I will keep it brief. What are the Lessons from SuperHuman saga? Surreptitious tracking of users – call them prospects, call them customers, call them MQL, SQL or PQL – is not acceptable and will come back to bite you no matter what perceived benefits you think you get. Most Sales Tech that offers analytics of user engagement does it without explicit permission of the end user. Whether it is using pixels (99% users do not know of this technology and do not have image downloads disabled by default) and this is not the Wild West Coast anymore that we will hide behind the Buyer Beware signage.
Tracking any online activity without explicit permission is wrong. And will soon be illegal if not already. Which is why from day one we made it an inbuilt position for Pitch.Link. We do not show buyer engagement analytics to the vendor or seller without explicit permission. This is counter intuitive and I have been told so. “You are selling to sellers and you are telling them you will not track or show engagement data while every other saas in the space does so? That is not very smart.” Well sometimes, it is important to do the right thing.
And not only that, I do believe a lot of the so called engagement data is superfluous and useless. What if I knew you saw my deck thrice and the 4th slide for 3 mins longer than other slides? How would you react if I tracked you while you are looking at my document and called you at that moment when you are apparently looking at a chart for 5 mins? How would you like Amazon calling you every time you looked at, say a Protein Shake with a Special Offer or assistance information? We would be horrified yet we still think it is ok to to that exact same thing to our customers with whom we should be building “Trust”. I do not believe tracking engagement data and reporting it to the sender has any overwhelming benefit or value besides being a set of vanity matrices. If I have not been able to convince my prospect to reach out to me after she has reviewed my offering then either she doesn’t need it (and the qualification was all wrong) or I could not communicate my value.
Superhuman was tracking every open, location, time and more of every mail it sent out. Without the knowledge of the recipient and irrespective of the client she used. All hell broke loose when Mike Davidson, VP of Partnerships and Community and InVision – wrote (June 30th) about the Superhuman Read Receipts and the associated tracking that Superhuman was engaging in (sending a geolocation and time stamp to the sender every time the recipient opened a message) and a lot of what followed in Twitter there after. Some of the responses of investors in Superhuman did not really help and showed the underlying issues with too few people controlling (and knowing how to do it very effectively) the digital behavior of the world (See my posts #2 and #11 #156 – links below)
Rahul Vohra, the founder did the right thing. Within days he dropped the tracking function all together. Deleted collected data. He apologized in Public. We should move on from this one. But this is not to take attention away from the Elephant in the room.
Just stop all tracking without explicit permission.
It is time we refocused on Ethics in doing business and profiting.
Mike Davidson’s post that triggered it all https://mikeindustries.com/blog/archive/2019/06/superhuman-is-spying-on-you
Business Insider report: https://www.businessinsider.in/The-founder-of-Superhuman-the-30/month-email-app-that-VCs-love-says-that-its-making-big-changes-to-a-feature-that-some-thought-was-like-spying/articleshow/70065235.cms
Rahul Vohra’s response: https://blog.superhuman.com/read-statuses-bdf0cc34b6a5
Earlier posts you may want to look at:
Behavior Design. How is it impacting our daily digital lives?https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6485893812311949312
Your apps know where you were last night! https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6489536298234277888
Costs we pay to live online https://pitch.link/blog/costs-we-pay-to-live-online/