You know what's boring? Internet privacy policies.

Sure, they're important, but they're boring. 

And there's probably nothing more boring to read recently than the full text of the GDPR--the privacy law that went into effect in the EU last week and that has thrown a wrench into the workings of basically every internet business on the planet.

If you live on planet Earth and have an email address, you've likely been bombarded with "We've updated our privacy policy" messages lately as a result of the GDPR. 

Yet, you probably haven't read hardly any of them.

Why? Because they're boring. Long and boring.

Now, finally, I've found a company that managed to take the sheer boringness of this kind of thing, and turn it into--well, if not quite a profit center, at least a marketing bonus.

That company is Calm, which produces mindfulness meditation products, along with recordings designed to help people fall asleep at night. 

Rather than simply stay up all night fretting about whether their site's data retention and privacy policies meshed with the new European law, the founders created what they call a "sleep story" about the GDPR.

By which we mean, they hired a British actor to read part of the 57,509-word law in a calm, relaxing, soothing voice.

Which should be enough to put anybody to sleep. 

"Insomnia is a modern epidemic," wrote Alex Tew, co-founder of Calm. "The search for a cure is a modern Holy Grail. GDPR may be our new best hope ... New laws aren't meant to be exciting ... but GDPR could sedate a buffalo."

Here's a sample. (If the embed below doesn't show, you can check out a longer version here).

If you're still awake after that, you might be interested to know that Calm has been around for six years, and has an app, downloaded 60 million times, that lets you access roughly 100 other sleep stories. 

You might also be interested to know, if you're old enough to remember, that its co-founder, Tew, is also the guy who created the Million Dollar Homepage more than a decade ago. In short, he convinced 1 million people to pay him $1 each for a permanent pixel on a single-page site that looks like the worst 2005-era MySpace page.

In other words, anything but calm. It seems he's making up for that now--thanks in part to this dense and foreboding law.

Published on: May 31, 2018
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