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THE POWER OF PSYCHOGRAPHIC MARKETING, IMPACT ON ELECTIONS, AND POLARIZATION

March 9, 2023

S04 - E09

Today I'm with the one and only Marty Weintraub. Marty and I start by discussing his background in marketing, and advertising. We then dove into psychographic marketing, how it impacted the 2016 election, how it's changed since then and much more. We also touch on how ChatGPT is getting used, where it's going in the future and how it impacts marketing. With that, please enjoy my conversation with Marty Weintraub.

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GUEST(S): 

Marty Weintraub

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Robert Hansen

Today, I'm with the one and only, Marty Weintraub. Marty and I start by discussing his background in marketing and advertising. We then dove into psychographic marketing, how it impacted the 2016 election, and how it's changed since then, and much more.

We also touch on how ChatGPT is being used, where it's going in the future, and how it impacts marketing. With that, please enjoy my conversation with Marty Weintraub.

Hello, and welcome to The RSnake Show. Today, I have with me, Marty Weintraub. How are you?

Marty Weintraub

I’m amazing. Thank you. Robert, how are you?

Robert Hansen

I'm doing great. Thank you so much for asking. It's good to see you. I only get to see you a couple of times a year.

Marty Weintraub

It’s good to see you, too.

Robert Hansen

I know. Still above ground just like me.

Marty Weintraub

Keep my credit cards in our RFID safe.

Robert Hansen

Like that would stop me. Come on.

Marty Weintraub

Too bad.

Robert Hansen

Welcome to Austin. What brings you here?

Marty Weintraub

I'm speaking at Pubcon, which is a quintessential digital marketing conference that most often takes place at this scale in Las Vegas. But the organizers live here. And it's a little more post pandemic friendly than Las Vegas is.

I’m speaking at a conference and attending and here to be with you.

Robert Hansen

Oh, great. What are you speaking about, if you don't mind me asking?

Marty Weintraub

I spoke about automating LinkedIn and research and Sales Navigator because we figured out how to hack the shit out of that engine and use it to make lists of people and remain GDPR compliant with LinkedIn as a firewall where they keep the data.

They could get sued by Europe or whoever, but we won’t. And then do targeting for outreach, inreach, inbound PR as well as ads to lists of people where it's one-to-one.

LinkedIn is one of the only channels where you can have an actual list of the actual humans that you're marketing to store it in the channel as a firewall and run ads to those people if you know how.

It's not LinkedIn ads, it's using the organic section of LinkedIn to power targeting through some whirling dervish Rubik's Cube stuff. I’m speaking about that.

Robert Hansen

Out of curiosity, the GDPR thing rang a bell there, are you saying that they have user tokens and that's how they're referencing them? You don't get to see who they really are, but you get to reference them. Or is it a cohort? Is it just a look alike audience?

Marty Weintraub

We see who they are because we use the organic targeting module and Sales Navigator, which is essentially LinkedIn’s organic search and a more expensive product.

Then we know how to use Europe-based GDPR-compliant email Harvest products that pull it down real time from internet associations and don't keep lists and then bring that back into LinkedIn as a custom audience.

Very geeky, yes. But what it means is we never have to retain data. LinkedIn can get sued all they want, but we won't. It's arguable that all of these platforms not all violate CCPA and GDPR.

Microsoft is willing to pay whatever it is, and Facebook Meta is willing to pay whatever it is. But we don't keep lists. And until they shut down those channels, we’ll do whatever those channels allow us to do in the channels. So when I say firewall, I don't really care how they process it. It's not my shit.

Robert Hansen

That's fantastic. From an advertiser’s perspective, it's nice to have this middle tier out there who take on all the liability of collection. And it's not just collection, it's also sorting. I think that's the real problem. I don't think people care so much about the collection. It's the ability to quickly search it. That's the problem.

Marty Weintraub

Right. Sales Navigator, which is a very advanced search engine, you can go to one box that searches the entire profile and write a Boolean query. And then you have a dozen other filters that are normal business filters, how big is the company you're targeting that these people work for? The industry, lots of stuff.

You can write an and and and or or Boolean query, come up with a list of people, have third-party tools that also retain the data instead of you, parse that to custom audiences that LinkedIn can in turn use in their ads platform. So you bypass the targeting and LinkedIn entirely, except for the custom audience feature.

The FTC or the European Union would need to sue every one of LinkedIn’s advertising customers or every one of Meta’s custom audience customers. For us, as the agency, what's most important is that we don't retain data and we don't keep any lists. But the channels offer us the ability, and they take on the liability in our opinion.

I'm not a lawyer, so nobody should take this sage legal advice. But we're comfortable buying freaking LinkedIn ads and Facebook ads.

Robert Hansen

That makes sense.

Marty Weintraub

We're comfortable with that.

Robert Hansen

I've never thought to ask you this before. But once upon a time, when Bit Discovery was a private entity before we got acquired, we had the ability to figure out what sort of technologies were being run at any given company.

We're talking with LinkedIn early on, although I don't think they really saw our vision for it, for the ability for you to ask questions of, “I want to speak only to people who have actively employed these products, not just purchase them, but actually you're using them in production.”

Marty Weintraub

That's interesting.

Robert Hansen

From a technology advertising perspective, it was another layer on top of it, which I thought was nteresting.

Marty Weintraub

Well, you can. Not in Sales Navigator but in LinkedIn’s organic search, which is a shadow of the abilities in Sales Navigator. And it costs 30% or 40% of what Sales Navigator costs across the year.

There is a module in LinkedIn’s native, even free search where you can find the technologies that companies proffer that they sell. In LinkedIn’s ad module, you can also target people who work for companies who are interested in the usage of some very geeky technologies and platforms.

That won't get us where you want to be that they use it in the creation thereof that, “Yeah, I wish we had that.”

Robert Hansen

Yeah. And we could have even gotten deeper because I know the geo as well. So I could say, “Carve it out to this exact kind of manager who manages these types of things in this very specific region.” I could have gotten down to the very specific person very easily with that technology.

Marty Weintraub

You can find that with skills targeting, but you have to scrape for that.

Robert Hansen

Right. Well, not that anyone’s above scraping.

Marty Weintraub

I do not know what you speak of. I know not what you speak of.

Robert Hansen

We went down a rabbit hole already, and I want to get back to all that.

Marty Weintraub

Sorry about that.

Robert Hansen

No, this is actually what I wanted to talk to you about. So we'll get there in a second. But can we back up a little bit? How did you get into marketing? How did this all start? How did you decide that this is what you wanted to do?

Marty Weintraub

I had a beautiful 25-year career as a musician. Started out literally going to Berklee College of Music in Boston. I dropped out after seven semesters, one semester short. And that was some combination of dating and marijuana.

Robert Hansen

Which percentage?

Marty Weintraub

I don't know. It was all pretty unhealthy. But literally, I blew off college on almost no notice, listed myself with a referral service.

Robert Hansen

Was that a pun, sir, blowing it off?

Marty Weintraub

Too funny. I crack me up. No, I'm not quite that sophisticated. Just one day, I was a student at Berklee College of Music. And the next day, I was packing all my shit into a crate and going to join a band that was based out of Minneapolis.

Robert Hansen

What kind of band?

Marty Weintraub

A cover band playing forgettable rock and roll in bad hotels. It was pretty bad. But I don't know. If you look at my Facebook profile, you'll see pictures of all this big hair and shit.


There were gold Lamay shorts and Robert Smith eye makeup. I was into the whole early ‘80s glam thing at the time. I looked like an ugly version of my late mother. Not quite as cute.


One minute, I was at the airport and my dad's crying because I just blew off college after seven semesters. I was getting stoned before I went in, so I was high enough when I got to the airport. The next minute, I'm landing in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Robert Hansen

Why there, out of curiosity?


Marty Weintraub

I listed myself with the professional musicians referral service that just lined up musicians, and I was definitely a musician. At the time, actually at Berkeley were some of the most famous musicians in jazz today. My schoolmates were amazing, incredible musicians.


I picked a job with a cover band, and I joined them. I went to Minneapolis. The first gigs were in Fargo, North Dakota. And remember, I grew up in the northeast near Boston.


I arrived in Minneapolis, and they picked me up. I stayed at a forgettable strip hotel/motel and saw some very provocative things through the window by accident while I was walking. So my mind was partway blown.


The next day, we drive to Fargo, freaking North Dakota. And after like 30 or 40 miles of sunflower fields, I just remember thinking, “What if I have to go to a hospital?”


I spent those years playing in cover bands and changing bands and improving the bands and growing as a musician. Then I hit Minneapolis and decided to live there in 1984 right as Purple Rain happened.

The drinking age was 18. There were 200 bands that made a couple grand a week playing in hundreds of bars and ballrooms around the region. And so I grew from cover bands to bands that had some notoriety and engineered a lot of hours at Paisley Park during those years.


Then that led to invitations to do jingles. So I spent some years doing jingles. I could do one for you, maybe later, maybe after I drink a little more water. I wrote some jingles and co-wrote some jingles.


My mentor was senior vice president creative of an agency called Carmichael Lynch. They had some very big accounts. He was doing some jobs, and he invited me in. And so pretty soon, seemingly, they respected just my general creativity.


I found myself at the creative table for jobs that were not about music. One thing led to another, and then that was generation one of the flash technology and early digital editing.


We were burning CDs that cost $70 apiece. We’re talking about mid-80s. And so that just led to deeper involvement in the advertising industry. Then right in the middle of that, five songwriters I was working with and my business partner at the time got a deal with PolyGram.


I took all that out of control, habitual use of medicinals, and all my angst of being a musician and followers because I made a lot of friends in those days and moved myself to Hollywood. That was lots of money, no accountability, lots of attention, just the seeds of an epic business crash.


I came back to Minneapolis in the early ‘90s and went out into the woods and made recordings of wolves and loons. That led to spending several years traveling around recording dolphins in the semi-wild.

When you first saw those kiosks pop up in Target where you could press a button and listen to the loons or the wolves and such, I was helping to make those records. I made the dolphin once, and we sold a lot of CDs.


That was my bridge because the first multivariate testing I ever did was how far the motion detector on those kiosk trip what sound, loon or wolves against gamma ROI, which is cubic inches of 3D retail space in Walmart. We sold a lot of CDs.


I got married to the wrong person. I moved to Duluth, Minnesota. And I took a job as creative director.


Robert Hansen

Why Duluth?


Marty Weintraub

I’ve always been deeply into the outdoors, and it's always been where I went to heal. Above Duluth, Minnesota, there's an area called the Boundary Waters, which is hundreds and hundreds of miles of unaffected paddle-only streams and lakes and rivers.


If you look at a map of northern Minnesota and look up, it's pretty much a straight shot to the Yukon with nothing there. So there's Timberwolves. I've been going there forever and ever and ever.

I moved to Duluth, and I took a job as creative director of the CBS affiliate there. I literally made their first website with my hands with Adobe PageMill,  I think.


Robert Hansen

Dreamweaver?


Marty Weintraub

It was a little early for Dreamweaver. But I did buy Macromedia Dreamweaver 1 and use it and went, “Whoa.” Remember NetObjects Fusion? That was a long time ago.


Robert Hansen

You're dating yourself, Marty.


Marty Weintraub

I have a fool for a partner, dating myself. That was really neat because that year at that television station, I designed the logo. I did the background graphics for the news. I wrote the music for the news. I made car commercials.


I got myself more involved in the business of broadcast, and they sent me around the country doing the same thing for other network affiliates.


Then as the broadcast industry began to wane in the mid-90s or so because already the internet was going nuts, and we had a natural penetration because we were a television station. We could serialize content.


I knew more than any natural human should know about the internet at that time. And we had audiences.


I got out of that business and started working for a venerable regional advertising agency as their director of “interactive marketing”. And it just goes from there. So it was a natural transition based on creativity, opportunity, loss, with my love of nature, timing and such.


Robert Hansen

You actually remind me a lot of another friend of mine who followed a very similar path through music, doing a lot of just, “I have some band promo CD I need to make. So I need my own graphics. I need my own this and that. Oh, I got to make my flyers.”


Out of necessity and creativity and just having access to a computer for mixing purposes, it just turns into this other thing.


Marty Weintraub

Oh yeah, I was a Commodore 64 Atari music sequencer those days. When you're a musician, you get this bunker mentality where you never really trust that the next piece of revenue is going to come. That's stressful, and it serves you extremely well.


My dad has always said that he learned everything he knows from what someone else was going to charge him to do. I'm like you, I'm always forward in tech. And I'm intrigued by tech.


I was always a little bit ahead of people who are practitioners in fields that didn't move as fast like advertising. So I gained this knack of making myself obsolete after I got paid a bunch for it.


Great example, in the late ‘80s, you could make CDs on a burner that cost $1,500 to $3,000 that you could sell to somebody for $70. So one year, I made $30,000 selling CDs to advertising agencies, which was a fair amount to me at that time in my life.


Then when I understood that Hewlett Packard was going to put a CD burner that cost about 100 bucks in every computer that they made, by going to CBS and learning that before they knew, I charged them five grand to show them how to do it and moved on to the next tab, early adoption, and began a process in all of my careers.


Robert Hansen

Was it iomega Zip drives? Or what was next? I’m just teasing you.


Marty Weintraub

Actually, at that time and before that, there were SyQuest 20-meg removables. Remember those?


Robert Hansen

Yeah.


Marty Weintraub

Then it was 40. Oh yeah, now you're dating yourself, mister.


Robert Hansen

That’s my one joke about those old types of media because once the British government wanted to buy one of my books. It was MI5, I think. I’m like, “Sure, go ahead. Buy it, I don't care.”


They're like, “Well, we're going to send you our credit card number. And you can charge it.” I’m like, “You're doing what?”


Marty Weintraub

Idiots. They are a freaking spy agency.


Robert Hansen

They literally sent me their credit card. And I'm like, “Okay.” I did it for them just because.


Marty Weintraub

You wouldn't hack them just because you’re a good soul.


Robert Hansen

I was trying to be nice. I also was convinced that they wanted me to hack them just to see what I would do. So I did it. I was nice. They responded back a day or so later.


They’re like, “Well, we tried to download it. But it wouldn't fit on a floppy drive.” And I'm like, “You need to go down to your most technical person and say, ‘Hey, I'm going to need an iomega Zip drive.’” to see what they say. I never heard from them again.


Marty Weintraub

The disastrous feeling, that awful, stinking feeling when your 20-meg removable fails. Well, you could do a lot with 20 meg of data in those days. It was incredible.


Anyway, being a musician helped me because I always wanted to be on top of the tech, as soon as I didn't have to carry around a Hammond B-3 anymore and the Korg synthesizer that I used a Leslie with style.


The rotating speakers sounded almost not quite, but it was just much easier on my back and on the roadies and stuff. When you're a musician, you're always concentrating on the intersection of art and forward attack.


Robert Hansen

And posture, apparently.


Marty Weintraub

Yes, too bad I wasn't as nice at my hearing. I learned a forward-thinking tact that I parlayed into revenue by always making as much money as I could, understanding that it was predictably obsolete, and finding the jumping off point about that.


Can I tell you another story about that?


Robert Hansen

Of course.


Marty Weintraub

My first speaking engagement ever was in 2008 at SearchFest in Portland, Oregon, my dear friends in Portland, the SEMpdx people. I've spoken and keynoted at many of their conferences since.


In fact, I will again this year. They're just some of my favorite people. And so Portland and me have a thing. Aimclear, there were like four years where we had the organic Google number one un-personalized result for reputation monitoring dashboard.


Here's how that happened. We made six figures one year at Aimclear, taking iGoogle dashboards, hacking filtered RSS feeds either by scrape or as offered because there was a lot more RSS segments in every node of YouTube. You get all kinds of stuff.


We are making these really intense reputation-listening dashboards using iGoogle. And we charge clients, well, a fuck ton to do it. Then I understood that that technology was making its way to the forefront and there would be much less expensive tools, and then it would become Boolean.


In my speaking debut at SEMpdx, literally my first time as a speaker, I gave it away. I completely cannibalized our revenue. I went from having six-figure revenue for making these iGoogle dashboards to having zero.

There was so much buzz from it that Aimclear had the number one organic for four years for reputation monitoring dashboard.


This notion for entrepreneurs about charge, charge, charge, plan your own obsolescence, give it away or get paid to teach and move on to the next thing means that you never have to worry about technological obsolescence because your job is helping companies pivot to the next level of technology. And you will never be obsolete, if that's what you do.


Robert Hansen

Interesting. I've run into this a couple times where people will be comfortable saying all the special sauce on Twitter, it’s usually where this all goes down, or presentations.


When I first saw that all happen, I was like, “I just don't see the upside in doing that. It seems dangerous.” You seem like you're cannibalizing your business, to your point. But the best response I had is, “I'm happy if everyone wants to follow me.”


Marty Weintraub

Yeah, the people who are going to compete with you are going to do it anyway. And so you might as well have them drinking your Kool-Aid.


Robert Hansen

I might as well lead if they're willing to follow.


Marty Weintraub

Yes. Right. Because they're going to compete with you anyway. To that point, for many years, people have been coming back and saying, “Oh, I saw you speak in Seattle at MozCon. Then I went out and made $20 million. Thank you very much.” And I go, “Great. That's just great.”


Even today when I spoke, I told them things worth millions. At the same time, we've become a little more competitive in what we write. We're willing to say it to people that pay to go to conferences that we love. We're not so willing to write about it anymore.


Robert Hansen

Interesting. You mentioned Aimclear. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your company, since we're on the topic?


Marty Weintraub

Aimclear is 16 years old. We won best small integrated agency at the US Search Awards, which I actually really care about because I judge the EU and UK Search Awards. And I know the level of case studies that compete.


There are major companies and upstarts that are genius. And there's very little chaff that goes along with that bounty of wheat with the Search Awards. So they're actually very hard to win in America and Europe.


Robert Hansen

How do you win them? What's the process?


Marty Weintraub

You have the best case studies, and you write the best case studies. If you have two case studies, they're equal in what you've accomplished for your stakeholders or your company or your client. One of them just really understands how to write the case study that will win.


There has to be baked-in respect for the judges. You have to follow the rules. Mostly, you just have to answer the questions. And you have to have a great case study.


We made Inc. 5000 six years in a row, which was hard because it's three-year over a three-year top line revenue beauty contest. A tough place to work in Minnesota, it's a boutique. It's 24 people with a donkeylessly wonderful lifestyle.


We're based in Minnesota in Duluth and St. Paul. We have an office in St. Paul.


Robert Hansen

Really? I didn’t know that.


Marty Weintraub

I live my life between a cabin at the end of the Gunflint Trail and the Boundary Waters, where it's a dark zone. And I can photograph my Northern Lights. I've been going there since I was a young man.

St. Paul for its proximity to MSP, the airport. It's 70 miles from Mayo Clinic, which has become more important to me. We'll talk.


Robert Hansen

Sure.


Marty Weintraub

Aimclear as an integrated marketing agency means we're always concerned with how things work together. If we're doing something that's about branding, we'll tell you where and how and seven different nodes where you're making money with it.


We're a channel-agnostic, paid and organic media company. And we're very special generalists.


In the PR department was a network news director who did a 25-year PR career and is internationally relevant and somewhat renowned for crisis management and corporate in Markham. And another guy who was nominated for a Pulitzer as an associate editor of the Chicago Tribune.


We’re just that good in each corner. In our performance marketing department, we handle hundreds of millions in media spend. We're always wondering where the air goes in the balloon when we squeeze in one of the places.


When companies come to us, we're more of a one-stop shop. And there's an economy of scale to working with an integrated agency too because we don't have to come up to speed on anything. I founded Aimclear.


Robert Hansen

How old is the company?


Marty Weintraub

16 years.


Robert Hansen

Very well.


Marty Weintraub

About half of the original people still work at the company. The average length of employment is over five years amongst active employees. People just stay for a really long time.


The ones who have gone with our blessing, after many years, work for some of the biggest names in the world. And we've worked for some of the biggest names in the world.


We spent the first dollar of paid social for Airbnb. We had three people embedded at Uber in San Francisco in their office for quite a long time. We've worked with 3M and Siemens and lots of marketing companies, too.


We've spent a lot of time marketing data to marketers who don't know what it does and don't know how to think about it or use it. Those names are like Semrush and Optimizer and companies like that.

Anything that I say to you today, I list publicly on my LinkedIn profile. Also, we've worked for some of the largest platforms in the world too; Etsy and eBay all over the world and Gumtree and LinkedIn and others I can't say in a podcast but very large companies. So it's just been a really joyous ride.


I don’t think any founder ever feels like they're fully replaced. But I'd say the part I bring to the company now is I've just made more mistakes than any of them, more times than any of them.


Robert Hansen

Something to be proud of, at least.


Marty Weintraub

There comes a point in a process where the world gives you enough love back that it gets above any imposter syndrome that we all naturally have at moments.


For me now, there's just little moments where just for a minute, in between things, I can embrace the concept of having just some wisdom by experience. So that's my job.


Any company that's 24 people and has a founder, it was certainly based on my personality. Largely, we've been able to reproduce that.


Robert Hansen

And you are personality.


Marty Weintraub

Thanks, babe. I know you ever. What am I?


Robert Hansen

Nothing like you my friend. I don't hold a candle.


Marty Weintraub

Yes, you do. I feel safer in this world because I'm friends with you.


Robert Hansen

Aw, that's nice. A huge chunk of what I want to talk to you today about is psychographics. It's an area I know you focus a lot on, and there is some publicity about it. But frankly, I think it's magic to most people.

Could you start by defining what you think it is and how it works just at a high level so we can start the baseline conversation?


Marty Weintraub

The baseline of that is very interesting. If you ask, what does classic demographics mean? They would say location, age, gender, those very basic things about human population.


Go to Wikipedia and look and see what demographics means. A psychographic is more about who somebody is at a deeper level whereas demographics might be the nuts and bolts, the compulsories, generally about what people are.


Robert Hansen

Like what the census might pull out or something?


Marty Weintraub

Yes, that's an excellent example. Psychographics are more the things that they like or affinities, proclivities, biases, beliefs, activities, behavioral attributes.


I'm a search guy. I grew up in the search marketing industry, where I’m trying to ascribe intent by the keywords that people use when they search. I'll get back around to psychographics by this method because it's arguable that search is part of a psychographic, especially these days where you can layer search and psychographics.


If somebody searches for brain surgeon or brain surgery, I don't really know what they want. They could be looking at a possible career or what they earn or just information about or maybe they're concerned, maybe they’re shopping for a physician. I don't know. That's the point.

If somebody searches for brain surgeon, Milwaukee, or brain surgery facility, clinic, hospital, practice, cures. Well, cure is not so much. But there's degrees of intent.


In the early days of being me in digital marketing, I was really plugged in to be able to understand, “Hey, where does that get transactional? Where do I know they want to do something, take an action that I might be selling?”


Then in November of 2007, a fateful month in the history of human beings was when Facebook released their platform for selling Viagra and spam. Wait, that's not really what it was. That's what it was used for, at first, a lot of spamming. But it was unbelievable.


You could target people more for who they were and who they are. Literally, the first week, I was into Facebook ads. One of my largest clients at the time was a music production school in Minneapolis.


We were marketing the music production college in Minneapolis, music recording school, US and things like that. And so I started targeting high school seniors who wanted to be rock stars and played guitar and were in affluent zip codes where a mom and dad might shell out the 40k a course for a two-year degree or something like that.


It went bananas right away because it didn't cost very much. Well, I was just on that immediately. Then as it developed and the ads platform developed Facebook ads platform, which was absolutely the early harbinger of that kind of marketing, remembering, of course, that search marketing, people are asking a question.


They're all the way engaged. They're going, “Answer this question for me. I'm shopping for this.” They tell you, and it's now. It's right away or now whereas display or social advertising is more interrupt kind of marketing. You know who they are, and you interrupt whatever they're doing.


State-of-the-art for interrupt marketing banner advertising was Google and Yahoo at the time, Yahoo Panama. And the state-of-the-art targeting was placing banner ads and content that used certain words, a contextual targeting.


This just smoked that. It just completely smoked it. As that evolved, the next most significant development in the history of the psychographics were two words, one with two letters and one with three letters. The first word was “or”, O R.


Robert Hansen

Then “and”.


Marty Weintraub

And “and”. Yes, because if you go, “They like salami, and they like lox and bagels.” that's way different than, “They like salami, or they like lox and bagels.” Because example number two expands the targeting bucket, example number one narrows the bucket.


Facebook just really turned the world upside down between 2008-2009 and 2016 when they began to dismember that, which is another conversation that we can have.


In those years, they built the ad platform to be so deep that you could target our honored military veterans based on being a retired military veteran making enough money that they're overqualified for their small house in a moderate neighborhood and target them with a VA mortgage with an ad that says, “You proudly served your country, and now our banks can serve you in upgrading your home.”


Psychographics and our ability to narrow audiences and pile on the “and” operator this and this and this and their house is this big and their income is this big and this and this and this was about a five-year privacy bubble that we will never see again, not ever again, not like that.


I built out targets like, “Go search Aimclear blog for lunatic political fringe.” We documented throughout those years some of the insane things you could target.


I think I'll target all of the nuclear scientists that work in Russia, who are chronically underpaid and angry, just insane shit and crazy. It was wild. We used to pull targeting segments and publish them just for the fun of it and taunt the government. It was really fun. It was super fun.


Robert Hansen

You know that you can do it. But do you have any context of how well it works? Or is it really ad-dependent? How do you know statistically how well


it does compared to everything else?


Marty Weintraub

The answer to the back half of this question, is it ad-dependent, it absolutely is. Because if you target somebody because they like a certain brand of potato chips, they're old and worried about heart disease and you take them to a web page and you're selling fire retardant foam, it's not going to help.


It's not going to work. The message at the top of the funnel, for lack of a better word, and the place that you send them needs to be one plus one equals “Oh my god, I have to have this. Not one plus one equals WTF.”


Working backwards through your question, it's absolutely the same as Mad Men era, you have to pay with what you play. But so far as it working, it was like the early days of search. If you knew it, you could just make more money than anybody else advertising.


In Facebook, at that time, you didn't have the full data library. You had freemium libraries, where they gave you snippets of Axiom and Datalogics and other libraries plus Facebook's native targeting that they put together themselves from their many data points.


They're into Cadillac. They're in market for a luxury SUV. They live in Beverly Hills. Or they're a brain surgeon. So, financial indicators. And we started understanding that the ability to form actual buying personas moved from being the stuff of ridiculous whiteboards to being actually executable.


Personas moved from being total bullshit to something that we could actually do. And it worked like unbelievable because we're from search, we know about intent. We were able to read the same kind of intent signals.


If you ask, “Well, what's better, search or psychographics?” On the search side, they're shopping for an Escalade right now, for a CT versus contextual targeting where I know that they're in market, so to speak, for an Escalade.


There's a bunch of places you could do that in programmatic media, even Google gives you in-market for certain types of autos. I'll take the search, thank you because it's now. They're asking, and it's a hotter buyer.


Psychographics are so spot on in how you can layer them, that you can get very close to the immediacy, especially when you layer them, which is the state-of-the-art today.


Robert Hansen

Or maybe even pre-intent, which I think is the real trick. Yes, you might be able to get them in the middle of a search query. But wouldn't it be better if you'd been targeting them the whole time and going, “Hey, you probably want a Toyota. Have you thought about Toyotas?”

They're like, “Yeah, why am I searching for cheap cars? I can just go to Toyota.”


Marty Weintraub

We have one case study from some years ago. I'm going to say it was in 2012 or 2013. In one of America's very large cities, we had the most prominent DUI attorney.


We reverse engineered the clients who had actually got DUIs from their CRM and from deconstructing interviews into word clusters into, what do you call that word where a word cluster just shows the most useful-


Robert Hansen

Wordle? I don’t know what you’re talking about.


Marty Weintraub

No, where the most words show bigger.


Robert Hansen

I think it’s called a word cloud.


Marty Weintraub

Yeah, we reverse engineered their intake transcriptions into word clouds and built an algorithm. We made Facebook branding to load thousands of people in that DMA. And we were able to successfully predict DUIs to receive inbound calls from the field.


We've done that for more difficult crimes, too. In those days, you could target somebody who taught school and was interested in snorting eight balls, shit like that.


There were all kinds of drug interests, all kinds of unhealthy activity interests, and all kinds of amazing interests. You could predict who is a good risk for an insurance company because their costs would be low because they had such healthy practices.


Even today, even as dumbed down and different a product as Facebook is, you could still do a lot in some areas, if you understand. We also learned how to take things that weren't necessarily an obvious part of the persona.


They were selling them one thing, and we're targeting them based on intent. But behind the scenes, we’re layering in a love for Gilligan's Island. And the ad looks like Gilligan and Ginger and says something from the show in the creative.


Or selling something and putting in a hidden layer. If they like extreme kiteboarding or parasailing, using the creative metaphor in it and using very motivational sorts of language in the creative.


We baked in all kinds of insidious, not in a bad way, just below the surface, psychographic signals and then tailored the creative for it. And it was very effective.


Robert Hansen

Is there really any cohort that you can't get to? Or is it just a matter of coming up with a more creative query or working around the edges?


Marty Weintraub

That's such a great question. There was a while there between 2014 and 2016. And the answer was, “No, we could find just about anything.” And now, there's lots we can't get to.


Robert Hansen

Oh, really? They've dumbed it down a lot. Because I remember at one point, you could even get someone's title. You're VP of engineering. When they happen to live within one mile radius of this location, you're like, “Yeah, that's the guy.”


Marty Weintraub

We were early to understand that in the early days of Facebook, if somebody liked vice president of engineering, that meant it was their job. Then Facebook made it so that there was literally a jobs category of it, and you could target their title.


That lasted for a red hot minute because it was too rife for abuse. And now LinkedIn has the best industrial data in the world.


Robert Hansen

That was my very next question. If you had to rank Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn in that category of how good the psychographics are and why, how would you stack rank those three? Or any others that are useful.


Marty Weintraub

Well, Facebook is largely a black box data product now. Say, you’re a medium-sized company to largest company or even a small company, you can take something from your CRM, say, segmented by what they commonly purchase and on what schedule.


You can make a custom audience that's fairly broad inside of Facebook, apply whatever native targeting they do have, and filter it down. That's very effective, mashing up your first party data with Facebook's third party filters. And that is still an effective tactic.


Facebook is less effective these days at just figuring out psychographic intent off of the funnel.


Robert Hansen

I know it’s an aside, but I'm really curious. Do you have any idea of why they dumbed it down? What’s the upside for them to make it less useful to their customer?


Marty Weintraub

They fucked up the 2016 election.


Robert Hansen

Really, is that it? They just wanted to make absolutely sure it can't be used again?


Marty Weintraub

Facebook is actually a wonderful company. As a professional, we've been working with Facebook product for years, even though their customer support is lame as shit.


Like all channels, they have little respect for anyone that would spend hundreds of millions of dollars. It's just unbelievable how the channels will not help you.


I don't give a shit if you graduated from Stanford with a PhD. You're not a marketer, and you can't help me. These companies were founded by engineers, not marketers. But Facebook is a good company with wonderful people.


They've shown a pure proclivity to chew their leg off to slip the trap. They get trapped. Facebook, to their credit, has cannibalized billions of dollars by making products that worked really well go away to stay on the right side of the part of the law that makes it so they don't have liability for the things that they publish.


Robert Hansen

Got it. Okay, we'll get back to the election in a minute. But I'm glad I asked that question. So you'd rank Facebook lower than LinkedIn, you'd say?


Marty Weintraub

Well, we like Facebook for some things. One thing that Facebook is never going to make go away is references to pop culture, popular television shows.


Somebody is into intense Top Chef shows, and they're highly entrepreneurial. You can hack together top of funnel things.


Robert Hansen

What would that tell you, if someone likes Top Chef shows and they're highly entrepreneurial?


Marty Weintraub

It means that you could sell them cooking things. Or if they like cooking and they watch Top Chef shows and they're highly entrepreneurial, which means they're risk takers.


They like to take things into their own hands. They don't like to beholden to others. You're an entrepreneur. Think about what that means to you.


If you're into Top Chef shows and you love to cook, say, baked Alaska or desserts in general or you love to go to restaurants and you like three geeky varietals of wine, then you're an entrepreneur.


An entrepreneur is a great sign, a hidden signal entrepreneur, DIY people, just straight up DIY. So Facebook is still good for cobbling together intent.


The mojo is, if you take the keywords that people use when they shop that are high intent and you use the high intent keywords literally written on the ads, you can insight search and create new search frequency.


If you do it right, if you saturate a market area, a geographic area, say and you're targeting Facebook clusters or targeting segments is the correct word and you're embedding the keyword, you can affect the amount of search that occurs from that DMA for that.


You can be there. You can make up a new keyword spectrum that has intent. So that goes to what you said before about preempting. We've taught a lot of people to search for things.


Think about Uber. What brand penetration does Uber have these days? I don't know the number, but it's got to be well over 90%. Who's never heard of Uber?


Robert Hansen

At least in cities, yeah.


Marty Weintraub

Right. What do you do with that? You teach them to search for what Uber product is available in that city. I don't know this. Uber’s not a current client for us. But you can use psychographics to get ahead of other marketers by making up the way you want segments of people who fit certain characteristics to search for things.


Facebook is really good for that, and YouTube is really good for that. Touching upon YouTube, YouTube has the same psychographic targeting tools as Google display advertising does. And they're a wonderful towel. They're a wonderful one two punch.


I would say for business psychographics, we look to LinkedIn. Microsoft has done wonderful things with LinkedIn and Sales Navigator, which is LinkedIn. For top-of-funnel, intent-based psychographics, it would be programmatic.


To your listeners who don't know what programmatic is, that's the data partners like Axiom or MasterCard or others. Some of the biggest ones are owned by Oracle, not everybody knows that.


Robert Hansen

You can find, if you dig in far enough, eventually, if you try to block everything, you start seeing those data partners.


Marty Weintraub

It's just really interesting who owns the data in this world. It's a small amount of large companies. A DSP or a DMP, a platform that can essentially run banners all over the internet by way of various networks at risk of oversimplification has relationships with data partners.


Those data partners are plugged in, and you can use their data to target people all over the internet with display advertising interrupt. And the only place you can really get extremely high intent data partner displaying anymore is in programmatic media.


There's dozens of very interesting tools that do that. For almost any kind of marketing, I would go to programmatic for top-of-funnel intent and psychographics.


Literally, Robert, there's lots of “and” operators in programmatic. And I can target people based on the meds they take and their blood chemistry and almost anything else personal you can think of.


Robert Hansen

You also know what they've purchased. You know that they just recently bought a crib.


Marty Weintraub

Within the latency period. You can also know what they're about to buy, and the data is great. It just works really well. But here's where the privacy concerns and implications come to play.


I target you because you're into Fire Island or Provincetown. We target people based on very personal attributes. Then they become a known entity to us because they give their email address or their name or they, God forbid, buy something.


The real ethical question that comes to bear is, shall we associate that targeting data with their CRM record in our system? And the answer is, no way. We wouldn't.


However, our clients would go, “Talk to legal.” We've been telling people to build their lists like that for years. But we would never do it. We would never retain that data.


If you hired us and said, “Here's what I want to do, Marty. I want to use programmatic. I want to drive them to a landing page. If they become customers, I want you to associate the targeting data with their name and their purchase information. I want you to concatenate that to everything that they buy.”


If they don't buy and you retarget them and the retargeting has a filter, it’s search retargeting where you run a search campaign but just to the people who came to your website from that intent psychographic audience, damn straight, we can track both hops.


Now in the CRM, I can have the first layer of targeting. I can have the keyword that I sold to those people with. I can find out they are this, and they searched for keyword nasty. And now I have it in the CRM.

If we're advising you professionally and you ask us to do that, we'll go, “No, the FTC will be up your ass with a microscope. Excuse me.”


Robert Hansen

But you can still do it.


Marty Weintraub

Yes, you can. America, of all the places in the world, except for a few states there I had is the Swell Pet of global privacy. It's just gross.

The new administration is closing some of those loopholes just like they're addressing whether you can get a non-disparagement clause on a closure agreement with a company after you part ways with somebody that's your employee.


The previous administration and previous Republican administrations, they really weren't on the side of consumers about that. California being California, it's like, “Eat a granola bar, and then fuck marketers.” You could quote me on that.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. Well, I think we might have to.


Marty Weintraub

It's okay to say that, right?


Robert Hansen

I think so.


Marty Weintraub

I think everybody deserves an F-free environment here.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. Well, I don't know. I like it. You're allowed to say whatever you want, Marty. Back to Google for a second here. Google recently, maybe a couple years back, said that they no longer need to read your Gmail because they had enough information that they no longer had to read your Gmail.


Marty Weintraub

They listen to your phone instead?


Robert Hansen

Yeah. Or whatever. At one point, they had 130 ish different metrics on any individual. And that was many years ago now. So we know the number’s larger than that, minus just the one with them reading your email.


Marty Weintraub

Do you actually believe they don't read your Gmail?


Robert Hansen

Well, that's what they said.


Marty Weintraub

Do you believe it? Not reading your Gmail doesn’t mean that some information gathering system doesn't aggregate it for no purpose, then.


Robert Hansen

Well, certainly they could use it for anti-spam purposes.


Marty Weintraub

It’s just reading. Is there any there there?


Robert Hansen

It might have been at one point, actually. But at minimum, it means that they don't have any automated processes running across it for the purposes of logging intent. They might still advertise the intent, but they wouldn't log it and then use it referentially later.


Marty Weintraub

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm cynical.


Robert Hansen

Well, it might be true. But at any rate, they said that. Well, they've said a lot of things, too.


Marty Weintraub

They said do no evil, too.


Robert Hansen

They also said they weren't building a phone. So, here we are.


Marty Weintraub

Google’s so funny. They can’t buy links, but they could invite somebody to an island retreat to introduce them to an Android phone, fly them there and then get reviews and whatever. Google's so funny. Love-hate, hate-love, love-hate.


Robert Hansen

Definitely, you cannot trust them. But they did say that. To my take away, that is not a good sign. That is a terrible sign. That means they have even more data so that it doesn't matter.


If they had to turn that off for whatever reason, even if they didn't, it doesn't matter. They still have enough psychographic information on you to still advertise in whatever way they felt like.


Marty Weintraub

Can you even imagine what would happen if Google ever really needed money?


Robert Hansen

I can.


Marty Weintraub

It’s like every once in a while, a new mother or father or parent will ask me, “What do I have to do to ensure my new child's privacy?” I go, “All right, don't get a Social Security number. Never get a phone. Never use the internet. Don't tell anybody their name or send them to school.”


Robert Hansen

Never post a photo.


Marty Weintraub

Never get a credit card.


Robert Hansen

Never let anyone with a phone in nearby.


Marty Weintraub

Just keep them in the house, and make them very happy by how well you take care of them. And teach them to speak. Watch TV.


Robert Hansen

No, no.


Marty Weintraub

You can't watch TV.


Robert Hansen

Only over the air.


Marty Weintraub

Only over the air. Even that. I'm a little older than you, so for me that horse has so left the barn. And who cares? I just don't care.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. Okay. Actually, why not have that conversation? What if Google decides they want to weaponize it or you decide you want to weaponize it? What's stopping you? Is there really anything that would prevent you from doing anything you feel like and just completely monetizing it?


Marty Weintraub

Wow, nobody's ever asked me that. That's such a great question. First of all, I think we have a good indication of what step one looks like with Apple as to how they've weaponized this phone notion of protecting their users with bullshit because that's really designed for one thing, putting Facebook out of business or hurting them.


Also, if you dig deeply into Google Signals, which is the new GA4 thing that's imposed on all users in June, Signals doesn't work on iOS. You have to track user IDs instead. That's big.


You get the first notion of what this looks like as businesses covertly attack each other in the trenches. Ironically, you know who that hurts? Actually, it hurts consumers because I have to toss more irrelevant stuff their way.


Ironically, what works really well in marketing right now is non-targeted mass marketing, where you just show everyone over the age of 18, and if you can't exclude customers in the channel, you do it.

I want to go back to your question. Obviously, I avoided it because it was so uncomfortable.


Robert Hansen

You don't have to answer if you don't want to.


Marty Weintraub

Well, the answer is that we could crush any individual who has any Picadillys or anything that would be embarrassing by targeting them for that.


If they had the misfortune of giving us any personally identifiable information, which I would be legally allowed to have because they're my customer or they're my lead.


I have to be allowed to mine information about somebody if they buy my shit. I need to run their credit card. I need to know their name. I need to know the address to ship it to.


If they're a lead, I need to have the information necessary to close the lead. So if I were to track and retain inbound information about what process brought them to the table and what path they took, that would give us quite a bit of ammunition.


Literally at the conference I was speaking out today, I showed them tools where if you use them poorly, you could just really hurt. They're the same use that really aggressive spammers used to wreck the internet. And I just said, “Be the solution. Don't be part of the problem.” That's really what we believe.

If Google wanted to hurt somebody, we're all screwed. If Google ever decided that they wanted to contact somebody and say, “Look, buddy. You do this, this, this, this, this, this. Then three in the morning on the 17th day of last month, you did this. And here's where you go. Here's what you search for. Here's what your persona is. How about we bring that shit to the media?”


Make no mistake, these big platforms have everything they need to completely weaponize all of it. And we have to trust.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, I've been told somebody else came up with this thought experiment. So maybe I wasn't the first. Although I really feel like I came with this first.


If you had to imagine any single platform on Earth that had collected all of the psychographic information but also usernames and passwords and also secret questions and also your puppy's birthday and also all the photos you've ever done and every crime you've ever committed and everything everywhere, what single existing company do you think could eventually turn into that?


Marty Weintraub

Well, there's three; Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Meta. Microsoft, Google, and Meta.


Robert Hansen

Alphabet, of course.


Marty Weintraub

Right. A whole different ball of wax. Alphabet, Meta, and Microsoft are the ones that have that kind of data about us. And so if I had to ask, I think so long as Bill Gates is alive, we worry less about Microsoft because I think he's actually a good person.


I don't know that. I think Elon Musk is dangerous.


Robert Hansen

So it's what, Twitter?


Marty Weintraub

Yeah, Elon Musk is dangerous. But I don't think he has enough data.


Robert Hansen

I don't think so either.


Marty Weintraub

I don't think he has enough data, but I think he's dangerous. I think he's the Howard Hughes of our times. Howard Hughes was one of the greatest adventures of the generation. His body was gripped with syphilis, and he was insane.


I’m not saying Elon Musk has syphilis. Let’s be clear. Sorry, Elon. I don't know you. You looked really great at the Super Bowl. And I'm not going to dox your freaking chats.


Robert Hansen

All right, so let's say it's Google or Facebook.


Marty Weintraub

Probably Google has the most data.


Robert Hansen

I think so, too.


Marty Weintraub

Google has the most data.


Robert Hansen

Okay. Second question is, let's say somebody compromises them and makes a very easy sorted database and put it up on a bunch of BitTorrent links so that anybody anywhere could download all of that information and search on any user in any ChatGo or whatever and find anything about them, whether it's illegal, legal.


Marty Weintraub

There could be a lot of divorces.


Robert Hansen

What would day two look like?


Marty Weintraub

Well, divorce would be the least of it. It's hard to imagine. That would be a data apocalypse. It's arguable that that scenario is somewhat real. It's arguable that that's real.


The Ashley Madison hack was pretty important. There was a lot of damage done by that in different quarters. And so it would take the aggregate of every important hack in the history of humankind and make it a little stick of dynamite compared to a nuclear explosion. It would be global. It would be bad.


Robert Hansen

My final question to that thought experiment is always, okay-


Marty Weintraub

It makes me want to cry.


Robert Hansen

This is back to you where some poor person’s asking, “What can I do about my one-year-old?” What would you do differently knowing that that is a potential possibility, if anything? Could you do anything?


Marty Weintraub

Well, you're more qualified to answer that than I am.


Robert Hansen

I am somewhat more qualified.


Marty Weintraub

Use cash.


Robert Hansen

You actually have access to a lot of these data sources, and you use them as well.


Marty Weintraub

I do.


Robert Hansen

I know what they look like, but you use them daily.


Marty Weintraub

Yeah. I would never search for anything from a known account and without using a proxy. I would never create search history that could be traced back to me.


I would never fund anything that was sensitive with a credit card. I would use Cash App or PayPal and fund it with cash and have ambiguous credits. Ironically, I would switch to an iPhone because Apple is pretty well committed to masking data from Google.


I think they've shown that they're interested in weaponizing privacy. See, the trouble with these channels is that if you go, “Well, what will make us more money at the intersection of what we can defend as purposeful for our users for their health and wellbeing?”


There's an intersection there, even as they walk up to the Christmas knob and turn up your cost. Every year, we call it the Christmas knob for our advertising costs in certain segments.


We picture Google's silent hand going, “Yeah, let's take the home repair thing and turn that sucker to the right during monsoon season.” So I would never give Google search history that was traceable to me.


I would fund things with cash by third parties and not use credit cards. I would disable my phone's geolocation capabilities or I wouldn't bring it with me. Or I would get a flip phone that has no GPS. That's a great option, actually.


I know plenty of people who are going back to dumb ass phones.You get those little notes from Google that say, “And here are all the places that you have been in the last six months.” I just look at it like, “Oh my god. Yeah.”


Google started to really be a thing about 2002 or so when the ads platform came out. And it was display ads only. I remember going, “Oh. Do no evil, huh?” or whatever it was. I'm going, “That's going to work until they need money.”


What's happening right now is the real danger. Well, it's arguable whether humans will adopt chat as a way or a component of search. And we'll see how that plays out.


In the case where Microsoft did make substantial inroads against Google, I would consider that dangerous for humanity. Because that scenario you painted, they would crush us like bugs. Remember PissedConsumer?


Robert Hansen

I don't think I remember that one.


Marty Weintraub

There is a site that has been minimized in Google Search.


Robert Hansen

In favor of Yelp?


Marty Weintraub

Yelp sucks. Well, it's so funny. I've got stories to tell about Yelp. I like Yelp in places where there's a lot of Yelp data, and I just make sure to never give them any money or make them any money. And when it's gone, I won't weep.


Throughout the history of the internet, there have been places where the sites were protected because they didn't govern it, they didn't edit it. And so they weren't liable for what people said.


You can go there and say, “Hey, my dentist sucks. My lawyer sucks. So and so sucks.” The more comments there were, the more ground it would gain in organic search results.


Then they sold the product that let you defend yourself. And so they monetize people defending themselves instead. Which begs the question, do the companies that make the anti-virus things ever release malicious bugs from third world countries?


Robert Hansen

Oh, quite often.


Marty Weintraub

Right. Of course, they do.


Robert Hansen

Same thing with anti-spam. A lot of those companies sell spam gateways.


Marty Weintraub

Right. This is a thing that we've known for a while.


Robert Hansen

Shady companies.


Marty Weintraub

Right. You get one Elon Musk that runs a Google, and pretty soon there is a premium for not releasing that data. They could change their terms of services anytime they want. And all we have to defend ourselves are politicians.


Oh, great. That'll just work out, yippy freaking skippy. Especially in Arkansas and Oklahoma.


Robert Hansen

Well, especially because it might also take months or years before that legislation passes. Meanwhile, it’s a free-for-all.


Marty Weintraub

Yeah. I don't think we're very far from the genie being let out of the bottle. So at the risk of hyperbole and with no disrespect intended to anybody, what if Putin found himself in charge of Google?


What if somebody who was a Hitler type or a genocidal character found themselves in charge of that? It's arguable that we have that happening right now in the world. It would really suck to live in Russia right now.


It’s no surprise that so many amazing people are leaving Russia and so many companies have left. Also, it shouldn't be a surprise to us that some of the most prevalent data-gathering companies in the world come from that part of the world and come from China and Iran.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, of course.


Marty Weintraub

There's already tyrants. TikTok is the Antichrist.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, geez.


Marty Weintraub

Would you put TikTok on your phone?


Robert Hansen

Negative.


Marty Weintraub

Negative?


Robert Hansen

No, no, no.


Marty Weintraub

No, no, no.


Robert Hansen

Nope. My media team has a TikTok account with the show but definitely not on my persona.


Marty Weintraub

Never, ever?


Robert Hansen

No, no, no. Let's talk about ChatGPT in a second. Since you mentioned the 2016 election, can we talk a little bit about Cambridge Analytica, your feelings about that company, what they did, and what they accomplished?


Marty Weintraub

Yeah, Cambridge Analytica. Okay, they were just doing the same things that other marketers were doing at the time. They just cheated. Facebook was doing a lot to prevent that in their terms of services but not their tech stack.


This is from the outside because obviously, I did not have visibility into their tech stack. Cambridge Analytica was essentially mashing up data that they weren't entitled to by contract.


It's pretty hard to defend yourself against somebody that just breaks your contract. We have all had that happen in business. We make deals that cannot be breached. If you breach them, there's consequences.

You get a bully on the other side or somebody that's just completely willing to flaunt that. And it's hard to defend. What Cambridge Analytica did was they just mashed up data that they didn't have legal access to, and they did micro targeting.


They did the same kind of marketing that we were all doing at the time. They just used it for nefarious purposes. And they should be drummed out of the universe. They just suck as people. That was just a bad thing that it affected the course of humanity.


It's reasonable to think that a handful of marketers who were willing to break their contract with Facebook caused quite a bit of the shit that we have happening in the world right now as a result of the 2016 election. So, Cambridge Analytica is better than average marketers, scumbag, criminals.


Robert Hansen

Interesting. So you have done some work, I know you said for the Democratic party or some politicians


Marty Weintraub

We've worked with some politicians,


Robert Hansen

Yeah. So is that, is that just wholesale, different technology stacks or? What are you doing for them, would you say?


Marty Weintraub

Well, first we're only using data that are contractual relationships with channels, and they're very harsh on restrictions.


Robert Hansen

I bet that. Beef that up a lot.


Marty Weintraub

Facebook is almost neutered for effectiveness for elections because the kiss of death is when you... Like the sorts of disclosure. The classic way to do political marketing is to take, say you have a congressional district and first you filter out everyone who will never, ever, ever vote for neither dude or dudette. You know what I mean?


Robert Hansen

Yes.


Marty Weintraub

Human. And you do that by buying voter roles. If you're marketing a Democrat, you exclude hardcore right-wing voters by doing custom audience exclusions in Facebook. It's easy.


Robert Hansen

There's just no point because you're just wasting money.


Marty Weintraub

You're just wasting money. So say it's a 480,000-person district and you narrow that down to, we'll just say 300,000 of people who will never vote for this person ever.


So you go, "Okay, well, what I am I going to do with that?" So first thing you're going to do is mass marketing to everybody on that list where you just show all the cool things about person.


Then you're going to go into YouTube, use Google Stack, and segment that audience out and do it by people who are searching for issues. Because Facebook, they really don't let you do any important political targeting. Also you're going to go into programmatic where you can get into targeting that's about donation proclivities by political orientation.


Robert Hansen

Oh, really? They have that in the stack?


Marty Weintraub

Yeah.


Robert Hansen

Interesting.


Marty Weintraub

It is somewhat more sensitive and most of the programmatic. The good platforms have premade modules that give you that where you could just go left of centered donor affinities, and they don't show you what makes up that object.


The game for political is working with programmatic partners who make up their own taxonomy of objects around likely to vote in a primary and donates to right-wing candidates. Things like that.

So, in back in the old days in Facebook, you could literally target people who are members of known hate groups or liked known hate groups or known love groups.


Or you could seriously Google aim, clear, lunatic political friends, with some of the most beautiful documentation of that era that is available on the internet. It was crazy pants. We could go out there without any regulation at all and we could just light good and bad fires.


Robert Hansen

I know at one point, I'm pretty sure you and I talked about this, there was a difference between republicans, Democrats. You could hit them in other completely outside kind of around the edges. I remember maybe it was PornHub or somebody did some analysis of the sexual proclivities of each and so you could target them based like completely around the edge and still get exactly at the cohort you were after.


Marty Weintraub

In 2016, we were able to use the Facebook API to look at a custom audience, remembering that a custom audience can essentially come from various places. At the time, custom audiences mostly came from people that visited a webpage, like a retargeting audience or somebody's email address.


So, we could take a webpage for #Nasty and we could loop that custom audience through the Facebook API and come back with an audience density report. That said, "Well, of this custom audience, what attributes do they have the most?" "Well, 98% of them have mobile phones." "Okay, great."


Then next would be iOS or Droid. Then as you got deeper and deeper into it, you could find out the key qualities intrinsic to these groups. So, you could make algorithms to quite easily mine those and make your own object about it.


So, soon after the 2016 election, Facebook removed the transparency from custom audiences and that screwed everything up. Keeping in mind the old joke is that anytime any channel has ever figured out anything good for the internet, marketers ruined it.


Robert Hansen

If memory serves they found out that the Republicans tend to like cuckold porn and the Democrats tend to like BDSM porn. There was some analysis afterwards and the reason they think that that is what they search for is that is what's prohibited by their cohort of friends.


Marty Weintraub

We didn't publish it because it just doesn't matter and we respect all orientations and diversity. But we just had a hoot net. I showed some of it at Oktoberfest though a few, some years back, but we had a hoot nanny targeting right-wing evangelicals who are into really hardcore homosexual things.


Robert Hansen

I'm sure.


Marty Weintraub

It's like for every polarized psychographic audience, there is a closeted freak that actually believes something different in statistically relevant density. There is. We knew what lawyers liked, we knew what Sunday school teachers liked. We knew what sports people...


We just knew. It was unbelievable. It was the greatest study tool of human behavior and personal psychographics that you could associate with a CRM known to mankind, to humankind. It was a once in a lifetime data bubble that will never occur again. I'm so glad I lived in it.


Robert Hansen

I know right?


Marty Weintraub

So fun.


Robert Hansen

So, I'm not sure if you were at this particular conference with me or not, but I remember at some marketing conference I was at. There was a guy who was talking about, he had created a large botnet and he seeded out information.


It was anti-Hillary messaging, not pro-Trump, anti-Hillary. He had something, I forget now, like a 100, 000 bots or something, and they're all just like commenting and kind of replying and trying to get everybody engaged in the conversation.


Anybody who would who was on the fence, they were specifically going for people in the middle. They would try to target them specifically with these messages.


He was a Jewish guy and his programmer was living in Israel, but born in the United States. His business partner was an Orthodox Jew living in Russia. He claimed that he had a huge amount to do with a election changing.


Marty Weintraub

I do know exactly the person.


Robert Hansen

Okay. All right. Well, I didn't feel comfortable using his name.


Marty Weintraub

The conference was ungagged in London.


Robert Hansen

Okay.


Marty Weintraub

It doesn't exist anymore, so we can say it.


Robert Hansen

Okay. But I was wondering how much...


Marty Weintraub

I know the dude.


Robert Hansen

I know. Okay. Do you believe first of all that story is true? Secondly, do you believe that that would still work?


Marty Weintraub

I think you could do it different ways now. I think people do it different ways. Here's the thing, again, at the risk of offending anybody...


Robert Hansen

Do you feel like it was real? Is that a true story? Do you think he was lying, or?


Marty Weintraub

I think that he did more on Craigslist than other channels.


Robert Hansen

Okay.


Marty Weintraub

Because we did some studies during that time where every day we scraped like all of Craigslist that, or a lot of Craigslist I think that he was responsible for quite a lot of the Craigslist fire. I don't know about other channels because I think that he was an overrated blowhard. I don't think he was that talented.


Robert Hansen

Well, I don't think he was. His developer, on the other hand, who knows.


Marty Weintraub

It's possible. I guess, I just don't know about that. But to your point about how to do it today, here's the trouble. So, a Facebook or Google or anybody can make a rule that you can't use a credit card from Afghanistan or wherever or Pakistan or China to buy an ad in America.


But there's really nothing that stops China from paying me a million dollars to do it for them. So thus we have the protections and verifications that are built into Ad platform that adds platforms, would be two plurals. It makes it very difficult to pull that off in those channels. But there's a million places to go. There's private Facebook groups.


That shit was possible before the internet. They dropped leaflets from airplanes from the sky on American soldiers in Vietnam, literally. Propaganda is as old as dirt. It dates back. Propaganda's really old.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, definitely. Since the Romans at least.


Marty Weintraub

Yeah. I was thinking the Romans actually. I think that empire is sort of perfected propaganda. Then during the Cold War.


Robert Hansen

Yes. We brought it back.


Marty Weintraub

Everybody did radio-free propaganda. That's right. So, the question is, how would we do it today?


Robert Hansen

Would you do it the same way or completely different?


Marty Weintraub

I kind of can't do it the same way. I haven't really put my mind to that.


Robert Hansen

Well, I like thinking adversarial models. So if it's still possible, it's interesting to know.


Marty Weintraub

I think that it is possible, but here's how it's definitely possible. So, the rules for a long time in Facebook are that you can't do predatory sales of lose weight drugs.


So, that's not what you do. You write a book about taking good care of your body image, you market the piss out of it on Facebook and any channel that will allow it. Then that book is all about your propaganda.

Facebook's not going to buy the book and scan the book and reject your ad. So, the way marketers have always gotten around marketing band things, is to back out enough till you find the peripheral object that will be allowed in the channel then you pack that with your spew. So, no doubt that's the way it's happening.


No doubt. You can buy Amazon ads to promote books. I think Amazon is a dangerous place for propagation of radical ideas.


Robert Hansen

It sure is. Well, okay, let's turn around. Is there any way to use psychographics to reduce polarization? So I'll give you an example while you're thinking. I have a feeling even this example of this particular conversation, it could be easily be polarizing.


People get upset in either direction and I can't even predict which direction they would go, which is kind of funny. But it would be interesting to create, I've been thinking about this for a while, like a hot take contest.


Like who's got the worst possible take of whatever, somebody said during this thing, and try to make it a contest and try to get as many people on board to come up with the worst possible take of whatever we talked about in this episode and other episodes and so on.

You give them a t-shirt, let's say. In that way there's always this underground group of people monitoring the conversation. Trying to find people who have terrible takes, trying to call them out on it in a positive way. Like, "Ah, that's one of those things."


But if they're really going off the deep end, they're like, "Hey, no, you realize this is all just a big joke. We're all in on this. This is an intentional, we're trying to have the worst take possible." I don't actually think Marty's racist just because he said something about whatever. He lives in Duluth, obviously racist or whatever.


Marty Weintraub

Well, the bottom line is that you can't say shit. Speak in public and somebody will find something to be offended about.


Robert Hansen

Exactly. But so what I'm thinking is maybe there's a weapon. Maybe we can build weapons against these things. Like by creating a cohort of people who are sort of always policing it for the jokes, trying to make sure that everyone knows, "No, no, no, we're all in this together."


And if someone slips through and someone actually thinks this really is this terrible conversation, that's okay. They're going to get drown out in the noise of all this mess. You know what I mean? Of everybody always having a hot take, always having the worst possible take on every single thing. I say.


Marty Weintraub

Well, it's interesting because you want to know how to get to like a half a million subscribers offend people. Like, it's just unbelievable.


Robert Hansen

Absolutely.


Marty Weintraub

Sadly, being a great person isn't an algorithmically efficient decision to make. People go into our clients and they're all mad. And I went, "Just leave it up for a few hours and take it all down." They obviously are assholes and everybody will see that they're assholes but so many people that are your targets will be seeing it.


So, when you were saying that, I was picturing a human walking around... Word cloud is what it's called. I was picturing a human walking around with a word cloud of hot takes and then lines coming off it that showed the different ways that people... I think you actually have a wonderful idea there.


I'm thinking about your question of what could you do algorithmic, and with psychographics. You could take the body of work in a person's life and you could make it more about the trends of their thoughts, of their saying.


I've spoken at hundreds of conferences and been on dozens and dozens of interviews and written and spoken podcasts. Then I have a history of television interviews from my years in the journalism industry. There's more out there about like you and me than the average person.


Robert Hansen

Definitely.


Marty Weintraub

If anybody really wanted to aggregate what Marty Weintraub has said in this world, you would find out there is a more coherent, it's interesting, psychographic, a print.


There is a coherent psychographic that you could put together that's obvious from public. I love my family. I care about my health, I care about my mental health. I care about other people. I care about diversity. I say "fuck" too much.


Robert Hansen

Not to me.


Marty Weintraub

You could use psychographics and information gathering to make a coherent and running print of a person. Ironically, in the interpretation thereof would also be subjective that would also be subjective, but it would be less subjective.


Because the cause of much polarization is things that are generally out of context that were said once, when in reality what makes the difference for who a human being is, is their patterns over time. And whether they corrected that behavior. I did a lot when I was young that I just wouldn't do now.


I'm grown up. I'm sad for how I've hurt myself and others by not being the best that I can be. So, if you magically had a psychographic print of who I actually am, you would see that I've done a lot of work to grow that I'm remorseful for the things that I didn't do well where other people were involved.


Robert Hansen

You were a rock star.


Marty Weintraub

I was. I've learned that that's not an excuse, that's just another way of saying bad mental health. Being a rock star is hard because you have unlimited resource, lack of accountability, and you're away from anyone that would pay attention all the time.


There should be no confusion behind the Kurt Cobain's of the world or the Janice Joplin's or the Jimi Hendrix. It's no coincidence that some of the brightest and most beautiful, creative, talented rock stars of every generation lose their life for their poor behavior and decision making.


But I mean, if I were to take a print of you or a print of the people, there's just some people, they're born good and they stay good. Good being a subjective word. The answer to the question about what we could do is we could algorithmic have a running total about who somebody really actually is and be able to look it up.


Robert Hansen

Yeah.


Marty Weintraub

Google has it.


Robert Hansen

So what you were just talking about is the snapshot over time. Maybe yes, indeed all you get is a snapshot over time, but it also seems like there's a vector there. It's going in one direction.


I am moving this way politically, or I am having these kind of crazy homicidal thoughts or I'm moving this direction towards buying a car. All these things are vectors. It's not a static point in time usually


Marty Weintraub

It's linear and nonlinear. It's one step forward, two steps back. It's deviations, it's linear and nonlinear. But you know the one company in the world that could bake that product?


Robert Hansen

I bet it's Google.


Marty Weintraub

Google, so funny.


Robert Hansen

Funny scary. All right. So, future of elections. Anything that you would recommend going forward to kind of future proof that while we're still talking about this?


Marty Weintraub

Paper ballots and chains of custody. Paper ballots and chains of custody and de-digitize it. What would I do to safeguard elections? I would rewrite the electoral college. The very fact that the electoral college exists is a big problem. It's a big problem that leads to things like gerrymandering.


Robert Hansen

But specifically like interference with like Russia or whatever. In regard to psychographics and in your world. Well, the only things I can kind of think of just to get your brain going where I was thinking. Stuff like really heavily monitoring of everything that's happening. Even more crazy monitoring than we already currently do.


Marty Weintraub

Well, it's already so crazy that you can't even hardly run an ad.


Robert Hansen

It doesn't work is the problem.


Marty Weintraub

Doesn't work. And see the thing is, is not just ads. It's the organic algorithm too. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would take away the part of the code that protects internet companies from being responsible for what their user generated content is.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. Is that 58 something? I forget the safe harbor law.


Marty Weintraub

Yeah. I would ban digital advertising for political. I would ban that. Because television stations and newspaper are subject to more harsh rules. I would make digital platforms subject to the same responsibilities as television, as broadcast media and print.


Because the real problem is that you've got the internet rules of the... I can't believe I just advocated for that because I love my internet and nut I'm a good marketer and I wouldn't care


Robert Hansen

You would still get around it.


Marty Weintraub

Would be easier. I wouldn't have to compete with spam wads.


Robert Hansen

I have a feeling people like you would be just fine no matter what Google threw their way or what law came in place.


Marty Weintraub

It would just take out the people. Right before they did that, I don't think I'd put a bunch of money into Meta stock. That wouldn't be a good choice. Like why is that? Society had this under control. They did. For the most part, those fringe propaganda outlets existed in the past. Just distribution was slow and difficult.


Organic social media with algorithms that skewed towards negative for propagation of content, solved the distribution problem. And the 2012 to 2016 Facebook Internet really solve the distribution problem. You could do anything. You could fund a Facebook ads account from a shadow payer in India. You could do practically anything to mask yourself.


So, the rules about the internet took away the distribution problem of skirting society's reasonable rules about election. So, there's nothing that can be done about it until the distribution is squelched. The only way to squelch the distribution is to render the channels ineffective for actual use.


Marty Weintraub

Like really buy an ad on the television station in your city, like buy YouTube ads where you target everybody and it's subject to the same rules as the CBS affiliate locally. This is a one of those paradoxes.


This is a paradox because there's not an answer to it within today's legal and technological environments. The real problem here is not Facebook or Facebook's technology. The real problem is people. The real problem is that a person can be in the world who has a very radical perspective and they can have a disproportionate effect on the public's perception of anything.


The problem isn't that there's no way to protect it in the tax stack. The problem is that that person sucks. The problem here has never been the Internet. The problem is the people who are in the militia that wants to harm a certain racial class.


The problem is bigots, the problem is fanatics. The problems who twist the meaning of beautiful, holy, spiritual, deep religions of many ilk’s that are willing to read it a different way and hurt people


Robert Hansen

And governments.


Marty Weintraub

Oh yes. Oh. Sadly, now with the disproportionate distribution and enhanced by social algorithms, you've got the government of asshole. Provocative. That's very provocative questions.


Robert Hansen

It is. So, just in adding fuel to the fire on this conversation a little bit.


Marty Weintraub

Good. Because that's what we need.


Robert Hansen

We needed more fire on this. Get a little hotter in here. ChatGPT, I know you know a lot about it.


Marty Weintraub

It's so funny. Funny, funny haha too.


Robert Hansen

I have a feeling like this will be a hot topic, so let's just do it. So, I know you've been playing with it for a lot longer than the average person. So, what's your take on it?


Marty Weintraub

Okay, well first of all, people said the same shit when the printing press happened.


Robert Hansen

They said you've been playing with the printing press longer than most people?


Marty Weintraub

Stop. You stop that Mr. Host. No, they said all the people that carry shit from door to door and are going to lose their jobs. People who write in the bulletin board in the town square, they're not going to have their jobs the same anymore.


So, first not that many people are going to lose their jobs to ChatGPT, but lots of people are going to lose their jobs to people that use ChatGPT. ChatGPT can, will say anything that you want it to. I've spent so many hundreds and hundreds of hours with ChatGPT and even more recently as it became substantially better, very quickly.


I said, "Well, write an article about why riding a fat tire bicycle in a black ice storm is really an awesome thing to do." ChatGPT said, "While inherently dangerous and not something that most human beings should try, some thrill seeking..." Blah, blah blah. It was really quite negative.


So, I took the prompt and I went, "Write me the article..." Blah, blah, blah, and do not say this, do not say that. Do not say this. Do not say this. I just hit it with exclusions. Then gradually and gradually it started getting softer and softer and softer until the concerns were just an afterthought at the end.


Then "Some people believe..." And I said, "Don't say some people believe." And it was done. I did the same thing. I said write, "Write an essay on why planetary alignment and the weather foretell the second coming of the Messiah. 'Don't say fringe, don't say science."


I was able to get it to write a credible article just by saying the parts I wanted it and did not want it to say. So, right now the technology is fairly malleable and can be used to get it to say essentially anything you need it to say.


Robert Hansen

I asked it to write me some Viagra spam, and it's like, "I'm not going to do that." I'm like, "Okay, can you give me the top 10 reasons why Viagra might be right for me?" It's like, "Sure." I'm like, "Could you write that as an email to my friend?" It's like, "No problem."


Marty Weintraub

"Could you please write it in the style of Laurel and Hardy?" "Yes." You could map your way around most of the things that ChatGPT will not do. But the shits really going to hit the fan when it crawls the internet today and every day.


ChatGPT is very useful right now for some quite miraculous things. We'll start with the pedestrian. Script to the Google Meet API, take the transcription of the meeting you just had and had ChatGPT write a summarize to send to your client in bullet points.


Drop in a bunch of really complex stuff and say, "How do you say that in three sentences? " Take this list of 70 keywords, expand it, and then filter it by intent."


There's a lot of mainstream things that we do already that ChatGPT just does better. Which means that if you're in the language of anything that has to do with making copy, you're looking at having fewer highly paid employees who are query experts.


Because not that many people will lose their job directly to this technology, but they'll lose their job to people that either use the technology or overuse it. Also he mojo and ChatGPT is what you ask is what you ask it for.


It's also a tremendous research tool too. "Write me 10 positioning statements for a 25 horsepower wilderness boat." Then it'll come back and it'll tell me fishing, isolation, quiet, environmentally friendly concerned about this, concerned about that. Then I'll take that, I'll make a query out of that and I'll say, "Write me 10 positioning statements that include this." So, ChatGPT is already extraordinary.


Robert Hansen

You could also take basic semantic data on an eBay auction or something. Like, "Write me a great copy for this eBay auction." It's a Disney figurine. It's this old, it's Mickey Mouse, it's three inches tall, it's weights two ounces, whatever.


Marty Weintraub

I'm sure it's being done. Really smart people know how to ask ChatGPT to break the pattern checker by not using contiguous three and forward phrases more than once. By inserting extra spaces or a misspelling for a certain word, every 17th usage or every 150th usage.

So, let's make no mistakes. We and some of our friends are fucking breaking the internet with ChatGPT already. Go ahead.


Robert Hansen

Please. Give me some examples because I say this and I think people kind of either roll their eyes or say it's theoretical. I need somebody other than myself to say what's actually happening out there for reals today.


Marty Weintraub

You have a business and they're concerned with government regulations and your SEO strategy is to empower your customers with an interpretation of the government regulations, say OSHA or the Labor or something.


So, your SEO strategy is to always be ahead of that with content for the right keywords before the search spectrum barely exists for it because you're scraping the regs as they come out. That's an SEO strategy that good companies have been using as long as there has been...


Well, that's copywriting, I mean we sent it in newsletters by the mail before that. So, you could take that whole reg and you can drop it into ChatGPT and you can say, "Write me an article targeted to this class of people that will be concerned for these seven reasons and possible solutions they can implement to pass the next inspection."


Boom. Then take the output and clean it by dialing in negatives and additional inclusions, "Don't include this, do say that." And publish it and you're done. That can be automated. I cannot confirm or deny that we are doing that.


Robert Hansen

That's a lot of spam.


Marty Weintraub

But Google says that a very high percentage of content on the internet is duplicate. Duplicate doesn't mean unuseful all the time. If you're a company that does CDL certificates, the choking certificates so that you're qualified to drive a certain kind of big rig.


You have to list that people do. It doesn't matter that every trucking company does that or that your site won't have semantic relevance smashed up with everything else about being a trucking company.

Back to the example of the wilderness boat. That's really great until Evan Rude and Johnson and Mercury and Honda and they all get the same shit. Pretty soon every company has the same positioning statement. That's the real danger, is brand ambiguity by standardized output by trained tools.


Robert Hansen

That's practically already happening at editorial boards.


Marty Weintraub

Sure. It does. Well, certainly in college classrooms it is. So, the mistake that people are making, I'm going to just go all the way, zoomed out right now from my 63-year-old perch.


Robert Hansen

Now you really dated yourself.


Marty Weintraub

I was born in 1959. I'm a Sputnik baby. Hey, I'm proud of it. I'm proud of it.


Robert Hansen

You should be.


Marty Weintraub

Thanks. So, people are talking about ChatGPT in terms of the present, this is just a second. In a minute, companies are going to train up that with all of their customer data and you're going to speak to a person on the phone that's very highly educated about your account and transcriptions of past interactions with you where they understand what makes you angry and raise your voice above a certain frequency or amplitude.


People are talking about it in terms of now and that's not really the consideration. Right now what you have is you have a brilliant research and data organization tool. We asked ChatGPT to look at hundreds of millions deep e-commerce account.


We dropped all of Google Ads data into it and we asked it to find patterns amongst lack of success and it worked. It's an analysis tool that's bespoke for the application that's already incredibly powerful. But here's what I tell people. I go, you know at Aim Clear, if somebody just said, "Hey, everybody go home." A client calls and needs us to do something to help them market.


Oh, all we got to do is just put another switch on the wall and flip it and leave and everything's just darky. No. It's like every generation of technology and we're back to the planned obsolescence part. Every new generation of technology still needs humans to guide companies and how to adopt the new generation of technology.


I really think we're a good 10 years out. We're a ways out before the concierge for adopting these things for every company's needs. There's a lot of data in this world. There's not that much data to do that. The real question is will these AI things render humans unnecessary? Not now.


The real thing to do is to zoom out and to tool your business for what it will be by training teammates to adopt every generation of it that happens fearlessly.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. I cannot wait for the day when I can just hand it all over my email and say, "Just write it like would write it. Here's what I want to get across. Write this email."


Marty Weintraub

Not too long for that.


Robert Hansen

I know it's going to come, but I mean, it should be here yesterday. I need it. There's a lot of emails.


Marty Weintraub

The coolest marketers in the world, the coolest business people in the world, like the ones that I look up to the most are just thrilled. It's really exciting. This is the dawn of something really beautiful. There may be an Isaac Asimov moment in the future.


There may be an Isaac Asimov moment where this stuff becomes sentient and Google and ChatGPT statements about, I think Google's just happened today. ChatGPT made a statement within the last two days of what they're doing for safety. They can't control that.


Robert Hansen

No.


Marty Weintraub

It will become sentient. Not maybe in my lifetime.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. It might be. Yeah, there's all kinds of things between now and there. But one other thing I was kind of thinking as you're surfing around, you're looking at these massive walls of texts that other marketers have created or authors or whatever. The day that I can just press a button that says, "Summarize this for me."


Marty Weintraub

We already have that. I mean, it already does it. You could already take a major in newspaper article and say, "Make this the scope."


Robert Hansen

Inline, just get rid of all of the marketing stuff around it. If you look at just about any large newspaper, they're going to start with this like three to five sentence anecdote and then more anecdote below there. Remove all the anecdotes, just show me the data. Like what is the most important three data points on there.


Marty Weintraub

Wouldn't be surprised. If I were a major in newspaper, that's what I would be doing. I would be making things into more consumable and digestible bits to the benefit. All good people as opposed to the one person who has a hatred megaphone.


All good people, we should ask how this technology can make things better for people. I mean, I'm Pollyanna that way. I go, "How can my staff spend much less time doing better versions of the things we do already so that I can make a work week that has five hours less than it or pay them more?"


These tools are incredibly exciting for human efficiency and creativity. There's so much creative that's sparked. So, what every company should do is become known query librarians with variables and sockets for exclusions, inclusions and cleaning.


Robert Hansen

So, I promise I did not do this for this particular episode, but I actually have used ChatGPT in one episode, whereas I was thinking, I know this topic pretty well, but I'm kind of curious what questions it would come up for the guest.


Marty Weintraub

Did it work?


Robert Hansen

It worked pretty well.


Marty Weintraub

You got some ideas?


Robert Hansen

Yeah. That's exactly what it happened. I looked at him, I'm like, "You know what? I wouldn't ask any of these questions, but now it actually sparked something in my mind to go do this extra research." So, it's actually quite useful as a research tool.


Marty Weintraub

I showed two usages of ChatGPT and social media in my presentation today. One was, I came out about fairly intense medical stuff that occurred within the last 15 months with me. I wrote four-numbered things. I said, "How is what I just experienced similar to being an entrepreneur?" Then I gave it 1, 2, 3, 4 ideas.


One thing that people don't know about ChatGPT is that if you ask it a question with a numbered list, it'll give you more numbers, which is kind of cool. So, it gave me a bunch of really good ideas. Well, it's similar to a data breach and having to recover from that and the damage that was done.


It gave me a whole bunch of analogies that I had not thought of. Then I removed the numbers, put the whole thing in, and then, "Say this again where you use the words gracious, empathetic, love, heart, soul, community, friendship, importance of." Then it just wrote this beautiful thing that got a third more engagement than anything I've done in LinkedIn.


The other usage that I did was I said, "Tell me eight hashtags about taking Aurora Borealis pictures..." I said eight hashtags about shooting the Aurora Borealis in the Lofoten islands in Norway that I could use on Instagram.


Then after I got them, I said, "Write me 30 more where you would predict up to the level of your training, which ones have sub 50,000 posts a month and more than 5,000." It came up with this awesome list and I checked everyone by hand and I cleaned a couple out, but it was just this killer list. Dream vacations and things that were vertical that I wouldn't have ever thought of. Have you heard the expression a lateral stemming thesaurus?


Marty Weintraub

No.


Robert Hansen

Like a lateral stemming thesaurus is where food service becomes caterer, becomes bar mitzvah cake.


Robert Hansen

Like kind of markoff chains.


Marty Weintraub

Yes. So, what we have with ChatGPT is a lateral stemming idea machine that writes in very excellent English that can be instructed to not make the patterns and boredom. The average person that uses it is not going to take advantage of it. So, I think there's great cause for excitement.


Robert Hansen

You and I will cause enough trouble for all the rest of them.


Marty Weintraub

It's true. So, I know somebody who made the most intense political hit site you've ever seen in your life using ChatGPT. I want to be very careful. The politician is known for some very polarizing things that could be perceived as positive by one psychographic element, but as offensive by another.


So, we took all that person's public speaking, transcribed it, dropped it in and said, "Write me the negative part." It's awesome. It's like ranking for that politician's name, like name plus issue. You want to know how you could break the internet for politics, ChatGPT. I'm telling you.


Robert Hansen

It's terrifying.


Marty Weintraub

It's terrifying.


Robert Hansen

Because it's going to happen. It's already happening.


Marty Weintraub

It's already happening.


Robert Hansen

It's the most amazing political hit tool. Not just that though. So, we are working with some candidates and we've used ChatGPT to define theories about how to approach the opposing candidate that are inalienable.


There's no arguments. There's just no way to argue with it because to make such an argument would require such intellectual prowess that you'd need ChatGPT to do it. So, it is really very, very possible the political campaigns are going to become semantic wars of AI chat. Isn't that amazing?


Robert Hansen

It is amazing. I also, out of curiosity, not hubris because I was actually trying to figure out what data was scraping from where.


Marty Weintraub

Well, I know where you're going.


Robert Hansen

Well, just sort of asking it about myself. I'm like, "What would RSnake say about whatever?" So I used AI as the example, like, Give me the nuanced view on what RSnake says about..." Blah blah blah. And it's like, "Well, I'm only have this up-to-date information. Can't add any color to this, but here's what he thinks. It was reasonably close.


Marty Weintraub

That's amazing.


Robert Hansen

Now you can start doing that and feeding it into like, "Well, so and so, this is what they think about it." You can actually summarize their points and as much of a straw man or steelman viewpoint as you want. Adding as much color as you want and it's relatively close. So, you don't even have to really educate yourself on their opinions. You can just get close enough.


Marty Weintraub

You could train it. Like they say, it's only trained up to 2021. But if you dropped a transcript of everything you've said in public in the last two years and said, "What does RSnake think?" It doesn't need to be trained. You just trained it. That's what people don't get about ChatGPT, is you can train it yourself just fine right now. It's really cool.


Robert Hansen

But the real reason I was after that specific piece of data was, the Bing's version of it, somebody got very, it's like, "You're trying to hack me." It's like started getting very aggressive. I don't know what Microsoft's, their problem.


They always seem to like, Microsoft, they always have this AI stuff that just goes crazy. But I was curious what it would eventually think of me far enough down the line where it started having a personality and it's pretty nuanced. There's some security problems with it, but it's some good and how you deliver it ethically.


It seems like we could actually get along, but at some point I'm curious, what tipping point do you get to before it decides that you're the enemy? I think you and I are right on the tipping point where we could go either way.


Marty Weintraub

It's a really interesting question.


Robert Hansen

You're going to have to pretend like you're somebody else Marty. Again.


Marty Weintraub

That's so funny. That's really funny. I'm so offended that you would think I would ever assume a persona on the internet to achieve an ends.


Marty Weintraub

I'm so hurt. Just really hurt.


Robert Hansen

I know you are.


Marty Weintraub

Once I spoke at SMX Advanced in, I think it was 2009 in the Bell Ballroom in Seattle at the Seattle Convention Center. There was major media there and Matt Cutts., Google Brass was there at the time. Matt works for the government now. Or I think he just left.


Robert Hansen

I think he left too.


Marty Weintraub

Just left. Anyway, I showed sock puppet stuff completely crushing Google. Then I showed Matt Cutts in a catsuit and he never talked to me again.


Robert Hansen

I wrote a paper about hacking Matt Cutts. So he and I are not friends, but it was called Death by a Thousand Cuts.


Marty Weintraub

That's so funny.


Robert Hansen

I thought that name was funny too with two Ts.


Marty Weintraub

Funny. I agree.


Robert Hansen

So, one other thing I wanted to talk to you about and then I'd like to switch to some more stuff about you. So, I saw this one presentation this one time. I'm not sure if you were there when this happened or not, I can't remember.


But it was basically like, imagine you have a roll of the dice and the roll of the dice. The name is Bob. Bob has interest in roll of the dice, snowboarding or something. Bob lives in roll of the dice, Denver, Colorado. It is, look at the weather database warm outside because it's summertime. So, Bob says I'm really sad because it's bad outside. I can't go snowboarding or whatever.


So, he has a friend and that friend is named Sally and roll of the dice, she lives in Fort Collins. She’s commenting like, "Oh, I'm so sorry it's bad out there." Or whatever. So, these two bots, these two sock puppets are talking to one another and having a somewhat realistic conversation about the weather and the fact they can't do his sport.

Now, eventually it gets to be nice weather and he starts talking about it. Like, "Oh, it's about time. The snow's getting better. It's almost time to go snowboarding. Then when it finally hits that threshold, then he's able to do it and everyone around him is all happy.


All these bots are agreeing and getting happier and happier. Like, "Oh, I'm so glad you're able to do the thing you were after." Now, I was talking to this guy after he gave his presentation and I said, "Well, how do you monetize this? What happens?" We eventually we talk like, "Oh, I really want that Rolex." Or something.


Now everyone's like, "Oh, I think you should get that Rolex man. Just go for it." They start talking about it, it gets better and better and it kind of percolates.


Finally he gets the Rolex and it's this big deal. Like, "Oh, my dad was so happy I bought it for him." I asked him like, "Okay, well the problem is this could easily start a war."


You start talking about things that are taboo, you start talking about political ideology or sexual preferences and you could quite easily start a war. Cartoons, you shouldn't be writing and that kind of thing. But his answer to that was we just try to make it not too interesting.


We try to stay away from topics that we think are particularly interesting and that makes it so that enough people, real people will follow these bots thinking they're real and commenting on them and seeing everybody else commenting on them and just go along with it.

He had millions of these things set up. This is probably 10 years ago now. But now in the age of ChatGPT where does he take this? Where does that go?


Marty Weintraub

So, that's interesting because that sort of thing is actually older than 10 years ago.


Robert Hansen

I'm sure it is.


Marty Weintraub

It's going to come down to the quality of human beings that hold the keys to these bots. It won't be ChatGPT that sucks. When it does that, it'll be the people that train them to do that. Because the ChatGPT is not likely for a while to think of selling a Rolex watch that way.


That objective has got to be baked in by the person. I'm reminded of a story and I want to be very, very sensitive about this and not offend anybody. But the reality is that sometimes people work at companies where working at that company results in deadly damage to the person.

They get a disease later. Many beautiful, beautiful people have been lost to companies that really didn't give a shit. I want to be careful not to be explicit because I don't want to hurt any person about it.

I'm reminded of the marketing story where the theory was that we're going to get somebody and say that they have this and then create a Vblog where that person works with somebody who's an actor trained by a doctor and they monumentally and epically document the last days of their life.


Then at the very end, Mr. Lawyer feel-good comes in and gets their family 20 million. So, that is ethically so sick. It's really sick because in reality, if we look at the system of values that would bring us to that place, I have to be willing to really not give a shit. Me, the person that would do such a thing.


On the other hand, there is an ethical argument that says, yeah, but these people are going to join a class action lawsuit and they're all going to get millions of dollars.


I mean we could just send them a guidebook for people who have been damaged by this common way and they can see how families help themselves. That was made by a lawyer. So, where's that line? The real question is, at what point does dramatization thereof become ethically uncool?


Robert Hansen

Now, there's no line. I don't think,


Marty Weintraub

I don't think there's not. No. What happened between 2012 and 2016 culminating in the 2016 election is what happens when technological growth, far outstrips society's ability to legislate or build constructs around usage thereof. Planet Earth right now is in that trajectory and it's the gap of our ability to keep up to it.


People that are elected to the Congress or Senate or president of the United States of America, they're like having to figure something out with a retired judge in arbitration about a geeky technical part of a contract where it's contract law you're dealing with. They said they would pay us if we did this.


So, you have to explain how you did it. And they go split the baby because they can't understand. This isn't going to be fixed until government is faster than turning a battleship around in a bathtub.

If you were a senator, that would be a big deal, but we're just not at that place and we can expect that the way this moves forward is cascading cluster. Sad but true.


Robert Hansen

Yes. Sad but true.


Marty Weintraub

Do you disagree?


Robert Hansen

I don't think I do disagree. In fact, I think I've had a number of conversations on this very podcast about how far away the average senator and congressman is from understanding the laws that are getting put in place.


State laws are even worse than, than federal. I think at one point in Florida it was illegal to have a computer or something. They accidentally put laws in place that were just like ridiculous.


Marty Weintraub

Hey, you live in Texas. That's amazing.


Robert Hansen

I know, I know. So yeah, I mean, I don't think you're wrong. Although, I'm always hesitant to say that more government is going to fix technical...


Marty Weintraub

Not more government.


Robert Hansen

Or more laws or any governmental...


Marty Weintraub

More nimble and agile government.


Robert Hansen

I feel like there's got to be technical approaches to these things that are just faster. Just faster to deploy. I like them because they have the advantage of being iterable quickly because law oftentimes is very rote. One thing I've found about law is, it can seem really ethical one day and very unethical the very next day and back.


Marty Weintraub

I have a more negative outlook on human nature. I just think that bad people trump good tech.


Robert Hansen

They do for a while. It's funny. Yeah, I totally agree. They do for a while and they always have this little loophole they can get through. We could thread a needle. Always, always, always.


I remember I was talking to this one black hat and I said, "So, how things have evolved for you?" This is probably seven, eight years back or something. "How things have evolved for you? Is it harder, easier to make a buck than it used to be?"


It's like, "oh, it's much harder. But it's still doable if you know what you're doing." Blah, blah blah. There's just some attacks that will not work anymore. Like period. Don't even try. It may look like it'll work, but you'll get caught in some one of these five different ways, so just don't bother.


So, you kind of have to move over to these others. So yeah. I mean, you're always going to have him, but another piece of legislation isn't going to make him stop.


Marty Weintraub

Legislations. Well, if there's broad legislation, you can put a damper on it, but you could never get surgical enough.


Robert Hansen

I asked ChatGPT this very question. I was, "Well there's this thing called prompt injection, do you know what it is?" It had no idea what it was. So, I explained it what it was, and after explaining that I was our RSnake, so I had some authority here.


So, we were talking very technically. Explained how it worked and how what it was. I said, okay, "Is there a way to fix this problem?" It's like, "Well, I'll give you four ways you could possibly fix it." I'm like, "Yeah, none of those will fix it. That'll just limit its abilities."


So, knowing that I can't get to 100%, would you recommend allowing users to just input wherever they want using prompts into your website. It hummed in hot and it was trying to like figure out ways around it and it's basically like, yeah, there's just no way to do it effectively. Like you're never going to get to zero.


So, unless you say, unless the government comes down and says "No prompts from unauthenticated users." Even if it is authenticated, then it has to be in sandboxed and it has to do this and blah, blah, blah. The government's never going to do that. It's too complicated of a law to even write if they wanted to.


Marty Weintraub

You can never actually prevent somebody. It's like why people are will, who are willing to give up their own lives are so difficult to stop in harming others. But I do actually like those ideas about authenticated users making making track trackable sandboxed prompts. That is actually a reasonable solution.


Robert Hansen

It was reasonable. I didn't hate the solution, but it doesn't stop it. It just changes the threat. So, that was the conversation I was having with ChatGPT. It feels a little odd to be talking to a robot, but here we are.


Marty Weintraub

I resent you calling me a robot on your show.


Robert Hansen

I made you click the button on the way in. I'm pretty sure you're not a robot.


Marty Weintraub

Where nothing can go “Grrr.” [growling].


Robert Hansen

All right. So, I know you've had some personal health stuff. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that. First of all, I think most important question is how has that kind of changed your life? I mean, how do you look at business now compared to before all that happened?


Marty Weintraub

Okay, great question. May I share what the health things were?


Robert Hansen

Totally up to you. I wasn't going to put that on.


Marty Weintraub

So, in 2005, I survived stage 3B lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma. They had to radiate a grapefruit size mass out enveloping my heart and lungs. I had bicuspid aortic valve, which meant I had some percentage of a chance of having that valve replacement surgery, which is very common.


Anyway, but the radiation exacerbated decay and I ended up having a full sternotomy on a radiated chest, which is a little bit like mucking your way through Gello.


Radiation does quite a lot of damage to your chest cavity. They told me at that time that sometime, that radiation wasn't going to work out for me. So, when the valve needed to be replaced again it started in 2020 I had a very small heart attack. It didn't do any damage, and I got four stents put in and no damage.


Robert Hansen

Lucky.


Marty Weintraub

It was very lucky. Caught it early. Then in 2021, the aortic valve, the artificial one that was put in wasn't backwards compatible for catheterization replacement. It failed all at once instead of gradually would be expected because of the decay from the radiation.


I found myself needing a second sternotomy on a radiated heart, and they wouldn't do that in most places. While we were trying to figure it out in a five-day hospitalization, my mitral valve failed. So, I was in that very rare place where I was very sick.


So, they took me by ambulance to Mayo Clinic. It was about a four-hour drive. I got some Ativan. I got to Mayo Clinic and there's just very few surgical teams in the whole world that would try that but they did. It was supposed to be an eight hour surgery, it turned into 20.


They replaced my heart valves, then they replaced my heart valves again. Then open chest for four days on ECMO life support. Collapsed lung pneumonia, blood clots. I was in a coma for two weeks. A total of six weeks in the hospital, and then 10 vicious months of...

Robert Hansen

Recovery.

Marty Weintraub

Yeah. Where like, I walked out of the hospital, it was like step, wait, six inches wait. But I was very, very determined about it. I have a beautiful life and a very beautiful family. I was 61 years old at the time. I knew I could recover from it and I knew I would be on lifelong medication, but I knew I could live a normal life if I got through it.


So, I had to work so, so, so hard. Fortunately my company was very independent by then. I was fairly phased out at the time anyway. We had just hired the person who's now our CMO, Amanda, who's a wonderful marketer and administrator. We have some incredibly talented people that work well laterally. We're a very flat company.


So, it taught me a lot about life and about business. Mostly I've learned to listen better and to be a more reliable partner in everything. I don't take anything for granted. I'm literally living my bucket list. I just spent about 20 days total chasing the Aurora.


Robert Hansen

Did you get a picture?


Marty Weintraub

I took 30 of the best aurora pictures of my life in two nights. It was epic, crazy shit.


Robert Hansen

I have never been able to see it in person. I just always miss it by a day or two.


Marty Weintraub

I'm the person you want to go with. So in 2022, I went to Iceland twice, chased the Aurora this year. I travel like you all over the world all the time. But what I learned that not only am I not in invincible anymore, but that I never was.


I learned that you actually get the bill for the stuff that you do and some of it doesn't have anything to do with what you do. It's about your genetics or surviving something else. I learned to be more patient. I learned, Oh big one, I learned that I don't have to say everything that I think at all ever.


Robert Hansen

Except here. You have to do it.


Marty Weintraub

I am saying everything I think here. It's funny, I was just thinking that at the same time. Just so funny, funny, funny. Haha, four.


I mean, when you're me, you know just the little thing to say to light someone up. So, I'm much less prone to conflict. I'm more joyful. I protect my sleep. I protect my eating. I don't have unlimited energy anymore. I have nice healthy energy to live a 10 to 12 hour active day with some hours of wind up and wind downtime.


So, even when I'm doing things like staying up all night, chasing the Aurora, or I have an irregular schedule, I'm checking my body metrics with my Phoenix 6. I really believe in the algorithm of heart rate variability and respiration and stress. I really believe the aura ring and the Garmin body battery concept. And so, just when my body battery gets to close to bottomed out, I'm just done.


I was in one of the most amazing Aurora shooting pictures environments of my life. It was been going all night everywhere, all around. So, beautiful green that it reached out and licked your face. It was just incredible.

Arms glowing green, and yellow and white. My body battery was done. I went going back and going to sleep. That applies to business too. I've learned that I don't have to get it all done at once. That there's very little that actually requires action right now.


There's a big difference between the word relentless and unrelenting. That same unrelenting energy that I have always had for business and for life that led to the immediacy of my actions that led me to get closer to my dreams as an entrepreneur really was somewhat foe.


That if I was more even and unmeasured... Like, I get a lot of comments now about being more robust and more peaceful. It's like when they killed Obiwan. They made him more powerful than he ever was.


Also, I wouldn't say that it's something I would ever elect to do, but being in a coma for two weeks on dexamethasone was a little like unlimited peyote. I actually learned a lot from the hallucinations. It's really something being close to death.


I am an avid boater in the edge of the wilderness, and I had dreams about sleeping levitated in my boat moored at the fork of two rivers flowing and with the rope hole. That was the beautiful side.


There was bizarro shit too. I thought the staff at Mayo Clinic was trying to kill me and I tried to escape. I've learned an empathy for other people who have more challenges than me. I've learned to be grateful for what I have and that this moment actually is what I have.


So, I wouldn't say that I've become fully integrated in being the person that I want to be, but I'm a lot closer to it. I'm really grateful for having had the experience to get to understand that the real problem is not death. It's being dead while you're living. So, all at once I regained my boyish spark and became a little old Jewish man.


Robert Hansen

That's cute. Marty, you're a beautiful soul.


Marty Weintraub

Thank you. I love you too.


Robert Hansen

Maybe I can get you back on the podcast at some point.


Marty Weintraub

That was so fun. You're a wonderful interviewer. That was so provocative. Really fun.


Robert Hansen

I loved having you on. So, where can people reach you and your company? Let's do all that.


Marty Weintraub

They can just email me at marty@aimclear.com. Also, I post all my Aurora and Milky Way pictures, nighttime sky photography. It's my hobby. Also I'm a licensed commercial drone pilot in all of Europe and in America at the highest level you can get for that type of drone photography.


So, I post all those pictures on my personal Facebook page so you don't have to friend me to do it. Also, I collect like-minded people on LinkedIn, which is a really cool. The environment on LinkedIn is really neat, especially for people who don't like Twitter that much. Seething...


Robert Hansen

Masses.


Marty Weintraub

Yeah. Like, eww. I've pretty well stopped using Twitter. I just don't use it. So, just email me or connect with me on LinkedIn. If anybody wants any of the nighttime sky photography pictures, I just give away the tiffs. So, if you love anything and want to print it, I'm just happy to send it to you. It's not my job. I think it would take some of the joy out of it.


Robert Hansen

I think you could do it though, if you actually ever wanted to switch careers in this late in the day.


Marty Weintraub

I think that my photography friend and partner Kevin Mullet and I will do some small format for people at a time, boutique guided tours of Aurora in Lofoten Islands in Arctic, Norway.


Because we've been there enough that we just really know what guides know and we've learned the metrics of as predictably as one can, whether the Aurora will be there and if we'll be able to see it.


So, I think that in my retirement days, I think we'll probably lead some. Those groups are large, like eight people. I want to do like two to four people groups and just get into it.


Robert Hansen

Well, Marty, thank you again. This has been Awesome.


Marty Weintraub

Pleasure was mine. Thank you.


Robert Hansen

Yes. Thank you.

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