How exactly are we supposed to keep all this information in our lives organized and recallable? Hide things in folders? That’s probably not the best course. Dennis and Tom dive into the subject of tagging, both in terms of its strengths and weaknesses, so that all the information you need is available when and where you need it.
In the “Hot or Not?” segment, the guys explore the current climate of legal tech investment and discuss whether the current glut of funding is sustainable.
As always, stay tuned for the parting shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.
Have a technology question for Dennis and Tom? Call their Tech Question Hotline at 720-441-6820 for answers to your most burning tech questions.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Colonial Surety Company, ServeNow, and Nota.
Intro: Web 2.0. Innovation, trends, collaboration. Software, metadata, podcasts, virtual bar. Got the world turning as fast as it can? Hear how technology can help. Legally speaking, with two of the top Legal Technology experts, authors, and lawyers: Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Welcome to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, here on, The Legal Talk Network.
Dennis Kennedy: And welcome to Episode 292 of The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Dennis Kennedy in Ann Arbor.
Tom Mighell: And I’m Tom Mighell in Dallas. Before we get started, we’d like to thank our sponsors. First of all, we’d like Nota powered by M&T Bank. Nota is banking built for lawyers and provide smart, no-cost, IOLTA account management. Visit trustnota.com/legal to learn more. That’s N-O-T-A, Nota. Terms and conditions may apply.
Dennis Kennedy: And next, we’d like to thank Colonial Surety Company Bonds and Insurance for bringing you this podcast. Whatever court bond you need, get a quote and purchase online at colonialsurety.com/podcast.
Tom Mighell: And we’d also like to thank ServeNow, a nationwide network of trusted pre-screen process servers. Work with the most professional process servers who have experience with high-volume serves, embrace technology and understand the litigation process. Visit servenow.com to learn more.
Dennis Kennedy: And we’re still seeing so many new podcasts announcing their very first episodes these days as we’re rapidly approaching our 300th. So, we like to occasionally mention that at 15 years and counting, this is the longest, continuously running Legal Tech podcast out there. In our last episode, we discussed ways to develop your knowledge and expertise about Legal Technology and create a good personalized learning plan. In this episode, I actually wanted to learn more about the use of tags and tagging from Tom, and I thought that we all might benefit from that conversation. Tom, what’s all on our agenda for this episode?
Tom Mighell: Well, Dennis, in this edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, we will indeed be looking at the art of tagging, which may or may not play a part in our respective Second Brain projects or other parts of our tech lives, although I am not sure how much I have to offer on the subject. In our second segment, we’ll talk about venture capital, private equity and IPOs in the Legal Tech space. And as usual, we’ll finish up with our parting shots, that one-tip website or observation that you can start to use the second that this podcast is over.
But first up, how can we all make better use of tags and tagging? This might seem like a simple topic, but I think it actually can be a little bit complicated. Fail to plan or plan too much, and you end up with thousands of tags that overlap each other. So we thought we would take a look at tagging and all of its implications, maybe talk about some best practices and approaches that we find most effective. You’ve always said in the past, Dennis, that one reason why you’ve never really done tagging is you found it so hard. Why is it so hard for you?
Dennis Kennedy: It just is for me. I think it requires a certain discipline that I’m not convinced I actually have. And then I see your example, where it just seems like the tags are something you’re really good at. So I’m like, hmmm, why can’t I get it? But I wonder if that’s too simplistic an approach and I think this is a good example of one of those tech topics that just seems so simple and basic that everybody should get it, but actually when you dig into it, it’s a lot harder to do than you think.
Tom Mighell: Well, what I will say is that, one, it’s not simple. It does take a certain discipline. But two, it’s also not rocket science. So, it’s something that can be understood and mastered, but it’s not something that you just dive into. You have to really think about it and be deliberate and intentional about how you plan to do it. But I’m also going to talk here about some of the reasons why you might not want to do tagging; is that not everybody thinks that tagging is the best way to to organize your notes, to organize anything, really. So we’ll talk about some of those things. But I tend to agree. It’s not a simple thing to do but it is pretty straightforward once you kind of grasp or figure out the best way to make them work for you I guess is the way to put it. I don’t think that we should say once you get the hang of how tags work, you should do it; it’s once you find the best way to make them work for you because my argument today is going to be there is a time and place for tagging and it’s not all the time.
Dennis Kennedy: So, what I hear you saying is that you may give me some excuses not to get better at it.
I hope that’s not the case, but we’ll see. I think it’s worthwhile, as we often do, to just go back to the basics and say what the heck do we mean by tags and tagging in your opinion?
Tom Mighell: Okay, so to me, tagging essentially means assigning a keyword or phrase to something you’re trying to categorize or save so that you can recall it later. I have viewed tagging as an option to foldering. Instead of filing something in a folder dedicated to that subject, you can tag it with a keyword and then potentially store it in multiple places. I think essentially though, tagging is just a taxonomy. We talked about taxonomy on the podcast before. It’s another way of classifying information that you have.
And, you know, to me, the benefit, the main benefit of tagging is if you have a certain way of organizing your information you can apply a tag to it and then store it in multiple places; where if you are foldering something, you’re only putting it in one place that is designed for that one topic and it seems a little bit confining when you think about it for foldering. Sometimes foldering makes sense, and we’ll talk — I’ll talk about it in a little bit why I think tagging is not always the answer. But in a nutshell that’s what I think. It’s a way of classifying information, really, and by using short key words or phrases.
Dennis Kennedy: And I think that as you were saying that, I think it does sit at this nice place between foldering and just basic search. You know, key word or word search. And I think that if you do folders, you have to be super organized and super disciplined and put things in the right places. In word search, you sometimes get a lot of noise in your search results. And I think that tagging, when you use it really well, helps you in both those cases.
So you don’t necessarily have to have it in the right, and I’m do using air quotes there, folder and you get like better search results. And for me, tagging and I think it’s worth saying is that sometimes it’s going to be in your OS or other things, but typically you’re going to be in a program or you know a service that actually allows you to create a tag. So you’re essentially creating your own keywords. And I guess, Tom, I’ll ask you first and then I have an opinion on this, but what is the promised land of tagging? If so we got tagging exactly right and it worked a hundred percent the way that you wanted, what would that look like?
Tom Mighell: Well, when you put this in the outline, I sat there for probably 20 minutes saying what does he mean by the promised land of tagging? Because I think he’s expecting me to know what the answer to that is, and I just don’t know what it is. So I think the answer I’m going to come up with is the promised land of tagging is making the right use for you. Is that tagging is — and so don’t create thousands of tags you won’t remember. That’s the the biggest problem, is and we’re going to talk a little bit about some systems where you put just dozens of hashtags because oh my gosh, here are the 12 words that I might need to remember for this particular thing, and I think that just is, it might help you on the back end but think of all the time you spent on the front end just thinking of all those tags.
So, don’t spend more time than you need to tagging, and then I think understand when it’s the right time to use tags or to make use of tags. So I tag things when appropriate — well, I would tag everything but I may not use tags to find that information. I might decide, you know what, I may need to do a keyword search of this and that might make the most sense or I know I put it in this notebook and I can drill down into this folder and find it easier.
And so, I think that as it is with anything that you’re trying to find, the promised land of tagging is knowing what’s the right balance for you and how how to use it right so that it doesn’t totally overwhelm you. And let me real quick go into this. I’m trying to figure out the right place to talk about this in our discussion. But I want to talk about the problems with tagging, the things that can make it an issue for you. And I think one of them is decision fatigue. Like I said, there’s so many choices of what tag do I assign to it. So that’s a problem you could have with it.
Memory fatigue. If you assign 20 tags to it, how do you remember all of those things? How do you remember which tag is for what? And I think that even if you have a small number of tags, remembering exactly what you tagged it might be a problem. And the fact that, you know, I might say I might have something that I call Legal Tech tag and then another one that I call Legal Technology. So it’s making sure that you don’t have tags that overlap each other and the same thing.
And then there’s the over-optimization factor of tagging, going in and tinkering with them too much and having tags that are so complicated and complex that they’re 20 different words so that you can narrow down. That’s crazy. But I think that the main issue is is that if you have a thousand tags that you have to think about, it just makes it a lot harder. So not to tell people not to tag; I just want to say that these are some of the issues that you want to try to avoid when tagging. And that’s why I think making a smart approach to a limited number of tags with the right words and terms that make sense to you, and starting out slow and deliberate, to me, makes the most sense.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. When I think of the promised land, I think of essentially eliminating one extra step in finding things. So instead of figuring out, oh, what folder, might it be? What are the search terms I have to be? Do I know whether I’ve got everything that I — you know, I found everything that I need. I think that tags allow you to say, look, just Just pull up everything that I’ve tagged with that and then I’m pretty sure I got most everything that I think is related to that topic and I can get it in one place. So let me let me use a concrete example here.
So say that I’m doing something e-discovery related and I tag documents that I believe are subject to attorney-client privilege, then I can use that tag just to see all of those. And so, I don’t have to do Boolean searches, I don’t look for file folders. That tag is going to get me most of the way there. And so, I’m either saving a step or eliminating a step. And I think that’s a really, really important piece of it.
And so I think that leads us to, Tom, of exactly what the types of tags are. And as I start to think about it, I decided that for a lot of people, colors are the simplest form of tags. So you might do something where you say, oh this, I’m going to tag this with say you’re in Outlook, I’m going to tag this and it’s going to have a red flag or a yellow flag or a green flag, or you might do some other things like that. And so colors are one of the simplest forms of tags, but there are quite a few other ones.
Tom Mighell: Well, and I use color tags in Outlook as well, but I use it for my calendar. And so, I have blocked out on my calendar every type of meeting, I have a different color either for a different client or for a different type of activity, and that’s usually for me to know how I’m at the — you know, unfortunately, I’m still in a world where I have to keep track of my time and it makes a lot easier for me to go back and group things and say, okay, when was I spending personal time, internal time, time with this client. It’s able for me to keep it easy for me to keep track of all that.
I don’t do a ton of color. I think that I don’t do a ton of color tagging otherwise, but I would say that color tagging is great when you have a limited number of things to tag because, one, you only want to use a certain number of colors, and two, you want to remember what those colors mean because just seeing a color doesn’t automatically tell you anything about it unless you know that red means ABC client or something like that or research or whatever. And so I think that’s a simple form, but it is I would say also a simplistic form of tagging because you want to make sure that you know what those tags mean.
All sorts of other kinds of tagging and I think it really depends on the context in which you are using the tag. And I know we’re going to — we can’t avoid this topic. We can’t discuss this topic without talking about your favorite method of tagging on Twitter, which is again, another form of tagging. It’s another way of categorizing so that people can find it later. So I think my only quibble with your description of the promised land of tagging being eliminating one step, I would reframe that to say that tagging is the promised land of finding by eliminating that one step because the promised land is actually finding something and tagging helps you do it by eliminating that single step. So you want to talk about your favorite tagging and other kinds?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah, that’s a great point, Tom. So I wrote down four different things. So one I call tags that you can do in the operating system. So like if you’re in Windows or the Mac OS, you can actually tag certain files by color or by name and apply these tags. There’s some taggings that you could do inside a program.
So Outlook is one really good example of that. You can do some tagging on the web of like in a browser or other things that you can do can be really helpful in what I call the read later apps that we’ve talked about at different times. So I’ll mention Raindrop.io, which I use and I think you do as well, Tom, for bookmarks. And that allows you to tag the bookmarks to help you find things later. And then hashtagging, which is different than some of the tagging that we talked about because there are actually kind of pre-built tags that you can use with hashtags. You’re just putting the pound sign in front of words that you use and you’re creating it all on your own.
And then I think that leads to what is a problem with tagging, which is do you have siloed tags which you can only use in one place and they don’t transfer across, and you have more universal tags which can be a lot more helpful. But that goes back to your point, Tom, of what kind of planning you need to do for those things. So anything to add to my list there?
Tom Mighell: Not really. I mean, I think that when I think of siloed versus universal tags, I think that I prefer sort of a universal way of thinking about it. And what I mean by that is, I guess I would probably, instead of calling it universal call it standardized tagging. If you’re going to keep certain types of similar content in multiple places, why have different tagging taxonomies? We’ll talk in a minute.
I do tagging in my task app. So I have different context for that. So that’s fine. That’s easy to remember. I can keep that separate. So that silo doesn’t particularly bother me. And I think that when you and I talk about having a second brain, we anticipate having the content of our second brain all in one place, which assumes one set of tagging and taxonomy for that area, as well. But I still think that to the extent that I can use words or terms or phrases or whatever that will still resonate with me that are easy to recall, I would prefer those if possible throughout that. So I mean I think that context is huge and will really determine how you tag, but I think that to the extent that you can be as consistent or standardized across all of those silos will make it easier for you.
Dennis Kennedy: So I want to use an example of one type of tagging I’ve used for a long time that actually works for me, which is in Mac OS I’ve created this tag for essentially my tax documents. So documents that I will need for my tax returns every year. It’s just a tag and I apply that when I remember to do that and then when I need to gather those documents, I just do a search on that tag and I have everything that I need in one place. It’s super simple. I just created one tag. There’s almost no nuance to it. And so, it fits a lot with things where you say that work. You know, it’s focused, it’s easy to remember, there’s not a lot of complexity to it. So that’s one way to think about it and why it works. But, Tom, I want to turn a little bit to strategies.
So to me I thought there of three strategies. So one is you create tags and kind of have this big tag list that you do in advance that you’ve thought through carefully. The second one is what I would call the hashtag approach which is used to create tags on the fly. You know, you find something and you say, I’m going to assign these tags to them and that’s where the inconsistency really comes in. And then suggested tags, which I really like, which I get in Raindrop.io, where the programs are suggesting appropriate tags for you what you want and you just click on the ones that you want. So of those three strategies, which do you like, Tom?
Tom Mighell: I like all of them. Can I like all of them?
Dennis Kennedy: Yes.
Tom Mighell: Because I think they all have — so I think that there are pros and cons to each approach. If you are creating your list in advance that requires you to anticipate all the things you might want to tag. So you’re going to have to think ahead of here are all the things that I might want. I can never do that. I’m never going to be able to do it. So I tend to prefer the on-the-fly approach, but that also means, like you just said, that you might end up with thousands of tags because if I see something I’m going to tag it with 20 different things. I usually don’t do that.
I usually put one or two tags on something, if that, and sometimes it’s just one tag. And what I’m thinking about while I’m doing on-the-fly tagging is I’m thinking to myself what existing tag does this website or this note or whatever does it belong with already? Is there a tag that I’ve already created? So I will use Raindrop.io as the example. Raindrop.io keeps a list of all your tags and as you start typing things in it will show you what you already have so that you can check yourself and you can just add it very easily to that list of tags if you have it. That’s one way to deal with it. I think that on the fly is good but you have to be smart about on the fly.
I really am intrigued with the idea of suggested tags because I think that there’s a little bit of an artificial intelligence aspect to it. It’s trying to anticipate what you think would be the most likely tag, but I will tell you several times I’ve looked at the tags that Raindrop.io does and I will just give one example that I came up with. I had an article in my Raindrop.io from it’s the How-To Geek. I think you have tweeted about that site many times before, but the How-To Geek had an article called ‘Why You Should Use A Password Manager.’ That’s the name of the article. And the tags that were suggested were majority. I’m like, what is that? How does that reflect why you should use a password manager? One is manager, one is password, one is use and the other one is websites. So, other than password, I don’t think I would use any of those because none of those would recall me back to that specific thing.
So that is all of my way to say that I think the suggested tags has some room to grow and some learning to do. So I’m intrigued by that. I’d like to suggest a tag idea. I’m not sure that it gets me the tags that are most useful to me.
Dennis Kennedy: I agree. I take the suggested tags which I like because then it means I don’t have to do as much thinking and I can kind of pick the ones that work for me and then maybe add some others. But I think what it introduces is what — I don’t know whether it’s a positive or negative at this point, but it tends to mean that I’m adding more and more tags to each thing, which means I’m kind of slowing down my actual process of looking through documents because I’m spending more time on tagging them. But I think it is a super interesting way of doing it because it’s like having that drop down menu that you just pick the things that you want, but it does raise that question of having too many tags. But it possibly can help with I think one of the other big problems, which is how do you keep the tags consistent. And unless you have this master list or you go to a small number of tags, I think that truly is a difficulty to overcome.
Tom Mighell: Well, and there are those if you go out on YouTube and just do a search for notion tagging libraries, there are people who will create a full library or database full of tags, and that’s how they manage their tags throughout their whole notion knowledge base, which to me feels out of control. It feels like if you have to create a whole database for your tags, you may have too many tags. But yeah, I think you know, the way that I think to use, I really like to take a three-step approach. And this is going to I’m kind of getting away from the tagging thing, which is, one, I want to use the right way to find information depending on how I need to find it. So if I want to search for something specific, I want to use a keyword. So I’d love to use keyword searches.
If I’m going to categorize information in a single topic, I want to categorize it, I will think about putting it into a folder or a notebook. But if I’m going to categorize across topics because they have similar related content, then for me that’s the benefit of tagging, is being able to do it that way. And so to me that’s kind of the balanced approach. I don’t use any one more over the other. It just depends on the most effective way of finding each one depending on what I’m trying to look for.
We’ve had this conversation. I remember having a podcast 10 years ago, we’re talking about how to do a search on Google and the fact that a keyword search would be a fantastic way or instead of knowing exactly what you’re looking for. And I remember having these discussions of Google doing that. I think it’s the same way here. If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, keywords may be the best. Tags are better when you do know what you’re looking for, but it might be in multiple places.
And then if you know that it’s in one topic, then go to the folder where it is. That’s kind of how I approach things.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. I mean, I think it as you are stepping back to say okay, how can these help me, and then how might they be useful for me in a given context. So, when you were talking about that, I have this example of when I need to do a headshot for publicity. I know that most of my headshots and the recent ones have “headshot” somewhere in the file name. And so I do a keyword search on that of “headshot.”
Well, actually, what I should do is just tag those, right? That should be a lot easier. But I haven’t done that because I kind of brute force these things and I don’t do enough volume to make me want to change that. But I think you do want to step back and say, okay, when might this be useful notion. What’s really attractive to me about using tags is I think that notion itself is going to use them really well over time. And so I think I want to leverage the power that I see coming into notion on using tax. And so that’s another reason to think about, well, where I might start to use tags maybe not across everything I do, but in certain areas where they could be really helpful. So that’s sort of how I think about them and one of the ways, some of the ways I do and don’t use tags at this point.
Tom Mighell: And I want to really quickly, Dennis, talk about kind of how it’s different for me. So when I think about headshots, I think, well, they’re all the same context, they’re all pictures. So for me, I’m putting all of those pictures into a single folder called headshots because I’m not going to put pictures in multiple places throughout my computer. However, when you talk about notion, what I’ve been doing this past week is I’m getting ready for a vacation to Oregon in September. And I am doing research on restaurants in different parts of Oregon. And so I am tagging those restaurants with two different tags. I’m tagging them with the city where they’re located and/or Oregon the state, and I’m tagging them with restaurant. So I have two different databases; I have a database full of restaurants and I have a database full of sites and things to do in Oregon. And so, if I’m looking for things in Oregon, I can see those restaurants. If I’m looking for restaurants, I can then see things that happen to be restaurants that happen to be in Oregon.
So I do agree that notion is going to be great for tagging, but again, we come back again to the context and what makes the most sense. Dennis, do you have some questions before we start to wrap this up?
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. So there’s two things I wanted to touch on, Tom. So one is like what’s the optimum point to — and this is the first one. So what is the optimum point to add tags? And I think that also raises a little bit of question like what if I suddenly realize that I’ve been using the wrong tag and I would like to change things that I’ve already tagged?
Tom Mighell: Optimum point, you know, that’s a tough question. I would tend to say I would rather add a tag to something early on in the process than going back to it because I think if you go back to something and start tagging it, that’s wasting a whole lot of time that you’re spending. I would try to set up a system so that you are able to tag something. What I generally do is I’m finding, looking for information. I save it to notion it goes into a general inbox and I go and process that inbox every so often, and when I do that, I tag it. I’ll never go back to it after that and deal with that tag. So I try to do it before it goes into wherever it’s going to go because I think that’s the most efficient and less time-consuming way to do it.
Dennis Kennedy: Yeah. I think that’s for me when that’s really tricky because you’re used of information and the way you store it can evolve over time. And so, just to use one example, I might have started out saying, oh, I want to use this tag that’s artificial intelligence in law and that’s where I’ll throw articles that Marc Lauritsen does. And and then over time I realize like, oh wait, actually, I just want to keep all of Marc Lauritsen’s articles that I’ve gathered under Marc Lauritsen tag because they’re not all on AI and law, and I wouldn’t have known that at the beginning, right? Because that evolves over time.
So sometimes you have to look at flexibility and then I think you would want to look at some approaches to say, can I do something where I can be more flexible with tags and start to add things.
Although it just feels like just a bad use of an afternoon to spend your time say like watching a football game and —
Tom Mighell: And tagging?
Dennis Kennedy: And adding tags.
Tom Mighell: No. No, thank you.
Dennis Kennedy: And then the last point I want to make before we wrapped up, and this to me leads me toward the promised land and what I’m thinking of second brain and notion is how can I use tags as a basis for actions? You know, so what is it I can do so I’ve tagged these things and then on the basis of that, what actions can I start to take with that? And that’s just something I’ve really started to think a lot about so I don’t have any definitive answers there. But that to me is really interesting to say oh, what if I, you could say, grab all these things that are tagged with this and put them into one document or as we get more and more AI potential, what if I have my AI tool summarize everything with those tags? So, if you’re looking toward the future, that’s one thing to think about.
Tom Mighell: You’re thinking, yeah, when I saw that in your outline, I went a totally different direction for that. And I think that that is looking at the future of tagging and what tagging can do. When I think of tags as a basis for actions, the first thing I thought of was David Allen and ‘Getting Things Done’ which is where when you’re trying to process everything, you can tag it with the context and say I’m going to tag this with phone and these are all the phone calls I have to make; or I’m going to tag this with email, these are the emails I have to send; or tag it with errands, these are the errands I have to do.
I don’t like to do that. That’s not how I tag it. But I do say that in my to-do list, I do have tags for things that I’m waiting on. So if I have a task that I need to do but I’m waiting on somebody to do it, I’ll tag it in the waiting on and I’ll revisit it occasionally to see if there’s something that’s changed. There’ll be tags for it to discuss with certain people or clients. These are things I need to talk to people about and I’ll tag it with that so that when I’m on the phone with with my team or with my boss, I can then go through that list really quickly and make sure that I’ve got it. So that’s a useful way that I have, at least in my task manager, to tag information for further action.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’d say to wrap up, Tom, once again we’ve taken something that just seemed like a super simple topic and realized that now we just barely scratched the surface of all that we could talk about. But tags are something I think people, it’s a good time to explore it. You know, you’re going to find that some people like to do files, some people like to do search, but tags kind of is really an interesting middle ground that might be really effective for you either across the board or in certain situations.
Tom Mighell: And so, before we move on to our next segment, let’s take a quick break for a message from our sponsors.
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Tom Mighell: And now let’s get back to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy. It is time for our new segment we call Hot or Not. We pick something people are talking about and argue whether we think it’s hot or not. We might agree, but odds are that we won’t. So let’s get started. Money seems to be flooding into Legal Tech in 2021. The e-discovery company DISCO just had an IPO.
It seems like there are VC funding announcements and private equity acquisitions in Legal Tech every day. I feel comfortable, Tom, predicting that we will set a record for investment in Legal Tech in 2021. So, it’s fair to say it’s very hot out there. However, Tom, the question is whether these investment activities will stay hot or not?
Tom Mighell: Well, first, I want to say what’s interesting to me about venture capital in Legal Tech is it has followed such a similar curve to everything else in the legal industry. Venture capitalism has been a thing since when? At least the ‘60s or ‘70s and in other areas of technology for at least 20 some years, but it’s only recently finding its way to the legal industry, which I guess is kind of on par for our late adopter profession for us to finally be getting venture capital. But I don’t see any reason why venture capital won’t stay hot in the Legal Tech area and I think that part of the reason is the number of legal startups continues to grow.
I’ll put a link in the show notes. There’s a site called AngelList that is currently tracking — I’ve got 1,569 Legal Tech startups. I don’t know if there’s a more comprehensive or better list about the different kind of startups that are out there, but as long as those continue to grow, they are looking for money, they are they will are potentially be the targets of investors. And I think that there are a couple of things that are driving this explosion.
I think that as part of the pandemic, we’re seeing a lot of startups centered around remote work. People are using the downtime to launch new companies to work on ideas. I think we’re seeing I think a big explosion in legal technology incubators, whether that’s law firms, whether that’s universities and law schools. But it seems like everybody is creating their own incubator and pumping out new Legal Tech companies.
So I think that sources of Legal Tech startups, are not going away anytime soon. And then I think as long as the demand is high that investment is going to be there. And right now, I think there are a couple of factors that are creating that demand. One, legal huge market, why not try to go for it? Access to justice also huge. I mean, it seems like every startup has some sort of access to justice component to it. It is still a giant unmet need which means it will be popular. And then I think the third thing that is potentially creating the demand is that as in-house counsel continue to consolidate, reduce their outside counsel, there are startups who are finding a place somewhere in the gap there to try and serve in-house counsel in a way that outside counsel were unable to do that. So I guess I would say in my hot or not magic 8-ball, I would say all signs point to hot. Dennis?
Dennis Kennedy: I was listening to you and I wanted to disagree and say not, but I think it’s going to stay pretty hot for a while and hopefully it will stay hot until Tom and I like put together a stealth startup that people can fund. But you know, seriously, what I see out there is that there’s a lot of money chasing a fairly limited number of companies that people see a lot of potential in a legal industry that’s changing. I have a number of questions and I do believe that ultimately, people want to make money off of these investments. So, companies are going to have to produce. And the legal market is a fickle market. As people who’ve been seeing what’s going on in Legal Tech for many years know, there’s been definitely hot and cold times. But I’d say there’s definitely a lot of money out there of chasing a limited number of options and those investors seem willing to spend that money on legal perhaps in unexpected ways.
So sometimes a venture capitalist see an opportunity where what they’re interested in is what can happen with lawyers and traditional legal services not as the goal or the products of these companies. So that to me is super interesting. But I think it’s going to stay fairly hot for a while as long as the economy stays reasonably hot because it is a new area of where you’re seeing stuff and we are seeing, like I said, at least one IPO this year and other companies talking about it.
Now it’s time for our parting shots, that one-tip website or observation you can use the second this podcast ends. Tom, take it away.
Tom Mighell: So some of you may be familiar with DuckDuckGo which is the privacy-related alternative to Google in terms of searching. A lot of people love using it because it won’t track you the way that Google does. They are rolling out and have rolled out a new beta tool that they’re calling DuckDuckGo email protection. And what it is is it’s a free email address, a duck.com email address. Who doesn’t want an email address called duck.com?
What it allows you to do is it allows you to use it as kind of an intermediary email address between you and your regular email. So just give a vendor or give anybody the email, your duck.com email address, and those emails that are sent to it will be forwarded to your regular inbox, but with the email trackers removed. And so you’ll get it as a clean email. You can generate unique private email addresses in DuckDuckGo so that you can’t be tracked by your email address. And again, DuckDuckGo is never saving any of your email, it just forwards it on to you. Really cool service. If you’re interested in it, you’ll need either the iOS or the Android app for it and you go in and hit settings, then beta features, then email protection, then join the private waitlist. It’s in the settings there. But if you’re interested, go get a free duck.com email address. Dennis.
Dennis Kennedy: More email. I just don’t know.
Tom Mighell: It’s not more email. It’s a pass-through to get email that doesn’t have the trackers. You’re not getting more email. You’re still getting the same amount of email. You’re just getting email that’s been washed.
Dennis Kennedy: Still just another email service. So I’m going to be teaching a class in cybersecurity and data protection at Michigan State Law School in the fall. And so I’ve been definitely doing a lot more research in the area of cybersecurity, but there’s a big one out there that everybody should know about these days. And so we’ll give you a link to Bruce Schneier’s blog, which is a great great resource on cybersecurity issues. But I love the title of his post. It just says “Nasty Windows Printer Driver Vulnerability.”
So there have been a lot of intrusions and a lot of the break-ins to networks have happened through just peripherals connected to networks. So we’ve done a good job of passwords like on our computers and other things like that, but it’ll be all the things that are attached to the networks that have default passwords and other issues.
Well, this one, people are coming in through printers. And so, there’s a printer driver vulnerability that apparently has existed in the neighborhood of 10 years. And this is what people can make use of and it’s a really important patch to get from HP and as especially. So if you have an HP printer, but you want to go and look to see if your printers are vulnerable because this is so well-known that the bad people are likely to use this on a regular basis in the future. So take a look at this article. Check to see if your printers are on the list and install the patch and feel just a little bit safer because otherwise I think we’re going to see a lot of examples where this becomes the route into people’s systems.
Tom Mighell: People are still using printers?
Dennis Kennedy: I was going to say the millennials have an advantage over us older folks because they don’t use printers. Yeah.
Tom Mighell: All right. So that wraps it up for this edition of The Kenny-Mighell Report. Thanks for joining us on the podcast. You can find show notes for this episode on the Legal Talk Network’s page for the show.
If you like what you hear, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or on Legal Talk Network site where you can find archives of all of our previous episodes along with transcripts. If you would like to get in touch with us, reach out to us on LinkedIn or on Twitter. And remember, we do like getting questions for our B segment, so send us a voicemail so we can hear your voice. That number is 720-441-6820. So until the next podcast, I’m Tom Mighell.
Dennis Kennedy: And I’m Dennis Kennedy. And you’ve been listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a podcast on legal technology with an internet focus. If you like what you heard today, please rate us in Apple Podcast and we’ll see you next time for another episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report on the Legal Talk Network.
Outro: Thanks for listening to The Kennedy-Mighell Report. Check out Dennis and Tom’s book ‘The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together’ from ABA Books or Amazon and join us every other week for another edition of The Kennedy-Mighell Report only on the Legal Talk Network.
Podcast transcription by Tech-Synergy.com