We ask Lindsay Holst, Formerly, the White House, what one piece of technology do you tend not to trust?

Apr 10th, 2017

Lindsay Holst

Lindsay Holst, Formerly the White House

This week for our blog, we’ve been talking to Lindsay Holst, who previously served at the White House between 2013 and 2016 first as Director of Digital Content in the Office of Digital Strategy, and then as Digital Director for Vice President Joe Biden. Technology has been incredibly important to Lindsay in a professional capacity, however, can we ever really trust all aspects of technology? Henceforth, before our event on May 17, we’ve been asking our speakers a topical question:

“What one piece of technology do you tend not to trust?”


“Retail E-Commerce, generally.

Truth be told, the entire online shopping experience has become very bizarre for me. Recently, I found myself on a certain unnamed store’s website, looking at a leather backpack — having on a recent train ride seen a woman wearing a leather backpack and been mildly intrigued by it. More than eleven days later, that backpack, along with a posse of similar-looking backpacks representing multiple brands and price points, is still following me around on the internet. There I’ll be, doing something completely unrelated to any sort of retail experience — such as googling whether it’s true that blowflies can actually smell things with their feet or search WebMD to see if the spot on my arm is a staph infection — and suddenly, there it will be: that leather backpack, peering at me from the corner of my screen. If anything, the experience of being stalked by a backpack has desensitised any retail inclinations — particularly because the intensity of the backpack’s interest in me so thoroughly trumps my passing-at-best initial interest in it. (Imagine if someone you’d said “hello” to in a nice sort of way suddenly started showing up at every bar, coffee shop, and train stop you frequented! You’d run the other way!)

I’d pay someone to avoid seeing a leather backpack for a few days. I’ve since resorted to doing my Internet business via Google Chrome’s Incognito windows — at this point, the internet’s best approximation of the Witness Protection Program.

(And, given recent decisions by the United States Congress, just think — if online advertisers can do all that with cookies, just imagine what they’ll be able to do with my purchased search history!)”

To join Lindsay and other quality speakers debating, can we really trust technology? Register to join the conference today.