David Shing, or Shingy as he is widely known, is an industry icon. When he self appointed himself a “digital prophet” whilst at AOL, his rise to fame was almost immediate as it was precisely at a time that no one seemed able or confident to make predictions about the future of digital.
These days he is the digital prophet at Verizon Media.
This morning at Cannes Lions, he spoke to this year’s Young Lions attendees on advice he would give young ambitious starters in the industry. His tips were:
- It’s always good to make sure that what you are doing on the side can become your full-time job.
- The creative side of your brain is the thing you normally drop first when work takes over. These are the things that get you through life: sport, theatre, music, art – never lose these. They’re important to your human DNA.
- If you become a big thing and the trolls come out – don’t Google yourself.
- Learn to describe yourself. Attention is short. Your elevator pitch has to be short.
- Decide who inspires you. Understand why they inspire you. Go deep on the subject.
- Know your audience. Who is that you personally are trying to impress? Understand your audience. Your audience isn’t your boss. Your audience isn’t your client. Your audience is whoever you want to pay particular attention to you.
- Be niche! Don’t be a generalist. I like the nicheness because what happens is you become a subject matter expert in that theme and that has incredible value. Because what happens is that multiplied together you become a collection and a collection becomes a tribe.
- Make sure your voice is distinctive and succinct. You don’t want that voice to be like everyone else. We don’t want to live in homogenised environments.
- You’re a work in progress. If you were to scan through my Instagram, you’d see that at some point of time, you’d see a whole lot of crap! And then I stopped and thought, this platform is kind of interesting. I like restriction as a creative: it’s okay to come clean. It’s ok to say that I just started in 2011 and everything was different!
- Be part of the one per cent. I don’t mean this economically, I mean this from a contribution to culture. Check out “insta_repeat” which shows you all the pictures we all post that are all the same. 10 per cent of people comment (most are trolls) and one per cent are those that give a shit. In my humble opinion I’d rather be part of the one per cent.
- Own your own domain. You don’t want to outsource everything to other platforms – own your own name at least! It’s ten bucks.
- Please please please live far away from your parents. I love my folks – they’re awesome but you’ve got to get away from them. It looks awesome on your job resume, it’s awesome because your parents cannot come visit you – live as far away as physically possible.
- It’s ok to fuck up. It’s not that important. You’re going to be okay. You’re in a very privileged industry and it’s already fucked up so it’s okay to be part of that culture.
- Allow yourself to fall in love. Balance the other side of your life. Get that happening.
- Go where you’re celebrated. Go hang out on all the platforms where people think you’re awesome. Go where you’re celebrated – because that is where you understand what it’s like to be part of a tribe.
- Don’t just look at the person that you admire in the work situation. Everyone can be the CEO of something. Look at their life – they may have gone through numerous marriages. That’s a shit-hoto mess. Choose wisely. Look at their life!
- Don’t rush. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Just because you’re 20 something, don’t act like you’re 40 something. When you’re 40 something you’ll wish you were a 20 something.