Dan Verhaeghe is a columnist for Canada’s leading independent news site for everything tech-related, with the role of bringing the importance of technology into the public eye. What does success look like to him? Find out in today’s YPDaily…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Techvibes is Canada’s leading independent technology news site. I mainly cover major tech corporations, startups in Canada, and the ever rapidly changing marketing, mobile, entertainment, and media industries out of Toronto for my Vancouver-based editors.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I started working at Techvibes because I saw that mobile was so much more than just the apps on our smartphones and tablets. The industry’s leading magazines and competitors would eventually rip off my content as mobile marketing became a really hot topic in the Spring of 2011 as I blogged for popular advertising blogs in the United States. So at first writing for Techvibes was really just was for the continuation of promoting a new side of mobile in offline to online technologies such as QR Codes. But I saw just how fast the advertising world was going to change. And technology was potentially disrupting almost every industry in some shape or form, and chasing the bleeding edge greatly interested me. I was great at seeing through the spin and used that to my advantage. My editors gave me every opportunity to make the most of it, so I did and eventually became very high-profile in a short period of time. It’s been like a real-life MBA. Social media had forced the marketing industry among other ones to be increasingly transparent. So there was an opportunity to be a leader of that transparency about cutting-edge mobile marketing practices at first, and later for the general digital marketing industry as a whole.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of what I do on a daily basis is helping people understand how we got to this point. If you haven’t been paying attention to the tech world and the impact it’s having on the world, you’re in for a bit of a surprise. I would be the first to say bring back the ‘80s and ‘90s too, but we can’t. This is 2012, and we have to accept that reality and how technology is changing the world.
The most challenging part is trying to explain it all simply. This is hard because technology continues to speed up rather than slow down. It’s difficult to stay incredibly imaginative about it all and shift gears when needed as the future becomes closer than we once thought. Something we didn’t think would happen for fifteen years suddenly happens in two years, for example. I’ve been doing this for nearly two years, and I’m still blown away nearly every day. Despite that, you have to stay down to earth and humble, which is hard too.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as a screenwriter, in PR, marketing, communications, as an entrepreneur, consultant, or in a management role. There’s a chance the media world could rebound with an increasing importance on editors in the next few years as we struggle to understand it all. But with video Internet traffic expected to be 90% and a “connected generation” that loves visuals, I feel the opportunity is more so in producing words that support visuals rather than just words.
What does success look like to you?
For me success has been seeing the impact of my work in the Canadian technology world translate into other measures of success for Canada’s always growing tech sector as a whole. To have increasingly been inspired every quarter I’ve been doing this and informed is a job well done while staying with the speed of it all. But being solely a digital columnist isn’t a career due to the death of media – so success for me in the future will be finding ways to parlay these experiences into a mash-up of a career. It is increasingly difficult to have a life-long career; being successful will come from being talented in many different ways.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
The realization that people perceived me as something more than an ordinary person by the looks and reactions I got when entering an event or walking down the street in Toronto. To be more than just popular or well-known is a strange feeling. I wouldn’t call it famous by any means yet.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
To be really open-minded, for the world is a diverse place with a lot of different realities. Today, you need to believe that madness can be genius. That imperfection can be beauty. And don’t see things as black and white because they rarely are. Believe that you can change the world as you see fit because our generation has that power through technology. Previous generations were only “simply offered the world,” as Martin Sheen once said. And if you’re not the most talented, you can. It’s usually the ones with the most desire that win. Try until you can’t try anymore.
Do you support any charities?
I do when I can, having been an attendee of various galas and fundraisers. I would say what I do is more of a charitable cause for Canadian technology as a whole but I know it will lead somewhere great.
What to you is notable?
People that still care who are passionate in a world that is increasingly apathetic.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Android, as I find it difficult to type on the iPhone. But if BB10 is good enough, I’ll probably switch back…although I hear the newest Android update is supposed to make their phones faster and smoother, which is what they are lacking right now compared to the iPhone.