Daily Marauder


THIS WEEK: LOST IN TRANSLATION IN JAPAN by Marauder

THIS WEEK: LOST IN TRANSLATION IN JAPAN

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For the past week, I’ve been darting across Japan from Tokyo to Kyoto attempting to soak in as much as possible within only several days. I came to Japan in hopes of seeing family, a mission which became complicated by the challenges which only family can bring. I left Japan with a deep respect for the tradition and rules which make every day tick along to the second. Here’s a download from my maraudering…

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Nothing Says Japan Like a 6A Sushi Breakfast

Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

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Tsukiji Market is the renowned fish auction market where most of the fish in Tokyo is purchased on a daily basis. A few suggestions if you plan to go. Get there EARLY! I don’t mean 5A early. I mean 4A early. To get there this early, you can only take a taxi as the trains don’t run until around 5 in the morning. Friends recommended that we head there on our first morning in Tokyo. Being that time is misaligned from the many hours of time difference from LA, this was the perfect plan. Sushi Dai is the famous sushi restaurant in Tsukiji but with 2 hour lines and the crowds to match, we settled for a more random spot along the market. I would name it but unfortunately, the sign was in Japanese and well, there you have it. As you can see from the toro, salmon and roe in the bowl above, it did not disappoint.

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Pretense as an Iron Chef

Knives in Tsukiji Market

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In Tsukiji, you can buy many things from fish obviously to souvenirs. I suggest playing tourist fools like we did and walking thru the prohibited areas until you get ‘caught.’ Japanese knives are world -renowned and clearly a shop stop was necessary. The knives with the blue labels are the ones with the carbon steel. The others usually come crafted with stainless steel. You can find many knife vendors in the market and for a full download on the many attributes of Japanese knives and where to go in Tsukiji, click here. In general, Japanese steel is considered much harder than Western steel. In addition, carbon sharpens more easily than stainless steel.

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THIS is as Close as You Get to the Imperial Palace

Water Fountaining, Tokyo

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It turns out you need a reservation to visit the Imperial Palace, a fact completely lost on two most spontaneous of travelers. In short, the water fountain outside the stone walls was as close as we got. In a city where the trains run down to the second, order is imperative.

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THAT’s Not a PEARL. THIS…is a PEARL.

Asahi Pearls in the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo

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My father has worked in Japan at Toshiba since I was a little girl and ever since then, he has returned home with pearl earrings from his friend in Tokyo. I first met the shop owner on my trip to Tokyo last year, which was cut short after the wreckage from the tsunami. This year, I decided to return and say hello to the man who has been working in this store since 1949. He knows my entire family and has been selling my father jewelry since 1976. It’s a funny thing finding a piece of home in a foreign country.

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Nothing Says Tokyo like Cell Phones for Babies

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It seems necessary to make a stop in a cell phone store and check out all the gleaming technology. Here you have cell phones with only a few simple buttons, so the wee kiddies can use them. I’m constantly affronted by the challenge of technology approaching a destructive quality in peoples’ lives rather than a beneficial one. Being in Tokyo was filled with technology pornography but reaffirmed my assertion that we’re all running precariously close to being addicted to smart phones and the connections they bring.

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Tampons are like Porn

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The Japanese art of being demur translates to even the simple task of buying tampons. Not only were they protected from prying eyes in this fine brown paper bag, they were tapped shut, for security of course.

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Organized Chaos

Shibuya Crossing

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After 8 years of living in New York City, I thought there could not possibly be a place of more chaos. Color me corrected. Pedestrians cross in all directions including on a diagonal. Only in Tokyo could this chaos seem strangely organized.

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Harder. Faster. Stronger. Tokyo.

Shinkansen, the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto

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The bullet train maxes out at around 180 mph clearly giving it speed-advantage to anything we have in the US. That said, Amtrak has free Wi-Fi on several trains now and sincerely, I’d take free Wi-Fi over speed. I’m sure that says something about me but I hardly care. I expected to come to Tokyo and find Wi-Fi in abundance. While it is in fact everywhere, it’s heavily restricted, locked behind a series of passwords or payment gates. Free love otherwise equated to free Wi-Fi certainly doesn’t exist here. Perhaps the Japanese know where to look, but open Wi-Fi equals innovation, giving all access to the open educational system which is the internet.

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One Bad Ass Shogun

Nijo Castle, Kyoto

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Tokugawa was one bad ass shogun and here lies his castle. While he typically spent most of his time in Tokyo, here’s where he came to rest while in Kyoto. Tokugawa is a prime example of a smart leader. He imposed taxes on all the feudal lords so that he could keep their wealth under control. Pimp. Money brings power and heavy defense systems. Pimp. By keeping their purse strings tight, he kept them under his control. And yes, this makes him one badass shogun. PIMP.

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Back to the Knives

Aritsugu in the Nishiki Market, Kyoto

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Aritsugu has been making knives for over 450 years, originally favored by the Imperial Palace. I picked out a carbon steel blade based on some excellent recommendations from Shogo Minami, who spoke incredible English I may add. Aritsugu will etch whatever you like in your blade. Choosing “Marauder” on a carbon blade felt like I was having a Kill Bill moment.

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Lost in Translation

Park Hyatt, Tokyo

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This hotel may be the finest hotel I will ever experience. Selected due to its Lost in Translation moment, this hotel did not disappoint on any end. Even checking in was far superior to anything I have ever experienced. Upon arrival, you are whisked away to a lounge-like seating area and welcomed like royalty. Our room was on the 49th floor and showcased the most expansive urban view I imagine I will ever have of Tokyo. Swimming in the pool and reading Shakespeare’s love sonnets seemed incredibly surreal. In short, stay here for whatever time possible. You will never forget it.

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Japan taught me a respect for order but a LOVE for passion.

I came away from my experience in Tokyo wishing that certain things in the US ran along the order the Japanese maintain so carefully but secretly longing for the crazy train of emotions that I had come to expect from home. I was hyper-aware of the mess I seemed to be making as I simply walked along the street and that awareness brought me nothing but an additional layer of stress. I loved Tokyo and would return in a heartbeat, but a little mess…aint that bad.

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Facebook Camera

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In other news, Salesforce acquired BuddyMedia, Instagram puts the nail in the PicPlz coffin, Facebook’s stock price continues to see decline, flirts with getting into the smartphone business (BAD idea), and launches a camera app clearly in direct competition with Instagram. Frankly, the Facebook camera application is a bad user experience with the exception to the News Feed which streamlines your Facebook feed simply to the pictures. To this end, I think the better user proposition would have simply been to allow for a visual picture-based-only-view to the News feed in the original Facebook mobile app rather than to launch an additional application.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Street Art to Animated Gifs

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THIS WEEK: TRANSMISSION LA & 1 WORLD TRADE NYC by Marauder

THIS WEEK: TRANSMISSION LA & 1 WORLD TRADE NYC

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Outdoor Bar & Tables (Mike D-curated KOGI truck across the street)

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Mike D, from the Beastie Boys, calls his curated exhibition at MOCA LA, Transmission LA, “an amusement park for adults.”   I think that aptly sums up the experience. I took a spin to the Museum of Contemporary Art this past Saturday to take a look myself. From the Roy Choi/Mike D collaboration on the menu at the KOGI Truck to the art nestled inside, It was a feast for the senses. Here’ a few pics. If you’re in the LA area, you have until this Sunday to take a spin of your own.

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The sponsor, Mercedes, gets quite the gold chain

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Coffee bar surrounded by a moat filled with mechanical boats

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Miscela d’Oro Coffee from Sicily

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Surrounded by projectors and an open road, Ben Jones/Road Trip

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“Pinwheels” by Jim Drain & Ara Peterson

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In other news, Instagram passes 50 MM users, viewers love a little Zooey & Samuel L. in those Siri ads, 1 World Trade reclaims the NY skyline, Apple beat analysts’ predictions with its Q2 results and Viddy receives a serious boost in users and investment.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

The Jumboltron: One Big Happy Nerd Family with iPads



THIS WEEK: TUPAC BECOMES THE WALKING DEAD by Marauder

THIS WEEK: TUPAC BECOMES THE WALKING DEAD

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Photo Credit: Daily Marauder

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This past year, I joined the Academy of TV Arts & Sciences (The Emmys), at the urging of my former colleague Lori Schwartz, Chief Technology Catalyst at McCann. I had worked on the live show last year, helping to craft the social media story from the red carpet and backstage. It seemed a natural extension at that point.

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Its Emmy season and a cavalcade of TV series have been arriving at my doorstep. From watching a mountain of DVDs to going to the Academy Theater itself to watch a panel of producers and cast of The Walking Dead & Boardwalk Empire, I feel fully immersed in the script to screen process.

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In watching the somewhat awkward exchange between my digital/tech co-horts and my entertainment friends, I’m continuously reminded of what causes the disconnect. I’ve been somewhere between both worlds for the last 6 years, first working at HBO and then for Lionsgate in digital marketing & R&D. It appears to me that Silicon Valley/Alley doesn’t seem to fully understand the massive undertaking involved in creating quality content. Their arrogance in thinking that they can either cut costs seamlessly and/or create better content, is simply ridiculous.

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By that same token, many in entertainment diminish the power of those in the digital and technology sphere, simply because, in many respects, some may not understand the technology or may believe the young and sometimes green chiefs of these companies don’t understand their business. Therein lies the rub of many misunderstandings. The truth of the matter is this; entertainment needs technology as much as technology needs entertainment. One without the other is irrelevant and the man that mastered this relationship is unfortunately gone, replaced by Ashton Kutcher in an upcoming biopic. So perhaps, the best method to move forward, is a reaching across the aisle for all of us.

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Photo Credit: High Snobiety

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In other news, Coachella brings Tupac back from the dead in Hologram form, the Prometheus team brings forth another viral campaign, and many weigh in on the Facebook/Instagram deal.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

The Body. Transformed Through Technology. Beautiful.



THIS WEEK: OVER VAGINA’D HBO & INSTAGRAM GOES INSTABOOK by Marauder

THIS WEEK: OVER VAGINA’D HBO & INSTAGRAM GOES INSTABOOK

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Lena Dunham in HBO’s Girls

© Jojo Whilden/HBO. All rights reserved.

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The new series, Girls, comes to HBO this Sunday and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. I watched the first two episodes in Austin at SXSW spawning my lady crush on its writer/creator, Lena Dunham. The show follows a group of NYC Williamsburg hipsters through their daily machinations focusing on the somewhat unglamorous side of their romantic transgressions. I spent my 20’s living in NYC, the latter half in which I was working at HBO, and hence, was especially excited to see this story unfold.

I’ve been watching the critical reviews come across the internet wires and they all boil down to one thing: sex. The sex in Sex & the City was glamorous Jimmy Choo-laced fantasy, thick with witty Samantha-isms and adorable recaps from Carrie. The sex in Girls is uncomfortable to watch and ‘real’ in a way I’ve never seen on screen before. Slate Magazine describes this realness as the “chronicling of bad sex” whereas New York Magazine raves that the sex “isn’t a reward, it’s a revelation.” So which is it? Lena Dunham writes, stars, and partially directs this series. She plays Hannah, a post-collegiate brutally torn from the parental financial purse strings to go out on her own for the first time. The first sex on screen carries out between Hannah and her sex buddy Adam, and while not ruining anything, I’ll just say, that I would never tell a friend about sex that bad.

That said, it wasn’t only the sex that I found so intriguing. It was the comfort level by which these girls interact with each other and by which Dunham herself is comfortable exposing the world to. There is one scene in particular that I have obsessed over, obsessed because I think it indicates some lack of cool on my part and therefore has been a conversation piece for weeks. Dunham’s character, Hannah, takes a bath with her towel-clad roommate Marnie chatting about their lives, a pastime which in most respects would be done over breakfast or perhaps, any other place with clothes on. I’ve obsessed because I’ve wanted to know if this happens in real life. Do women get together naked and talk about what’s going on in each other’s lives? I don’t even like to look people in the eye in the women’s locker room, let alone sit naked in a bathtub and talk about my sex life. Does this make me uncool?

Lena Dunham, as Hannah, with actor Adam Driver.

(Photo: Jojo Whilden/HBO)

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Back to the sex. The attempt to categorize this show at the ‘everygirl’ story would be dangerous. In the same way that Sex & the City did not translate to the lives of most American women at the time it debuted, I don’t think Girls has the intention of direct translation. How many women buy Jimmy Choos on a Monday and Monolo Blahniks on a Tuesday? In the same respect, how many women catch up on their day with their best friend sitting naked in a bathtub and then have discussions about how maybe they really do want AIDS at the doctor’s office? Here’s where I had to reel myself in. Being that you, the viewer, are presented with a woman (Dunham) who looks more real than the skinny plastic surgery-disfigured faces of so many Hollywood actresses, the viewer immediately thinks that what happens on screen will look more similar to their own world. In my case, even though I spent some time living in Williamsburg, the attempt at direct correlation was lost in translation. Frankly, that’s not the point. I think Dunham’s intention is to entertain with her own story and hope that each viewer draws inspiration in whichever way makes sense. Whether that’s making one person feel less embarrassed about their own bad sex moment or more comfortable in simply sharing something with a friend, so be it. So, I’ll attempt to stop thinking about how uncool I am for my lack of bathtub friend time…but seriously, does this make me uncool?! Maybe not, but quotes like this one, make Lena Dunham fresh to death.

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In other news, Facebook acquires Instagram for $1 Billion (scaring the sh-t out of this Instagram user right here and this one over there), Google busts out some augmented reality glasses which sadly bring on the Star Trek jokes, and Bravo announces plans to bring a Silicon Valley reality series to screen.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Architecture Meets Outdoor Art Projection

Photo Credit: Designboom



THIS WEEK: HUNGER GAMES & THE MEMORY OF TRAYVON by Marauder

THIS WEEK: HUNGER GAMES & THE MEMORY OF TRAYVON

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Katniss Everdeen and her Hunger Games blazed through theaters this weekend bringing in $155 MM in the box office, the third highest box office opening weekend in history, behind sequels including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 at $169.1MM and just shy of The Dark Knight at $151.6 MM. Of all the five films in the top 5 for largest opening weekend, it should come as no surprise that each film is based on a book. A film does best when it has an established audience already interested in the story. A book series accomplishes the initial stages of marketing for a film.  I hate to use the buzz marketing word transmedia, but the novel-to-film strategy is the original in transmedia and still one of the most successful use cases.

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I was a bit closer to this particular film, being that I worked previously at the ad agency which placed its media. The incredible thing about the Lionsgate team is their nimbleness in the digital space. While others are belaboring whether or not to try one initiative or the other, Lionsgate seemingly tries it all. As Frans Johansson pointed out in the book, The Medici Effect, the sign of success is a direct correlation to how many times you have tried and failed. In other words, it takes a lot of attempted failures to arrive at the top. In my experience with Lionsgate, this is what I admire about them. They are small and volatile at times, but they attempt to do it all and find their footing somewhere along the way. So to that entire team, I say congrats. Keep moving at the speed of light.

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(AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Greg Gilbert)

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In other more serious news, crowds have turned out across the US calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed the unarmed Trayvon Martin (President Obama weighs in), Instagram is finally coming to the Android platform, Twitter turns 6 and begins to drop promoted tweets in your mobile feed (which as a user, I despise), Carrie Bradshaw gets a new face, and Angry Birds’ latest game Space has racked up 10MM downloads since its Thursday release. One last thing…after SXSW and writing about the top trends from the week, I did an in-depth review of the social discovery trend as well. This is one to watch.

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Some more Cool Sh-t:

Man. Meet Bird. Take Flight.



SXSW 2012: 5 TRENDS by Marauder

SXSW 2012: 5 Trends

But first, a reflection. Many have chastised SXSW as a liquor-fueled Vegas for tech people. In respect of the truth, I would say that this is true in many respects. There is alcohol. People drink it. That said, the beauty of SXSW is in the aggregation of a true set of innovators, from start-ups, VCs, investors, programmers, and digital marketers. Many have written about the serendipity which makes SXSW great. I fully agree with this. The important marking point of what you get from SXSW is in what you expect from it. If you expect to saddle up to a prescribed list of panels and meetings, you’re at the wrong conference friend. If you can let go, and allow the world to provide for some meetings with some astounding people by coincidence, you’re spot-on in the right place.


From running into Ian Schafer from Deep Focus & Josh Riedel from Instagram at the Foursquare party to meeting employee #1 from Mint & connecting with Zach Greenberger from Fullbright on what makes a good user design experience, my best conversations were usually the unplanned ones. I learned more in the past 7 days than I have in the past year. Topics included everything from launching a movie, how Twitter changes the writing style of a TV writer, how certain apps don’t work at SXSW and why that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t ever, and how Foursquare investigative work can help you figure out who hooked up last night.

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RECAP:

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The Rain

Austin is usually very sunny and hot, but this year it rained…a lot. Brands capitalized quickly offering branded panchos, like this one from Fandango, and umbrellas.

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Instaprint

Printing pictures from your Instagram feed, using a hashtag. This particular one was so engaging; they used a velvet rope around it.

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Creative Promotions

I’ve noted the large brands in Trend #5 but the online sites got in the game too. Skype featured a town crier who would scream out your tweets.

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Cool Technology

This is the Makerbot. It is a 3D printer which prints out a physical object from a model on the computer to the left. GE featured a DIY tent where SXSW-goers could learn about new tech like this.

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ZE TRENDS

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#1: Social Pairing

–Apps in the Space: Highlight, Glancee, Kismet, Sonar & Banjo

–Objective: Connect people together either solely digitally or in the real world to facilitate real connections and ease the discomfort in connecting.

-Why is this a Trend?: Highlight played SXSW app darling going into the conference but didn’t hit a resounding high note while there. While an app like Foursquare is more effective at SXSW, Highlight is less. The app became ineffective on the ground at SXSW because the size of the conference caused massive numbers of suggestions. In essence, when suggesting connecting to everyone, you end up connecting to no one because the sheer size of referrals is to large. Think about the stress you feel when you see 52 emails sitting unread in your email box. The same insight applies here. All this aside, simply the fact that something does well at SXSW does not mean it is instead fire or on the flip side, instant fodder. Consider that most SXSW-ers are not the target market of Pinterest for example. The success of social pairing has been proven, for the most part, in apps whose objective is pairing potential daters. Getting the interface right is the central sticking point in who wins here.

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#2: Sharing

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Sites in the Space: Neighborgoods, Airbnb, Spinlister

Objective: Allow strangers to share items and connect them together in a community of sharing.

–Why is this a Trend?: Airbnb connected many SXSW-ers with space to stay while in Austin but more importantly, the graph below begins to explain the rise of sharing. For one, we all have enough stuff to last a lifetime. Being more sustainable and limiting the additional items in the world not only helps each other but keeps those items out of a landfill making the Earth just a smidge happier.

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#3: Future of Music Consumption

Sites in the Space: Spotify, Pandora, MOG, Rdio, & Turntable

Objective: Allow strangers to share items and connect them together in a community of sharing.

–Why is this a Trend?: In 1895, Nikola Tesla transmitted a radio signal 50 miles from New York City to West Point, NY in the first test of radio transmission. The golden age of radio took shape from the 1920s through the 1950s. As traditional radio begins to the see the shadow of online radio, it’s clear that a transitional point is upon us. This past August, Pandora surpassed popular terrestrial radio stations in New York City for the first time. Online services including Pandora, Spotify, Turntable and Rdio have been rapidly growing thanks to the strength and speed of cloud computing and a renewed appetite for online music discovery.

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#4: Gaming for Good

Tech in the Space: Kickstarter, Google, Nike, Fitbit, NASA, Google, Gylo, Ayogo Games

Objective: Game dynamics motivate users around virtual points and play to our human desire to win. This new gaming model encourages us to improve our health, learn new things, or raise funds all in the sake of personal improvement.

Why is this a Trend?: Between Fitbit, the Jawbone Up, and Nike’s push behind the Fuelband, gaming for personal health is on a serious upswing. While in Austin, I was fascinated by some of the applications that pushed game dynamics or offers based around social good or education. For example, Cause.it rewards users with discounts for volunteer work offered at non-profits.

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#5: Technology is Listening & Watching

(Taken during the Superbowl, the screen above was presented when Shazaming the Pepsi commercial.)

Tech in the Space: Shazam, Kinect, Soundhound, Siri, IntoNow

Objective: Allow users to interact with technology by moving or by being heard.

Why is this a Trend?: Shazam commenced operations as an application which helped users identify songs but has evolved as an app to help brands connect their TV commercials to content on mobile phones. While this is a band-aid for the television being able to enable a connection to digital, it does allow for a fascinating TV to digital extension for brands. During SXSW, I also heard David Jones, EVP of Marketing at Shazam, mention that Shazam was working towards an always-on listening model. Just like Foursquare has an always-on model for location, Shazam would employ the same for listening. One question. Why type of folks want their technology to be always listening…or even always watching? Creepy alert.

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Brands, Brands, Brands

AMEX

AMEX promoted its Sync, Tweet, Save promotion linking twitter and discounts using an AMEX card with a Jay Z concert at Austin City Limits.

Effectiveness: 5 (scale 1 -5)

Nike

Nike promoted its new NikeFuel band, a sports band which tracks expended energy by selling the bands at times communicated via Twitter and setting up a sports park for Fuel Band wearers to stay active and win FuelBand points.

Effectiveness: 4 (scale 1 -5)

Chevy

Chevy provided vehicles which could be hailed as cabs to transport SXSW-goers throughout the conference.

Effectiveness: 4 (scale 1 -5)

Pepsi

Pepsi paid to take over the Austin Convention Center, usually owned by Coke, replacing all vending machines with Pepsi. They additionally ran a meet-up space called Pepsi Co Central with talks by special speakers.

Effectiveness: 3 (scale 1 -5)



THANKSNERDING: ONE PART NERD, ALL PARTS THANKSGIVING by Marauder
November 26, 2010, 4:51 PM
Filed under: Feature, TECHNOLOGY | Tags: , , , ,

THANKSNERDING: ONE PART NERD, ALL PARTS THANKSGIVING


As I see it, you have two choices at the holidays: spend it with your family or spend it with friends. Each has their merits of course, although in my case, spending it with friends usually involves considerably more alcohol. And this is why, this Thanksgiving, I was only too overjoyed to accept an invitation from digital maven Micki Krimmel of Neighborgoods fame and her co-hostess Cris Dobbins for a potluck dinner at their office affectionately dubbed Thanksnerding.


 

Photo Credit: Micki Krimmel


For the most part, the dinner was traditionally as I always remembered it: all of us fought for the oven, which incidentally had never been used before this moment, we all ate far too much and fell asleep moments after and finally cue board games.

 

However, being that I was in the presence of my fellow nerds, there was also a considerable amount of social media during our holiday meal. Social media in the presence of digerati is very analogous to smoking socially: we’re doing it as a collective so let’s all participate together. Where is the line between enjoying the moment and sharing the moment? Instagram being the popular drug of choice these days, we all took to our feeds to post pictures of the sleepy after shocks. We all commented on each other’s photos. At what point are we removed from the moment at hand while we navigate our mobile devices?


I really have no idea the answer to this question but Thanksnerding was a fine opportunity for me to have a good think on it. In the meantime, try borrowing something on Neighborgoods on this fine Black Friday rather than buying a bunch of crap you don’t need. Collaborative consumption gives you something else to be thankful for.

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