Took this photo today as this bus passed by in downtown New York City.

“Kill All the Lawyers” – William Shakespeare

It’s an advertisement for some sort of show on CBS, not that I watch television anymore.

The reason this struck me, as I am not a lawyer, is that very few groups of people on this planet can be so reviled and needed at the same time. Honestly, if there was almost any group, literally ANY group inserted into that advertisement and named as a group to be killed, you would literally have front-page-worthy news.

But Lawyers are special. They are a group that all different cultures and people have and yet they are almost universally derided for one reason or another. But, I must point out something in the defense of this noble occupation.

Look closely at this photo.Kill all the lawyers bus sign

Let’s break down (just in what we see in the photo) the data in all likelihood protected or partnered with within some form of legal framework.

  • the Bus, with real-time map routing, linked to riders MTA accounts
  • each person on the bus with GPS enabled phones, communicating their waypoints
  • the Citibikes with ride data and personal accounts, including duration and time
  • the television show as media content, closed captions, video and audio content
  • the advertisement itself, imagery, data provided, and showtimes
  • the inevitable release to Netflix or Amazon (for the same television show) with the data gathered on user preferences, show popularity, ratings, and summaries
  • the bike stanchions which provide real-time bicycle feedback to central stations on bike availability, locks, timing, and requests for repair
  • the “transit watch” sticker advising riders to be vigilant and upload any warning issues to the local authorities
  • the credit card transactions tied to the bus rides, the bike rentals, and the user account information for all of them along with the privacy protections for every rider

This is just off the top of my head. There are literally millions of bike parts, bus parts, government regulations, municipal laws regarding transit, heck, even the PSI rating for each bike tire has been imprinted on the tire to ensure proper riding due to a legal framework to ensure rider safety.

Lawyers see the world in a different way, and we need that. But they also work to ensure that the interaction between the physical world and the digital world runs smoothly.

What else do you see in the photo?

About the Author: Christian Ward

Christian Ward has been building data companies and partnerships since he launched his first financial data company 20 years ago. He has developed and executed hundreds of data partnerships around the world, from the small entrepreneurial firm to the world’s largest data companies. His focus is on the evolving use of data, privacy, and the opportunities created by the right data partnership strategy. Christian has held executive roles at Yext, Thomson Reuters, Infogroup, and the Bank of New York. He resides with his wife and three children at the Jersey Shore.

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