How in the World Did I Get Here?
When I dropped out of law school more than a decade ago, I had very little idea the path my life and professional career would take. I worked almost every type of job imaginable for time, from working the range at a golf course to a stint as a public service bureaucrat with the California state government.
Thankfully, I was finally able to refine and monetize a talent that had always laid dormant, which is the written word. And more importantly, the ability to craft a compelling story and refine complex ideas into simple metaphors and analogies.
Today, I live and work from Thailand, helping startups and large companies in the technology space refine brand narratives and position themselves as thought leaders through content marketing. For those who don't know me already, here are a few pivotal points along my journey that have helped define what I do and who I am.
Learning from Classic Literature
One of the most cherished and memorable parts of my childhood was reading classical literature together with my dad. We belonged to a monthly book club, where we'd receive a classic masterpiece each month from Mark Twain to Feyodor Dostoyevsky. And while it was impossible to read them all, absorbing these great authors ingrained the art of storytelling and narrative into my brain.
Mark Twain was always one of my favorite authors because of his unique blend of metaphors, parables and humor to make rather deep observations about human nature. If there's one thing I learned from reading books like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's court, it's the power of meeting readers where they are to get a deeper point across.
To this day, reading great books influences and informs how I write and conceive of content marketing and thought leadership. Anything from great science fiction authors like Robert Heinlein to historical tomes by Dr. Carroll Quigley give me unique nuggets for how to approach different articles, strategies and brand voices.
Writing for an Amazon Gift Card
My first role in the technology industry was as a sales development representative for a SaaS company in the Bay Area. At the time, content marketing was really the last thing on my mind. I was busy trying to meet sales goals and objectives in a high-pressure environment for a fast growing startup with lofty goals for an IPO or high-priced acquisition.
Far from a natural salesperson -- and saddled with a difficult sales territory -- I often struggled to hit my targets. One day, our marketing department put out a company-wide call for blog posts. Any employee, regardless of their department, would receive a $25 Amazon gift card for writing a blog post suitable for publication. I decided to take on the challenge, with the simple goal of having a few bucks to spend shopping online.
I started brainstorming ideas, and came up with the notion of interviewing one of the co-founders of the company for entrepreneurial insights. What followed was an insightful Q&A article that garnered rave reviews throughout the company. At one point the content marketing lead asked me "Hey David, where did you learn to write like that?" I was stumped for an answer, having just done what seemingly came naturally to me. At that point, I knew I was on to something.
Advising Tech Brands from Asia
Shortly after discovering that my latent gifts could actually manifest into a career, I pressured my mother into completing the necessary paperwork for Thai citizenship. Although I was born and raised as an American in San Diego, California, I was eligible for dual citizenship because my mother was an immigrant from Thailand.
I then began working in sales for a local partner of Oracle in Bangkok, continuing to build my content marketing and writing practice in my down time. Selling in the Asian market was both fun and challenging, and also changed my perspective as to where technology was heading at the time. I attended a conference in Hong Kong called Rise, where I wrote an article about up and coming technologies. It was the first time I'd really met groups of entrepreneurs that were focused on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Fast forward to today, and I now work full-time with companies like Samsung Panasonic, as well as startups from Europe to Asia building their content marketing and thought leadership capabilities. I attend global technology conferences both as a brand journalist and attendee sharing thoughts and spotting new trends. It's certainly been a strange -- and interesting -- journey.
Now firmly planted in Bangkok, the work I currently engage in with clients is both challenging and rewarding. Content is changing, and brand voice differentiation is harder than ever. That's why I keep reading, studying, networking and learning in multiple areas such as marketing, branding and storytelling.
In short, that's how I ended up halfway around the world as a thought leadership consultant and advisor to some of the coolest tech brands and companies I could every imagine. Thanks for reading, and I drop me a line if you want to chat!