8th Layer Insights 12.13.22
Ep 28 | 12.13.22

Your Life, Their Profit: Buyer Awareness in the 21st Century


Perry Carpenter: Hi, I'm Perry Carpenter, and you're listening to "8th Layer Insights." If you're anywhere near my age, when you think of Consumer Reports, you probably remember those old TV commercials from the '80s and '90s.


Unidentified Actor #1: (As character) We all want to make the right choices. 

Unidentified Actor #2: (As character) Everyday ones, like buying our groceries. 

Unidentified Actor #3: (As character) Or bigger ones, like getting that first apartment. 

Unidentified Actor #4: (As character) Starting a family. 

Unidentified Actor #5: (As character) Deciding when to retire. 

Unidentified Actor #6: (As character) But when it comes to information and advice... 

Unidentified Actor #7: (As character) It's hard to know... 

Perry Carpenter: As I rewatch these, I'm struck by how big and blocky and clunky the tech of the '80s and '90s looks compared to today. I mean, it's kind of like watching an episode of "Stranger Things" but without the cool music. And that otherness, that feeling of difference and obscurity today that watching these commercials evokes, it kind of makes a point. It makes the point that technology progresses. It's always changing and evolving, and some of that is good, but some of that might also not be so good. Some of that otherness that we feel when we look at an old VCR or maybe a CRT monitor, that might be a type of nostalgia that not only do we remember things like our childhoods, but we also remember back to a time when our tech wasn't as interconnected, where it probably didn't have the ability to do things like spy on us, and also back before many of us thought as much about things like surveillance and data privacy or having to download software updates for your refrigerator. What you might not be aware of is that Consumer Reports has been keeping up with all these changes and their mission, that mission of being a watchdog organization and customer advocate, is more vibrant and alive than ever. 

Perry Carpenter: My guest today is the president and CEO at Consumer Reports, Marta Tellado. Marta recently wrote a new book titled "Buyer Aware: Harnessing Our Consumer Power for a Safe, Fair, and Transparent Marketplace," and in it, she goes into great detail about the digital moment that we are in right now. Not only the risks, the dangers and traps, but also the places and paths that can lead to progress. So with that - oh, my God. Carl, no, no, no. We don't need that. Yeah. 

Carl: Oh. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. You can - just take all that crap and close the door on your way - OK. You are not going to believe this. My sound engineer, Carl, just tried to come in wearing a lab coat, carrying a clipboard and wheeling this huge trolley full of random gear. I think he wanted to see what life might be like for a tester, but we'll leave that to the professionals. 

Perry Carpenter: On today's show, we explore what consumers should be concerned about in the 21st century, where we can turn for help and what is our path for building a better tomorrow? Welcome to "8th Layer Insights." This podcast is a multidisciplinary exploration into the complexities of human nature and how those complexities impact everything, from why we think the things that we think to why we do the things that we do and how we can all make better decisions every day. This is "8th Layer Insights," Season 3, Episode 8. I'm Perry Carpenter. We'll be right back after this message. 

Perry Carpenter: Welcome back. So as I said before the break, today's guest is Marta Tellado. She is the president and CEO of Consumer Reports, an organization that many of us have heard the name of and may have some familiarity with but probably don't know the extent of the work that they do. This was a really fun discussion and very, very informative, so I hope you enjoy it. Let's hear from Marta. 

Marta L Tellado: Hi. I'm Marta Tellado, and I am the president and CEO of Consumer Reports. We're the largest consumer organization in the world, and we've been around since 1936. Great to be here. 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah, thank you. So Consumer Reports, for a lot of people now - I think anybody, like, 45 and under even - probably has a very siloed view of what Consumer Reports is. And that's kind of fixed in the magazine age and maybe, you know, something that their parents or even grandparents got. And they would look at, you know, all these ratings for things from dishwashers to microwaves to cars and so on. I want to give you a chance to adjust our thinking some and reframe what Consumer Reports is for us and for society. So can you do that a little bit? What's the mission there, and what's the output? 

Marta L Tellado: Well, thank you for that. When you're an organization that has been around for 86 years, you're not static because, especially if you're looking at the marketplace, the marketplace is so dynamic. It's changing. Consumers are changing and so does the organization. And that holds true for Consumer Reports in a big way. Our mission has been and always will be to create a fair, transparent and safe marketplace for all consumers. And while the marketplace may change, our mission holds. And it is particularly relevant today where we've gone from a hardware world to a software world and where security and fairness and safety mean very many different things. 

Marta L Tellado: When you think of how we helped and assisted consumers and also collected information and data about the marketplace and where consumer harms were, it was a hardware world, and we were looking at cars. Cars were not yet computers on wheels. We were looking at major appliances that you were spending an awful lot of money on and making sure you were getting value efficiencies in them, whether it's water or electricity. And in the process of doing that, we also - I think one of the things people don't understand is we use so much of our research because we do an enormous amount of research on consumers as well as the marketplace. And we use that to make sure that we create standards and guidelines and laws that are protecting consumers and really empowering them with rights in the marketplace. 

Marta L Tellado: And as we move from that hardware world to a software world and we're now in a digital marketplace, in a different realm, many of those laws and guidelines and standards have not translated into that world. And so we're on a new frontier. And that's what I mean by we are more relevant now than ever because the elements of that world - and it's not something you can taste, touch, see and feel. It reminds me of the dawn of the Silent Spring in the '70s, the dawn of the environmental movement, when we saw that, you know, so many companies were using chemicals, and there weren't protections for us, and we couldn't see or feel or touch them. But it gave rise to a movement in communities that said, hey, wait a minute. We don't want our world and our communities to be like this. 

Marta L Tellado: Well, here we are in a digital world where we can't see, feel or touch the harms of a world that's not very transparent to us, where we have become the commodities, where there are online scams and technology is outpacing our rights and our protections. And so the moment really is now to incentivize businesses to create those standards, to build and design with consumers and humans in mind. And it's also a time to hold our enforcement mechanisms accountable and that means the consumer protection agencies, which unfortunately are not as well-equipped with the capabilities that are needed to really be a watchdog in a digital age. And that's where we come in. We have 8 million members. We are - remain independent - means we don't take any advertising, and we work hard to give everyone who comes to our site the trustworthy advice that they need to make decisions but also to create change and to demand a connected world that puts people first. 

Perry Carpenter: You used the word watchdog, which - I was wondering if you would actually use that word because I do see that as a great thing that Consumer Reports does is really trying to understand the options that the marketplace is giving consumers and then trying to say, is that right or wrong? So there's kind of the watchdog piece. I assume there's an advocacy piece as well, where you're speaking directly to the manufacturers and the companies. And then there seems to be this - well, there is this third branch which is actually bringing information to the consumer. So watching, advocating and then making people aware - did I capture that right? 

Marta L Tellado: Absolutely. We have engineers and testers. We have journalists that are doing investigative reports. We do an - as I said, an enormous amount of research. And we have our advocates that are working and tracking a variety of different laws and guidelines in our regulatory agencies, as well as statehouses around the country. You know, right now, we're looking at a lot of different - we don't have a privacy - a federal privacy law. So we spend a lot of time looking at some of the states that are moving in that direction. So there's a lot to do across a lot of fronts. And we are able to have those different tools at our disposal to create a marketplace that's more fair. 

Perry Carpenter: So when it comes to Consumer Reports and kind of the perception that most general people within the U.S. or around the world may have, what preconception are you fighting against the most? Or maybe a better way of phrasing that would be to tell us something about Consumer Reports that most people don't know and maybe even a story about that. 

Marta L Tellado: I think one of the things people don't know is that if not for Consumer Reports, you wouldn't have a seatbelt in your car. It just - you wouldn't have a backup camera that came standard in your car. Those are all technological advances of the day where we had to fight to make sure that they were accessible to every consumer. And so you fast-forward. What are we fighting for today? Well, in addition to a seatbelt and a backup camera, as I said, cars are computers on wheels. We now have enough data and evidence to know that forward-collision warning, blind-spot warning, pedestrian-spot warning, all of those technologies are lifesaving. And yet there are many manufacturers that still consider them luxury add-ons. So that's something that we're fighting for. And one of the ways we've been able to do that is by telling car manufacturers, if you don't get this done, you're not going to be included in our top 10. And so you have to incentivize the market, and the market starts to move in the direction of consumers. We often forget a marketplace is about supply and demand. We have to demand the tools and the services that put consumers first. 

Marta L Tellado: And I'd say one of the things they also don't know is clean water. We just started including consumers and communities in some of the testing we do, and we did - we partnered with The Guardian on a national testing of tap water, and we used one of our superpowers, testing, and empowered local communities across the country with testing kits and training. And they tested their tap water. And sure enough, we found PFAS chemicals. PFAS chemicals are sort of one of the latest things that we're concerned about. They're also called forever chemicals because they stay in your - in our biologies and are very difficult to track. And they're also - we also know that they in children are particularly harmful. And we were able to take that data and demonstrate that this chemical needs to be considered and placed on the list of things we need to be controlling against. And we also did a survey and did some testing on the paper - wrapping papers that all our fast-food is wrapped with. And we also detected PFAS chemicals in those as well. So I think those are really contemporary examples. 

Marta L Tellado: People think - I think some of the misconception is, you know, you're looking for a coffee maker, and you want the best coffee maker. Well, there are plenty of places you could go to for that. What we're really focused on is getting you the right choice but also making sure that we have a marketplace that, as I said, is putting consumers first, is safe and that we have the standards in the marketplace that are really about people, not just profit. It gives you something to think about. And if you begin to grade the marketplace or tell fast-food makers that the wrapping paper - then you start to see change, and they start creating change. And in a world where we are so polarized in our legislative arena, we need other tools to move markets as well. And I think consumers have tremendous untapped power. And we can use our individual choice every day, but at Consumer Reports, I really believe we've seen historically and see it today that when we use our collective choice, we can shift the marketplace. 

Perry Carpenter: I'm struck, as you talk about this - going back to things like water and fast-food wrappers, and then you've talked about privacy and consumer electrics. And in your book, you talk about surveillance and things that come with that. I'm struck by the extremely wide range of things, not only that Consumer Reports focuses on but that you have to be conversant on as a CEO. It looks like you came to Consumer Reports back in 2014. So what was your perception of what you would be taking on before you took the role? And then where is your passion right now? 

Marta L Tellado: Well, you know, there's been a thread in every choice I've made as I think about, what do I want my contribution to be? And that has always been about service, whether it's public service or philanthropic. And when I graduated college, my first internship was in the consumer movement, and that was where I cut my teeth on seeing the incredible change that one can make and the incredible power of a market to create, to distribute goods and services and the ways in which that can be done that really puts consumers first and our human values first. And I just had such incredible reverence for the mission of Consumer Reports that it was such an honor to be able to come and to ask the question, what are the consumer harms on the horizon today? What are we confronting now that we need to be working on with consumers? And I just thought, as I said, the moment was so ripe for raising our consumer voices now, in light of just how incredibly fast technological innovation has shaped and changed things. And the question is, can they be shaped in a way that enhances our human values, as well as our economic opportunity? So I just was thrilled to be able to come and begin that journey. 

Perry Carpenter: You published a book called "Buyer Aware: Harnessing our Consumer Power for a Safe, Fair, and Transparent Marketplace." And I'm wondering why you felt like this was the right time to write a book. Was it that we were in a pandemic and you had more free time because of less travel? Or have we entered a moment that you are so passionate about that you wanted to go through the arduous process of writing a book and then doing all the promotion and everything to make that time that you sunk into it valuable? 

Marta L Tellado: Well, you know, your comment, you know, did the pandemic give us more time? Well, I have to say that for so many people, they were at home and trying to access trusted information and goods and services. And so that was one of the busiest moments for us as an organization. And we were trying to do all that - and did it successfully - from a remote environment. And then, of course, we have 60 labs and an auto test center where we can't stop testing products and services and figuring out ways to do that that really protected the safety of our staff. So it was a really unique time, and we'll all be talking about this for decades, I'm sure. I'd been thinking about these issues for quite some time. And the book - really, I wrote the book, I think, for two reasons. And one is it speaks to the question you had earlier about, how does one - one doesn't wake up and say, I want to be the CEO of Consumer Reports. But it has a lot to do with how I ended up having such a profound reverence for democracy. 

Marta L Tellado: And when I was 2 years old, my parents moved us - me and my three brothers, all under the age of 6 - from Havana, Cuba, to the United States, post-revolution. And it was really - the impetus was an idea, this notion that, you know, they thought it was going to evolve into some equity and issues around democracy that they were hopeful for. But it very quickly turned into a surveillance state that - and here we are in a democracy, and it has been an incredible journey for me as someone who came from a very modest background to be exposed to so many opportunities. But you also start to see cracks in the marketplace. When I think of the marketplace and I think of what it was as we were coming up, it was a place you go to to realize your ambitions, whether that is a student loan, a mortgage, you know, certainly your car to get to your jobs. And how accessible are those things, how fair and transparent? 

Marta L Tellado: I thought - my commitment has always been to create a place where democratic freedoms and economic equity would not just coexist but thrive. And I think the book is an attempt to really demonstrate that our democracy is only going to thrive if we have a marketplace that's fair and just. And so to me, that was behind some of the things that had prompted me. And then the other was the incredible complexity of the marketplace today, where the balance of power has shifted away from consumers - right? - in a sense of accountability and transparency in a digital age. And consumers are looking for trusted advice every day around some of the things they're confronted with, things that drive their ability to access funds, like the mystery of credit scores. And now we have apps that are being marketed as ways to help you address them and algorithmic bias on our decision making and the way in which you land things like car insurance. 

Marta L Tellado: And I thought, there's got to be a way to cover these issues, a consumer power handbook that is very practical, that talks about what has changed and also gives people advice that they can use to empower their ability in the marketplace today. You know, ironically, we have access to so much information, but at the same time, we ask ourselves, how trustworthy is that information when our platforms have really become marketing platforms? 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. So there's a - like, right at the beginning of the book, you open up with that personal story about the move that your parents had from Castro's Cuba to the U.S. and the dreams that they had about the society that they would live in and raise you in and the concerns that you've had about the increase in surveillance, the lack of transparency and the fact that that - you know, that world that we seem to be moving into is not what your parents were hoping for - and some of the concerns that you may have about the U.S. or the world and so on. 

Perry Carpenter: And so I want to dig into that a little bit because I'm wondering, from your perspective, what some of those concerns are. And we can get into details about those and the, you know - where the, you know, tech industry fits in with that and so on. And is this a genie that is so far out of the bottle that we're kind of stuck? And what power do we have as consumers? What power do we have at a country level as the U.S.? And then how is that at odds maybe in limiting the things that we can do because we are in a global economy and a global supply chain? 

Marta L Tellado: Great questions, big issues. When you arrive at a country and leave, you know, an autocratic state - and surveillance is a tool of that state. It's a source of control. It's a source of shaping the choices that you have. And that was something that was dinner table conversation every day. And we juxtapose that to a democracy and what that means and the fact that nobody has the last word in a democracy and that we have a responsibility to contribute to that dialogue and that dynamism and the freedoms that it can embody. And then you wake up in a world that - in a digital economy that is really a surveillance economy, where the platforms that were initially - we had so much excitement about. They were going to be these these benevolent platforms that gave us so much information and put things in our fingertips. And they did. It was - it's remarkable when I think about it, when all of us think about it. But they really have been created to further selling of products and marketing and advertising, which is ironic because, of course, the the dawn of the advertising age was what created Consumer Reports, the need for honest, trustworthy information and rules and regulations to ensure that the products you were getting were safe and of value. 

Marta L Tellado: Well, here we are in the digital age, and we are selling of our personal data to the highest bidder. Consumers have become commodities, not customers, a spread of information on online platforms. And there's a lack of transparency in our experience on those platforms. So how do you come to grips with the notion that we live now in a world where our power has really been depleted? And what we - our identities now are are really sources of data, our buying, our purchases on the online world. So that juxtaposition of those two things was really striking to me. And that's how I came to, you know, a realization that we we need to call this out. And I don't think - it's absolutely not too late. I think we're made to feel that there's no other way to wire the world than through marketing platforms, that this is how - that this is all free. And in fact, it's - we're paying a heavy price for the digital world that we have. And we have to ask ourselves, how how can we begin to shift the balance of power? 

Marta L Tellado: And when you think about something as simple as, you know, you go online to purchase a plane ticket and somebody is given one price and someone's given another price based on demographic data, marketing data that they know about you. And how fair is that? And how fair and just is it when you are given a price for your car insurance where the algorithm is not looking at your driving record but is looking at your level of education, is looking at your income and looking at your neighborhood? And what we see there is that many of the discriminatory elements of our hardware world has seeped into the bias and discriminatory aspects that we thought, you know, the digital world would would be absent of. And who is accountable for that? 

Perry Carpenter: There's some fun things that you do with the book. I mean, just even in the chapter titles, you're very, very straightforward. I mean, as somebody who needs to be a trusted voice, you're saying very clearly, consumer rights are civil rights. Chapter one - your life, their profit. Chapter two - the misinformation marketplace. So it seems like you are definitely on the side of the consumer. And then you also name names. You talk about the big four, you know, Amazon and Facebook and so on. So when you're doing that and you're literally saying they cannot be trusted because they've had the chance, and they've, you know, foiled - they've kind of shown their hand several times. What are your specific concerns there? And then how do we move forward in a way that is productive to where they feel like you are on their side, trying to push them into the right corner? 

Marta L Tellado: It's a huge question, but I'm glad that you picked up that the book is straightforward. You know, what I try to do is sort of rip the veil off of a lot of the conversation. There's a lot of books on the digital marketplace and the big four and technology. But what I was really pushing for was a handbook that really lays it out to the consumer, the everyday consumer that is just trying to make sense. Why is it that their cable bill looks the way it does? Why are there hidden fees on all the things they're trying to purchase? And, you know, you put your finger on something that I feel very strongly about, and that is that consumer rights are civil rights. And what I mean by that is when our economic power and our agency is undermined, so is our power to function as free and equal members of our democracy. 

Marta L Tellado: You know, one of the things I quote in the book is - and it's not a new idea. FDR once said, "democratic freedoms are not a half-and-half affair." If you guarantee equal opportunity at the polling place, you have to guarantee equal opportunity in the marketplace. And I think that's exactly right. Consumer Reports has always been a profound believer in the marketplace. But left to its own devices, look what's happened. We have four companies that dominate our online experience in our lives. And that is something I think we can absolutely do better in. I think one of the things the book really points to is that we as consumers are sleeping giants, that we have the power to make choices and to bend the marketplace through those choices. And - but we also have a tremendous amount of power through collective action. And that's something over the course of our history at CR that we've seen time and again where we actually see change happen, and we make - and we see new standards and new technologies shaped because consumers are demanding something better. 

Marta L Tellado: When you think about the data breaches, the identity theft, online scams, the lack of privacy, the way in which we are being tracked, so much of the burden is on consumers to figure out how to stop that. And that's something that we are in the throes of changing. I think we know that the default on all our products and devices that we bring into our home is not for privacy. And that's for a reason. And that allows all of our viewing habits, our listening habits, our purchasing patterns to be monitored and tracked and sold to third parties. So we're in this data broker economy. And one of the things we did - and this is where I think we can be really powerful. Currently, we don't have digital standards in the marketplace for security and safety. So we created an open-source digital standard and we started testing connected products against it. And we published the ratings. 

Marta L Tellado: The first thing we did several years ago was test smart TVs. And, you know, how hackable is it? Are they listening to you? Are there privacy breaches? What are they tracking? How do you secure it? And as soon as we did that, we started getting calls from the manufacturers. Walk us through that. And so now we are up and running and testing devices and products like children's monitors, routers. Consumers should be able to pick and choose based on, how secure is it? How private is it? And we've got to hold companies accountable and begin to shape a world where the burden is not on consumers, where things are private and secure by default. Two other things that we're working on, which I think is a way of incentivizing change in creating a marketplace is nutrition labels. In addition to testing, I think all our connected devices, just like our food - right? - you pick up... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Marta L Tellado: ...A package of food, and you know what the contents are. You know, we had to fight for those things, but we should have Internet of Things nutrition labels. And we were pleased to hear that the Biden administration is now thinking of that, as well. And so we're very much looking forward to being at the table, to keeping their feet to the fire there and also making things like our security planner available to everyone online free. And it walks you through, how do you secure all the devices? Because until we succeed in making sure that things are safe by design, secure by design, the burden is still on us. So I hope all your listeners... 

Perry Carpenter: Yeah. 

Marta L Tellado: ...Take advantage of our security planner and begin to empower themselves in that way because it's going to take those individual actions, but it's also going to be taking us as a collective force and raising our voice and demanding that we believe the world can be wired for consumers. 

Perry Carpenter: We'll be right back after this word from our sponsor. 

Perry Carpenter: Welcome back. That collective voice piece is so important because that does drive change. And I think that hearing you speak about that also gives people the kind of - some of the knowledge that they need to not feel hopeless about this, that the world can change. There was a time before something like the EPA and then there's a time now. This may be a complicated question that we can take out if we want to later. But a lot of times when these things get created, something like an EPA, immediately, it becomes a political football type of thing. And people, you know, want to either bring that really close and put a halo on top of it. Or they want to demonize it and make it this, you know, big foe, kind of a Big Brother type of thing. How do we move past that? 

Marta L Tellado: Well, what you're putting your finger on is essential to any democracy. There is a tension. And it needs to be a healthy tension. And I think right now, the struggle is that we are struggling over a common understanding of the facts. And that's why the work that we do is so important, because we really cleave to the data, the testing, the facts. We really cleave to our independence and the rigor that we apply to it. Everything is inherently - so inherently political in this moment. But I think consumers are really hungry for trustworthiness and a sense that we need some basic standards. We haven't had a conversation about, what are ethical standards for a digital presence and a company that is getting in front of us every day through search - and where 95-plus percent of us, all searches are going through one company - and where self-policing is just not effective? 

Marta L Tellado: There is a sense that we do need some intervention for the sake of the consumer and fairness. I think public opinion is shifting. And that's what we're seeing in some of the work that we're doing. And I also think that in the work that I've seen - and I talk about this in the book - the hopefulness is also coming in the generations just jumping into the marketplace now, where they're demanding more from companies. They want to see responsible technology. I think all of us want revolutionary technology. But there's a demand for that technology be responsible as well. And I think that, that is coming - younger generations, digital natives saying, no. This can be different. So I'm very, very hopeful. 

Perry Carpenter: I love that. So I've got two other questions that I think we have time for. The first one is - before, you were talking about the rise of surveillance and the kind of authoritarianism that can come with that. You were talking about algorithmic bias, whether that's intentional or negligent, as people have tried to codify rules and actuarial tables that they've had for decades and all that. There's a lot there. How do we raise the alarm without sounding like the crazy uncle at the dinner table that's spinning theories that are taking it too far? So how do we do that in a way that gets people to stand up and listen rather than just dismiss the problem because it sounds either unfixable or sounds like something that can be dismissed because it's crazy talk? 

Marta L Tellado: I think that's why the book is just so full of personal stories of real people, real families and some families that have faced enormous tragedy and have stood up and banded together with other parents when their children have been harmed by a seemingly safe and secure product, like an infant sleeper. I think those personal stories are really important. We've talked about some pretty heady things, you know, democracy and economic opportunity and consumer rights. But I think those things have to be made real. And you have to reach families and people where they are and in the day-to-day struggles that they have, you know, the lack of transparency that they experience if they're, you know, trying to purchase car insurance, or the lack of transparency that they experience every day online in the marketplace, or the lack of access that their kids are experiencing around connectivity and broadband. And here we are accomplishing so much online. And yet, some communities are not wired. 

Marta L Tellado: And so it's those - it's the everyday, very practical things. And starting a new business - how do you start a new business and compete against some of these platforms? How - why is it that the marketplace is wired in a way that is not allowing for that to happen? So I hope that those personal stories really speak to people in a way that make it real and also highlight some of the things that have gone well and that are going well. And I talk about - despite the inclined sleeper that was responsible for over a hundred deaths of infants across the country, I talk about other products where when we brought attention to those companies, they changed their policy, whether it was... 

Perry Carpenter: That's great. 

Marta L Tellado: ...You know, infant formula or an app. The Glow app, which was an app that women used to track their menstrual cycle - and we brought some research to them and said it's not secure. And these are the changes you might think about making. They did them. And that kind of back and forth happens all the time. But in the digital world, it's not enough to do the retail piece. We need, as a country and as a society, to really create the standards and the guidelines that put people first. 

Perry Carpenter: That's great. 

Marta L Tellado: And I think that's going to take all of us. 

Perry Carpenter: All right. So final question, which is actually two questions combined. What type of - what are you hoping that you leave as a legacy? And speaking of leaving things, is there any follow-up that you would like our listeners to do as they close out this interview website? They could go to other resources they should take advantage of. So legacy and follow-up. 

Marta L Tellado: Wow, legacy. Great question. I think legacy goes back to recognizing the responsibilities that we have in a democracy to engage. And some of these issues we've been talking about are too big to sit on the sidelines. And what I hope is that the book helps us recognize, you know, how relevant they are to our everyday lives. And it gives us some immediate steps we can take and also demonstrates how, as a society, we can come together, whether it's, you know, economic rights or women's rights or consumer protection, that the marketplace - all of this comes together in a way that propels us for that collective action that I think is such a great opportunity and a privilege of democracy. 

Perry Carpenter: Great. And then any follow-up actions or resources that you want the listeners to take. 

Marta L Tellado: Well, we created this website that is a companion to the book, and it's available to everyone. And one of the exciting things about the site is that, you know, as you said, there's a chapter on safety. There's - I talk a lot about algorithmic buys. I talk about privacy. I talk about unsafe products. Depending on what your area of interest is, there are a variety of actions that we're working on to make change happen. So there's a number of places you can go to to get involved. And so I'm excited by that. I'm excited, and I invite all your listeners to be a part of the change we're seeking. 

Perry Carpenter: And with that, thanks so much for listening and thank you to my guest, Marta Tellado. Be sure to check out Marta's new book, "Buyer Aware: Harnessing Our Consumer Power for a Safe, Fair, and Transparent Marketplace." You should also take a few minutes and visit the Take Action section of the Buyer Aware website at Consumer Reports. That's buyeraware.cr.org. That section of the website has a ton of great information on how you can take action in areas like digital rights, misinformation, financial fairness, discrimination, safety, sustainability and more. That's the kind of resource you might want to share with a coworker, a friend or a family member. 

Perry Carpenter: If you've been enjoying "8th Layer Insights" and you want to know how you can help make the show successful, there are still two big ways that you can do so. And, yeah, both are still super important. First of all, if you haven't yet, take just a couple seconds to give us five stars and to leave a short review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify or any other podcast platform that allows you to do so. And the second big way that you can help is by telling someone else about the show. Word of mouth referrals are the lifeblood of helping people find good podcasts. And if you haven't yet, please go ahead and subscribe or follow wherever you like to get your podcasts. 

Perry Carpenter: If you want to connect with me, feel free to do so. You'll find my contact information at the very bottom of the show notes for this episode. The show was written, recorded, sound designed and edited by me, Perry Carpenter. Artwork for "8th Layer Insights" is designed by Chris Machowski at ransomwear.net - that's W-E-A-R - and Mia Rune at miarune.com. The "8th Layer Insights" theme song was composed and performed by Marcus Moscat. Until next time, I'm Perry Carpenter signing off.