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Big Revolution - When the mask slips

Welcome to Wednesday's newsletter. – Martin from Big Revolution
March 6 · Issue #364 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Wednesday’s newsletter.
– Martin from Big Revolution

Big things you need to know today
  • Vladimir Putin wants to be able to control the internet across Russia. A new law looks set to create a central ‘command post’ that allows connectivity or certain sites and apps to be switched off in specific geographic areas, perhaps if anti-Putin protests break out, for example. Some experts worry the tech could slow down the global internet.
  • YouTube has defended its decision not to follow other platforms in removing ‘Tommy Robinson.’ The far-right activist is banned from Facebook and Twitter, but YouTube says he hasn’t broken its rules.
The big thought
Credit: Olya Kuzovkina on Unsplash
When the mask slips
A big talking point in UK tech this year so has been banking startup Revolut’s ongoing series of troubles.
It’s facing investigations over alleged fraud around a mishandled payment, and its compliance with money laundering rules. And then there’s the allegations of poor employment practices and a toxic work culture, and those creepy ads where it was forced to admit it had faked just how creepy it could be.
While the Revolut CEO’s blog post this week is a good start in setting a better tone for the future, the company’s ongoing storm of bad publicity is a reminder of just how important it is to mean what you say.
Companies with a positive public image that matches their positive internal culture are just so much more comfortable in their skin. The kinds of problems Revolut is suffering wash off them more easily because their public response isn’t a shield they have to invent.
Look at how Facebook rushes to announce new features they haven’t event started building yet, just to deflect criticism, all the while continuing with the same practices that brought about the criticism in the first place.
And then there’s a company like Monzo – a rival to Revolut in many ways, but with a way more positive public image.
Have a look through the Monzo blog. They come across as a company building its product in partnership with its users. They’re frank about their challenges and simply come across as more friendly than Revolut. From a public point of view this helps them accumulate goodwill capital to help them weather any serious publicity storms in the future.
But the culture communicated through to the public needs to track all the way back to the very top of the company. At its root, a lot of negative publicity comes from something happening that shows a person or organisation is not exactly who people thought they were.
But if your public image chimes well with reality inside the company, this is far less likely to happen. In the 21st century, customers value honesty and openness. The problem comes when companies don’t take that seriously, throughout their organisation.
Now, how to break that to all those fake A.I. companies..?
Interested in this topic? I’m holding an online class about building strong, consistent messaging for startups, on Tuesday 26 March. Read more and sign up here.
One big read
Spotify’s grand plan for podcasts is taking shape Spotify’s grand plan for podcasts is taking shape
A look at Spotify’s plans to become the location for podcasts,
One big tweet
Facebook really does get everywhere…
Antonio García Martínez
(Even when you’re not logged in or don’t have a Facebook account)

@verge is firing a pixel to FB, and sending your browsing data to them (and a bunch of other tech companies), on its story about apps doing so.
7:07 AM - 6 Mar 2019
That’s all for today...
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