Interview with Jacob Applebaum in Berlin


Meet Jacob Appelbaum: New Berliner, exiled hacktivist, passionate idealist and a longtime collaborator of Julian Assange, a close friend of Edward Snowden confidants Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald.

So why Berlin?

Berlin has an incredible culture of resistance. I have been coming to Berlin for many years because of the Chaos Computer Club, and I’ve worked with Der Spiegel in the context of WikiLeaks. I have a lot of close friends here in the art world and in the computer hacker world and in the journalistic world. I exist at the intersection of those three worlds, and Berlin makes me very happy.

So, how do you get people to go to the next level – from awareness to action?

We have to have a lot more than just individual actions. My recycling does not save the environment. It is a useful part of a much bigger picture. We need industrial action on a planetary scale. For example we have to re-engineer the way telecommunication systems work. Why can the NSA wiretap entire countries? Because the infrastructure is designed to be wiretapped and they exploit it. And that needs to be changed. The reality is that most people trust the defaults of their electronic devices. Until the architecture is privacy by design, we will have privacy by policy. Privacy by policy will always be violated by people who do not feel that they are constrained by that policy. We have to work to change the way our infrastructure works. To make it actually secure.

Berlin has an incredible culture of resistance.

But many don’t feel that concerned – as internet users, they just want to accomplish certain tasks and are unbothered about corporate or political use of their personal data….

Saying, “Oh I’m not interesting, no one will want to watch me” as a way of coping with this stress is understandable. But I would re-frame it as “intelligence agencies are normal people”. The capabilities necessary to tap a cell phone costs €1000 or less. The methods are available to everyone – an ex-lover, a competitive journalist… So, it’s about choice, not whether or not you have something to hide. There are businesses that exploit people’s lack of knowledge, and, yes, we should question the centralisation of businesses like Facebook and Twitter. We have to deal with corporate surveillance and government surveillance and the ties between them. It is a big problem. But it is something we can solve.

You called Facebook Stasibook…

Yes, because of its close collaboration with the state. They have an entire department that does nothing but turn over data to police, governments and other requesting parties. I’m sure that the FBI went to Facebook for any data that they had on me. The Department of Justice went to Twitter and Google for me. I think the big fallacy is to think that because people use Facebook they don’t care about privacy. But what is the alternative for most people? The reality is that if you live in London, when you walk down the street, it’s a privacy-violating channel of information. But what can you do? You won’t stay inside all the time, which doesn’t mean you don’t care about the cameras. So, we must build alternatives so that people can choose. And we can do it.

Read the full interview in Exberliner here.

Watch a MUST SEE talk by Jacob Applenbaum here.

The role of experimentation


This blog post has a good segment about the importance of experimentation in contemporary marketing:

For a brand to improve, the first step is to experiment. Having set out some clear objectives that, ideally, can be related to a valuable return on investment, the modus operandi must follow the pattern: Act, (Fail), Learn and Improve.

Because digital marketing speaks directly to the customer and because that customer is impatient and expecting greater transparency, a brand embroiled in internal politics, without a clear voice or sense of direction will inevitably break down if it is not customer centric.

Customer service departments know this only too well. Marketing in its new incarnation must consider customer service an extension of its tools. And, of course, digital marketing must be a part of every marketer’s repertoire.

As we like to say, we’d rather see a company where everyone is 1% community manager, than have a dedicated community manager, 100% responsible for managing the online community.

Once digital marketing is integrated into the fabric of the organization, there is an inevitable process that requires the entire organization to re-organize to channel the right information in real-time to the people who are manning the customer-facing platforms and networks.

Read the full blog post here.

EBOLA RELIEF: Martin Gore Calls for Increased Support

We are witnessing a human catastrophe in West Africa with the Ebola crisis. Direct Relief needs your help to airlift medicines and supplies to health workers in urgent need. Please join Martin Gore of Depeche Mode in support of Direct Relief’s efforts in West Africa. For every dollar donated to Direct Relief on this page, Martin will match the donation dollar for dollar, up to $50,000. Please donate today:

Michael Beinhorn on the U2 giveaway


I feel the prerelease giveaway of the new U2 record is actually a cultural phenomenon of immense significance and portends a new era for art and artists. The significance of this action is not simply about the flow of commerce and finding a new way to broaden this artist’s market, it also speaks directly to the current perceived valuelessness of music (and how this perception is not only the attitude of the consumer, but now, also that of the artists. In a way, U2 evince a sort of desperation through this action, perhaps to find any possible means for maintaining their music as a viable, living entity, instead of as part of a dying form). It may be interesting to consider this from another angle – U2 may have given their record away to half a billion Apple subscribers – but they have also forced it on them.

– Michael Beinhorn.

Please read my interview and playlist for Bang & Olufsen with Michael Beinhorn here.

10 ideas for Tim Cook from Apple


1. Ignore Wall Street.
2. The next time you want to buy an album for $100 million and give it away for free? Use BitTorrent.
3. If you want to launch a smartphone for payments, make it preloaded with a Bitcoin wallet.
4. If you want to launch an e-watch with health functions, combine it with a $10B donation to cancer research.
5. If you want to present fashion items for the fashionistas, get someone like Rick Owens to design and present.
6. Put some women on the stage.
7. Ask your friends kids what cool music is (and pay the independent artists handsomely for exploiting them in your marketing).
8. Fire the advertising agency. Use the budget for social platforms for young people to come up with ideas for the company.
9. Make a music streaming service that is cheap for the fans, but pay the artists more than handsomely.
10. Step down. Let Matt Mullenweg run the company (and make the new HQ a cancer research center).

Oh, and get a female friend to help you with dresscode for future public presentations. Tuck in the shirt before going on stage. Use proven technology for live streaming that actually works. Like YouTube.