For a while my pal Alex Blagg, a co-creator and producer of Comedy Central’s @Midnight, did this bit of performance art in which he portrayed a ridiculous tech industry guru operating a consulting firm called Bajillion Hits. If you never have, I highly suggest to check out his work, some of which is downright brilliant.
That said, this guy, David Shing, AOL’s “digital prophet, is Blagg’s Bajillion Hits character come to life, mixed in with some shades of Derek Zoolander. He’s like a tech Zoolander. And he’s an actual AOL employee who the company is trotting out to represent them on national television. And yes, his job title is actually “digital prophet,” as evidenced below in a screengrab from AOL’s site.
Here is “Shingy” today on MSNBC spouting technobabble/jibberish. He’s mastered the art of speaking for minutes at a time without really saying anything, just vomiting buzz terms that sound cool and hip to old men in suits.
There’s a video that was on Shing’s Vimeo page earlier today that he appears to have taken down. It featured him on a stage surrounded by light bulbs hanging from strings, braying incomprehensible tech jargon. He’s since removed it, for some reason. (UPDATE: it’s still viewable in the comments section of this Valleywag post.) It appeared to be a video resume of sorts. Before it was removed I transcribed some of what he said in it. One thing particularly jumped out at me as laughably absurd, the stuff of parody, and it was this line: “You fundamentally have between 6 seconds and 13 hours to tell your brand story today.” Um, OKAY! Here’s how the video opened (I’ve bolded a couple of line I found particularly amusing)…
“I grew up in the age of information. We’re now, currently, in the age of social, as you know. Fundamentally, it’s changed. But where it’s headed is the world of context, or interest. Where people are going to cluster in small villages, small tribes, and understand that they can have deep, intimate, communication and communities there. And I think we’re longing for it, I think we’re yearning for those experiences. So wouldn’t it be cool to put your brand in the middle of those, or even deliver one of those experiences? The sixth largest contributor to stress today is media overload. We know that there’s a challenge in terms of attention. But if you do get it right, mindshare equals marketshare, and that’s where consumers are going to pass your brand on.”
This guy may be the absolute King of Bullsh*t, a modern day snake oil salesman, a living breathing SNL skit character. The Asian-y look. The big hair. The painted nails. He even has an accent to make him sound smarter. And, of course, AOL — the desperately-clinging-to-life shell of a dying internet giant — fell for this guy’s game hook, line and sinker, probably to the tune of a high six-figure salary. It’d be so much funnier if it wasn’t kinda sad.