The Digiday Questionnaire: SocialVibe’s Dave Levy

The famous Proust Questionnaire comes from a popular 19th-century parlor game in which guests were asked to answer a series of questions to reveal the respondent’s true nature. Digiday is updating the Proust Questionnaire for the digital media industry. If you or someone you know would like to answer the Digiday Questionnaire, contact me at the email address below.

Our latest subject is Dave Levy, co-founder of SocialVibe.

The Digiday Questionnaire: Dave Levy 

What about working in the digital media industry makes you happy?
What makes me happy is that the knowledge lifecycle is only about two years in digital media. Regardless of whether you have 20 years of experience or not, everyone’s in the same boat. You have to be thirsty to learn and continually reinvent yourself and your perspective on what resonates with consumers in order to be successful.

What about working in the digital media industry makes you miserable?
There is too much focus on products that appeal to consumers’ left-brain activity. It’s great to make peoples’ lives simpler and more efficient, but it is equally important to enhance people’s creativity and emotional connections with each other. We need more products that tap into the creative aspects of who we are rather than just creating shortcuts.

What is the worst fault you see in your area of the industry?
The obsession with data and analytics online has destroyed creativity in digital advertising, and it has made for a crappy consumer experience. Digital provides such a rich canvas to create value, craft a story and connect emotionally with consumers. Unfortunately too many companies out there are still focused on optimizing the color of their banner.

What positive changes do you hope to see in the industry?
I hope to see the adoption of models where we have fewer ads, but better ads. Attention is the only thing that is truly scarce online. If agencies could buy the authentic attention of consumers, then they could get back to creating incredible messages instead of being data junkies. That’s a big task for brand advertising, but we’re up for the challenge and ready to see change.

What is the quality you most admire in a digital media CEO?
The ability to scale a vision and have people work for more than just a paycheck.

What tech company do you wish you started?
Hulu. It has such an interesting and compelling opportunity to redefine how we consume television content – and brand advertising – in a digital environment.

Silicon Valley or Madison Ave.?
Part of me loves both. I love the idea of Silicon Valley never accepting the status quo. And I love Madison Ave’s ability to conjure up an emotional response in under 30 seconds. I guess we’re trying to do both of these things here in L.A. Can I say L.A.?

Track or Do Not Track?
This is a difficult one. In an ideal world cookies would target accurately, track attribution effectively, and allow consumers full transparency. Until that happens, it’s Do Not Track.

App or mobile site?
Mobile site. Platforms have way too much control on apps. It’s potentially a bigger issue than net neutrality.

If you could only use one of these for these rest of your life: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Spotify, which one?
Using any of these for the rest of my life is a scary thought.

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