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Mid-Morning Art Thread | Main | Illegal Alien Released by Biden Charged in Hit-and-Run Death of Senator's Aid
April 17, 2024

Wednesday Morning Rant

mannixape2.jpg

"Consultants"

That's what they often call themselves, anyway. Traditionally, consultants are third parties who come into a company to help solve a problem by bringing their expertise to bear. It's a mixed bag to say the least and the idea of outside consultants has its fans and detractors, with the latter often outnumbering the former. It is more complicated than ever because alongside the traditional consultancy market, a new breed has emerged.

Well, a very old breed, just with a new name. Next to the traditional consultancies - efficacy notwithstanding - are the undisguised ideological gangsters. These new-school consultancy firms aren't there to help their clients' businesses, aren't there to provide technical or regulatory expertise and aren't there to deliver accurate information. They exist to enforce ideological conformity under threat of destruction.


One type of these gangster consultants operates against the target directly. They act as ideological cops, muscle their way into organizations, then start wreaking havoc. This variety started making headlines recently in the games business, after gamers started to notice and discuss their corrosive effects on the product. The most famous of this variety at the moment is Sweet Baby. Inc. out of Canada.

Sweet Baby bullies games developers to wokify their games, and one way it gets through the door is by threatening the development companies with Twitter armies descending on them with woke backlash. Several years ago, the boss of Sweet Baby put it pretty bluntly to its ideological allies in the games companies: terrify your bosses into hiring us:

This is a direct "nice shop you have here, it would be a shame if something happened to it" mafia tactic. It's a protection racket. "Pay me or I'll wreck up the joint and scare off your customers" is what the mob does, not a business. And the mob, at least, won't break your windows if you pay. These guys break your windows anyway and claim that it's to allow more customers to come in.

The other type of gangster consultancy operates against the target indirectly, by poisoning the target's business customers/partners. They get other companies to punish the target. This variety is the "research" firm. They don't provide strategy or direct recommendations, they provide "information" about with whom it is safe - that is Party-approved - for you to do business. This is the professional services equivalent of the "fact checking" racket. A recent example of this is an outfit called DoubleVerify.

DoubleVerify provides "brand safety" data to companies. "Brand safety" is an attempt to quantify whether advertisements appear near content that the advertiser wants. A brand may want their ad to show up near posts about cars, for example, but not near posts containing pornography. DoubleVerify provides data about ad placement to advertisers. This seems reasonable on its face, until you get to the problem: the company was "inaccurate" about ad placements on X/Twitter - and only on X. They showed X as having low scores for "brand safety" despite the platform actually having very high scores, and this resulted in their customers pulling ads from X and suspending ad campaigns there. DoubleVerify claims it was a mistake and has now been corrected, but this "mistake" was active for months. A mistake of this magnitude in their core product can mean only that they are incompetent, that they were lying, or both. There is not an innocent explanation.

The consultant mafias make navigating consultancies quite difficult for businesses. If a company thinks it needs a consultant for strategy or technical expertise, how does it pick one that is real and avoid accidentally hiring an ideological gangster? If a company needs data about product performance or market conditions, how does it choose a data service that provides real information rather ideologically-conforming disinformation?

The consultant industry was already plagued with problems of inconsistent results or outright incompetence, but an industry or product doesn't have to be broadly reputable or beloved to be strapped down to the altar of Woke sacrifice.

digg this
posted by Joe Mannix at 11:00 AM

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