Mr. Palmer: We're paying a small fee. I think
it's under $10,000. It's what would probably be travel fees, but
he's doing a video conference.
Advertising Age: What will you talk about?
Mr. Palmer: I've seen interviews with him but
it's always a reporter talking about what Wikileaks does in
relation to a political agenda or news situation. I haven't seen a
conversation [with him] that's more about Internet culture on a
global scale. Whether you're for or against what WikiLeaks does,
it's true they're operating at the highest level you can operate
the internet at. In terms of distributing information, we're using
technology to rally people. [WikiLeaks] is in the top percentile of
using the internet to effect culture on a grand scale. I'm going in
with that perspective. This is not for the general audience but for
people who are tech-savvy.
Advertising Age: How nerdy will it get on the tech
Mr. Palmer: If you're starting out now, you're
growing up in a post-WikiLeaks and post-Snowden [era] with that
"Hey, wait a minute, they're tapping Google" way of thinking. I
think there are a lot of questions around what comes next. I'd like
to talk about open-source software where you share codebase. [For
closed-sourced technology,] you can't have third-party people
looking at how it's secured, so maybe it's less secure. Maybe only
Joe wrote code and nobody looked and he made a mistake.
Advertising Age: Will you get into hacking
Mr. Palmer: There will be some conversation
about what the process is like.
Advertising Age: How will you address his impact on
media and journalism?
Mr. Palmer: He's been on a mission to make
government more open by leaking information he feels should be out
in the open. There's a new media company Glenn Greenwald started,
called The Intercept, that's kind of born out of Wikileaks and
Snowden. Now there are media companies based on a new model. I'm
curious -- does that apply to international companies? Does it
apply to the Googles and Facebooks? Does it apply to the Coca-Colas
or Time Warners of the world?
I'll also want to talk about how much of the operation he's
still running. Could he hand over the reigns of Wikileaks to
someone else? The difference between him and Edward Snowden is that
Edward Snowden is on a solo mission. Julian Assange started an
organization. It's a more anarchist version of The New York Times.
If they treated him like a terrorist in the U.S., would they have
to treat The New York Times the same way?
Advertising Age: What do you want attendees to walk away
with? What's in it for brands and clients?
Mr. Palmer: I'm hoping we'll walk away thinking
about things a little bit differently and with an open mind around
a situation where somebody needs to go in and be really disruptive.
If nothing else, brands will walk away understanding what living in
a digital world and having a strong mission and point of view feels
Advertising Age: What's in it for Mr.
Mr. Palmer: I think it's an opportunity for him
to have a conversation in front of an audience he doesn't usually
talk to exclusively. These are the people who will make the next
file-search app, chat app or social networks. They're all
developers and creative people. If he's someone on a mission, I
think he'd want to be in front of those people.
Advertising Age: Are you pro wiki-leaks?
Mr. Palmer: Yes, but with a question mark. I
definitely think they are using the internet better than almost
anyone else. In that sense I'm impressed and I'm a fan. I'm not in
lockstep with all of their decisions. But I am glad they're out
there. I wouldn't say design is their strongest suit, but with
totality of what they're doing they're the most advanced. It's an
organization that couldn't exist without the internet in every
Advertising Age: Is it a risk for an agency like
Barbarian to organize a Q&A with someone who has such a strong
and often polarizing point of view?
Mr. Palmer: I'm really excited and a little
nervous. But it would be boring if I was too scared to do something
like this. This is inspiration for [the idea that] what comes next
doesn't necessarily come from what other people are doing in same
industry as you.