Jean Foster  

Good afternoon everyone and welcome back. We're in our final session of the sea space stage at CES 2020. So and we've kept the best for last we're good the heavyweights of politics now coming up on the on the stage. We're going to be talking next about the intersection of the media politics and marketing. The session is going to be moderated by a friend, a neighbor of ours Arlington, Virginia Mike Allen of AXIOS is going to be joined on stage by Mark Penn the president and managing partner of Stockwell group and the chairman and CEO of MDC partners. And Rick Ridgeway, the VP of public engagement at Patagonia, another amazing brand. So please join me in welcoming Mike, Mark and Rick to the CES stage.


Mike Allen  

Jean. Thank you very much. Jean. Thank you and your CTA colleagues and everybody who's made this amazing, a couple days possible. And thank you for joining us. We have a couple of America's the world's most fascinating storytellers, people whose life is spent connecting politics and story, the collision of a lot of the topics that you're most passionate about. Rick Ridgeway I'm gonna start with you. You're someone you've been involved with Patagonia since the early 70s When your partner was a founder, you've been formerly with them for about 15 years. And you were telling me that when companies decide how to act on their core values, that it's not a matter of gut, there's a cerebral function to it. You talk a little bit about how you think about that.


Rick Ridgeway  

Yeah, I was explaining that. We make all of our decisions based on our values. And those values have come from nearly 50 years of introspection of asking ourselves, just, you know, why are we in business, but the value is also come from those of us who've been in the company for a long time that have really been connected to the outdoors to nature. So we're a values nature based company in it in a way that is really the headwaters of, of our values. You know, I was also sharing with Mike that when it comes to something like making a decision about a political engagement with our brand, we don't go out and ask our customers what they think about whatever particular issue we're considering. But we engage ourselves making our own decision. And it's not informed by some sort of fuzzy instinct, but it has to be aligned with those core values. And that's where all the decision making comes from.


Mike Allen  

Rick, I've spent time talking to your CEO rose Macario, about her values and how Patagonia goes about living out the eight words. We're in business to. We're in business, what you do the words


Rick Ridgeway  

to save our home planet, to save our own


Mike Allen  

planet. And you dived into that in the most high profile way possible. Patagonia versus Trump, you all took on the President when he was trying to pullback Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. Rick, you were involved in some of those meetings tell us how that momentous decision for a corporation one that most would shy away from tell us how that came about?


Rick Ridgeway  

Well, it goes back to the values again and one of our core values is using our business to support civil society and the nonprofit's representing civil society in their efforts to conserve and protect our public lands, but to protect all wild lands globally and without protection of wild lands, the wildlife that's there that is one of our deepest core values, but


Mike Allen  

you're suing the president you know that that.


Rick Ridgeway  

So the President proposes to reduce the size of one of our national monuments Bears Ears national monument that the Obama administration created, and we felt that was illegal that the President and the administration did not have a A legal foundation for that action, that it was contrary to the Antiquities Act. And that it was that it didn't have a constitutional basis. So we decided to sue the president because we felt that his position was illegal. But we didn't have to think deep and hard about that. Because, again, that decision came out of those core values that again, guides are our decision it we didn't go out to our customers and ask them you know, you think we the company should the brand should sue the President on this, but but but because our customers also recognize what our values are, we understood there's a free line so it was not a difficult decision.


Mike Allen  

Mark Penn you've advised more leaders couple Clinton's, Tony Blair, Menachem Bagan, you have advised corporations, Microsoft, and others. We were at a dinner not too long ago and you told me something very fascinating you were talking about the idea that if you want to Look at a successful brand and a successful campaign. They have some attributes in common.


Mark Penn  

Well, yes, I have, you know that when I look at kind of the intersection of politics and brands, not so much at this moment from the social perspective, but from the marketing perspective, which is I would say, Well, look, if there are five things that you can clearly recall or see about a campaign, does it have a memorable theme or slogan? Number Number one, you know, second doesn't have a story, a biographical story that incorporates its values, you know, third, you know, doesn't have a clear target, that it's going after in terms of the the terms of the voters that it's really looking for, doesn't have a set of issues that it really stands upon, and doesn't have edge against the competition.


Mike Allen  

Okay, so mark, just help us get our minds around this. Donald Trump. 2016 how many of those attributes did that brand campaign have?


Mark Penn  

Well see, it was quite obvious that you could identify all five of those, you know, almost any grade school student could have told you make America great again, here, he was a billionaire businessman who would, you know, who would fix things and taken uncon unconventional view, you know, he had issues clearly trade and trade, immigration, crime, you know, taxes. Clearly he he had edge against the competition, calling them crooked everything under the sun, and he had a target working class America. So when a campaign has all five things filled in, not only the candidate know what to do, but everybody working in the campaign knows what to do. And that's why when you look at the other campaigns that didn't have it, or you look at brand campaigns that you're running, and you say to yourself, do they have the brand equivalents in the corporate world


Mike Allen  

and so on the Penn checklist, the Penn quarter that you have there. The quintuple. How are the 2020 democrats doing?


Mark Penn  

Well, nobody's got all five. First of all, I there are no slogans that that anybody can remember. Nobody's nobody's really, really talking about them. There's a couple of people with issues. You know, there's some biographical information. You know, Biden's got kind of his experience as a vice president. Warren's getting her bio out there a little bit. And I think she's got issues like Medicare for all and Bernie Sanders has his kind of socialist positioning. Biden isn't as clear on some of the some of the issues. They all have. They're all trying to find edge against Trump. So that's easy. They're developing some of the targets Biden, this targets you know, trying to expand his target of, of older Democratic voters and African American voters and you know, you've got a lot of people fighting for the for the most progressive voters, so they're going kind of fuzzy, was he I'd say no campaign really has more than three. And they're still looking for those kind of home run campaigns. 


Mike Allen  

And whether you're a brand or a campaign fuzzy was he is not good.


Mark Penn  

No fuzzy was he's not good. And that's why there hasn't been a lot of movement, right and in these campaigns,


Mike Allen  

so record way, a lot of people around here talking about taking you were no human has ever been. And it's kind of hype or puffery. But you've had an amazing outdoor life, every continent summit to pay to add when you talk about being where no human has been for you. It's not hype.


Rick Ridgeway  

Yeah, well, I don't know what that has to do with, you know, the, the, the political commitments to our brand. But


Mike Allen  

you you were saying you were telling me that the being and some of those places had helped you develop your own values.


Rick Ridgeway  

Well, that's where I was going. So it does connect back to that conversation I had before about our values, and I and I mentioned How the ultimate heritage, the headwater those values. This is this time that so many of us in the company have spent outside in nature in wild places and how that's an informed why we're in business. It is directly connected to our overarching purpose to save our home planet. And it has also informed our environmental position because we have in our company developed over our lifetimes, and ability to have a deep in our bones, understanding of the climate crisis that we're all facing. I often hear pundits say that the problem we can't the problem, the challenge we have facing the climate crisis is that it's too slow moving that human beings have evolved, you know, over the millions of years, 3 million years to to confront immediate problems like that. We've evolved to handle the lion that's charging at us not something as amorphous and ambiguous as a warming planet. We don't believe that we, by spending all this time in nature have learned to understand and see firsthand the crisis that we're in, we can go out and see it firsthand, you can learn to pay attention to nature signals. So that's where our commitments come from. That's what informs our, our core values and, and and we see it as as an existential crisis. And all of you in the room have heard that so many times but but it's I don't even like to call it climate change anymore. And we're starting to call it climate crisis because that's what we're in. And we have seen it in the newspaper today where this year is the last year that disclosed in the article this morning is the second warmest year on record just behind 2016 July, somebody to call it they had it July's the hottest month, we've all seen the the news. For the last two weeks of the fires in Australia, we've all seen video clips of those people getting in the boats and running for their lives looking over their shoulders and seeing their cattle and the horses burning alive. Well think it through because your kids and your grandkids will be the ones getting in that boat. Where at one degree warming right now, Australia's at 1.5 degrees. This that is what the world looks like, in the not too distant future if we don't figure out how to keep it to 1.5 and, and we can do that. And we at our company really try to pay attention to the actions that we can all align around. That will keep us at that ceiling of 1.5 degrees and we're convinced we can do it if we can help build the alignment and there is a connection laddering back up to political commitment because we've got to have Politicians that understand those solutions, and those are the people that our company is going to support.


Mike Allen  

So we're here on the storyteller stage. And Rick, you've been a very gifted storyteller over your career, including photography, including filmmaking, including writing, you were jokingly telling me that it's now what we call media assets. But putting on your storyteller hat, there was a time that you were in a place where there had been no record of a Westerner ever having been.


Rick Ridgeway  

Yeah, one time I was in and I was crossing a section of Northwest Tibet. And we got into a little pocket of territory where we had really traced were all previous expeditions that ever crossed before and nobody had ever been there. So I had the privilege in the 20th century of seeing a place on the planet that no outsiders that have been to before. So that's, I don't know that exists now that we're in the 21st century.


Mike Allen  

And you were telling me about a close encounter with a wild life that seemed pretty surprised to see you there.


Rick Ridgeway  

Well, yeah, we were out in the middle of nowhere. And here comes this Wolf, walking in right into our camp within 20 feet, and it just stood there and watch this. Now that doesn't happen in any place where a wolf is seen a human being. So that's pretty magical to be in a place where the wild creatures even the apex predators have never seen a human being before. And you get again, that now I have a sense of personal sense and understand it's not even a sense. It's a personal understanding of what true wilderness and wildness looks like. That's a baseline against which we can now I can use and by expansion, other people in our organization pedagogy, we, we have a deep timeline on these things. We understand you know what the human footprint is on the planet because we've been able to build out an understanding of what the planet looked like before. Before impact was so profound.


Mike Allen  

What been an insight that you have that be of great interest to our guests here, as you talk about incumbent brands versus change brands?


Mark Penn  

Well, again, not so much about the crossover of political issues as brands. But to think in again, the marketing out there, that when you look at politics, we typically look at the incumbent and we look at the challenger. Right. And the incumbent, you know, has a record. You know, usually the incumbent was a challenger at some point, ran on the resume. Right and has a record, you know, has to defend it probably is better financed, you know, and therefore runs a fairly structured campaign typically, and the incumbent has a lot to lose because they've built up so much equity. The Challenger, on the other hand, has no equity. The Challenger can throw all sorts of mud and things at the incumbent because until they catch on, they don't have anything and they're like a media where the tends to come out of nowhere. And then what really happens is today's incumbents were yesterday's challengers. And then if you look over, if you look over at brands and you try to say, Well, you know, how our brands like the same thing in politics, right. And, you know, was Amazon was the challenger brand against Walmart. Walmart is now the challenger brand against Amazon. Right? IBM was the ultimate incumbent brand. Microsoft was the challenger, who's the incumbent who's the challenger today, who acts differently. And then of course, all every startup tries to be, in effect, a challenger and then incumbents try to pretend they're challengers, but usually when incumbents try to pretend those challengers, those are the fake campaigns that usually fair the worst, right, because they're trying to be who everybody knows that they're not, but once you kind of have this mode, and then you have to understand Are you a challenger? Are you an incumbent You're acting the way that you should if you're going to win a campaign.


Rick Ridgeway  

Yeah, but we're 50 years old. So we didn't come in. You're getting there.


Mark Penn  

Right? So so you're now you're a challenger brand, but today some some startup, you know, may may see you now as the incumbent and and come in and come in against you in that same way. I would say, you're right on your right on the edge. Now, you can be an incumbent who still, you know, be an incumbents not a bad word in the sense that you don't have to be stayed and behind the times, like you could be a with it incumbent. Right. You could be a good incumbent. You could be an incumbent that gets reelected all the time.


Rick Ridgeway  

We think of ourselves as an activist and come in, and the older we get the scrappier we get. And the bigger we get, the more we act like a startup, in my view, and I think this view shared by many of our customers as well. And and we do that on purpose the owner of our company Yvon Chouinard. You know with the day we crossed a billion dollars. I was sitting at my desk, he came over to talk to one of my colleagues and my colleague says, Yvonne, how's it going? Today? He goes, it's a black day, what's happening? And we thought, oh, some, you know, some major finger just gone down. It goes, it's a black day because I just was told we passed a billion dollars in sales. It's my worst nightmare says this. The last thing I wanted was to be the owner of a billion dollar company. And then when you dig into why that was, he was concerned that as we got bigger, we would become an incumbent that we would lose our startup scrappiness. So with his leadership and roses leadership, we've just made a conscious vow to not make that happen. And and it's I've been around this company for 50 years and in that time, I can personally see that now the company is acting scrappier and more activist than it ever has in its 50 year history. Ever by a margin, and the company is succeeding as a business better than it ever has in a 50 year history. And that's not a coincidence. 


Mark Penn  

Well, the good thing is that most incumbents do get reelected.


Rick Ridgeway  

Let's hope that that is not always true. 


Mark Penn  

I said most


Rick Ridgeway  

Yeah, I got it. 


Mike Allen  

Rick, one of the ways that Patagonia is an activist brand is you talk about durability as an environmental act.


Rick Ridgeway  

Well, durability isn't an activist position. If, if you think of durability, in terms of being able to create a consumer goods product that is intended to last as long as possible, because that product has the lowest footprint on the planet over its time and that's one of our core values. In fact, you know, our company is chartered around our core values, our Articles of Incorporation reflect all those core values in the very first, the number one core value is to build the most durable quality product we can. But it's a, it's a, it's a, it's a, it is an environment, it's an environmental position that we're taking. And it's an it's a kind of a radical one. Because what comes out of that is our commitment to make sure our customers can keep that jacket in us for 10 or 15 or 20 years. So for breaks, bring it back and will repair it, if you're not using it anymore. Bring it back, we'll give you credit for it, we'll put it in the hands of somebody that is going to use it and we want to use it for as long as possible. And the radical part is, we don't want you to buy another one if you don't need it. Now, you combine those two things, and we feel that we're doing our best to keep the footprint overtime of those products as minimal as possible. So I would say that's pretty radical. That's where the don't buy this jacket ad that we famously ran in 2011 came from


Mike Allen  

Market axios, which means worthy and greed, good axios would make you smarter faster on the topics that matters. So we cover business tech, media, politics, how they connect, collide, and a place where you put on your storytellers hat and covered the collision of business tech, media, politics, society and more. Your best selling book micro trends jammed with fascinating stories, micro trends squared. And one of the concepts that you talk in there, about in there that could be of great interest to our audience today is digital tailors.


Mark Penn  

Well, you know, that the digital sellers and in fair disclosure, this chapter is inspired by my son who has an app that that is, in effect, a digital Taylor that takes your measurements with your phone, but the the concept really is that that virtually every component of Life has now a digital layer. And the question is, what is that digital layer going to do? And how much of a factor will the digital layer really play? So even something like, you know, getting fitted for clothes or shirt, right, and there's a big block to buy an online clothes, the digital layer is getting yourself measured without a Taylor. Obviously, Uber is the digital layer in terms of what used to be hailing a taxi. Right or or getting a driver, right. And so if you look at even getting up in the morning has a digital layer, you used to have a kind of conventional analog alarm clock, and today you have your phone. And your phone is a digital layer in the sense that not only does it does it wake you up, but then it knows where you're going and tells you how long it's going to take. Right And so all of those factors and that's kind of where society is going now every single vertical. What you know whether it's clothes, whether it's already Getting a taxi, whether it's getting on the airplane like like Delta was here giving the you know how that very act of getting on the plane has a digital layer to it from the time you make the reservation, right on through the time you go and your boarding pass. And those digital layers get simplified. They become more important. They become part of marketing and advertising. And and that's I think, when I was Chief Strategy Officer of Microsoft, that's what we would look for, say banking today. Banking today went from branches to ATMs to a digital layer where, say, mortgages have total digital layer now, right? You think of your mortgage banker, you probably will never even see your mortgage banker. Right? You're only going to deal with that digital layer. So that that's where I'd say, you know, a lot of the focus here is exactly where are those digital layers emerging? And you can see, you know, the tremendous growth of AI is facilitating those layers, not as I would say that, unfortunately, I'd say half the stuff I saw on the show probably will never really make it into production. Right, because it's not as practical as, as people really realize getting, getting a cab on time and coordinating the schedules of the drivers and the people was an enormous practical breakthrough. Having your refrigerator tell you that you really shouldn't eat that is not going to be the same category.


Mike Allen  

Rick, your young customers are especially interested in the active side of companies coming, taking actions that reflect their values. You have some interesting research about what some of your customers are saying what people say about Patagonia and politics.


Rick Ridgeway  

Yeah, they, as you might guess, really actively support us business said at the beginning. That's, you know, we don't do customer surveys to try to figure out how many of our young customers are supporting our political actions. We don't survey them to try to find out from them. What You know, is important to them. And that becomes our own policies. As I said at the beginning, those come out of our own internal discussions. But certainly we see that surveys that are done that collaborate and confirm our own business success, especially with Gen Z. And I understand from the Gen Z years, they don't really like that term very much. So maybe we come up with a better one, because they're certainly not last. But, you know, they I, in our view, they are emerging to be just the generation that we need to keep us to find solutions to this crisis. So we're in business, to save our home planet to find solutions to these giant crises that we're in and that generation is lining up behind that commitment. Now we're talking about stories. Patagonia is Patagonia's right from the beginning deeply stood the the power of storytelling, but the power of telling deeply authentic stories. We've also understood, right from the beginning, that if we make these commitments, these corporate commitments to this kind of higher purpose, like our mission says that coming out of that are deeply authentic stories about what we're doing. And we don't have to tell those stories ourselves because they're pretty interesting. And they get picked up by axials. They get picked up by a lot of people who tell our stories that of course, that earned media as we all know, is so much more valuable than purchase media. We have a tiny, tiny ad budget at Patagonia. We always have, you know, right from the beginning, but it only works to the degree that you are deeply authentic and authenticity to us. Is Having your actions lined up with those core values, and it gets back to needing to have those values. So all of you out there in the audience listening to this, who are in a position of, you know, early development of your companies, you're in a startup position. It's our experience that you got to really figure out as fast as you can while you're in business. And if it's just to make more money for your shareholders, then you know, shame on you there, there will not be a place for you. And in our view point in the direction the business is going in the capitalist that has to take an in, in the long term, that you have to have a shared purpose, a higher purpose, and it has to be really clearly articulated to everybody to you, the leadership in your companies, to all your employees, and to all of your customers because that's what authenticity is, and that's where the stories come from.


Mark Penn  

Of course, I would comment that I worked very closely with a lot of political figures. And so I knew what they genuinely felt. And I also knew when they were kind of more reading the script, yeah. And you know, the tricky thing about authenticity is that it's a little bit in the eyes of the beholder, because, because I would know when the the, the candidate or office holder would go out, and they would say something that they completely believed. And then I would see in the, in the news that night, in a completely inauthentic address. And then I would see these times when I knew that crying was completely fake, you would see in a deeply passionate, authentic moment. And you know, you have to be careful about authenticity. You have obviously genuine authenticity, because you're doing what you think is right and taking it through your product. But you know, oftentimes people just today and particularly in today's world, interpret authenticity as the opinions they agree with, but so it's very good. dangerous when someone says they're authentic or inauthentic, because because authenticity today is, is very much interpreted that way. And I'm just telling you, my own personal experience was, I would really feel for the political figure who was actually telling you what they thought only to be labeled inauthentic, because it just didn't sink with what people thought they would think.


Rick Ridgeway  

Yeah, but what is that but are in authenticity, the lack of authenticity in the way you're framing it right now is the inconsistency between your actions and your beliefs.


Mark Penn  

Yeah, yes, I'm saying that and so that's because you're consistent. So was it our will perceive you as authentic, 


Rick Ridgeway  

We are inconsistent often at our company. We often you know, we want you to only buy one jacket, and we want you to keep it for 20 years. And then we'll make a half a dozen or even more different colors of jackets. You know, trying to You to to buy a new jacket to have a color that really resonates with you personally it makes you look hot and then that is an inconsistency so we're trying to be public with our inconsistency is because that's authentic we're all in consistent we're human beings are inconsistent I flew on a plane to get here and yet we're committed to climate change solutions. My carbon footprint Yvonne roses carbon footprint, it's you know, as Yvonne says, That's why we're going to go to hell because of our personal carbon footprints and but but we acknowledge those inconsistency that we do it publicly. The biggest challenge we had to keep ourselves open about our inconsistency is in my recent memory in our company was that that had I just told you about don't buy this jacket, because it was an ad trying to start the conversation. about the consequences of annual compounded growth of the global economy, of what unbridled consumption is doing to our, our planet. And it was an ad by a company that's growing quickly, that's now a billion dollar corporation. And at one level that made us hypocrites. And we had to tackle that and deal with it. And we did it in a public forum in a public way where we tried to talk that through with our customers, and out of those conversations about those in consistencies came other initiatives and programs, including this one to double down on repair, to take back our customers clothes, and if they're not using them and repurpose them and resell them to people that are using them because we came to realize that the only way to address that inconsistency of our own growth and our concerns about the global growth of the global economy. Was this was this if we created more solutions for customers and we weren't creating problems? So we had this long, really honest, internal discussion about our own inconsistency we tried to do publicly and and it worked. Because it was authentic, because what you know what an even better word is that it was deeply honest. And on that I've heard that the Gen Z are calling themselves that the honest generation, so I would give that to them. That's what they're searching for. And that's what we're trying to provide to them. Honesty.


Mike Allen  

and recall, we're on painful honesty related concept of Patagonia is you have a corporate requirement, commitment to disclose even some really painful and bad news.


Rick Ridgeway  

Yeah, we one of the core values that we have around which we're actually incorporated is a commitment to transparency. So so we have our own definition of transparency, and that is to not only go public with the good stuff that we're doing, but when we discover we're causing harm, and we're doing something bad that we have to go public with that as well. That's our, our commit. That's our definition of transparency. Is it in? It's written into our articles incorporation. I was sharing with you a little bit earlier before we came out, Mike, that one story or example of that commitment goes back just a few years when we discovered that in our supply chain with six suppliers in Taiwan, that they had employees in those factories that were essentially indentured servants that they had compensated their passports they were holding them until those workers earned back their their transportation expenses to get from the Philippines to Taiwan. They were slaves. We had an internal meeting, and I was there with some of our senior executives when our team said Guess what, we've got slaves in our own supply chain and the response from the upper executive opposite of what I think you might see a lot of companies that would go, oh my god, we've got to keep this keep it in the room. And the response there in our company was no to bring it outside of the room to go public with it. Because only if we go public with it, and through that openness, we invite other stakeholders in, can we find a solution to a problem is thorny, it's that one. And that's what we did. And we got the government of Taiwan to come and sit at the table, we got the factories to sit at the table, we've got the NGOs representing social justice in those regions of the world to sit at the table and, and we worked out a solution. And it changed all the suppliers, all except one and we dropped them.


Mike Allen  

Mark, I want to pick up this authenticity thread because authenticity is hard. And you know what they tell working candidates that authenticity is important. As soon as you can fake that you're all set. What are some of the tells you've been backstage with everyone from Bill Gates to Bill Clinton? What are some of the tells when a public figure is being authentic or not?


Mark Penn  

If you really don't like what they're saying they're probably authentic. If you really like what they're saying, they're probably not. Okay. Because we're human. That's right. Because if they're going out, look, or you're taking a 70/30 issue, like let's get rid of slaves in our in our supplier chain who's against that? Right. So are you taking?


Mike Allen  

It is painful? You've been in conversations like that that 


Mark Penn  

Oh, look, there is. I think what Patagonia does excellent. But most people do they fire them instantly. I mean, the corporate world is highly sensitive. When I worked at Microsoft, when I worked for hundreds of corporate clients today, boom, if they even have a hint in their supply chain or something like that. They actually move you know, corporations. big corporations are a lot more sensitive today than they ever were to a contradictory event. But my point What about authenticity is find somebody taking on a 3070 issue where they know the audience is unpopular. Let's say his CEO was a sportsman and really felt the Second Amendment was strong. Well, that probably incredibly authentic woman was would be incredibly authentic, right? Because it would be taking on something that you know, something that was really unpopular. And that really, that really takes on a lot of political capital. But the interesting thing is, when people do that, typically they're often viewed as inauthentic. Because a lot of what people really want is they, they want people who mirror their political views. And that's very, I mean, look, the problem we have today, more than anything else, is the partisan interpretation of virtually everything. And so authenticity today doesn't really doesn't really escape that. But, but my point is, sure, I did polls and for 40 years and still do polls, but I did them for for four candidates. And when somebody was going out there the and they could appear to be taking on a 3070 issue when we knew it was suspended 30 years, then that, of course, would would would bring in this notion that they were being authentic. But what I would find is that the most frustrating thing for a political figure is to genuinely believe something that is against the grain, right? And then to be accused of Believe me, and for all sorts of other reasons, that to me is is far more frustrating and was far more frustrating for my clients and most of the time they would give up, you know, as a result, because it's really hard to I think swim that much, you know, against the grain, you know, and, and looking in the technology world. The whole point that I've been making about relationships with bots is, is your bot is Alexa is the bot you're talking to or that's responded to you authentic or inauthentic Tech. And what does that mean? So when you ask Alexa, what's the weather? Is Alexa telling you the weather in order to help you or telling you the weather in order to sell you an umbrella or some wear a raincoat or something else you don't know. And so forget about politicians, you're going to have to judge what the motivation is of technology as technology speaks to you, in so many ways in voice now previously and in writing. Why are they telling you to do something? What is their motivation? Are they really working on your behalf? Are they trying to sell you something, the same dilemma the politicians had, and the same dilemma that you had interpreting politicians, I think is even more severe in bots. And why do I think that because bots are driven by getting a positive reaction from you? Ai inbox are designed to do a better job than I ever did as a poster to try to please you with the response. Is that a sincere response? Is that going to be disclosed? You know, I always tell the story that technology gets increasingly commercialized. Right as people want to drive more more and more profits. So it starts out in technology to help you is then part of a vague would say, the umbrella company. And then they go on and they say, well, maybe if we told mark that the chance to you know that it's going to rain today is slightly higher than the old algorithm did. Maybe he'll go out and buy more umbrellas. And behind there is a whole process to maximize revenue out of the bots and out of your relationship with a bot that then is played upon as though you're having a relationship with a person or or a pet. And you're not. You're having a relationship with code that is programmed to achieve a result and you don't know what that result is.


Mike Allen  

Okay, Mark. Let's be very practical. This can be either offensive or defensive. What can we do? What's something specific we can do to optimize our relationship with bots, since that's not going away and is only going to increase?


Mark Penn  

Well, first start asking bots, tough questions. My, my favorite question and like is Alexa, male or female? Anybody know? Well, Alexa, isn't it? So the first thing I always do is ask Alexa, are you male or female? So, what does what does it say? Alexa either plays dumb, and says, I don't know the answer to that or Alexa says to them and female character. So, Alexa is concealing the fact that Alexa, isn't it, that the most fundamental ethical principle in technology is to explain to you that you are not dealing with a person and so therefore You're dealing with an IP. If you look very carefully at the language use and every piece of Amazon marketing, you will see that they are scrupulously careful not to call Alexa he or she, but in it in the way they treat it. But will Alexa just tell you, I'm in it? Not the Alexa. I know. So ask tough questions. And that will reveal a lot of whether or not Alexa is being straight with you, or Alexa is being programmed not to be straight.


Mike Allen  

So this is juicy. What's one more tough question to ask a bot?


Mark Penn  

Well, look, I think the question, the real question is, are you selling me anything? Are you there to sell me something or not? That's what you really like to say when you ask it that I haven't asked that. Right. Somebody is going to get me the answer to that question, but we know the answer.


Mike Allen  

Rick, your founding chairman of the sustainable apparel coalition, what's the biggest takeaway The biggest thing you've learned? That would be of interest to our guests.


Rick Ridgeway  

Well, it's not just what I've learned, through my engagement with that coalition. I think it's also reflected in engagements that our CEO rose Macario has, when she's outside of our walls, speaking to corporate leaders, when I'm speaking to CEOs and the companies represented in that trade coalition that we co founded with Walmart, by the way, and that is that, that these people, these business leaders, are really increasingly understanding the consequences of business as usual. They're really starting to understand these threats that I've mentioned many times this afternoon. The threats that are the reason our company has that corporate mission to save our home planet, they, they're really starting to understand and get it and increasingly there as much as they can beginning to Do something about it with their companies and their organizations. Now it is increasingly difficult under the current rules of capitalism with large publicly traded companies to do as much as is needed, but they get it. And that's good news.


Mike Allen  

We're about to get the hook Mark pen, you're gonna have the last word we always in my newsletter axio sam Mike's top 10 with one fun thing, the one fun thing that we're going to end with one of your chapters in micro trends, squared micro trends, followed by micro trends, squared, something that we're all experiencing and that is droning on. Tell us real quick about droning on.


Mark Penn  

Well, look, journey on is about the future of how drones will change our lives. But as I was point out, aside from the fact that drones are completely banned within Washington, DC, Mike, so you will never see a drone. And if you do see a drone in Washington duck, because it's not supposed to be there, but we have a line of sight rule. So if you can see a drone in America Right now without the exemptions, drones cannot really do any of the things that you're here to do. And the moment that that rule is relaxed, then drones will actually be able to do real work. And that's going to be the line that we cross. Because when you can't see the drone, you don't know what it's really doing.


Mike Allen  

I'd like to thank Gary, Jean, all our colleagues and CTA for their a year of work on this amazing experience. thank Mark Penn recruits way for great conversation. And thank all of you for coming out. Have a great seat. Yes. Great job. Thank you. Thank you.

Speaker 1  

Thank you so much, Mike, Mark, and Rick, thank you all so much for joining us this week at sea space. It has been a fantastic week of CES and we hope you'll join us at our other two venues, the sands Expo and LBCC. Tomorrow as this is the last day of space and on behalf of Consumer Technology Association and all of this week's participants. Thank you so much. We hope you enjoy CES and join us for ces 2021. Thanks, everyone.

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