TWIL Episode 5 Examines the Future of Work and Ad-Supported Media

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Episode 5 of “This Week in Local” podcast tackles two issues on the minds of Localogy analysts Mike Boland and Charles Laughlin.

One issue is the validity of claims that ad-supported media is either dead or dying in our new privacy-first era. The other is what impact Shopify’s decision to eliminate recurring meetings will have on the future of work.

TWIL is Localogy’s weekly podcast featuring brief (sub 30 minute) but “lively conversations on the local digital ecosystem.” We hope you have enjoyed the podcast so far. And please subscribe to TWIL on Apple Podcasts, Google PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Always Overblown

This short podcast episode begins with Mike talking about how reports of the death of ad-supported media may be premature, a topic he covered last week on Localogy Insider

“On the last episode, we talked about the propensity of the tech press to jump all over any sort of ‘killer’ designations. Like ‘So and so is the latest Google killer’, right? It’s schadenfreude…And of course, it’s always overblown.”

Mike traced the chatter around the death of ad-supported media to two sources. One is the privacy movement which has been pushing back on targeting and other features of the ad tech era. And the other is the Web3 mindset that advocates for decentralization and believes creators should be able to directly monetize their content via micropayments.

However, Mike cited recent survey data showing that all but the highest earners among us remain more than happy to let advertisers foot the bill. 

This segment then evolved into a discussion of the relative merits of paid vs ad-supported content. Charles raised the issue of the fast-growing newsletter space, with platforms like Substack giving journalists and other creators an opportunity to sell their content directly to their followers. As Mike noted, this is kind of a Web3 ideal without using the mechanics of Web3.

Death by Meeting No More

The two analysts then pivoted to a discussion of Shopify’s recent decision to eliminate recurring meetings. Mike called recurring meetings a triumph of form over function when it should be the other way around. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of companies get a lot [of] chatter on Slack, [with employees] saying ‘When are we going to do a Shopify and get rid of all these? I’ve got eight recurring meetings a week. And I’d like to have zero’,” Charles said on the episode.

This thread on the podcast also led to a discussion of what some familiar names in local like Howard Lerman (Roam) and David Shim (Read AI) are doing with their future-of-work-related startups. Both founders applauded Shopify’s move in LinkedIn posts last week. 

Finally, this segment of the episode generated a prediction of sorts. As the two analysts talked about Roam (a hybrid workplace platform) and Read AI (online meeting analytics and optimization tools), Mike shared the following idea.

“My M&A flag just went up as you were talking. When we look at what Roam’s doing and what David Shim is doing with Read AI…in terms of Howard structuring these meetings, and then David for the analytics, there could be some synergies there. So those two should be talking to each other.”

You can also find this “Form, Function, and M&A Flags” episode of the podcast (and all others) on Localogy’s YouTube channel. Please subscribe to this channel if you prefer to get your content on YouTube. 

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