Category: Article

Read all about it.

Interview with Yancey Strickler – Kickstarter CEO
He cites Fugazi as an influence, he’s got my vote.

Developing strategic leaders
A few ground rules for encouraging a more strategic culture in managers.

Framing problems: Puzzles vs Mysteries
One has a clear answer, one isn’t scientific at all.

Flipping the experience
The xx are taking a unique approach to their latest gigs

Getting started with hardware
A whole heap of Arduino projects.

Bringing agencies up to speed
Great read from Happiness Brussels calling for agencies to move on from pure advertising.

Cisco looking for Digital Disruptors
Specifically, teams … ” (that) operate at the intersection of data science, user experience/design, and business architecture.”

The 3 questions to nail in job interviews

43 of the best tips I’ve read on personal development


Facebook Home: Baby photos, engagement news and food porn coming to the screen nearest you.

The launch of Facebook Home brings some momentum to the ambient screen discussion that’s been kicking around for a while now. Russell Davies has done some great work on screens, and how the coming abundance of displays can be shaped through a focus on glanceability, not distraction.

This is the real opportunity for Facebook Home – rather than dominating a device with their Cover Feed, a stream of image updates from your network displayed as an interactive screensaver, perhaps some more thought could be applied to providing ‘glanceable’ value for network activity through the sleeping device screen.

Perhaps the display could tint blue if it’s a slower news day from your strong connections; maybe a song title is displayed if 5 of my friends are streaming it on Spotify; maybe a heat map of the world could show where and when my close friends are online.

It’s an obvious first step to use photographic content to add energy to our mobile device but personally, I’m finding my newsfeed cluttered with updates and content that are more distraction than value. As I’m interacting with my mobile through the day I’m using the lock screen on my phone in a real glance sense, a quick time check; next meeting location; missed calls. More shitty content from my extended FB network will turn me off pretty quickly.

So perhaps it’s enabling light, network sense-checks through smarter contextual stories and considered data visualisation that becomes the real kicker for Facebook Home.

BERG London have re-imagined settings with smart, connected objects and ambient, ‘ignorable’ displays.

As Davies puts it, we should try create products that are ‘designed to be respectful of our primary attention, offering something quick, quiet, useful or rewarding in the moments we can spare it some mind.’

It’d be great to see FB chase this type of value for Home – monetising it is another question.

13 Ways of Looking at SXSW Week

For twenty weary travellers,
The one thing common to schedules
Is the SXSW registration stand.

I had three dollars,
Lucky for me
Tumblr were paying for the drinks.

A 3D printer whirred in the Austin sun.
It was worth the wait for my keyring.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and Elon Musk
Are one.

I do not know how to decide,
The immediate satisfaction
Or commit to the flawless.
A food truck burrito,
Or a wait in the Taco Shack line.

Morning fills the convention hall
With glass screens smudged.
The SXSW app groans
Under requests, minute by minute.
The attendees
Are overcome with deep urges
To download Dexter.

Oh, SXSW Music peeps
Things have changed now in Austin.
Can’t you see the geeks
up on stage
Making the girls weak while they tweet?

I hear many strange tongues
And opinions and charms;
But I know, too,
That not even my Aussie accent
Will get me to the front of this line.

Lectures on Serendipity are followed by,
serendipitous meetings
Discussing Serendipity.

With the determination of a startup
The salesman dodges interjections,
To deliver his pitch to script
And distribute his cards like a dealer.

He again traversed 6th
In a Pedi-cab.
At once, he had pangs of jealousy
and cursed
As a tricycle passed,
with a Game of Thrones carriage.

#daftpunksxsw is trending.
Geeks and musos must be rejoicing.

It was 4am in the morning.
His cab was late
And getting later.
The early start clouds a morning of SXSW reflection
But there’s 14 hours in Economy ahead.

Borrowed from City Lights‘ 13 Ways of Looking at a Burrito, (which borrowed from Wallace Stevens’ 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird).

13 Ways of Looking at a Burrito - Klipschutz @ City Lights, San Francisco
Klipschutz @ City Lights, San Francisco



Staying creative for our partners

As creative agencies, our businesses are built on kick-arse strategy, strong, accessible ideas and efficient production. We can take a marketing problem and, without batting an eyelid, construct a super engaging, consumer-centred plan that works. We bring in fantastic new talent and collaborative processes to help make our solutions even more effective across changing mediascapes dominated by new digital channels and touch points. As creative agencies, our outputs are only getting better.

But a quick observation; we’re missing a trick.

While occupied with becoming more creative, creative agencies we’re not looking at the real opportunity; our partners need new creative perspectives for broader challenges in their businesses.

We hear it. Our partners, like us, are at the coalface of the massive shifts driving business in 2013. There can’t be a more challenging environment to build relationships and loyalty. We can see the issues our clients have in remaining agile, adapting and seizing opportunities. We know the old operational models aren’t as effective anymore, and we know that they’re reaching out for help and advice.

Still, as creative agencies, our role remains in supplying marketing activities to cater for new consumer habits and emerging channels. We strive to deliver creative campaigns that propel our brands forward. My point is, could we do more? Can we broaden our offering to bring creative solutions to deeper challenges our clients are facing?

Think of some of your partners. Where are the inefficiencies in their systems? Where are they hitting dead ends? Where are the opportunities for input? Who would be best placed to assist? If the role of creativity is in bringing productive originality to a problem, then surely as creative agencies we can add a lot by diversifying our network of inputs. Specialist experience in fields such as economics, psychology, sociology, HR, IT, sales and culture studies need to be applied to the cross-functional challenges we’re seeing.

Building the expertise is one issue, but opening the conversation is another. If we want to be taken seriously as a valued extension of our client’s business, we need to build trust and successes beyond marketing activity – and most agencies don’t have the runs on the board.

I learnt about the World Peace game recently and perhaps introducing a similar project for our clients’ businesses could be a way to start the process of proving value. A regular, constructive spotlight on the key drivers, opportunities and impacts for our client’s business.

I think the creative agency of now needs a serious focus on our creative service offering, and clear strategies for introducing fresh perspectives and diverse experience outside of marketing fields. Clients need help, and our agencies can only benefit from injecting new, specialist creative talent into the relationship.

Grubby fingerprints

One of the earlier, and more interesting discussions of the Transmediale festival this year came in the exploration from David Berry on Depletion Design.

While presenting perspectives on the theme of Data Exhaust (the intentional or unintentional stuff that’s left behind from our digital interactions), he touched on some key themes for our relationships with technology.

As our objects become smarter, and our technologies more pervasive, we’re generating more and more data. Now commentary on big data isn’t exactly ground breaking but Berry made the observation that advancements in computing actually lead to a withdrawal of its prominence in our awareness. Effective tools, platforms, experiences and ‘things’ eventually become part of the furniture of our daily lives – Julien Smith discusses some implications of this for experience designers in the latest Media Hacks episode.

Add connectedness, and new ‘enchanted objects’ are quietly capturing and reporting an increasing amount of interactions that we’re mostly ignorant or indifferent in giving up. For me, it’s these less-intentional/ unplanned byproducts of our relationships with tech that throw up some important questions.

The light, regular, digital fingerprints we’re leaving across our platforms and devices is quite fascinating in it’s reflection of both our screen-based behaviour, and with networked ‘things,’ our lives away from the screen.

I was reminded of this when reviewing my mobile WiFi access list after a recent trip overseas.


A neat, unintended snapshot of the spots we spent some time while grabbing a hot chocolate, connecting for information or spending a night.

Katy Connor makes a comment on exactly this topic with her work, Pure Flow – an exploration of the ‘invisible noise’ created by the GPS and WiFi networks that we pass and interact with every day. Are these involuntary connections playing a role in our behaviour, and should we be more cognisant of the systems (digital and physical) we operate in?

(Photo by Seb Lee-Delisle)

Evan Roth’s Angry Birds All Levels takes the smudges from our interaction with the iPhone glass, and elevates them to a sports-like summary of our passage through the game. Literal finger prints demonstrating the user’s strategy and progress through the experience. Could narratives and insights be pieced together from physical markings left by interactions with technology?

As we move toward a hyper connected society of objects and people, how important is an appreciation of where our interactions are being recorded? Like my holiday WiFi list, what are the stories we’re leaving behind through our casual exchanges with technologies? And, questions of privacy aside, what are the implications of the permanence of our grubby, digital fingerprints?