5 Questions With… Darren Herman

Darren Herman is the founder of kbs+ Ventures — an investment group that is focused exclusively on advertising and marketing technology — and the Chief Digital Media Officer at The Media Kitchen, a media agency.

Question 1: How do you define ‘digital strategy’? 

“Digital strategy has many tentacles and means different things to different groups within organizations.  Overall, I believe it’s a temporal term for how organizations/units/groups harness digital both internally and externally. More broadly, ‘digital strategy’ is a meta-term that has meaning in the executive suite, and includes plans that are executed by operational teams.”

Question 2:  What is your take on the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer title over the past year?

“The role of the Chief Digital Officer is not new, but I don’t see why one is needed. We don’t have a Chief Offline Officer. Or, a Chief Analog Officer.

Though, our company does have a Chief Digital Officer because for many years, a big part of our job was to educate client executives on digital strategy implications and possibilities. Now that most people understand digital, the need for a CDO is waning. Indeed, executive teams that do not understand the impact of digital won’t be around long.

I see the role of the Chief Digital Officer going away, and its attendant responsibilities being distributed to other existing groups in the organization. If the Chief Digital Officer is purely as an evangelist and/or instigator, then I can see that role continuing…but the execution of CDO tasks should live within the business units.”

Question 3: What kind of mobile device(s) do you have, and what are your three favorite apps? 

“I carry an iPhone 5.  I also have an iPad LTE and a Macbook AIR.  For a while a few years ago, I had a Samsung Charge with Android as I was curious to learn the Android OS.  I’m very curious about the Firefox OS and cannot wait to get my hands on a phone.

My three favorite apps are:  1) Yahoo! Fantasy Football, (I’m a fantasy football fanatic) as I think they did a great job with it this year; 2) Minion Rush, as it’s my ~5 year old’s favorite digital game right now, and 3) Twitter.”

Question 4:  Why should people care about kbs+ Ventures? 

“The bulk of people probably don’t need to care about kbs+ Ventures.  The entrepreneurs who are building marketing and advertising technologies are the ones who certainly should care as we are a strategic investor who can help accelerate a company.  Since we only focus on marketing and advertising technologies, we have a bunch of domain expertise and understand the marketplace at any given time.”

Question 5: What advice do you have for aspiring digital professionals?

“Read, build, and listen. You should be reading and consuming as much information as possible about the digital media world.  There are blogs written by awesome venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and media folk.  You should build things in your spare time.  Put $50 towards hosting and domain name and go and launch something.  Understand how the web works and what is required to build something.  At a minimum, launch a free Tumblog or WordPress blog.  And lastly, listen.  Many people are more than happy to share their viewpoints and you should be listening as much as possible so you can formulate your own informed opinion.”


For more information about Darren Herman, visit the kbs+ ventures website, check him out on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter (@dherman76).

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