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Having an opinion

3 years in the digital advertising industry changes a man.

After diving head first into the realm of entrepreneurial slog and another 3 years of agency related digital experience, I feel changed. Set in ways that have equipped me with an opinion about where my industry is going as well as thicken my skin to a crust-like mantel that’s impenetrable to superfluous criticism. With that said, I am not one to shy away from criticism. I’m fully open to it and quite welcoming to debate on any opinion I have formed by myself over the past few years.

What is strange though is that after all this time, I have yet to blog, write or submit anything related to the work that I do on a daily basis. We’ve all read, heard and been privy to the hype that is social media, in one way or another, but throughout my time in the industry I have never physically published anything to do with my industry as a whole. I have however been lucky enough to be asked to speak at one or three social media related marking events that I would like to think made a unique impression at. If you’re ever had the chance have a conversation with me on the my industry, you’d know I’m rather opinionated on many aspects, but mostly I’d like to think that I have exuded passion above all else.

In 2011, I spoke at the “WTF Media Conference” in Cape Town at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology which I considered my “arrival” to the South African digital realm. I’d believe I performed at my best on the day despite the bundle of nervous coursing through my veins seconds before my talk. In 2012, I was honoured to have given the opportunity to speak at the SAMTC  (South African Management Training and Consulting) – “Internal Communication  Conference” in Johannesburg – a slightly different audience from the 600 open minds from the student orientated WTF Talk the previous year. Speaking to experienced marketing professionals was an entirely different kettle of fish. Despite going over time and melting one or two faces off of the audience members with my frivolous use of swear words, I was given an A+ rating for my talk, which I am to this day, most proud of. Again in 2012, I was called back the “WTF Media Conference” to distribute more of my own opinion among the bright minds of tomorrow. This year, I took a slightly more serious tone than the year before and even though I didn’t receive as much of an ovation as the previous year, I got the chance to express more of my personal feelings and insights pertaining to my industry than ever before.

My opinion.

An opinion is a funny thing. A collated thought manifested from research, observation, intellect and instinct to stand firm on what one feels is the correct state on a specific matter. Well, that’s how I see it anyway. Wikipedia has other ideas;


An opinion is a subjective belief, and is the result of emotion or interpretation of facts. An opinion may be supported by an argument, although people may draw opposing opinions from the same set of facts. Opinions rarely change without new arguments being presented. It can be reasoned that one opinion is better supported by the facts than another by analysing the supporting arguments.


The term opinion may be the result of a person’s perspective, understanding, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. It may refer to unsubstantiated information, in contrast to knowledge and fact-based beliefs.

See why I love the term so much? Bringing it back home, I realised a while ago that the less you trust what you feel, the less of what you  have to say matters. Truly setting aside nerves, doubt and second thoughts is one of the most difficult things to do, especially when it comes to formulating your own answers to truly objective topics, like your current industry of work.

The more reading I do, the more conflicting opinions I noticed about the same topics, which in all fairness, used to drive me mad, but now no longer does. I realised that all the brilliant marketing blogs and websites from which some of us gain our digital insights and predictive marketing how-to’s, is all opinion. Sure, some pieces are written with empirical evidence and others, well, they’re just opinions. Intellectual statements based on one’s personal observations and instinct. As I’m sure you know by now, experience counts for more than what people give it credit for, but in essence, most industry related bloggers out there write from their subjective point of view.

Because this industry moves so fast, it’s difficult to be predictive about where – for instance – Facebook will be in 5 years time, heck…make that 2 years time and if it’ll even be around. What I’ve learnt from my time on this little rock known as Web 2.0 or 3.0 or 2.5 now…or whatever, is that without a platform, or at least a reputable one, to express your opinion, you’ll be left in the back of the classroom picking your nose while the kids in the front of the class get to pick up on all the subtle hints dropped by the teacher(s) along the way.

So, where am I going with all this? Is this my first industry related post? I don’t know…all I know is that I have made the conscious choice to put my opinion out there and hope people will take cognisance of it. Like it, Hate it. Rate it. I don’t really mind. All I know is that I feel proud to have been given the chance to express my opinion in a way that I have never had before. I’m hoping it won’t get me into too much trouble – apparently my mouth and mind as well as the lack of filter between the two has had a knack for getting me into compromising situations – but I am looking forward to it and for some of you who have been doing the industry related blogging thing for a while, shut up for a bit…it’s about time you heard a fresh opinion.

Stay tuned…

6 comments on “Having an opinion

  1. Miss Red
    September 25, 2012

    My intellectual china bean, do you have any recordings of your talks? i’d LOVE to hear them,since I don’t get an invite to them :oP On the serious side though…i don’t know what you do but it seems complex and smart and opinionated :o) keep it up you rock!

    Red xxx

    • Dave
      September 25, 2012

      Awww…Val, you are such a star!

      Thank you for the comment, luv. I know I can always depend on you to be supportive! Maybe the next time your’re out here, we can go for those long-awaited Margaritas and have a proper catch-up instead of these ridiculous digital rendezvous! Thanks again for stopping by and dropping some love, babe! Miss you lots!


  2. Zander De Klerk
    September 25, 2012

    I think the reason that you’ve brough out a blog post after 3 years is simple… you’ve been actually DOING something as opposed to TALKING/BLOGGING about doing it.

    Also, and this is the most important part – I don’t know if anyone actually made a million by reading books on how to make a million. By doing your work and sharing your opinion, you’re helping people understand the outskirts of what you do without really giving away the crux… sharing you opinion with others may inspire them to do something great themselves, without really affecting you too negatively.

    I think opinions are what individualize us; people who share opinions on absolutely everything tend to have very boring conversations.

    Opine away, my friend!

    • Dave
      September 25, 2012


      Thanks for the comment, bru. Appreciate you stopping by and appreciate the sentiment of your post. I’d like to think that I’ve been too busy crafting my own stance on my industry to actually give one, then again, I’m not sure if I’m that calculating. No, wait, I am…I’m that calculating. I’m hoping that personally, I have made an impression on some and now, professionally, I’ll get the chance to enthuse debate, ridicule and acceptance into this industry. The silo that is the opinionistas of the South African digital sphere is a small pool, a brewing pot of sorts which hasn’t been challenged or rubbed up the wrong way in quite a while. Maybe it’s time someone bombed the little splash pool just to see who stays to chat and who doesn’t…I guess we’ll see.

      Cheers, man.

  3. Andy
    September 25, 2012

    I was fortunate enough to attend two of those speaking gigs – your strong sense of opinion, irrespective of how many swear words you snuck in there, makes you both a compelling speaker and writer. I think the best thing I’ve learned in the last few years is that as long as your opinion is based on experiences (rather than simply choosing the opposite side of the fence to be a difficult troll) means one can very seldom be wrong about the web 2.0/social new digital media landscape – that’s what makes strategy in this industry so appealing to me. Hope you write more industry related stuff – enjoyed this post.

    • Dave
      September 25, 2012


      Thanks for the comment, man! I truly appreciate that. I think I am considering leaving the separation between my personal blog and industry related vomit quite apparent, unless there’s something that truly catches my eye. Thanks again for the comment, man! Cheers!

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This entry was posted on September 25, 2012 by in David Alves and tagged , , , , , .
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