Kancel Kulture – Ten to the nth Power

Kancel Kulture – Ten to the nth Power is a strange name for a business blog – although with full disclosure,  I have penned a political blog or two – but exclusively in the political theater

The term “Cancel Culture” is rooted in the entertainment and political sphere.  However, I want to highlight a mutant variant form that is appearing in the Business sphere that is NOT related to cancelling anything.   In fact – it is the opposite.     So as not to be confused with this one-off spin, I wanted to give it a new name for this Blog.

The reason I write about Kancel Kulture is because it is an important force and more to the point “impactful.”    Let me illustrate

Today’s Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – either online on social media, in the real world, or both. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be “canceled”

This means, in modern terms, a “powerful force” shamed someone for something causing a loss of reputation, business or market share that may,  or may not be justified.    Operative word is “Cancel” but key is “justified or unjustified”.   This issue is… who made them judge and jury?

The Cancel Culture got its power in the Entertainment industry based targeting celebrities – their shows, sponsors and lines.   Some with good justification, others over a new standard they defined as WOK,  or somehow “in-vogue.”   This WOK cancel culture has spread to business

For Example:  Recently Mike Lindell, founder of My Pillow,  was dropped from Target and Bed Batch and Beyond by the cancel culture, presumably for his support of Trump’s alleged role in the capital insurrection – even before impeachment.  By default, caring the my pillow line made major brand retailers complicit and  targets of the WOK Cancel Culture wrath.

Key is that wrath.  If because of a slow news cycle, it snowballed in the media, the potential was loss of physical and online business by boycotters – but more importantly,  exposure of their publically traded stock.  To protect the value of the public stock valuation,  it was easier to drop a line to avoid the exposure from the Cancel Culture.

Who are these cancel culture guys (the mob) that hold so much power over a publicly traded major corporation?  Are they two guys and a dog named blue or millions and millions flooding Target with emails and threats to picket local stores?

Worse, the other side – the 78 Million Trump-ers,  have NO pro-culture VOICE and can’t come to the rescue, or even provide a safety valve against cancel culture boycotts or stock runs.

Sure,  the majors will quietly bring back the My Pillow line when the WOK spotlight is shining somewhere else.

Let’s turn the tables.  What if that “powerful force” caused something “good” to happen?   Is it then called pro-culture vs. cancel culture?    What if this Pro-Culture mob decided (with or without justification) something was “Good” and used the power of the mob to “promote” causing the opposite of “Cancel” to happen.  Can that really happen?  Is that a good thing?   The answer is YES and MAYBE.

For Example:  In the current business news cycle is the Reddit and Robin Hood impact on Wall Street.  Reddit is a social media group of independent traders who saw several companies had a high percentage of Stock allocated for Short Sells.  In this scenario, Reddit is a “Mob”.  They  decided, as group,  they could “stick it to the big boys” leveraging the buying power of their group. They bought the GameStop stock causing a run knowing the hedge fund “shorts” had deadlines to buy borrowed stock at inflated (vs. declining) stock prices.

It worked.  GameStop went from $10 to over $483/share and cost the Head Fund billions to purchase the borrowed Game Stop stock they shorted.  Robin Hoods halting trading dampened the upside run and hedge fund losses.   The Power of the Mob – who didn’t do anything illegal or trash a brand.  However, their pro-active ACTION made a HUGE financial impact.

Is Reddit liable for impacting billions of financial loss?   Is the Cancel Culture liable when they cancel an entertainer for standards they hold and maybe not held by the majority?

More important than the liability issue is… who are “They”?

The goal in this blog is to recognize and spotlight “They”   Why?   Because “They” need to be recognized as an entity.   They must be put in proper perspective as they impact our society and our business ethos going forward in the internet evolution.

Yes, “They” are an outgrowth of the Internet.   It began at the end of the 19th century when the first credit bureaus were started to be a positive. or negative, independent third party on a consumers ability to pay their bills.

We saw this evolve to the Better Business Bureau in the 50’s and with the Internet at the end of the 20th Century.  The late 1990’s saw the evolution of online shopping with the emergence of Customer Testimonials tagged to products for sale.   The consumer now had a powerful voice.   New companies like YELP gave consumers a bigger voice and that lead to social media groups that took that voice beyond the power of one.  ALAIS – the power of the mob

Why the mob has power is based on the internet baked-in feature called FOLLOWING.  Now you have people who follow each other (followers) that are literally one click away with auto alerts.   Follow-me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any of the other top 20 social media platforms.   Some people or groups have thousands to millions of followers on Twitter to 25 followers with a small church,  or special interest group.

Ten to the nth power.   What Follow means is…your opinion (good or bad) can be conveyed to your ten (10) followers with one click and in milliseconds.   But it does not end there.   If each of your 10 followers may have 10 to 10 million followers – they can send your message, with one click, to their followers and so on….and so on.   Remember the 1950 Chain Letter?  Oh, how far we have come!

10N is the un-recognized force in the 2021 landscape that was NEVER a major factor of our social and business ethos 5 to 7 years ago.   IT IS TODAY.  We must recognize it and somehow deal with it – someway recognizing it can be a powerful force for GOOD or BAD.   It gives a whole new meaning to calling… “Fire” in a crowded theater,

Imagine, I can get my 10 followers to buy a stock, to tear down a statue, to boycott a business, to register and vote… to (you fill in the blanks).   I have POWER – especially if one of my 10 followers have a million followers.  What do you think of that – Paul Revere?

And,  who is going to stop me.  What are the repercussions if I am wrong, or can you even find me within the mob.  I now have the POWER and a new FORCE  to impact “change.”

Was the cancel culture that lobbied Target and BB&B the voice of one person with a bias who had 100 followers that shared that bias, who each had 100 followers who may, or may not share that bias.  And, how did Target and BB&B know the magnitude of the Mob’s leverage

Or did they say…Don’t know… don’t care, history and negative press exposure is worse than YELP or BBB complaints – it is 2021 and the Cancel Culture RULES.  The Power of 10n

So, my purpose in this Kancel Kulture BLOG is to connect the traditional Cancel Culture evolutionary dots as a NEW powerful force for GOOD or EVIL impacting our society views, education, political, and most importantly, business.   For example

  • 60% of students believe social media “stifles free expression because too many people block views they disagree with.”
  • According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), over 200 U.S. colleges and universities operate bias response teams today.

So is the Kancel Kulture our new big brother, or an uninformed, minority force with a POWERFUL voice that is unchecked,  without bounds or reciprocity?   We went through a similar learning curve with recognizing the bias in Polls and currently with the Media.  Do we need the same for our evolving Kancel Kulture?

My lobby is very simple….. Step one is for ALL of us to recognize that “It” (by whatever name) is a NEW powerful force for good, or bad, that we must RECOGNIZE and not leave unchecked in this decade.