Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Hypocrisy and Digital Marketing’s Naivete

I’m writing this is a moving cab, but want to put this in front of you quickly, even if it is a bit raw.  Please read, and let me know what you think.

There was a buzz around the Internet yesterday as Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. blamed the iPad for joblessness.

“A few short weeks ago I came to the House floor after having purchased an iPad and said that I happened to believe, Mr. Speaker, that at some point in time this new device, which is now probably responsible for eliminating thousands of American jobs. Now Borders is closing stores because, why do you need to go to Borders anymore? Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad, download your book, download your newspaper, download your magazine.

Chicago State University, in my congressional district, in freshman class, they are not being given textbooks any longer. They are all being given iPads as they enter school. President Wayne Watson hopes to have a textbook-less campus in four years, where at this state university they will no longer have textbooks.

Well, what becomes of publishing companies and publishing company jobs? And what becomes of bookstores and librarians and all of the jobs associated with paper? Well, in the not too distant future, such jobs simply will not exist. Steve Jobs is doing pretty well. He’s created the iPad. Certainly, it has made life more efficient for Americans, but the iPad is produced in China. It is not produced here in the United States. So, the Chinese get to take advantage of our First Amendment value — that is to provide freedom of speech through the iPad to the American people. But there is no protection for jobs here in America to ensure that the American people are being put to work.”

I’d love your thoughts on this idea of managing innovation to maximize employment in “old economy jobs.”

Here’s the Gigantic Hypocrisy
Just a few weeks ago, the very same Jesse Jackson Jr. proposed amending the US Constitution to make sure that every student gets an iPod and a laptop (see the video of this — 50 seconds in — at the end of this post). Can anyone explain why iPad’s cause unemployment, yet iPods should be a constitutional right?

This is a Preview of Who Will Regulate Digital Marketing
I’ve worked in government close to telecom regulators, and built firms in regulated industsires. Congressman Jackson is exactly this kind of politician who is eager to decide what analytics and data of visits on your site you can retain.

Digital media is powerful and lucrative, and that makes it magnetic to politicians. Once regulated, there will be a new lobby. The more robust the regulation, the richer the contributions of that lobby will be.

There are many approaches to regulation, but one I’ve highlighted is the shift from considering your website or blog a press…and instead regulating it as a public accommodation.

We could avoid having our industry restructured by leaders like Representative Jackson with lobbying based on .001 percent of our current PPC budgets. I promise you regulation will decrease conversion rates and increase compliance costs.

It’s time for a far more robust response to this threat than what the DMA or AMA has mustered. They’ve not lobbied at the level that’s required to win this before it starts.  Expect more on this — but for now, please just read both of Representative’s Jackson statements and realize this: no matter how such leaders regulate, you lose.

His pro-iPod and anti-iPads stance are both cotton-headed.  The only way to win at regulation is to keep it out of the hands of elected officials. If you think design by committee stinks, just wait until your industry is structured by it.

3 Responses to "Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Hypocrisy and Digital Marketing’s Naivete"

  • Denny Manero

    April 21, 2011

    Sorry, Jesse. Digital and new tech is the only place left for huge growth — and the way to get there isn’t by refocusing on how to revive jobs that technology is killing. Wanting to be that economy is picking low growth, and leaving the knowledge economy for others.

  • Lisa Trizndale

    April 21, 2011

    Hey, ticking off Apple zealots is a source of endless trouble. I’m a tablet skeptic, but there’s a huge installed base — and last time a checked none of them are manufactured in the US.

    What’s funny is he didn’t say we should manufacture them. Just that they’re bad for jobs. Seriously, how many great jobs have apples products helped create in programming (apple II), design, and education. Apple’s products have had a huge cultural influence…that’s why they’re cultish.

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