A “digital prophet” hired by AOL has been accused of spouting pure gibberish after delivering a baffling lecture at a major conference.
With his gravity-defying hair, David Shing (“creative inventor of ideas for the future, influenced by the now”) cut a flamboyant figure at the Next Web Europe Conference in Amsterdam.
His presentation confirmed Shing’s reputation as the go-to guy for digital paradigm technogibberish.
Describing the potential for “awesome” wearable devices delivering “pictures that explode”, AOL’s prophet threw out buzzphrases including “fail forward foundation” and “embrace always logged in”.
Gawker’s Valleywag tech site hosted a video of the speech and accused Shing of “yelling insane gibberish” for 20 minutes and making up words.
Shingy, as he is known, introduced a new term, “pizzled”, to describe a mode “somewhere between pissed off and puzzled” which is “a whole other scene”.
Shingy clarified: “Is always on always good? ‘Always on’ is important versus ‘always relevant’ is more important.”
Described by one website as a “tech Zoolander”, Shingy calls himself a “storyteller” who “inspires people”. His more prosaic daily role at AOL is to meet clients and advise them on a digital advertising strategy.
His speech, received with enthusiastic applause by delegates, concluded with a plea to “remix our budgets and embrace the fact that our brands are being utilised”.
“Storytelling is about what we are empowered to do. Be provoked. Be provoking.”
Shingy began working at AOL in 2008 in the marketing department and later awarded himself the title Digital Prophet because “it was fun and funky. And it’s polarising.”
Advertisers say Shingy is an asset for the struggling web portal and he insists that his observations, which often provoke a welter of web “snark”, appear less outlandish in context.
Valleywag called Shingy’s high-profile role at AOL “the face of a dying corporation, convulsing as it goes down.”
His Amsterdam presentation, titled “The Art of Storytelling” provoked a mixed reaction on Twitter. “I have seen Shingy spout this gibberish in person. I wanted to chew off my own arm by the end,” wrote one. Shingy was called a “clown” and compared to the satirical character Nathan Barley.
“What's irritating about this tryhard is he's supposed to be a rebel but he's a PR hack for corporate America,” said another.
But a more favourable response claimed “Shingy is the greatest piece of performance art since Andy Kaufman” and another wrote “this Shingy guy actually made some really good points.”
Shingy speaks - but what's he saying?
“When we’re having intimate conversations and we’re stuck on our screens, dude, it’s a whole other scene, man and it’s puzzling.”
“Lots of audio. Love, love, love. We love sound. I think sound in the future is very, very important.”
“We’re freaky for video, man.”
“Remix Culture. Participate authentically. Fail Forward Foundation.”
“6 - ?”
“I’m an artist… For your digital palettes I want you to think about three colours: Technology, content, distribution.”