Q: How did you land at Precision?
DH: Great question! So actually, this goes way back — when I was 12, I made my first website, and it was about Star Wars action figures. I’ve always been a big Star Wars fan, and I loved Star Wars action figures back in the day, so I made a site about it. Ever since then, I’ve really had an affinity for all things digital.
So when I moved to D.C. after college, I worked as a line editor and a copyeditor over at the Center for American Progress, but I also helped out with curating content on their website and with figuring out how to best present their work online. Then I went over to the White House to work in their Office of Digital Strategy and created digital content to highlight important Administration events and policies. And a little while after I left, I was talking with Erin [Lindsay], who works here at Precision, and she told me Precision was hiring for a senior associate on the digital team. And I applied, and the rest is history.
Q: Important follow-up question: How did your Star Wars action figure website do?
DH: It did pretty well. It was a part of MSN Groups — throwback — and it had about 250-300 members. It was a nice little ego boost, and I took it to mean I probably had a future in digital.
Q: Which, if you had said that at 12 years old, no one would have known what you meant.
DH: [Laughs] I like to consider myself a forward thinker.
Q: So speaking of forward thinking, how do you see the digital field changing in the next 3 to 5 years?
DH: The thing that really attracts me to the digital field in general is the fact that it’s an ever-evolving landscape, but it takes a lot of work to stay on top of the trends and what works and what doesn’t. You’re most successful when you figure out how to meet people where they are, how to best engage them, figure out what they’re really interested in, and how to deliver information in a way that’s really quick, simple, interesting, and fun.
Over the next few years, the thing I’m most excited about is the rise of virtual reality and augmented reality, and seeing how that becomes an integral part of so many of our everyday activities. From a storytelling and journalism perspective — the New York Times is starting to do a lot of great stuff with VR, as are a number of other publications — that’s what I’m most excited about. But I think that’s where we’re really going to see the most development over the next few years, digitally speaking.
Q: Can you walk me through a typical day in your role at Precision?
DH: I think the answer is that there’s no typical day at Precision. A lot of it is spent talking with clients, brainstorming with my teammates, and thinking about how we can help our clients disseminate their message and communicate with their audiences in ways that are really fun, really engaging, and super outside of the box.
A decent amount of time is also spent creating content, whether it’s writing email drafts or blog posts, or drafting content for infographics or other social content. But a lot of time is spent putting your thinking cap on and just looking at an issue or a piece of content and figuring out, “What do we do with this, and how do we make this awesome?”
Q: Do you have a career highlight you’d like to share?
DH: I think it’d have to be when I was working at the White House during the 50th anniversary of the marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 to ensure that Black Americans could exercise their constitutional right to vote.
During our work to highlight the anniversary, I had the opportunity to interview some of the original “foot soldiers” — people that were actually marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965. So I got a chance to talk with them and hear about their experiences during that time, and how it felt for them to be at the White House 50 years later for this event and during the tenure of the first African American president.
To hear their stories and their thoughts was just so overwhelming. In that moment, I just felt really honored, blessed, and appreciative to be working in the Administration for President Obama.
Q: What are some skills that you think people might need in a position like yours in the digital field right now?
DH: The main thing I would say is creativity, to really figure out cool ways to leverage digital platforms to communicate with people and different audiences. You definitely have to be creative, willing to think outside the box, and not too rigid.
You also have to stay on top of new trends in the field. I don’t know if that’s a skill, necessarily, but in order to stay successful in the digital realm, you have to know what works and how best to connect with people.
A lot of the other stuff, like HTML or coding — a lot of that can be learned, and there are classes for that left and right. But I think what will put you over the top is having that creativity and that willingness to think outside the box.
Q: What is your favorite thing about working at Precision and/or — this is a pick-your-own short answer — a memory or experience from your time at Precision that stands out?
DH: This is an easy one, actually. My favorite experience at Precision, hands down, would have to be our team bonding night out at SoulCycle. That was when I realized that I have the most amazing group of coworkers ever. It sucked because, as fun as the event was, I wasn’t able to feel my legs for a week after. But the way we came together as a team to conquer that room — man.
Follow-up: Here are a handful of David’s favorite VR uses:
- New York Times: “The Displaced”
- National Geographic: The First Family’s Visit to Yosemite
- The First Lady’s Interview with The Verge
- And an honorable mention for this amazing place
Favorite social platform: Twitter
Favorite tweeter: Other than @precisionstrat? Probably @chrissyteigen
An article everyone should read: President Obama’s beautiful essay, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like”
Favorite/best headline: Honestly, pretty much anything from The Onion
Favorite outlet/blog in general: VSB (Very Smart Brothas)
The app you couldn’t live without: Spotify
Social media platform fad you wish had actually taken off: Does “owling” count?
What was your first IM screen name? LakersFan427
Do you still have an AOL — or in your case, MSN — account? Just checked — apparently my MSN account is still active! Who knew?