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There is no Digital Media but AOL and Shingy is its Prophet

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 10, 2014

Here is every super-quotable line from the New Yorker’s recent profile of Shingy, AOL’s Digital Prophet that everyone loves to hate. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, you’ll roll your eyes. It starts:

How does Shingy know? Because he is a digital prophet. Literally. His business card has a microchip embedded in it, and it reads “Digital Prophet, AOL.”


AOL pays him a six-figure salary for-for doing what, exactly? “Watching the future take shape across the vast online landscape,” Shingy says. “I fly all around the world and go to conferences.”


“I listen to where media is headed and figure out how our brands can win in that environment.”

But also:

He arrived at AOL headquarters in the Village wearing black nail polish and high-top sneakers with leather wings. His jacket, T-shirt, and pants were black, and he had decorated them with wide stripes of white paint.

And so:

He ran into a Ward Cleaver-ish advertising executive named Jim Norton. “My man!” Shingy said, offering his trademark three-part handshake, ending in a hug.

Which leads to:

“Wanted to show you a little brain fart I had on the plane,” he said. It was a cartoon he had drawn of a bear wearing zebra-print pants and a shirt covered in ones and zeros.

For which else is:

“Love it, love it, love it,” Nardini said. “I’m thinking of the bears more as a metaphor.”


“A thousand per cent,” Shingy said.


“Shingy is my muse,” Nardini said.


There is something so polarizing about Shingy, but also so unifying.

Still, this:

He is passionate about spaces, and when a space is not working he reboots it, taking everything out and starting over.


This is a space I recently rebooted for Tim.


“Do you like the scent?” Shingy said. A diffuser released a fragrance (called London) designed by Tom Dixon into the air.


Armstrong looked around. “I have meetings here, and people don’t know where to sit,” he said.


“They’ll figure it out, man,” Shingy said.

This, I can’t even, is everything:

He took an Uber car uptown

Is it a hard-G like “GIF” or a soft-G like “GIF”?:

“I think some folks from Applebee’s are going to be in the house,” he said. “I’m more of a caffeine-free, gluten-free, raw-food sort of guy, but I am able to find something to like in every brand once I hear their story.”

And finally:

Everyone is talking about SoLoMo — social, local, mobile — but they should be talking about HoMo: home/mobile, cell phones used on the couch.

That’s a full 44% of the article right there. Bravo Andrew Marantz on your stratospheric quotability quotient! Bonus quote from Valleywag’s Kevin Montgomery:

David Shing has the kind of gig that can only exist mid-bubble, when dinosaur corporations chase Snapchat into extinction.

(Ok, the Uber thing isn’t quotable, but had to include it because Uber.)