Consent at Scale

It's never been more important to ask users for consent before forcing functionality upon them.

The challenge, is that in a move fast break things culture, or when there's a perceived shrinking window of opportunity to act, there's a tendency to throw out features, functionality, and processes that are deemed to be not in the critical path.

There was a point in time where just having access to new, powerful technology superceded how that access was granted.

That has certainly changed.

And so, for folks who are building software at scale, who have the ability and power to turn on forced upgrades, or to wholesale change the UI, or to opt-in users to new features by default, it's incredibly tempting to succumb to their own business priorities over taking the time to actually gain consent.  It may go against the OKRs and KPIs that your success is measured by.

The fundamental issue is that as software has permeated everything, the command and control structure of software companies is at odds with the democratic expectations of its user base.  And if you fundamentally see your company as utility, rather than a nation-state, you will miss that nuance, and leave yourself vulnerable to a competitor with inferior technology, but which understands that they are serving a constituency rather than a user base.