Rankin x The Drum (The Truth Issue) - Can You Handle It?

Please accept this leter as my official resignation as guest editor of The Drum.

When I came up with the theme for this issue, my first concept was to get a lie detector test, and see who we could get to take it. At that time Boris Johnson was top of the list, neatly followed by Jeremy Corbyn - both spectactular purveyours of mendacity. But then the Jeremy Kyle scandal hit and well... I shelved that. 'Learn from others' mistakes, should that be the lesson? Well no, the problem is that there are no lessons to learn from in this digital age. It's the wild west. Nobody has been here before and nobody knows what the fuck is happening. Or what they are doing. If they tell you they do - they are lying to you.
Which is why I think it's time to tell it like it is.

The data and technology explosion we're living through is bigger than anything since the industrial revolution. Yet we keep viewing these things through the lens of yesterday. It is our biggest weakness - comparing today to the past and assume there are disciplined and decent people running things. There aren't and there is a good chance that they are as lost as us. The world we inhabit is now 'post-truth' and if we don't challenge it, then it will literally destroy us, our industry and quite possibly the world.

As we move into another potential recession, the audience want the truth. They want a real reason to buy what you're selling. If it doesn't come with a healthy dose of ethics and honesty they will let you know with their spending habits. Most smart companies already know that, but some think it's just a fas or trend. It isn't.

The world has changed and just using experts in new mediums like social or diigtal isn't going to save you. Also, let's be honest, they are a lot like plumbers pretending you have a dodgy pipe! You have to fundamentally change the way you make things, and how useful they are, how honestly you market them and how ethical your suppy chain is.

So back to my resignation. After a lot of thought, reading and researching, I am sorry to admit that I am not fit for purpose. The idea of honesty and truth are things that I'm drawn to because I inherently want the world to be a better place. But at heart, I'm a chancer through and through. Some call me a provocateur; the less generous, a bullshitter. I love the sound of my own voice and after this issue I feel like it's time to give that up.

The fact is, it's time to start listening. We all need to start listening to our conscience. So thanks for the opportunity to work on this. It's been a lot like therapy, or even an exorcism.

Good luck with it, I'm around if you want my advice. For now thank you. It's been a fun ride and I intend to keep riding. Just a different horse. As always, I'll trust my instincts and keep pointing out elephants in the room.


PS. We don't need a lie detector test - we kind of have data doing that for us anyway!