One of the privileges and joys of journalism is meeting and interviewing truly inspirational people. The new digital age has meant this privilege has now opened up beyond professional journalists, with some of the most thought-provoking interviews now conducted by numerous industry thought leaders in addition to our most respected journalists.
In NDA’s Interviewing the Interviewers series, we caught up with some of the best interviewers in our industry, from journalists to independent content creators, turning the tables to find out what makes them tick.
Rob Beeler is an adtech legend. As chairman for AdMonsters, he oversees the development of content for AdMonsters events and is Editor in Chief for AdMonsters.com. Founder of Beeler.Tech, he hosts and runs events all around the world.
What is your biggest hope and your biggest fear for the media industry in 2019?
My biggest hope is that meedia, specifically news-related media, starts to be recognized for just how important a part it plays in society. Not that media companies are an endangered species, but we unfortunately may have to see what the world looks like with less fact-led news before we recognize the slippery slope we are on.
My biggest fear is that the best and brightest move away from our industry. It takes a special kind of person to work in media and advertising and we can’t afford to lose them.
Wha was your biggest personal industry highlight of 2018?
I could list a number of them from launching the Beeler.Tech website to completing some of the many projects I took on, but I think I would have to say emceeing the IAB Europe event in Milan. There was a “I’ve hit the big time” feel to that one.
Who was the most inspirational person you interviewed in 2018 and why?
Zach Stafford, editor-in-chief at INTO. Zach was a keynote speaker at AdMonsters in Portland. Ad tech conferences talk about “users”. Zach talks “people”. His was one of the best keynotes we’ve ever had.
What one technology are you most excited about this year and why?
Anything that helps make identity clearer and yet private. In other words, gets the right ad in front of the right person at the right time without needing to actually know who they are.
I’d also watch out for Project Hercules to make some noise (note I’m an advisor).
What was your favourite ad or media experience of 2018?
Re-discovering podcasts. I was early on podcasts, stopped listening for many years and started up again the past 6 months. I’m a big Scott Galloway fan and loved finding his YouTube videos until he recently stopped. Bastard.
What is the buzzword or phrase you’d like to ban forever?
This sounds like the kind of question/answer that will haunt me in the future. As someone who moderates a lot of conference sessions, I cringe when I hear, “there is no silver bullet”. Thank you. We know. This isn’t a werewolf movie.
I would say my least favourite visual is the Lumascape if the only reason to show it is to confirm that we all know that the industry is complex. That goes without saying and it certainly goes without showing. A collection of others are coming to mind. Maybe we circle back and just do an article on painful buzzwords?
Who’s the one industry figure you’d most like to interview you yet haven’t?
First name that came to mind is obviously Ronan Shields. There are some dark secrets there. But if Ronan isn’t available, I’d go with Mark Zuckerberg, Larry and Sergey or Jeff Bezos.
I want to know if they understand the impact they are having on the world and that there are consequences.
How could someone persuade you to interview them and what would put you off completely?
How can I be persuaded? Send me a LinkedIn message that says, “I was hoping you’d spare me just FOUR minutes and jot down your answers to these easy 8 questions. I’d be eternally grateful!” [yes, that was me, Ed].
Put me off completely? I’m too nice to know what that might mean.
Read more in the Interviewing the Interviewers series here.