ALISTAIR COHEN - WHY DO I NEED THAT?

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Alistair Cohen My mate Alistair Cohen needs you! Well, not just you. You, plus a lot of other people to subscribe to his gadgety YouTube channel. So if you think you're up to the task, which I'm sure you are, go on! Get a move on. But before you do, please check out the word of Ali by reading the following interview I did with him. Bless.





1) What are your own origins, Alistair? Plus what path did you take in life prior to getting to where you are today?   I was born on Christmas Day, 1984, in Watford, North London, to a mother in the pharmaceutical industry, and an optician father. I have one older sister who's a doctor, so I'm somewhat the black sheep of the family, being the only non-medical one, as I find people's illnesses and yucky bits all fairly gross.

Buckinghamshire
I grew up in a small but nice village just outside of London called Gerrards Cross, in the county of Buckinghamshire. I went to the reasonably prestigious Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe, and then to University in Manchester where I studied a Masters in Mechanical Engineering (and got a First Class Hons degree #justsaying).

After university, I decided that I wanted to become a TV presenter, so took a load of part time jobs (one of which was commentating on remote control car races) while I tried to figure out how to get into presenting. After many months of trying, the most I had achieved was to make a fairly crappy showreel, and host a pilot for a Harry Potter-themed game show (which thankfully never made it to TV). Plus, I had no money, and was essentially squatting in my parents house, so I decided to (read 'was told to by my mum') get a job. 

I worked in a publishing company for a year or so, a large energy company for three years, and have been in my current role as a Product Manager for the print and design company, moo.com, for the past two and a half years. I really enjoy my day job, but also really enjoy my YouTube hobby, so I try and balance both, which works out most of the time.

Inspector Gadget
2) What inspired you to create your ‘Why Do I Need That’ vlog?   Back when I was trying to become a TV presenter I needed to film interviews, and other camera pieces to put in my showreel. That experience taught me two things: (1) No one was interested in hiring me as a TV presenter; and (2) I really enjoyed the creative outlet of making videos.

I used to watch a load of gadget reviews for things I was considering buying, and while the reviewers I watched gave all the facts about battery life, screen size, processor speed, or whatever; they weren't telling me the stuff I wanted to know about, like: what made THEM buy it, did it help to get them LAID, was it AWKWARD to use while driving, etc. etc. etc. The real world stuff. So I decided to do it myself, and try and throw in a bit of humour at the same time. 

I shut down my old YouTube channel, started my first 'Why Do I Need That?' video, which was about a breast augmentation photo app, so women could 'try before they buy' using augmented photos of themselves. Boobs and toilet humour (Hey! Start as you mean to go on, that's what I say!).

So yeah, that's what I try and do with my channel. Take a product (gadget, app, etc), explain how it works, and then explain 'Why Do I Need That?' (ie. what silly reasons did I buy it for, or could it be used for). I found that the humour bit at the end helped to engage more of my friends that weren't very gadgety, who would often say things like, "I watched your video. The product was a bit weird, but the end bits were funny", so it seemed I'd struck upon something interesting, and kept going.




3) Off the top of your head, what would you say was the most stupidest gadget you’ve come across.   I sometimes get sent stuff that I really don't like, and have to send back. Its not that it's stupid, its just not exciting enough to make a video about. How many iPhone covers, or battery packs, do people really need to hear about? I was sent one quadcopter-drone thing, that was so difficult to control I physically couldn't have made a video about it, because I couldn't fly the thing long enough to get a shot of it in mid air. So that had to go back.

I do have a 'Pointless' folder on my phone, which contains such apps as FaceBomb: where you take a photo and it bombs one face onto everyone else's; and Mouth Off: which turns your phone into a mouth which you put in front of your face, and which moves as you talk. Utterly pointless, although fun, and coincidentally my highest ever viewed video!

Alistair Cohen In Newspaper
4) Have you had any form of recognition from the media?   The furthest I've gotten with the media is an article in the Buckinghamshire Advertiser, which is as small town as it sounds, but at the time it was really exciting -- my parents bought practically all the copies.

Otherwise, outside of the media, some crazy sh*t has happened resulting from my YouTube channel. I've made friends via YouTube, been sent a 55 inch 4k TV to keep, and the most insane thing was being sent out to Las Vegas with Currys PC World to attend CES, the Consumer Electronics Show. During that trip I got to go dune-buggying, take a trip over the grand canyon and the Las Vegas strip in a helicopter, and attend some of the launch parties of some big tech companies. It was ridiculous, and all thanks to my weird weekend gadgety video hobby.

5) What song would you say best represents your vlog and why?   Besides my catchy 'Why do I need thaaaat?' jingle you mean? Well, I guess 'Always Look On the Bright Side of Life' by Monty Python, as it's a song that kinda represents the content I try to put out. I like to make people laugh, and always try and find interesting gadgets to talk about, and quirky features instead of the run-of-the-mill stuff. 




Steve Carrell
6) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   Steve Carrell, just his face makes me laugh without him even doing anything. So if he was ever to know I existed and found any of my stuff funny, I'd be over the moon.

7) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour?   I didn't realise it when I started making videos, but I now really like the kind of legacy that they leave behind. Once they're out there, they're there for good. So if I ever have kids, or when I die, assuming the internet and YouTube still exist, I've sort of made my mark on the digital world, and my family can look back and see a record of what I looked and sounded like, where I lived, what clothes I wore, and what stupid hair I had at different phases of my youth. So I've learnt that I enjoy it as much about the present and continuing efforts to get more viewers and subscribers, as I do about just recording my life, even if no one else cared all that much.

8) If ‘WDINT’ had a motto, what would it be?   Something along the lines of 'try and look at things in a different way', just to end on a broadly positive note :)


And on that broadly positive note, dear reader, I'd like to thank my mate Alistair for telling us about his Youtube channel, 'Why Do I Need That?', before encouraging you to subscribe to it as well as his twitter stream.