No. 173: Thinking About Ads Differently. Indexing Diversity.

Thinking about Ads Differently

One of the latent questions I’ve had about the tech industry is the seemingly unchecked dominance of advertising in tech company business models. Google. Facebook. Snap. Advertising is practically the sole driver of their businesses. Aren’t there more creative revenue streams for their businesses?

Benedict Evans turned that question on his head when he posted the above tweet. In the ensuing debate on the topic, Cindy Gallop posted a link to a fantastic keynote she gave at the 3% Conference, first addressing sexual harassment, then providing principles for how the tech industry should the opportunity to do good with advertising rather than seeing it as a necessary evil.

Indexing Diversity

Much has been written about how diverse management teams improve the performance of companies. Imagine being able to trade a public company’s stock based in part on an index reflecting the impact of the company’s workforce diversity on various performance metrics. ESG-focused investors include diversity in their models, but I’m sure there is a way to be more granular in analyzing this.

Over the past few years, more companies are releasing high level data on their diversity numbers. Ideally, this index would be based on granular data giving weight to where in the company employees sit. Gathering that data would be tough. LinkedIn is stingy with its API, but perhaps Jeff Weiner could be convinced or that information could be triangulated through geolocation, Twitter/Instagram bios, etc.

We live in a world where people of color are claiming more and more of their impact on the global economy. Adding this layer to how we invest in companies would be powerful in checking companies not founded/run by people of color or women who are not serious about diversity within their companies.


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