Lessons From The Master
Dr Rob Zands provides an insight into his steps to becoming an influencer.
The Guardian conference room was electric. There was an almost tangible sense that we were part of history. A landmark moment. Looking around the room, I could see brilliant minds everywhere. People at the top of their respective games. Journalists, indie rock stars, celebrity scientists, columnists. The lot.
Suddenly, the man himself emerged to a prolonged applause. One delegate rose to his feet and wept. Another fist pumped the air and made a loud inspirational grunting noise. We looked around and knew we were in the presence of greatness. The master of retweets. The King of twitter. Mr David Schneider. And some other guy, who, oddly enough, also happened to be called David.
The date was 28 October 2014. The time was 6.30pm and I can remember it like it was yesterday. Outside it was raining heavily. Inside you could hear a pin drop. Schneider looked up from his lectern and gazed around the room. He had three envelopes in his hand. “Three of you in this room will let me down”, he said. “Three of you will become anonymous internet trolls and I have written your names down inside these envelopes”. He held the envelopes aloft. There were gasps from the room. A beautiful woman sobbed. A professional James O’Brien lookalike at the back rose to his feet: “open the envelopes, David, and we’ll rip the bastards limb from limb, whilst mocking them for being stupid”
There was a loud murmuring of agreement and it seemed as though we were on the brink of mass violence. But David held both his hands up until the disgruntled room finally fell into silence. “There will be no violence here today”, he said. “Today we learn How To Use Twitter Effectively”. The room cheered in unison.
I was born to be great. It was written in the stars. But I also think I became the man I am today during that evening masterclass seminar. Learning about the mechanics of good tweets and understanding the need for a social strategy improved my posting, remarkably. A friend recently commented that the master had now surpassed the teacher. And although on many levels, that is an accurate assessment, I still owe so much to David. I still see his tweets and feel a warm sense of swelling pride.
My celebrated ability to create an instant viral hit can be traced back to that cold, wet autumn evening in 2014. I was ravenous when I returned home to Knutsford after a 3 and a half hour drive. I remember warming my 20cm non-stick frying pan on a medium heat in order to make the perfect (authentic) French omelette. It was moments after dropping a knob of butter into the pan that I glanced at my professional, stainless steel cheese grater which was lying on its side. I looked again and absolutely could not believe what I was seeing. “Doesn’t that look like every hip hop video from the late 90’s to the early 2000’s?” I said to myself, loudly. As I stood in shocked silence, a pungent smell of burning butter entered my nostrils. I turned quickly to rescue my 20cm (measured across the top) frying pan, and I saw a face appear from the charred surface. It was David Schneider, only burnt butter. And he was smiling at me.
Dr Robert Zands is a celebrated influencer and an amateur chef. He uses professional stainless steel cheese graters and finds them easier to clean than a cheap alternative. If you are struggling to afford a professional cheese grater, why not look to spread your costs over a period of months using Queen ElizaCredit.