Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the buzzing young talent across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.
For our last Young Guns, we spoke to Havas Media business development manager Amelia Priday.
This time we chat to Webling Interactive creative technologist Ed Sheldon.
How long have you been in the industry?
Duration in current role/time at the company:
Two years as a developer and then two years as a creative technologist with Webling.
What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?
When I finished university I worked for a video game startup designing and building mobile games. After two years, I decided it was time to broaden my experiences so, I thought I would industry hop and see what was happening in digital.
I scored a meeting with Webling’s technical director Darren, who asked me to build a prototype mobile game. At the time, it had been a few months since I worked on a project, so in the excitement I got a bit carried away and finished a week of work in a night. The next day Darren couldn’t believe that I finished the prototype and I was hired on the spot.
Define your job in one word:
What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?
Slower pace, less work, and long boring projects.
How does the reality match up?
The industry, especially the experiential tech side has grown massively the last few years. Making it very fast pace, and an extremely exciting time to be involved in so many projects. I’ve constantly got work to do, by researching emerging technologies, and learning new tools so we can stay ahead of the curb.
How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?
Webling provides innovative digital solutions and products for their clients. When I first started at Webling I was just a game and mobile developer, but over time I ventured away from the traditional developer roll to the more creative and experimental side. I started working closely with Webling’s commercial and creative teams and specifically MD Deniz, coming up with ideas, experimenting, and bringing innovation opportunities to life.
Best thing about the industry you work in:
You get to work with extremely smart and talented people and the industry is constantly evolving, there is never a stale moment. Sure, it can be hard and stressful at times but it’s extremely rewarding to complete projects and watch users interact and engage with the experiences.
Any major hard learnings in the job so far?
There is no one hard learning but every time some new tech emerges, it becomes a bit of a scramble to learn as much as possible and have a thorough understanding of the possibilities.
If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?
I’ve always enjoyed photo-shopping some terrible pictures to share around the office. So, it would be a lot of fun to spend more time doing some design stuff, but I think Strategy would be interesting and a lot of fun as well.
What's exciting you about the industry right now?
We have so many different tools and technologies at our disposal, which makes it cool to see what everyone else in the industry is doing with them. Sometimes there are these big amazing new tech projects, and other times there are simple projects that use technologies in a way no one has thought of.
What concerns you about the industry and its future?
I still can’t believe it when I see terrible websites and mobile apps. I am concerned the design of user experiences will continue to not be taken seriously and as a result users won’t see different technology at it’s finest.
Who's your right hand person/who guides you day to day?
My team is my family. Everyone guides me day to day, project to project. I have learnt so much from everyone, from design, to UX, to development. But if I had to pick a right-hand person it would be my Technical Director Jongho. If Jongho isn’t guiding and teaching me new things he is making sure my glass is full of rice wine when we go out.
And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?
Can you dethrone an MD?
Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2020 and how do you plan on getting there?
I have no idea! I do throw around new startup ideas a lot, so possibly I will be a few years into a startup. Being a mobile developer wasn’t even a career choice when I was thinking about university. By the time 2020 rolls around there could be a whole new side of the tech industry that changes everything.
What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.
The Magic Leap. When the Magic Leap is finally released, there is going to be a huge movement on the Mixed Reality industry. Microsoft is already leading the charge with the HoloLens but the Magic Leap will definitely be the right competition to see both companies push the technology further. The episode of Black Mirror – The Entire History of You is strangely looking like it will be a reality in the soon future.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
I read a lot of websites and forums to see what cool and silly things people are building and programming. When I find time, I like to build little dumb inventions around the house.
Videos like these are a massive inspiration:
Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I use to do TV commercials as a kid. One of my favourite ones was for Sega World (RIP), because I got to go on all the rides in between takes.
Favourite advert is:
It’s not an ad but a video of a campaign that uses really simple tech that targets their audience perfectly.
What’s your personal motto?
Drinking water solves everything. (Not my code though).
I got into advertising because:
I was looking for something new, challenging and exciting. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I have.
If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Waiting for giant robot fighting to be a real sport. We are almost there.
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