Danilo Acquisto on Schools

Don’t Get Comfortable – Things Are About To Change

July 8th, 2014 Posted by Opinion Piece 4 comments

The other day one of my Twitter followers asked me whether I was leaving Hectic Nine-9 because they saw a picture of me in the control room that was captioned “Danilo Acquisto is studio producing today #BehindTheScenes”  instead of presenting and this sparked a MUCH bigger debate and I thought it warranted a blog post…

I want to contextualise that this was not just an isolated incident. Let’s have a look at a conversation I had with a teen who attends church with me and is part of a program called Life Teen (of which I am a leader):

Me: So dude, I am very interested to know what it is that you want to do with your life after school?

 Him: Well I love music and sound so I was thinking of studying sound engineering and starting my own radio station… Who knows I could start the next Metro FM!

 Most of you must be thinking “well what’s wrong with that?! He sounds ambitious” so let me explain what the problem is here…

I have had the opportunity of chatting to SO many young people in my life and trust me when I say I get LOADS of different answers when I ask the question about their futures. But what always seems to surprise me is that very few young people in South Africa look to the future in order to set themselves up for success. The reason I am concerned about the guy from my church wanting to start a radio station is that by the time he gets to University and wants to start with the company (and which he has dedicated his time and many years of thought), technology would have moved so fast that by then we would all be listening to online radio – there would be no place for another radio station – imagine that disappointment. Think about how fast your phone has developed – the work place develops as fast and if you can’t keep up you will fall behind. The scary thing is that our schools don’t teach us that and we get sucked into the mindset of law, doctors, accountants etc and no one is looking to what is still to come. There is maturity in holding on for something greater that is to come.

So, why do I, Danilo Acquisto, choose to do production AND presenting for Hectic Nine-9?! The answer is simple – I know I still have a LONG way ahead of me in my working career and if I don’t keep up with where the industry is going and keep developing myself and learning new skills then I will miss the band wagon. Remember I started that small online magazine? The reason behind that was to pre-empt the move of traditional publication to the online space and to familiarise myself with how the online space operates so when it does become a trend, I know what I am doing and can keep up. Hence why I am now learning about production and working on a new company which will deal primarily with online video production… All because I KNOW that will be the future. If I chose to just be a presenter for normal TV, eventually I would have missed the trend and would need to catch up and learn about online which will take too much time. I rather choose to up skill myself now in preparation.

What’s the message here?

My message to you is to try and stop looking at what CURRENTLY exists and look to what WILL exist in the near future and begin asking the right questions at school and doing research on the future so that when that wave does crash, you are ready to ride it and make a success of yourself. Did you know that Google and Microsoft and many other big companies have a department solely dedicated to inventing the future?! How are YOU going to be a part of the future if you are young and choose to dwell on the present…

Online IS the future… It’s just up to you whether you choose to learn about it now or later when it is too late.

Here is a TEDTalk I found to encourage new innovative thinking in the present:

Anyway that’s enough ranting from me… I would love to hear some feedback. Please pop all your comments below. Maybe I am being too aggressive and naive? Let me know

Ciao for now,

Danilo Acquisto


Maddy says:

Very interesting! In my opinion, it seems as if the one thing we can’t run away from is globalisation, you can plan to do things in a certain fashion, but that wave is certainly gonna catch up with you. Hopefully his dreams still come to pass even though he might have to change his plans a bit…

Agreed! Thanks for sharing!

Michele says:

Your opinion piece definitely did make me think. You certainly do raise some very interesting questions. Not “naive”, maybe a tad “aggressive” – but then that’s not always a bad thing.

Your take on young man from the church appears to be that he is not projecting his goals far enough into the future and therefore may be disappointed. My first reaction to this answer is “You go, boy! Way to go on having big dreams”. He’s looking at the basics … sound engineering, knows this is the field he wants to go into, but more importantly wants to take it further and be his own boss. Does it matter whether it is the boss of a radio station or an online radio? Surely the more important aspect here is to be ambitious while being open to change and willing to adapt your dreams to fit them?

Maybe I’m the naive one … but this is what it seems you are doing. You are not allowing yourself to become stagnant in your field … You are grabbing the opportunities around you and learning more … Whether it be production or online. I look at what you are doing and say “Way to go Danilo!” You are doing what many people (young and old) should be doing … Exploring all options and opportunities around you, grabbing the bull by the horns and not waiting for things to simply fall into your lap.

On the flip side … How do you “KNOW” that online video production IS the future? Can you know for certain that “normal” TV production is soon going to be a thing of the past? Do you not think there is also perhaps a danger of being too caught up in the future that you miss out on the “current”? Just asking?!

I do agree with you though … The world is changing and it definitely affects career choices. What I took away from this is that ambition plus adaptability are important tools when plowing ahead with one’s career.

The TEDTalk clip was very interesting, although made me feel a bit “doff” when it came to some of the terminology! What I did like was the “Learning over Education” and “What you need to learn is HOW to learn”. The latter especially is another important tool to have.

Thanks for the food for thought :-)

Regarding your comments, I appreciate your asking these questions. They are vital for anyone to be asking!

Here are some responses:

How do I know online is the future?
This is an interesting question. The reason I know is because I am always keeping my eyes and ears open and the buzz words in media is accessibility and simplicity. Everything is going mobile – Emails, calls, work, media consumption… People are starting to download series from the internet because they cannot wait for the series to be released on a weekly basis. All the arrows are pointing towards a faster turn around of media and making that media more accessible on more platforms. So if online isn’t the future then mobile TV will be and they revolve around the same concepts… It’s a simple inference just by watching the international trends.

Being Ambitious and Open to change
This is the correct question… Ambition is the key. But in order to be successful you need to be absolutely critical and analyse the long term and where this is all going… Learning from the traditional space is pivotal. The post was merely designed to get people to think beyond the “now” and how you can better equip yourself for what is to come.

Hope this response is adequate!

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