IAB Engage: Young must learn to navigate information, says Nick D'Aloisio

Nick D'Aloisio, the 17 year old who sold his Summly app to Yahoo for a reported $30 million in March, told the IAB Engage conference yesterday that it is now more important to learn how to navigate information than learn it.

Nick D'Aloisio: addresses the audience at IAB Engage 2013
Nick D'Aloisio: addresses the audience at IAB Engage 2013

Speaking in the penultimate session at the conference at the Barbican Centre yesterday, D'Aloisio described how he first started to learn code when he was 12 and first developed an app that summarised text when he was 15.

In front of 800 delegates from advertisers, agencies, media owners and digital service companies, D'Aloisio explained how he believed people now need to learn the skills to access knowledge, rather than the knowledge itself.

D'Aloisio said: "Young people have this expectation for immediacy, which leads to immediacy in knowledge and learning about things.

"I find myself every day in a conversation if someone mentions a piece of jargon a word that I don't know actually going on to my phone and typing it into Wikipedia and learning about it.

"It's almost like we want to have information, access to knowledge, as quickly as possible. Unlike 10, 20, 30 years ago you might have needed to have gone to the library, today in your pocket you have access to literally everything that's ever existed and more.

"So now I think today it's actually more important to learn how to actually navigate that information.

"If you find those skills, find out where you need to go or how to access that that information, you have access to anything you want."

Since Summly was sold to Yahoo it has been incorporated into the Amercian web giant's platform and D'Aloisio is now an employee of the company.

D'Aloisio also said be thinks young people should be taught about entrepreneurship as well as how to code.

He said: "It is important in schooling, and as we grow up, to raise awareness of two things. That programming is a very important skill and if learnt at a young age can really do a lot for business and creative opportunity. Then, equally, that entrepreneurship has become a lot more acceptable."

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