories have got darker.

A couple of years ago, when Alex suddenly made a fortune from the Super Male Vitality supplements and so on, that’s pretty much exactly the same time that his discourse got more aggressive. As much as he denies saying that Sandy Hook didn’t happen, he did promote that conspiracy theory.

Alexander Bisley

How do you feel about the future of media?

Jon Ronson

I strongly believe the future for that industry of broadcasters is to welcome idiosyncratic voices and then just give them the freedom to do just that, which is exactly what Netflix did with Bong Joon-Ho for Okja, a film I co-wrote, and what Audible did with me and The Butterfly Effect. The days of gatekeepers making you jump through hoops is kinda over.

Alexander Bisley

The Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap, wrote a compelling essay about the Internet zeitgeist. “I have become increasingly wary of morality disguised as politics and of our reversion to a language redolent of sin and shaming, certainty and righteousness.”

Jon Ronson

Yeah. The way I would describe it is legitimized bullying. The destruction of people like Justine Sacco [who tweeted an inappropriate joke that launched a viral pile-on and that led to her being fired] — what of social justice? It was a cathartic alternative to social justice.

When you’re bullied in school, quite often, you’re bullied by everyone. You don’t have friends to turn to. Monica Lewinsky, in an interview I did with her, told me of her scandal: “I was hung out to dry by everyone; I didn’t belong to any group.” That’s the same as what happened to Justine Sacco — she was hung out to dry by everyone: Misogynists hated her, philanthropists hated her, social justice people hated her, Donald Trump tweeted about her. So that’s probably why I felt so animated about that story … because it reminded me of school. When you’re being bullied by everybody, it’s legitimized bullying.

In a way, it’s the reason I wanted to do The Butterfly Effect as well. Because it’s a story about every time somebody watches porn for free on PornHub, they are potentially exploiting the lives of the porn people they’re watching.

Alexander Bisley

David Simon, creator of the sex work–themed television show The Deuce, believes a big problem with porn and sex work is poor labor rights.

Jon Ronson

Definitely in terms of royalties, back-end and stuff like that, porn people would agree with David Simon. Where they might disagree is that there’s definitely a narrative out there about porn people being forced to do things they don’t want to do on set by exploitative directing. Maybe their boyfriends were coercing them in some cases. But I can say that the side of the San Fernando Valley industry that we were in for a year on and off [making The Butterfly Effect], I saw nothing like that. That may happen in Miami and Las Vegas.

But the [Valley] directors and the producers and the other porn actors — it’s basically a kindhearted and respectful community, certainly more than outsiders might think. It has its problems, but it’s way more collegiate than outsiders would think it.

Alexander Bisley

What might surprise listeners about The Butterfly Effect?

Jon Ronson

Probably the most surprising thing about the series is how moving and endearing it gets. How supportive the performers are to each other. And in the world of custom, in the world of bespoke porn, how there’s this really lovely bond between the cast and producers and their client, their fans. A bunch of people have said they’ve never thought that a series about the tech takeover of the porn industry would make them cry, but the end of the series will make you cry.

Alexander Bisley

And challenge them?

Jon Ronson

There’s this amazing line in episode five of The Butterfly Effect where I’m talking to this girl who was a big porn watcher, and I said to her: “Did you ever learn their names?” And she said: “No, I never learned their names. It’s like when you kill a deer; you don’t name it because then you can’t eat it.”

Alexander Bisley

In addition to the pressure for some of them to work as escorts, porn stars have to be an enthusiastic brand all over social media. Is that a challenge?

Jon Ronson

Yes! In episode two I meet this woman called Maci May who was having a terrible time, and she used to vent about it on social media but now she’s much more wary because you have to be like a brand. She can’t tweet, “I don’t have any money.” She’s discouraged from acting that way by porn producers and directors who say to her: “No, no, you’ve got to constantly be chirpy and happy.”

When she said that to me, I thought, “That’s really sad.” In a parallel universe, there’d be a Twitter where Maci May could do all of that stuff, vent about how unhappy she was. But that’s not the Twitter we created for ourselves, sadly.

Alexander Bisley

“Sex is probably the most interesting subject in the world,” Paul Auster says.

Jon Ronson

I would never disagree with anything Paul Auster says, because he’s amazing. … I never thought of sex as interesting. What I thought was interesting about The Butterfly Effect wasn’t sex, but it was about what constitutes a reputable person and what constitutes a disreputable person. The thing that really got me interested was this idea that tech people are considered reputable; sex workers, porn people are considered disreputable. But this story shows that the porn people and the sex workers are supportive, kindhearted, lovely people, whereas the tech people are amoral, ruthless people.

source;-Vox

Martech enablement series: Part 7 — Insights, intelligence and integration

Welcome to Part 7 of: “A Nine Part Practical Guide to Martech Enablement.” This is a progressive guide, with each part building on the previous sections and focused on outlining a process to build a data-driven, technology-driven marketing organization within your company. Below is a list of the previous articles for your reference:

  • Part 1: What is Martech Enablement?
  • Part 2: The Race Team Analogy
  • Part 3: The Team Members
  • Part 4: Building the Team
  • Part 5: The Team Strategy
  • Part 6: Building the Car

In these previous parts, we looked at how your martech team is parallel to an automobile race team. We spent time investigating how a race team constructs their team and then builds a strategy for winning their individual races and the overall race series. We then looked at how this is also a successful approach to constructing and strategizing for a martech team, identifying this process as “martech enablement.”

As we discussed in Part 1 of this guide, martech enablement is ultimately about obtaining insights and providing tools and processes to take action to affect your marketing efforts in your marketing organization. In Part 6, we discussed “building the car” with a focus on breaking down the systems in your martech stack that allow you to take action.

In this article, we will explore the systems that provide insights and enable team collaboration. We’ll also look at tying them all together with integration approaches, tools and strategies. Once again, a shout-out to Scott Brinker for producing the “Marketing Technology Landscape” to help make sense of all the martech products available.

Insights and intelligence

When you’re driving your car, a number of tools inform you how to take action. Looking out your windshield, windows and mirrors gives you immediate data that you respond to. Additionally, you have tools like your instrument dashboard, GPS, traffic data, your radio, and even your passengers.

Race drivers and the team as a whole have sophisticated systems in and around the car that are collecting information, as well as experts to analyze the information in real time, providing actionable insights that the team can use before, during and after the race. This is a huge part of the team’s competitive advantage that they use to win races.

Part of the martech enablement process is to leverage the data within your martech stack so that experts within your team can analyze that information to provide actionable insights, so your marketing organization can win your race.

To reiterate a point made in Part 6 of this guide, a solid data strategy is one of the most important components of martech enablement. This provides the foundation for extracting and “mashing” this data in a way that you can measure. A sound approach is to understand your organization’s KPIs (key performance indicators) and craft a data strategy that supports collecting data to enable measurement of those KPIs.

Many systems and categories of tools assist in the area of gaining insights. Below is a list of some of the systems used to provide visibility and understanding:

  • Web analytics platforms
  • AI/predictive analytics
  • MPM — Marketing performance management
  • Marketing attribution systems
  • Business intelligence (BI) systems
  • Dashboards
  • Data visualization tools
  • Social media monitoring
  • Sales intelligence
  • Audience and market research data

As you progress through the martech enablement process, your “insights” toolset will grow in both size and maturity. I want to remind you to stay focused on letting this part of your stack evolve from the incremental team objectives and series and race goals. Don’t lead with a goal of creating a cool BI environment or dashboard. Let these grow out of the goals driving the martech enablement process.

Strategic vs. tactical insights

I want to spend a minute discussing the difference between strategic and tactical insights and their alignment with your team, series and race objectives. For a refresher on these, see Part 5 of this guide.

When measuring and analyzing performance against your team and series goals, you’re looking at strategic insights where understanding the current level and performance trend is desirable. Think in terms of tools that show you the results of your marketing efforts across time. A tactical insight will generally be more closely aligned with your race goals and will be a singular value or KPI.

Relating this to our race team analogy, a strategic goal could be wanting to improve the team’s average finish position from the current state to some future targeted goal. Over time, you could measure and graph the improvement and trend toward that goal.

A tactical goal might be the desire to come in third place or better in a particular race. Your insight tool could represent that number as a single KPI. That isn’t to say that you may never analyze performance trends during a race, such as average lap speed. But there are values that benefit from analyzing as a trend and others that are just fine to analyze as a current and ending value.

Team management and collaboration

When it comes to management and collaboration in the race team, both pre-race and race-day systems are needed to support the team’s operations. These tools are necessary to get things done right in your marketing organization. Good management and collaboration tools help great people be a great team. Here are some of those systems:

  • Project management
  • Workflow
  • Collaboration tools
  • Business Process Management (BPM)/Agile & Lean
  • Talent management
  • Vendor management
  • Budget and finance

The nuts, bolts, welds, hoses and wires

It’s important to have a strategy and tools to hold all of this together. There are a few strategies to contemplate with systems integration and martech. Your marketing organization will likely take several different approaches to integration. These are generally broken down into three categories: native integration, IPaaS (integration platform as a service) and custom integration.

As technology matures, and the interoperability of products grows, companies are building “connectors” that allow for the exchange of data between their products and other widely used ones. These native integrations generally require some technical implementation or configuration, but the product manufacturers have done much of the heavy lifting to allow for the exchange of data between systems they have connectors for.

IPaaS is a “suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on-premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organizations,” according to Gartner. These platforms enable a more systematic way of creating and controlling data exchanges between products in your martech stack.

Custom development is as it sounds: a process in which software engineers develop custom applications to create and manage data exchanges between products and systems in your martech stack. Regardless of whether you take advantage of the aforementioned native integrations or IPaaS, you will likely at some level need to leverage good technologists to do some custom integration work along your path to martech enablement.

Stack it up!

To review, all the categories of the stack between Part 6, “Building the car,” and this part, “Supporting technologies,” your cohesive martech stack is composed of the following types of systems:

Intro to Part 8: Running the series and the races

Now that we’ve gone through the people, the strategy and the stack, we can move on to the execution part of martech enablement. In Part 8 of the guide, we’ll get into how your team iteratively and incrementally moves your marketing organization toward digital transformation and maturity.

I look forward to continuing to share with you about martech enablement in Part 8 of this guide.


Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily MarTech Today. Staff authors are listed here.


[“Source-martechtoday”]

LG Will Be First to Introduce Phone with Android Nougat — But What Does That Even Mean?

LG Will Be First to Introduce Phone with Android Nougat -- But What Does That Even Mean?

LG (KRX:066570) has announced it will unveil it’s latest phone — the v20 — on September 6. And one thing at least is for certain. The phone will be the first to run the new Android Nougat operating system. But what does that mean exactly and how useful will the phone be for business communications?

The announcements of new smartphones and mobile operating systems are met with great anticipation because of the reliance on these devices. Customers want innovative features and useful applications to improve the way they communicate, work, play, shop and more. So it is not surprising that the level of expectation is that much higher with the announcement that LG’s new flagship phone will be the first to ship with the latest Android operating system inside.

As far as the V20 goes, the only thing LG has revealed is that it will build upon the “rich multimedia” experiences the V10 brought. (That phone was released lasted year.)

But Juno Cho, president of LG Electronics and Mobile Communications Company said in an official release: “The LG V20 upgrades and extends its predecessor’s cutting-edge multimedia features a step further, providing distinctive mobile experience and sets a new standard for premium phones for consumers.”

So any other features discussed in the media are pretty much speculation until LG makes more information available. However, Engadget has reported the V20 will have a “dual front selfie” camera, a second screen similar to the V10, and will be the first phone with a built-in 32-bit DAC (digital to analog converter).

The phone is slated for release in the third quarter of 2016, with no specific date set by LG.

What About Android Nougat?

Nougat is the latest mobile operating system from Android, and just like the previous versions it is named after a sweet treat (even though the popular choice amongst users was Nutella). Google made the developer preview available early, and it is now on version 5, which will be the last one before general availability.

During I/O 2016, Google said Android N (as it was known at the time) will focus on performance, security and productivity, features that are essential in today’s smartphones because they are increasingly becoming part of the workforce ecosystem.

Performance

Nougat has the new Vulkan 3D graphics API, which has been designed to allow developers to get better details into graphical frames. It can improve graphical performance on regular apps by 30 to 60 percent, making gamers that much happier.

A new JIT (just-in-time) compiler will be able to install apps up to 75 percent faster while reducing the compiled code size by 50 percent. This will result in improved battery life because it won’t tax the processor as much.

Security

The popularity of Android makes it a great target for hackers, and the way it is distributed makes it that much more challenging to secure. In order to address this problem, Nougat will implement a three-pronged approach: a file-based encryption, automatic software updates in the background, and media framework hardening to ensure the safety of the device when users are accessing media and media types.

Productivity

Smartphones are used to get things done. Activities can include work, play, shopping, paying bills and a host of other tasks.  With that in mind Nougat has introduced several productivity tools to help in these endeavors.

The new Direct Reply feature lets you directly reply to messages, emails and other form of communications directly from the notification bar. The reply options also include 72 new realistic Unicode 9 emoji glyphs, so you can make your point without having to say a word.

A new multi-window feature will allow users to Split Screen, so you can video conference on one side, while looking at relevant information on the other.

Last but not least is Daydream, Google’s new VR platform. Even though Google will have its own headset, the support in Android Nougat means phone makers that are Daydream-ready will be able to take advantage of the growing popularity of virtual reality.

Android Nougat will have a total of 250 new features, and phones such as the LG V20 will come ready out of the box so users can have a better experience when they communicate, work and play.

Image: LG

More in: Google

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Acer Swift 7 and Spin 7 Seem Useful for Mobile Business — If You Don’t Mind the Price

The Small Acer Laptops, Swift 7 and Spin 7, Seem Useful for Mobile Business -- If You Don’t Mind the Price

When Apple launched the MacBook Air, it introduced a new level of portability in computing with a very slim form factor and functionality that got everyone’s attention. Although it has taken a while, Acer (TPE:2353) has one upped Apple with the announcement of its new laptop and a two-in-one, called the Swift 7 and Spin 7 respectively, at the IFA 2016 in Berlin.

The need for small and powerful portable computing is extremely important for business users, because remote work, collaboration and hosted services are all key for the way today’s workforce access digital technology. And the two computers by Acer are not only slim, but they also feature the latest Intel processors so you should be able to tackle even the most demanding applications without too much trouble.

A Look at the New Small Acer Laptops

The Swift 7

Small Acer Laptops: The Swift 7

The Swift 7 is 0.39-inches or 9.98mm thick (or thin), making it the first laptop thinner than a centimeter, and according to the company, the world’s thinnest laptop. At only 2.48 pounds it is also light, but Acer has added powerful components that business users now demand with their portable computing.

This laptop is a Windows 10 machine with a 13.3-inch Full HD IPS display that is powered by the latest Intel 7th-generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. The system doesn’t have a fan, so it is a passively cooled design with an aluminum uni-body chassis.

Small Acer Laptops: The Swift 7

The Swift 7 has two USB-C 3.1 ports and a headphone jack with a battery that Acer says will give you nine hours of power by leveraging the new Intel chipset.

The wireless connectivity delivers 3X faster wireless speeds using a 2×2 802.11ac with MU-MIMO technology.

A feature that might seem odd is the very large touchpad. The company says it will give you more space to navigate with so you can scroll and click with improved accuracy.

Small Acer Laptops: The Swift 7 Has a Wide Precision Touchpad

The Swift 7 is going to be available first in China sometime in September, followed by the US and Europe in October for $999.99.

The Convertible Spin 7

Small Acer Laptops: The Convertible Spin 7

The Spin 7 is a two-in-one that is also slim, coming in at 0.43 inches (10.98mm) thin and weighing 2.6 pounds. It also runs on Windows 10 along with Continuum, an application that can detect the device that is being used and adjust accordingly to optimize the functionality. What this means for the business user is, when you switch from laptop to tablet, Continuum will modify the system so you can be more efficient.

The processor for the Spin 7 is more powerful, taking advantage of the Intel Core i7, but the RAM, storage and ports are the same as the Swift 7. As for the battery, you get one hour less at eight hours, which is still respectable considering the size of the display.

The biggest difference from the Swift is the 14-inch full HD IPS touchscreen that flips all the way back. This flexibility lets you use the Spin 7 in four different modes: laptop, stand, tent and tablet.

Small Acer Laptops: The Convertible Spin 7

The price for the Spin is higher, starting at $1,199 and with the same availability date in the US.

Value

The Swift 7 and Spin 7 are not the cheapest portable computers, but the market is proving business users are willing to pay for powerful devices that are highly portable and functional. Apple, Microsoft,  Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi have similar products at very different price points. So if you are in the market for one of these computers, take your time and find out what your needs are, because you have many options.

Images: Acer

[“source-smallbiztrends”]