For those that may not know, Farmobile CEO Jason Tatge is a rather interesting character.
I first met Jason at a John Deere API conference in Kansas City, back in 2014, when Johnny Manziel was still a young buck backup quarterback for the Cleveland Brown and the Royals were actually good at baseball. These were the early days for Farmobile, having just formed two years earlier, and Jason and a member of his marketing team who I believe is no longer with the company were at the Deere conference, exploring what I assume were deals with various potential API partners.
Like everything that happens in Kansas City, we talked about Jason’s future vision for Farmobile and farmer controlled/monitized data over BBQ beef brisket in some form (sandwich? sliced? Burnt Ends? I can’t remember, just remember that it was good) in the Plaza Marriott that week. And from that point on, I’ve been a fan. Hooked, you could say. Since then, we’ve covered Farmobile here in the pages of PrecisionAg.com with some regularity, and we’ve tapped Jason on the arm a few times when we’ve needed some industry feedback or thoughts on various projects we’ve undertaken over the years, most notably when we were doing market research for our PrecisionAg® Professional print rebrand.
Anyways, Jason recently took to his blog to pen an interesting read entitled “Farmobile: Changing the Game in Ag Data” that you might want to read if you’ve got a second. It will give you some background on who Farmobile is and where they see things going in the coming years, but it’s this passage that really peaked my interest, and I figured for some of you it might as well:
“Farmobile’s system of collecting, sharing and selling data on behalf of farmers is in fact a much more efficient form of marketing than agribusiness has ever seen. And we are making people in traditional agribusiness companies a little uncomfortable.
Right now farmers have an opportunity to reshape the conversation and determine the rules that govern their business for decades to come.
For traditional agribusiness, that shakeup is a problem. I’m reminded of Mel Karmazin, CEO of Viacom at the time, who pushed against advent new data-driven advertising in a conversation with Sergey Brin and Larry Page. He is quoted as saying: ”You guys are messing with the magic. I don’t want my advertisers to know what works and what doesn’t. I want to sell them the sizzle.”
So, it begs the question: is Farmobile an agribusiness “friend” or “foe”, or is it not quite that black and white? This is something I heard being debated at Commodity Classic this year, and with the publishing of Jason’s article, I figured now was as good a time as any to throw that out to our mostly retail-focused audience. If you’ve got any thoughts on the subject for us, we’d love to read them down below in the comments section, or you can email them to [email protected]
And here’s a link to the full text of that Farmobile blog post, if you’re so inclined.