The Small Data Forum podcast was created spontaneously and almost accidentally after your three co-hosts met on a panel at a media industry event in 2016, a few weeks before the EU Referendum.
After a lively debate featuring sometimes radically-divergent views to keep our audience entertained well past the scheduled end time, seasoned podcaster Neville Hobson suggested to podcast ingenus Thomas Stoeckle and Sam Knowles that our ramblechats might work rather well in pod land.
Who were we to argue?
And so it came to pass – with Thomas’ wry titling – that the Small Data Forum came into being, with the inaugural episode dropping on 14 June 2016. Since then, we’ve taken a more-or-less-monthly, sideways look at the uses and abuses of data big and Small in politics, business, and public life.
The world is split, riven, and – as we so often observe from the three outposts of the Small Data Forum – like never before. Milk or tea in first? Red sauce or brown sauce on a sausage sandwich? And is it still acceptable to say “Happy New Year” after Blue Monday (the third Monday in January and officially the most depressing day of the year, which this year was also your correspondent’s birthday)?
We three podders from Plague Island seem to be in the “Aye” camp for the third of these modern dilemmas, particularly as this – episode 65 – is our first digital emission of 2023. The year in which things can only get better, as Thomas notes, doubtless inspired by the work of D:Ream.
It has been a tumultuous year, marked by upheaval and conflict. The people of our community have faced challenges and hardships that tested the very fabric of our society. The SmallDataForum chronicles the stories and struggles to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world.
And so, we put our microphones towards the tale of this tumultuous year. For many of us, this year has been one of great change and uncertainty. But as the old saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”
As we look back on the events of the past year, we can take solace in the fact that we have survived, and that we are stronger for it. So let us now delve into the tale of the end of this tumultuous year and see what lessons we can learn from the challenges we have faced.
Ok, perhaps there are better ways to intro our year-end pod, than asking chatGPT to come up with something in the style of the Gisli Saga. Then again, that’s what it’s for, isn’t it…?
Given our combined decades of experience in the wider media business, it’s no surprise that this post-party conference edition of the SmallDataForum takes a close look at politicians’ media performances.
And boy is there a lot to look at.
Front and centre, of course, is the new Prime Minister and her serial car crash interviews. Neville asks serious questions about the buffering Trussbot’s media advisers. It shouldn’t come to anybody’s surprise that Jason Stein, her Director of Comms, was a media advisor to Prince Andrew until THAT Newsnight interview with now News Agent Emily Maitlis.
Despite this being fat bear week as Sam informs us, our focus is more on fat cats and those that feed and breed them. So we delve straight into the cesspit of Conservative party politics, where Sam detects a distinct whiff of the mid-Nineties, that case study of Tory self-destruction where things could only get better under fresh-faced New Labour leader, Tony Blair.
However, news of Meta’s impending demise would be awfully premature, as Sam reminds us.
For all our Schadenfreude at Meta losing several hundred billion (!) $$$ in market value – at present, their share price is down a cool 35% from the beginning of the year, suffering the ignominy to temporarily drop behind Nvidia on the list of largest US companies – the attention capitalist behemoths Alphabet, Amazon, and Meta now hold a share of 46% of global ad spend, as opposed to 33% pre-pandemic in figures released by the World Advertising Research Center (WARC).
And yes, that’s total as in everything, not just digital…