Deborah D. McAdams /
Will.i.am to Broadcasters: Surround Yourself With Code Writers
Singer shares his tech perspective at IBC
AMSTERDAM: Will.i.am came onto the IBC keynote stage at the RAI Convention
Center futzing with his phone. Johan Jervøe, vice president of
Partner Marketing at Intel, asked the Black Eyed Peas frontman if he was
“No, I turned my ringer off,” the singer said.
Will.i.am, also Intel’s director of creative innovation, fielded questions from
Friday night at the convention, starting with some audience softballs:
Who would you swap jobs with for 30 days?
Will.i.am: “Anybody that works at Twitter, Google, Facebook, Intel… I would
not swap jobs with anybody from I don’t want to say anything. That would be
Would you rather be a fantastic singer or a fantastic dancer?
What do people think of you when they
meet you the first time they meet you?
How many kids do you want?
“Eventually, I want to have four daughters… four girls…. I think eventually,
when the world is ran by women, it will be a better place. I want to to help.”
When did you last feel creative envy of
something you saw?
“It happened a couple of weeks ago. Someone showed me a commercial… for a
Dodge Dart. I got inspired by the commercial to write a song… It cost them like
$800,000, and my version cost three Gs…. I don’t get it sometimes. You’re a big company, everything gets inflated
and the kids don’t look at it.”
Jervoe then gets to broadcasting, and how the business has changed.
If you were in their shoes, what would
you be thinking and doing differently?
“So first, if I was in their shoes, I would do my research, cause a lot of
people forgot, that this world we’re living in—let’s stick with
entertainment—entertainment at one point in time was because of technology—old
technology... the record companies… RCA;
the radio and the gramophone…. The broadcasters had old technology. It was RCA,
too. NTSC, and Europe had PAL.
And now there’s superior technology, to where it’s instant, one-to-many
instantly. People don’t want to wait around for content by appointment. They
want it when they want it. They want the content to come to them, where they’re
at, at any given time of the day.
I would, if I was a broadcaster, surround myself with code writers and platform
builders. Like imagine Kodak. They should have thought of Instragram. Nah, they
didn’t. Imagine if ABC thought of YouTube. No, they didn’t do that either. So I
would quickly compete with this Ninja-stealth machine called the Web and
applications and absolute connectivity.”
Jervoe asks Will.i.am, a judge on the
U.K. version of “The Voice,” about being advised by BBC
brass not to tweet live during the show.
“[BBC One Conroller] Danny Cohen… over at BBC, I was tweeting and he pulled me
aside and said ‘Will, I’m not going to tell you to stop tweeting, but you
should consider, not to tweet.’ I said ‘Yeah, but check this out Danny, the
kids watch television with their phone in their hand, their tablet in their
hand, sometimes a laptop, and they socialize with their friends while they
watch it on TV. Some of them aren’t even watching it on TV, they’re just
getting all the Cliffs Notes, and then they’re going to go online and see it later.
I know there’s cameras here looking at me, but why should I ignore this other
…Then the next week, Simon Cowell started tweeting, which was cool. Because
you’re engaging. You want to engage while people are at home watching TV,
because that’s the ‘science;’ somebody designed how you interact with the
cameras. And now, you have to design how
you interact with the phone.”
How do you see creative driving
technology and solutions going forward?
“We have to get out of the monetization... a lot of time, people don’t try
to come up with new concepts because you’ve got the CFO guy in the building
talking about, ‘how are we going to make money doing that?’ And that isn’t
innovation when there’s somebody there
looking over your shoulder asking how it’s going to make money. Imagine
YouTube—imagine they thought about how they were going to make money at first…
it was so powerful, it was adopted by culture, and then they make money.”
The complete interview is available at IBC.org.
Registration is required.
~ Deborah D. McAdams