Recent developments in the adtech industry remind me of the parable of the blind men and an elephant. This story about blind men touching different parts of an elephant’s body, but only one part such as the side or the tusk, to learn and conceptualize the nature of what it is they are observing. They then describe the elephant based on their limited experience.

 A recent article in AdExchanger Confused About Identity? This List of 80 Identity Partners May (Or May Not) Help highlights over 80 differing identity platforms on offer in the ad-tech marketplace.

Let’s juxtapose this with the newly announced TV Data Initiative.

This industry program is designed to help the television industry – advertisers, agencies, MVPDs, programmers and other distributors – unlock the full potential of the new TV data ecosystem in the US.

A quick survey of quotes from some initial members highlight the following perspectives:

  • Creating uniformity across the converged TV landscape is key to both unlocking the power of TV advertising and ensuring its scalable future.
  • Quality data is a key component that helps to connect campaigns consistently across diverse channels and devices including TV.
  • Addressing advertisers’ demand for data-driven capabilities in a way that always puts privacy first.
  • It is critical that consumer data and identity information for marketing use be both accurate and compliant.
  • [Company] has always been passionate about the power of collaboration and open source standards to solve many of our industry’s toughest problems.

The moral of the blind men and the elephant parable is that humans have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on their limited and subjective experience while they ignore the limited, subjective experiences of others, which may be equally true.

Does anyone know whether the blind men ever worked out and conceptualized the nature what an elephant is?

Most likely each participant eventually worked out they were none the wiser, and decided to get back to their own business, doing what they believed to be best.