Thursday, September 18, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo session - Designing for the Internet(s) of the Future

Okay, this presentation by Genevieve Bell from Intel was quite possibly the worst I have seen in a long time. Not because she was not smart or couldn't talk about international culture all day long, but because the expectation set by the title and summary for the presentation is not what was delivered. I do not want to give this any more time so I will simply copy and paste my notes from what I heard below for your viewing pleasure. Wish I could have been more positive on this one but it was pretty lame.

Designing for the internet(s) of the future preso

- beyond the PC
- mobile, gaming devices, embedded devices
- well beyond anglo culture – asian culture, Russian, Portuguese, Japenese, etc.
- new sites, new experiences, new services
- the presenter is an anthropologist by formal training
- she is spending waaaaayy too much time talking about finite details of little pieces of design and international cultures – no info on actual effective design – her presentation’s design is not only hideous it is convoluted and counter intuitive based on the size of the room and the information presented.
- She is all over the place and likes to talk about herself…a lot
- She really likes china and is talking about their web sites a lot – interesting since the Chinese government controls and censors the internet – big ups China
- Now she is talking about connectivity rates – come on – this sucks!!!!!!!!!!!
- Now she is espousing on the foundational value proposition of the internet – seriously?? Is this 1995?
- So far here are the takeaways – she is well traveled, very smart, very funny, knows a lot about international culture, esp. in Australia and China, hangs out with university intellectuals, thinks video content on the web has just picked up in the last 6 – 8 months LOL, likes talking about bandwidth…repetitively
- Now she is talking about connectivity in Britain
- Where is the talk about design???? At least make the obvious leap from connectivity to its impact on design and rich media capabilties
- More government talk about India, China, Britain, etc.
- I feel like I am in an high school level international government class
- She is suggesting that government should establish behaviors and user participation/citizenship for the internet – WOW LOL LOL enough I am out of here
- This preso is way misrepresented by the title

Web 2.0 Expo - Making Sense of Rich Media Applications

Was able to bounce in the last 15/20 minutes of this presentation by Ryan Stewart of Adobe. A bit more development heavy than I prefer to sit in on but a very good presentation none the less. He was objective, went through a lot of different tools and kep it all related to rich media. Great preso for developers of rich media.

I was surprised about how much he did not talk about flash - of course I was late so maybe I missed that part :(

In my opinion he did not give Flash enough credit for its video capabilities.

Web 2.0 Expo Keynote - Tim O'Reilly

Well I attended the Tim O'Reilly from O'Reilly Media keynote this morning. It started off pretty good as Tim elaborated on his thoughts regarding the web transferring from something you access at a box and keyboard to this more atmospheric access that is breached from basically anywhere.

Cool thoughts that I enjoyed listening to and that got my mind thinking about the web from an opportunity for new ways to utilize great content standpoint.

Then Tim got preachy. He started getting into a very finger wagging laden homily about how all things political - mostly environment and cause related - can be positively affected by web 2.0. I agree with many of his points, give him credit for being concerned about some legit issues, but was not in the mood to have some rich dude tell me why how he doesn't drink water out of plastic bottles anymore. Of course not, he probably utilizes a re-usable golden goblet. After all it is more environmentally friendly and can be carried easily in his $500 per pair cargo pants as he jets around the country selling people on why THEY should walk everywhere. BTW, the full access ticket to this O'Reilly created expo is $1,900. I am here to learn about the industry, not get chastised. I can get chastised for a lot less elsewhere.

On to more practical presentations.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Web 2.0 Expo session 2 - Viral Marketing 2.0

This presentation was given by Jonah Peretti from BuzzFeed.

Jonah gave a pretty entertaining presentation. It was full of examples of "viral" initiatives that he has performed over the years. Some successful and others not so successful. He did a good job of breaking down the differences between the initiatives, what he believed made them successful vs. unsuccessful and how the BNW - bored at work network is more influential in getting your campaign into more hands then the almighty "influencers." He basically called out the BNW as more powerful than any other network, be it traditional or non-traditional, thanks to its huge numbers and ample time spent on email, instant messaging, twitter, blogs, etc. They have the time, the means and the motivation to pass along your communication if they deem it interesting to their friends, family, etc.

Pretty good and informational presentation overall. I agree with many of his points - not so big on the manufacturing of "viral" content for that exclusive purpose, however there are techniques to create content that appeals to this large audience - I look at it from a similar scope that I view other opportunities with vast audiences - distribute based on tight segments - focus it down.

Web 2.0 Expo session 1 - The Moonwalking Bear

Yeah that is the title of this presentation - basically a presentation on helping corporate America get tuned in and understanding web 2.0.

Joshua Ross is the presenter.

About twenty minutes in and this is pretty good. Joshua is doing a good job exhibiting in direct, clear language how he uses web 2.0 in his everyday life and translating what that means from a consumer's stand point and consequently what it means to providers of goods and services.

He also is touching on different aspects of business that are being affected by web 2.0 such as the obvious - marketing/sales and some not so obvious - human resources and legal.

Lots of standard examples given to prove his points - linking up customers, audience reaction, how that reaction is distributed online, how you manage it, etc. Pretty standard stuff but good to hear anyway.

Another good point - things are moving in real-time on today's web. Not a new or profound point but good to hear and relate to opportunities and challenges.

More examples given of how larger companies do not see, understand or realize how web 2.0 is spreading communication about them - good or bad. Subsequent point - you cannot stop it, only hope to ride the wave. Pretty standard stuff.

When I get to my next presentation around 10am I will check back with another summary.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

3D Artist / Motion Designer

The Basement Design + Motion is looking to hire a full-time 3D Artist / Motion Designer
Check out the full listing at


As i sit in NYC and discuss a few web related topics with some friends from Creative Alliance, the thought of simplification (which will yield a higher level of focus) will not escape my mind.

I asked Brendan (an ex-Yahoo staffer) about the Google and Yahoo partnership. What does he think about it. he said he did not care and ultimately he did not htink it would yield any kind of silver bullet for Yahoo. His response was get rid of Yang and go from there.

I had not been on Yahoo for a long time so I re-visited the site. I did not go past the homepage. Visually it did nothing for me. Functionally whatever it offers from its homepage I did not think I could not get anywhere else in a faster, more intuitive and format yielding a quicker and higher quality result.

My thoughts on Yahoo after this brief encounter - simplify. Figure out what you have that no one else does, simplify to that, take the resulting focus and excel. Once you excel, communicate it to the market like a bat out of hell.

Seems simple doesn't it?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reflecting in the Airport

Well, I am sitting in the Indianapolis airport waiting to board a plane that is running a bit behind. I find my thoughts picking up where they left off last night as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep.

I was thinking, and am thinking about the transition from what I have done for the past 11 years to what I am doing now - in my career and in my personal life. From media producer in both video and radio to advertising and marketing to entrepreneur and now as someone who is responsible, in large part with my partners, for the day to day direction, sustainability and successful growth of a company.

During this thought process I realized I am making - and to a great degree have made the transformation from full fledged, 24-7 marketing professional to full fledged, 24-7 business owner. It is bitter sweet as I think about my craft as a successful marketer - over the past 8 plus years I have been fortunate enough to work with some good business models and strategically leverage solid brand positioning, a focus on sales and a strong work ethic into some solid results. I am finding myself using these skills, but not as often. Those skills are being sidelined a bit by the learning and utilization of newly honed skills. Finance, day to day management, both of personnel and of assets and other resources and, yes, even some sales.

Now in what has become my third start up venture with one constant business partner, one new business partner, some new investors and thank God my lovely wife of eight years still putting up with me, I am seeing yet again more fantastic results yet I am in a different role and am enjoying it tremendously.

This still leaves me sitting here going to a Web 2.0 conference in New York City and trying to figure out my schedule. Do I attend the marketing presentations, the landscape presentations (I am a big fan of innovation no matter what my role is - I am an innovation addict), the more business focused presentations, or even the design presentations? I can take a lot of knowledge back to the design team if I attend that last category.

I think deep down I have a little bit of all those things in me - whether they are used daily or just accessed occasionally.

Part of me misses the day to day challenge of the true thorough marketing task, but the reality is I really enjoy learning and expanding my thought process and excitement to innovate and help The Basement succeed beyond the marketing task.

I guess I will leave it at that. My inner marketer will not rest easy, I am sure it will rare its head when needed.

I have been thinking of a new series for this blog though. And yeah it is marketing focused - possibly discussing the different categories of marketers and even entrepreneurs I have seen over the years, and which ones have proven out to be most successful. Not sure I can elaborate yet, but that topic could probably have its own book - probably already does.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I listen to kids talk about what they're consuming, what they're doing, what they're not doing." She also reads a lot -- not only business magazines but also "People and Vanity Fair and anything close to the cutting edge of the culture. Even the AARP magazine."

Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo's chairman and chief executive

Author's Note: So is she inferring that People, Vanity Fair and AARP magazine are cutting edge??


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Comcast Totally Sucks

Wow, now I am reminded why I do not have cable television. Aside from the cable companies not really having much to offer in the way of television services aside from a forced menu at a forced price, which airs a lot of re-runs, second rate movies and low-grade customer service I am now finding that their horrible service extends well beyond their television offering to their high speed internet offering.

I have been going back and forth with Comcast for the last three weeks trying to get them to service my commercial account. They billed me within a blink of an eye, however to get them to come out to my office to actually turn on the service is, well, lets just say unacceptably slow.

I initially called to get our new temporary office hooked up two weeks ago and it took them one full week to show up and plug four wires into a cable modem. Took their tech like 10 minutes to do. One week!! That was only because I called and emailed them repetitively to commit to coming out and hooking us up. They never even called to set an appointment - after one week!!

Now that we are ready to move into our permanent offices, I called them last Friday to get our service moved down the hall, and they still have not called me back to get it transferred. 4 business days and not even a phone call. Amazing. I called today and they had no one in their office that could tell me when we are scheduled for service transfer. LOL LOL.

Comcast you suck. I advise anyone who reads this never to utilize Comcast or any other sorry cable company for service if you can avoid it. I have avoided the phone company for several years because of similar issues (VOIP only for me through a third party) and as soon as I get a choice, I will drop the cable company, specifically Comcast, like a bad habit.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Welcome Ross Woods

I just wanted to officially welcome Ross Woods to The Basement Design + Motion. Our newest addition comes to us from the windy city of Chicago and was with Somersault. Ross joins us as a production manager.

Ross is an accomplished producer with many national projects under his belt. In addition to that he is very nice guy.

Welcome Ross!