Ben Franklin, one of our Founding Fathers in the United States, was famous for context switching. In his time, he was Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg, and Noam Chomsky all rolled into one person.
Among his inventions and accomplishments:
-The lightning rod. Ben Franklin realized that by simply putting metallic rods atop tall, mostly wooden structures and grounding them, lightning would no longer burn down buildings, saving many lives and properties.
-Bifocals. Franklin created glasses that had both a correction for distance vision, plus a correction for near-distance reading. Today, millions of people worldwide use bifocals.
-The Glass Armonica. Franklin created this musical instrument which uses a set of glass bowls of various graduations to create unique musical tones by the use of friction applied by the musician.
-The University of Pennsylvania. Franklin founded and served as president of the Ivy League school.
-The Declaration of Independence. Franklin was among a small group of Founding Fathers who declared the United States independent from England, and was the document’s oldest signer at the age of 70.
Between founding a university, inventing a literal rod of metal to put on top of wooden houses to prevent fires, and writing declarations to foreign kings, Ben Franklin was often context switching.
But what if Ben Franklin were your customer? Surely he visited grocers, he bought books, he negotiated prices for access to printing presses he used to publish Poor Richard’s Almanac.
Most people are context switchers. For several hours a day they are commuters, then office workers, then commuters again, then busy moms or dads running kids to soccer practice, then Netflix watchers in the evening.
In one day, someone may switch from Gmail to booking dinner reservations on Resy to using Netflix, then switching to Hulu, then asking Google to play a favorite Spotify playlist.
The consumer state is always switching.
These applications also do context switching. These applications provide an experience, they have many well-paid product managers testing which formats and button styles work better than others. But on the back end, they also collect and sell data to brokers and other third-parties as revenue streams.
These applications that power our lives are also businesses that context switch. Take, for example, the classic case of the question Who Owns the Data?
Engineering may own the infrastructure that stores and analyzes the data. Marketing teams may be responsible for the outcomes of the data. Then, all of a sudden, now Legal may own the data because a few hundred requests by consumers to delete data now came in and Engineering and Marketing don’t want to touch the issue. Yet it only gets worse. Some of this data is part of the revenue recognition process, and now Accounting seems to want to own the data.
There is also context switching related to who actually owns the data not only within a business, but in the market in general. The New York Times published articles behind a paywall in order to create a digital revenue stream. However, OpenAI and others switched the context of digital publishing by scraping the data and using it for an alternative purpose, which they are now monetizing.
How to kill context switching
Right now, a working mother who has three kids may switch between Nextdoor, Gmail, several applications which all use Stripe for payments on the backend, and Netflix, all in one single 24 hour period. The profile of who this mother is and what she likes, what she cares about, and what she buys is all held by data brokers, as they have the full profile on her.
With Crosshatch, we want to put the power back in the hands of the brands and consumers, with no reliance on third-party data brokers to constantly stitch data together and resell it over and over again to create a profiles of individual consumers.
Crosshatch is a digital wallet where consumers and their favorite brands can share the information they wish to share with one another. Consumers can opt-in to sharing data with their favorite brands they like and enjoy, while reducing noise and spam from brands that merely bought a list and started emailing them. Brands have access to better information from their best customers and these customers wish to share, all without the need to play the data broker game of constantly buying and reselling lists over and over again.
There’s no context switching required.
We are currently signing up initial customers and we’d love to show you what we are building. If you’re interested in seeing a demo, click here to let us know and we’ll get something scheduled. Say hello, join us, and here's to the end of context switching and the beginning of a more consentful consumer experience.