Stephen Whitelaw is a digital marketing consultant, social media evangelist, technology public speaker and self confessed geek. His passion for all things digital is infectious and he delivers thought provoking and insightful workshops which never disappoint.
1. How and when did you start your career in digital marketing?
When I was lecturing at Glasgow University in 1985, I got into trouble for trying to use the internet (the web had not been invented by this time) to sell a camera that I had – I got into a lot of trouble – I was told by the University Court that the internet was to become one of mankind’s greatest inventions (true) and that it should not and would not ever be used for commercial gain (not true!). So I guess 1985 was my first failed attempt to marketing something online. P.S. I eventually did sell the camera – one the members of the University court thought it was a good prices – but told me not to tell anyone that he bought it (Oops!)
2. What do you love the most about your work?
Every day is a school day – there is so much to know – and I love learning.
3. What is the biggest work challenge you have faced in the last 12 months?
The pace of change is almost exponential – so keeping up to date is a full time job.
I regularly speak at seminars presenting a talk called the ‘Future of the Internet/Web‘ – it looks 24-26 months into the future – even that is tough to predict. However to answer the question – I suspect there will be massive advanced in technology – first the Internet of Things/Objects will cover virtually everything on our planet bringing with it enormous business opportunities and also terrifying privacy/security issues. Artificial Intelligence will have matured and be assisting mankind in medical research creating exciting life extension breakthroughs and cures for many of the diseases inflicting us today.
5. Do you ever get nervous speaking in public? And if so, how do you overcome this?
Yes, I do get nervous on stage – especially when speaking to large and informed audiences e.g. Google, Microsoft etc.. – however I usually tell some funny/silly stories about myself and when everyone starts to laugh at me – it seems to relax me
And just for fun…
6. What is your favourite website?
I have so many – however if I was on a dessert Island – it would have to be the BBC website – www.bbc.co.uk – all 25.9 Million pages of it.
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do” By Rob Siltanen.
8. Can you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I have not watched TV since the late 1970’s. The last show I watched was Z-Cars and the last news reader I listened to was Mary Marquis (who I fancied when I was 15!).
9. If you could invite 3 people to dinner (dead or alive) who would they be and why?
I love tasty food however I am a terrible cook and my wife is a wonderful cook – so she would have to one of them or the guests would be eating carry out junk food. The other two would be Richard Feynman (A famous physicist – one of my heroes and perhaps the person with the most curious minds that has ever lived) and maybe even Mary Marquis – as long as my wife did not find out I fancied her in the 1970’s!
10. Spider-Man or Batman?
Spider-man for sure – he gets to kiss Mary Jane (i.e. Kirsten Dunst) upside down 🙂
Watch Stephen discuss Future Trends for the Digital Tourist in a video from 2014, which was part of a series of seminars on the ‘digital tourist’ for Tourism Intelligence Scotland (www.tourism-intelligence.co.uk) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (www.hie.co.uk).
Find out more about Stephen on his LinkedIn profile.
Follow Stephen on Twitter – @toowist