The discussion by the four all-star panelists at ad:tech's penultimate keynote presentation Playing to Win in 2013: Amazon, Apple, Facebook & Google was so deep with insight, it would be foolish to try to summarize it in its entirety. Instead, here is a list of the best quotes from the conversation and the context they were presented in.
Owner of The Dallas Mavericks and noted business magnate Mark Cuban (read our exclusive pre-conference interview with him here!), CMO of MEplusYOU Ian Wolfman, Global CMO of MediaCom Stephanie Fierman and Chief Storyteller and Senior VP of Marketing of SAP Julie Roehm had many great quotes to bring away from the conference. Here were the top 10:
#10 “They got to where they are because the male population never realized before how many hot women there were across the country.”
After a few minutes bashing Facebook when he was supposed to be pointing out their positives, moderator Molly Wood pressed Mark on how Facebook got to where they were, thus leading to the above gem. He had just finished noting that, after Facebook’s public offering, they shifted “180 degrees, from customer-focused to investor-focused.”
#9 “You can’t run a company by a strategy of making everything smaller and thinner.”
Considering this point was made when Stephanie was supposed to be listing the positives about Apple, you can see where her feeling on the post-Jobs-era Apple track record lay. She later piled on, saying that “Apple is the company that everyone wants to work with but they don’t know why.” The other panelists generally agreed, with Mark later adding that Apple is in the business of “shifting paradigms,” something they haven’t done successfully since the iPad.
#8 “They own the most data out there. They have basically become Skynet.”
Ian, and the other panel members as well, spoke about Google in a half-praising, half-terrified manner, noting the recent “consolidation” of their privacy policies that now allow them to access far more private data than ever before. Later, Julie agreed that Google’s practices “seem scary.”
#7 “A lot of my companies were invested in Facebook Pages, and all of the sudden we had to pay for our friends. I’m used to paying for my friends, but give me a choice! Don’t make me do it!”
There’s Mark on Facebook, expressing some very personal anger at the company. The others mostly agreed, with Stephanie later adding, “When you drop an intrusive advertisement into the user experience, you are interrupting something very precious and sensitive.”
#6 “Transparency and customer service. That’s what every single person said.”
Julie was speaking about the friends she reached out to on social media for their thoughts on Amazon, which were universally positive. The panel agreed, praising Amazon’s business-to-business model, though they questioned if Amazon would ever make the leap ahead of Apple and Google as a platform.
#5 “Let me whip this out real quick.”
Yet another potent quotable by Mark, which led to Ian encouraging the audience to immediately tweet the quote out of context. He was, of course, talking about the first iPhone, and the “cool factor” that early adopters felt when using it to try and attract girls. He seemed to lose the rest of the panel a bit with his wording, but the overall point about Apple’s brand image was well understood.
#4 “Massive baggage, big ship to turn, but I wouldn’t count them out.”
To answer the question of which company was most likely to crack the four major platforms discussed at next year’s ad:tech, Stephanie, surprisingly, chose Yahoo. She qualified her statement by emphasizing its overall unlikelihood, but Mark at least seemed to agree, saying that he bought stock in the company after new CEO Marissa Mayer was announced this past July. Of course, he then urged everyone never to follow his investment lead.
#3 “Their interface revolutionized how everyone relates to product.”
Julie summed up Apple’s genius the best of everyone. Still, the panel questioned how much of that genius was tied to Tim Cook and whether it was sustainable over the long run, or if we’d already seen the best of it.
#2 “They should start giving away Kindles with subscription. Buy two books and get a Kindle for free. Do a land grab.”
This was Ian’s innovative plan for Amazon to take the platform lead. The rest of the panelists generally agreed, feeling that Amazon’s transparency, customer service and robust social component have positioned it well to take a run at the other, more ubiquitous, platforms.
#1 “Walking around downstairs [in the exhibition hall], there’s too many optimizations of the same thing. If everyone’s going somewhere, you’ve got to go somewhere else.”
Mark, dropping a final bit of knowledge on the audience toward the end of the panel. He also managed to fit in a random prediction for the future: Personalized medicine. “Like media, medicine will be personalized. In 15 years, the idea that we all took the same bottle Aspirin from behind the counter, that we would take a pill that says 'you may be the one unlucky schmuck that dies from this' on the bottle—that will seem crazy to us.”
Just one more thing to think about until the next ad:tech.
(View this and other ad:tech New York keynotes and sessions here.)
This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech New York event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.