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Will.i.am at IBC: “If I was a broadcaster I would surround myself with code writers”

Will.i.am – Black Eyed Pea, entrepreneur and The Voice judge – used his star turn at this year’s IBC Conference to tell a room full of technologists and broadcasters that they should stop obsessing about monetization and surround themselves with coders, if they are to create the next superstar platform or product.

The American rapper, who was speaking under the aegis of his role as Intel’s director of creative marketing, took to the stage wearing a very fetching pair of bright red Christian Lacroix shoes to join Intel’s Johan Jervoe (VP sales and marketing) for a broad dialogue that covered how many daughters he wants (four), the last time he felt creative envy, and which tech companies he most admires.

Turns out he would happily swap roles with anyone at Google, Twitter or Intel, which he sees as being home to some of the the most exciting creative minds – especially as the music, video and entertainment industries in general continue to be revolutionised by technology.

Will.i.am believes that the entertainment industry as a whole has to get out of the monetization attitude: “That isn’t innovation when there’s some guy there looking over your shoulder asking how you make money, sometimes you just want to design. Imagine if YouTube, Google or Twitter had asked first how you make money. What i like about startups is that it is a tool first to be adopted – the monetization comes later.

The musician disclosed that he wants to use his gains from the entertainment industry to give back to the disadvantaged neighbourhood that he came from, and believes that technology might help him achieve that – by educating the youth to use technology, learn to code and compete for jobs.

Finally, he was unequivocal that as connected as we now are, we’re also ten times disconnected from the people around us: “We’ve substituted real conversations about friends and family, 160 characters of randomness – we’ve substituted valuable things for meaningless connectivity.”

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