Thought Leaders, What happened to Net Neutrality?

What is the repeal of Net Neutrality?

Yesterday, the rules preventing internet service providers from blocking websites outright, slowing down streaming, and receiving payment for priority access were lifted.  This means internet providers can charge a premium to its customers to access Facebook, YouTube, or Netflix, for example; or internet providers might accept payment from Facebook, YouTube, or Netflix to grant their users priority access while smaller streaming services who can’t afford to pay suffer.

It’s bigger than people know

While net neutrality has certainly garnered attention, it’s surprising that it hasn’t garnered more attention – especially in the business community.  This isn’t a problem with a limited scope.  It directly impacts all businesses.  Business today is done via the internet, from pre-sales, to networking, to sales.  Your product, no matter the industry, is at risk of being controlled and ransomed.  And yet, net neutrality wasn’t and isn’t the cornerstone of seminars, networking events, blogs, and articles.

The most important idea to share

No matter where you turn, there is a blog, a video blog, or someone on social media micro-blogging about their industry.  This is Thought Leadership and it’s everywhere.  Its sole purpose is to build engagement, trust, and collaboration.  This is exactly what cannot be done when your message is deleted, obstructed, or sold to the highest bidder.  As Thought Leaders, we have the most at stake in remaining silent and not sounding the alarm:  our reputations.

Reputation is everything

In the past year, Reputation has become the hot topic.  There’s simply too much information moving too quickly for us to process everything.  Increasingly, we rely on others to digest, interpret, and supply us relevant information.  Someone or something with a great reputation is one we trust and its influence is real.  Amazon is trusted almost as much as a bank – home of your money.  The result is 53.4% of people will buy an unknown brand on Amazon and 49.6% don’t bother to comparison shop.  It’s why the Cambridge Analytica scandal of Facebook is such a big deal.  Before we trusted our friends and, by extension, what was in our News feed, but now that trust and the decision to trust has been called into question.

What happened, Thought Leaders?

Similarly, silence on the topic of net neutrality by Thought Leaders should create some doubt.  How can the values of engagement, trust, and collaboration be under attack and yet so many remain silent?  Or is this really just about the appearance of trust, so a business, like Amazon, can avoid comparison shoppers?


If we had to rate ourselves, we must admit that we did quite poorly when it comes to sounding the alarm of net neutrality.  It’s something that’s weighed on us.  The majority of Sherwood Chamberlain’s clients are in the Legal industry and a large percentage of them are Business Law Firms.  We are trusted advisers to trusted advisers.  We should have been in the forefront of promoting, warning, and provoking action.  We must do better.

Less talk, more action

Right now, Congress is considering re-instating the net neutrality rules.  It has already passed in the Senate, but it needs your help to pass the House.  Find out who your US House of Representative is and reach out.  Your business, message, and values should not be held hostage.

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