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July 2008 Archives

DIY Days Report from the Werehouse

Tuesday 29, 2008

To tell the truth, when Alex Johnson asked me to liveblog the DIY Days confernce last weekend, I wasn't expecting much. Mostly because it was a free conference and this is what I know of conferences that are either free or just dirt cheap - be prepared to be inundated with shameless self-promoters and an array of sales pitches throughout the day.

But much to my great surprise, it wasn't that at all. It was a really interesting day of people who made and distributed their movies or make video content outside of the traditional Hollywood system who sincerely wanted to tell their stories and help their fellow attendees do the same. For me, it was a bunch of great experiences and opinions of how to utilize the web for marketing on a budget.

diydays.jpg
[photo courtesy of Mike Hedge]

Robert Greenwald Opening Keynote - A lot of information on how to best communicate via video online.

The Realities of DIY - Movie making is 10% filmmaking and 90% working out your distribution and getting it seen. If you're not prepared for that, then prepare to be disappointed.

Four Eyed Monsters - went massively in debt trying to find a distributor for their film by touring festivals. Along the way they videoblogged their adventures and built a fan base. By tracking this fan base and logging their requests to see the film they were able to go directly to local theaters with attendance estimates to screen their film in locations with a strong fan base.

We Are the Strange - I give M dot Strange credit A) for his name and B) for his enthusiasm. That and I wouldn't want to mess with his army of 14 year olds. He's a really great example of winning fans by teaching them what you know and involving them in the production process. Gay Kawasaki would call it "eating like a bird and pooping like an elephant."

Marshall Herskovitz Keynote - The bumpy tale of how he produced Quarterlife, built a community around it, and is still trying to raise enough capital to keep it going.

Moving Beyond the Screen - Tommy Polatta is actually a fan of BitTorrent. He did a sold out screening in South Korea where everyone in the audience had already seen the film online. 'If it wasn't for BitTorrent a lot of my stuff wouldn't get seen.'

Extending the Storyworld - This was about using alternate reality games as a marketing tool. Put people in the role of the protagonist and get them familiar with what they're up against. Sometimes you can develop a side story that parallels the film. If its successful, you can turn it into its own intellectuall property and your next project is half way done.

When the Audience Takes Control - You don't build a community, you serve a community that already exists.

I Liveblogged, and I Shall Liveblog Some More

Tuesday 22, 2008

I came, I saw, I blogged the PSFK Conference in San Francisco. I didn't provide a lot of insight into the panels, because in my personal opinion, liveblogging is more about speed and publishing publishing publishing than deep and careful reflection. Here are the posts:

sfpannel.jpg
[photo courtesy of Piers Fawkes, PSFK]

Trends - Should You Care? Ed Cotton talked about the opportunities and pitfalls of making business decisions based on trends. Bottom line, it matters. As a planner you need to separate the wheat from the chaff, be bold in your suggestions, and be convincing in your arguments.

San Francisco Snapshot - The best part of this for me was their insights into how the city recovered from the dotcom crash, and how San Franciscans view their working life as more casual in comparison to NYC or LA. Also the idea driven start-up method vs. the income driven method.

Shape the World - If we can force our clients to answer the age old questions of how do we live together, as a community or even global society, and how do we live with the earth then we will be on track to meet the slow yet inevitable global trends.

New Art - basically a really cool start-up idea that met the needs of emerging artists while fostering a growing market of art buyers and patrons

Make it With Us - Current was a start-up, but NASA's move to open themselves to the general community was freaking awesome.

Making Inspiration Matter - This was a bit fuzzy, but such is the nature of inspiration. It was cool to have the different creative sectors (advertising, architecture, design) discuss what they think is important and how they integrate it into their business practices.

Thoughtful Change - Starbucks is listening to their customers while taking design inspiration from the cafe society of Japan

Aligning Interests - Doing good doesn't have to be a personal sacrifice. Take altruism out of the picture and find ways to make a profit while making a positive impact.

Look and Feel - Meeting the challenge of changing the in-flight experience. (You're probably better off waiting for the video)

Using It - If you have never given your clients a reality check on getting involved in social media, then read this. My favorite part was when Jenka pointed out from the audience that a older person's experience in social media is very different from your average teenager's and we need to reconcile that.

When Words Are Not Enough - Meh.

Behave - How everything Method produces ,from the work environment to the products, is always designed.

All in all it was a great conference and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The money is nice of course (or at least it will be [nudge, nudge]), but it was really great being there and absorbing all of the wonderful ideas and points of view.

I was also really great meeting Mark from Industrial Brand and Richard from Egg Strategy (I hope that leads to a concrete job opportunity) and I wish I could have hung out with Jenka from Social Creature more, but I got a touch absorbed in my agenda of who I needed to meet and talk with while I was there. Hopefully I'll be able to make it up to her at the next likemind.

Now I'm going to be liveblogging DIY Days here in Los Angeles this weekend. Stay tuned, I'm a little short on details.

PSFK SF Conference

Tuesday 15, 2008

I have been asked to liveblog the PSFK conference in San Francisco on Thursday July 17th. Considering my lack of regular income this is a welcome opportunity to meet other planners, potential employers, and sit in on same great content about consumer trends, business ideas, and creativity.

psfksf.jpg

I'll be driving up on Wednesday, staying with my friend, Angela, on her itmaybeanairmattressbutitsfree accommodations, going to Cause For Drinks, attending the conference, going to the after party courtesy of Behance (I'm allowed to bring a guest, so ping me if you want to go), going to likemind.sf on Friday, and driving back that afternoon. It will be a quick trip, but jammed pack with good stuff.

Here is the schedule for the conference:

8.30 Opening Remarks
PSFK founder Piers Fawkes welcomes the audience and introduces the agenda.

8.45 Trends-Should you care?
Ed Cotton (BSSP) explains why trends and inspiration matter - and how you can judge and use them.

9.15 San Francisco Snapshot
What makes the Bay Area tick? Colin Nagy (Attention) leads a discussion with passionate locals discuss what aspects of local culture inspire them the most. Panel includes Amit Gupta (Photojojo), Jeremy Townsend (Ghetto Gourmet), Kevin Allison (Financial Times) and Liz Dunn (funnyordie.com)

10.00 Shape The World
Chris Riley (Apple) explains how three Bay Area residents have shaped his world.

10.50 New Art
Since opening her online and offline art galleries, Jen Bekman (20×200) has witnessed (and encouraged) and new movement of artists, themes and styles. Bekman talks about the trends she sees in art and artists’ use of technology to connect with art-lovers and buyers.

11.20 Make It With Us
Ezra Cooperstein (Current TV) and Andrew Hoppin (NASA) describe how to shake up large bureaucratic industries (e.g.: aerospace and broadcast media) by turning customers into creators and collaborators.

12.00 Making Inspiration Matter
Gathering trends and ideas may be important but how do you take inspiration and create change? Gareth Kay (Modernista) leads a discussion with Eric Corey Freed (Organic Architect), Frank Striefler (Media Arts Lab) and Josh Morenstein (fuseprojects).

1.40 Thoughtful Change
Jean-Marie Shields (Starbucks) explains that the future will embrace brands that connect with consumers by converting ideas into Thoughtful Change.

2.10 Aligning Interests
When cynical people admit they’re idealistic you might be on to something; Publisher and Founding Editor Max Schorr shares his inspirations and learnings from the beginning of GOOD Magazine.

2.40 Look & Feel
Creative designer and inventor of Red, the award winning In Flight Entertainment system for Virgin America, speaks about innovation in the cabin worldwide.

3.40 Using It
How can companies and organizations leverage social media to enhance consumer dialog, evolve product offering and improve sales. Bootstrapping expert George Parker will lead a discussion with leading marketing innovators Adrian Ho (Zeus Jones), Mark Lewis (DDB), Lynn Casey (Team Noesis) and Rohit Bhargava (Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence).

4.20 When Words Are Not Enough
Using experience design to enhance communications: George Murphy (Modo-Group) and John Pollard (Microsoft) describe how environments and technology helped consumers connect with the brand.

4.50 Behave
Josh Handy & Nate Pence talk about how they design the method way, and how design and creative both mirror and shape the organization.

It should be a great time and possibly even better content than the APG in Miami. If you're in the Bay area and want to come, I think tickets are still available and at around $400 its a steal.

The Soudtrack of a Car

Wednesday 9, 2008

Soundtracks add drama, joy, suspense, and just pure emotion to otherwise ordinary scenes. Many Hollywood movies would be nothing without the manipulating brilliance of their film score. Take the opening sequence from Space Odyssey for example:

If you were to mute the audio it wouldn't be much. It would actually be pretty boring and unmemorable, but the music makes you sit up and take notice. It is a preparation for what is to come.

Another of my favorite scenes is when Amelie helps a blind man:

Without soundtrack it could seem nervous and evil, like she's taking advantage of him. With the soundtrack you feel his surprise and joy at being shown the world around him.

Now what if we were to use a soundtrack to infuse an object with suspense and meaning; like what Bullet did with the Audi R8 for the launch in Brazil. A car that Brazillians knew nothing about suddenly was fleshed with anticipation, power, and lest we forget the contribution orchestra itself, prestige.

Brilliant luxury marketing that is doing quite well as a viral. I just wish they spent the extra cash to have the full long format available.

Objects that Change (or Enable) Consumption

Tuesday 8, 2008

Zeus Jones/Adrian Ho wrote a post about objects that increase the consumption of other goods. Such as iPods increase the consumption of music and podcasts (heck, the iPod practically created the market for podcasts). The iPod also changed how we consume music. Suddenly you couldn't clearly classify people Emo or R&B because the distribution became more ubiquitous and effective that the local radio station whose playlists were dictated by corporate entities who like like their demographics in clear precise targets. (But I still think you can tell an Emo by sight which is why it sucks to be a quasi-Goth in Mexico.)

Then there is the iPhone (I don't think its a coincidence that both are created by Apple which is known for making intuitive technology) and its soon to be released competitors. It has been well documented that people surf the mobile web a lot more after purchase than before. The most likely reason is that the mobile web was pain in the butt to use before the iPhone gave us a nearly full browser and unlimited data to boot. It was as though there was pent up demand for internet-on-the-go and the iPhone just allowed for the floodgates to open.

A friend of mine wants to replace her phone, was thinking about getting an iPhone, and asked me about mine. I spouted its virtues and told her to absolutely get one, but she countered with the observation of why should she pay extra for a device built mostly for its web features when she doesn't use the mobile web that much now and doubt she would even with an iPhone.

"Oh," I said. "You have NO IDEA."

iphonelove.jpg
[photo by Manuel Diaz]

Because she really didn't. You don't know how much you can possibly enjoy the convenience of web access at all times until you actually have it and especially when you have it in a device as slick as Apple's little Brick of Wonders. I didn't. I told Dave that I didn't need an iPhone for Christmakah, that I could wait until the second version came out because all of Apples first versions are usually riddled with problems, but he knew better. He knew better because he had one, and you can't really know until you have one.

Now with the release of the new iPhone with GPS, third party applications, and 3G we can start getting used to having geolocative services anytime and anywhere. Suddenly everyone is a local and knows the neighborhood they're in (whether they live there or not) like the back of their hand.

On a green note, what about objects that reduce consumption?

For me, my beloved baggu bag is a perfect example. Because it folds flat so I can fit it into my purse so that I can carry it with me at all times, I am now consuming a lot less paper and plastic bags.

If we were waiting for iPods to help us increase the consumption of music, and iPhones to make the mobile web more accessible, and baggu bags to decrease our need for plastic bags, then what other devices are we waiting for to change our consumption habits? Mass produced electric cars? CFLs that are cheap and don't cause migraines? Biofuels that make effective use of our trash?

He Got Me

Sunday 6, 2008

I went with Erika and Jen to the Huntington Library and Gardens to celebrate a belated birthday for Ms. Erika. We walked around the gardens, gently meandering through the photography exhibit, the old mansion and portrait gallery, the rose garden, and then finally the Japanese garden.

It wasn't until I was carefully taking a picture of a lone painted koi that I felt a hand on my back and a voice asking if there was room for him in that picture.

"Yeah, just hold on a sec." I said. Meanwhile thinking to myself, 'Who is this creep and why won't he just take the picture and go away? I probably know him and can't place the voice.'

taptap.jpg
[photo by Ms. Jen]

After I took the shot, I turned around and there was Dave. I was shocked. I wasn't expecting him until next week. "What are you doing here?" I asked, "How did you get here?"

"Wait. I'll answer all those questions, but you have to let me do this first."

Then I couldn't stop giggling and then I realized that I couldn't stop crying either. It's a strange feeling to be laughing and crying at the same time, but when you've been waiting for this moment from this person for over two years it's the only appropriate emotional response.

"I've been running through things to say in my head for the last hour, but none of it matters. I love you and you're the best thing that has ever happened to me. Will you marry me?"

He got down on one knee to take out the ring and I got down with him (I never liked the idea of your partner for life kneeling before you). I said yes and he put the ring on my finger, I held his face, kissed him, told him I loved him again, started crying again, and then we hugged.

engaged.jpg

So that was how Dave managed to surprise me and how I became engaged to be married. His mom asked if I was happy with how it happened and I said that I only planned to get engaged once, so I'm glad it happened this way.

A big thanks to my sneaky friends - Jen (with her account of the event), Erika, Alicia, and Tony. You kept the secret all too well and I never saw it coming.

And Dave - I love you, you completely rose to the occasion, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you.