Oct 25

Playful13 – Nature of Games

Pippin Barr – What are curious games

Pippin is a game designer, artist and critic who has done many wonderful things that you’re probably already too busy cooing over to bother finish reading this. He’s just spent the past month working to create the Digital Marina Abramovich Institute, where visitors can experience exercises designed by Abramovich and view some performance art. He’ll be talking about Curious Games.

His wife calls the games he makes curious games. Will be talking about a bunch of his games, and reflect what games can do. So what does it all mean? Games allow for interactivity, something that movies do not. You can ask a question and it gives an answer, or asks a question back. A game ai made a few years ago was literal – Guru Quest. You could ask any question, or ask about the meaning of life etc. You would have these conversations. And sometimes it brings values. It’s just a chatbot – but a guru can say anything that may be important, so works well. It can lead ot deep thoughts or adsurbities. Allows player to think about things.

Games allow us to take on interesting roles- what if one of us was God. So the flood story – runs the worlds, gets bored, floods everything and starts again. So ‘Let there be Smite’ to play this role. Play god, so smite or forgive. You get asked. As the population in the game increases, there are more sinners, more dialog boxes. You change behaviour. you don;t think, you just click and to stop the dialog boxes. A moral disintegration of not caring. If there’s too much sin, hit the panic button, flood and kill everyone, start again.

We ask if games are worthwhile. Are we asking if this is fun? Or make a game about whether the game is worthwhile. Made a game about ‘The Artist is Present’ based on Marina Abromovic. So you go to Moma, NY, (in the game) and if it is open (game had same opening hours as real place). You ‘buy’ ticket, you walk through gallerys and find queue. You can wait. And wait. Queue moves every 24mins. So you may bypass the queue, walk to the front to see what is happening. A person sitting in a chair, opposite a woman in a red dress. This was a real installation – and now the game allows you to do this. You need too decide if it is worth waiting in the queue. It can take 5 hours to get through to the front of the queue.

What makes a game what it is. If you change a small piece, if it is the same game or is it something else. SO played with Pong. Made 36 different versions. Called it Pongs. Changes rules. How the paddles move. Left and Right as well as up and down. You can graft something on, so every so often you get answered a trivia question before you can carry on the game – get it right, get more points. You need to be good at more than one thing – game as well as geography for example. You can change the way it looks. The ball is little people, the paddles are flags and it becomes about refugees.

But is it art? Causes controversy, the question, So wanted to make a game, to get player to think about the question. Made Art Game. In B&W as art game. You play as an artist, live in NY, live in studio. You contribute to a group art show. You have to make something..as you paint, it turns into a game of Snake. When you lose…you have a painting. You are trying to fail beautifully to make art. Once you have some, the curator may or may not like the pictures. And some people never get a picture in the show. The you get to see your picture in the ‘museum’.

So what’s wrong with my iPhone? Video games played on hardware. Interested in iphone, it is annoyingly perfect. I wanted to make a game that is the opposite to the ease. It is Snake..but different controls. You can tilt the phone, Or turn the phone. Thrust mode – you thrust the phone in the direction of the snake. All different ways of playing Snake, the phone becomes a different object, it’s a different experience.

So Marina Abromavic emailed him…and he entered into this collaboration. She is creating an institute, where people can go to learn about appreciation of time, space etc. So made digital version. It is the only real version that exists at the moment, as the physical building does not exist (yes). Opened a few days ago. So exercises. Slow motion walk, as slow as possible up the ramp. There are representations of real performance art – climbing naked up and down a ladder. An dit changes – because in the game, it can last forever.

Finally, wanted to make a game about death. Wanted to generate a feeling about this experience. (showed demonstration)

Oct 25

Playful13: Making Mishief

Dani Lurie. Making Mischief

Graphic designer and a writer. Is really highly excitable. Especially about getting people to interact with the world in interesting ways. So that brings us to mischief. It has traditionally been bad. Associated with troublemakers. So why is it good, why worth talking about. When a toddler, her and her brothers had broken the parent’s VCR by feeding it biscuits. That was mischief. Bit it’s about learning, experiencing, Experiential learning is an important developmental process, how we grow

When studying psychology, leaned ot enjoy experiments, developing them. TO allow people to do just enough to shake up the world. Look at the 60s shock experiment (Milbrun), to see how many people would increase the shocks for people, 26 out of 40 administered the full amount – even up to lethal dose. After this, they looked at crowd size. they devised experiment, to get people to point up, to see how many people had to be pointing before others looked up. Increased group size lead to increased behaviour. 1 person gives 40%, then 85% when group was 40 students. It revealed the nature of conformance behaviour, without providing distress. That was one they recreated as psych students/We had been given a licence to mess with the mundane – silliness had a real purpose. And that is mischief.

See it as a way to conduct experiments, to learn by doing. Explore mundane by provoking else. They don’t have to be bad. it is to test and discover and have fun. so positive or purposeful mischief. Last year, Mcdonalds sold fries of all sides for equiv of £1. So students ordered so much fries they brought them out in trays – potato parties. They caused social trouble, but had fun.

We created a magazine, with content about testing and about investigations. We tested hangover cures (not good for writer), we tested ways to juice an orange, from syringe to run over with car. We anted to experiment with things we had only dreamed of doing, with things that had not been done before. Based round one question, what would happen if. If we planted a guerilla garden, made cheese, hold a pen race, walking tour at a music festival.

Some of our favourates. What would happen if you posted a banana. 21m items posted through Royal Mail. Some don;t make it. How far would they go to get items from one place to another. Would they deliver things smelly. We put stamps on items – jeans, biscuits, crisps, DVD. the crisp packet arrived empty, Then we tried items of funny shapes or textures, to outfox auto sorting systems. Scarf, umbrella, clothes peg. Et. For umbrella, we had to distract the clerk to get it into the system, It did make it to the destination (the recipients did not know, and got told off nearly every time). Scarf did not make it. The long thin letter was folded in half. The sponge did not make it (but stamps may have fallen off).

Next a group of suspicious items. Flour in a box, that arrived. The flour in a bag, refused by first postoffice, as it was unwrapped. they told the next that the packaging ws wrapping paper. Had a normal envelope, but stamp upside down – and that is treason…(outdated law). The letter contained the word ‘Treason’. We think it was received..recipient had not confirmed but discussed hate mail so that may have been it. The porn DVD did not arrive.

Smelly things. Brie – had been rewrapped. And had changed shape, so not a ‘letter’..so recipient was charged more. Wrapped banana arrived, the unwrapped did not. The vial of ‘urine’ did arrive fine

Sentimental items The flowers arrived fine. The stuffed toy was ok. The hello kitty cup did not make it.

Last we sent valuable items. Keys – arrived. Oyster card arrived fine. Lottery ticket, was fine – although postman advised choice of numbers was not good. The £5 and £10 arrived fine.

Next project – contacting people who share your name. WIth the internet, you have to share it with a lot more people. Her shared name person, was creative, filmmaker, lives in New York. She decided to contact, because she could. Emails led to Skype chat. Very good conversation, a lot of similarities. The NY person had visited home town and stayed with people who knew her family. We tried a few others in the team, a lot morenames

One last project. Playing hide and seek in busy public space. Added a few twists to make it interesting. FIrst play in bookshop or library and you learn a new fact when hiding – the one with best fact wins. Then Halfterm toyshoppocolypse. Play in children’s toyshop a the busiest time. There is no strategy to game, it is terrifying. Only option is to keep moving. Most players found quickly. Last game is Ride and Seek. Playing it on a moving train. You start at the station and need to stay on train, but can move around between carriages at stops. Once hider found, then will follow the seeker.

Oct 25

Playful13: Designing Controllers

George Buckenham – Things that go Squish
George “makes games and things” – often silly (Punch The Custard, A Bastard), often hacking existing things (Proteus Frog mod; Sweareoke Guitar Hero mod) and sometimes just straight up, fiendish games (Hell Is Other People, CUBES). George is going to be talking about videogames and their relationship with the hardware

Makes videogames and other things. Some physical. But you can make more money with videogames.

One thing that goes squish is custard…Punch the Custard. You have to punch your custard more times than the other person! You put one hand on foil and a wire in the custard, then you complete the circuit. And it does not go everywhere, as it goes hard when under pressure, so does not fly out. It’s a fun game..but not a better game than custard you just play with! The game is an excuse to touch custard!

Another game, made controllers for game, boxes with many coloured controllers. When building them, lots of websites that you can buy arcade components. Lots of tech specs to choose from. What response, what kind of dimple do you need on button etc. There is a whole world of choices. And a whole world of people discussing the various specs and the choices to be done.

Controllers have become more standardised, which he feels is shame, (but that’s the market), but there are opportunities to build your own specific ones – but far too expensive! So thinking about it from he controller, the standard. So what works with the existing controllers, what works well ergonomically, what do the controllers represent. Are the 2 triggers on standard controllers like cats paws? What is a game that will feel satisfying with the possible control movements.

A climbing game, where you have to hold down the keyboard keys to ‘grip’ on the climbing wall, So there is physical mapping – tired fingers at the end of it.

He finds it exciting when you can work on a game and decide the controller. You experiment with the form factor. What is the right distance between buttons, how they interact. You can manage the twitchiness, how things react. The connection between control and game adds up to a satisfying experience.

Oct 25

Playful 13: Designing with playfulness

Duncan Fitzimmons. Director at Vitamins

A small and nimble design agency; they work across a wide range of industries and applications and everything is multi-disciplinary.
Look to create a sense of magic and wonder in everything they do. The talk is about how they do that and how playfulness is involved.
Samsung came along; about designing a phone for the elderly market. They were concerned about that, had seen some of the phones, not really what they wanted to do. But how they could make it better. When doing research, the audience gave ‘expected answers’. So they looked to add playfulness to research around Europe. So they gave bananas, with stickers and string etc and got people to design what they wanted using that.

Some of the issues are about how people use the phone and the barriers to using it, how they explored the phone. Some of their ideas, they made sure user manual was clear and engaging. Designed as a hardback book, with step guide into set up. Everything was all in one place – the phone was embedded IN the manual, and you worked through the book as you set it up.

For Battersea performance group, challenged to make a cheap device that makes the audience think their mind is being read. They created something that changed based on galvinistic skin reaction. Some of this transferred to their work on snowboarding/Nokia. They created lots and lots of sensors and just played with them, to understand what could be done. Went to snowdome, did they work on snow? They then knew what was possible, then went to talk to snowboarders, the fans, to find out what people wanted to see in performing etc. Created a set of sensors that could be worn, then streamed data to Nokia phone. Data can be reviewed, can be visualised so that spectators could see what happens. Gave extra insight into the performance; were they confident, how did they feel.

Another project with experimentation, the folding wheel project. look back to 1870s, a patent was filed for the wheelchair as we know it. It has not really changed a lot since then – and there are lots of problems with travelling with them on planes. Use of materials and refined ergonomics. The chair part folds, but the wheel doesn’t. So how do you fold a wheel? You experiment. They played. The structure could fold, but what about the tyre? how can you fold this. The mockup, they develop prototypes. The product went on sale on February. Won transport design of the year.

Latest one they are working on, has had the longest period of playful development. A calendar and project planner they have designed for themselves. To fill gap between large scale software and the low level ones that don’t have enough power. Projects last between 1-3 months, they have 4-12 people. They had no tools. They created a Lego wall planner. They have a view of next 3 months. They can book in time. Easy to tell at glance what is available at the time. To tie it into what they are using, such as shared Google calendars. They can take a photo, send the email and that then uploads the data onto their calendars. They started with lego on wall, added it, a full journey of discovery. They needed to know when key deadlines – so 2 bricks high wall planner. Easy to plan time. You can’t move things into a place where there is brick. By being tangible, it makes it easier to work with.

Jun 06

LeWeb London: Peer to Peer lending

Sharing Economy Money Panel
Moderated by: Nina Dos Santos, News Anchor & Correspondent, CNN World Business Today
Samir Desai, Co-Founder & CEO, Funding Circle
Raffael Johnen, Co-Founder & CEO, Auxmoney.com
Renaud Laplanche, CEO, Lending Club
For established industries, the sharing marketplace — with rapidly shifting social, cultural, and technological disruptions — is forcing them to respond too. Never more true than in the financial sector. Does crowd funding threaten traditional funding sources indefinitely? We’ll hear from the $$$ experts about the state of funding and financial models in The Sharing Economy.

Leweb London 2013 - Day2
Photo by: Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/

NDS Crowdsourced funding is growing – twice as big as last year. For Funding Circle it has trebled since last year. About 10m a month,
Rafael, tell me what you do

RJ: we facilitate peer to peer lending. Loans btw 1k and 20k. We started last year at first 2p2, now we are doing secured loads – can pledge car as collateral.

NDS: the collateral is changing, what can be put up as collateral
RJ: it’s an interesting market, removing the bank as the intermediary
RL: Business has trebled…we will faciliate $2b, but total market is 15 trillion.

NDS: are you diversify to offer new products…(out of 2p2)
RL: we often get used for credit card balances, we offer a lower cost way to pay these off, a more predictable way to manage the credit

NDS: if people are investing in debts, they expect to be paid back
RJ: we don’t guarantee it, but we have a good record of predicting return, has been 6-7%. The company goes after the borrower.
SD: we lend to established businesses, trading for 2 years. We have full risk analysis, return is 6-8%. Business lending is political…we now have gov money through lending circle.

NDS?: how big will you get?
SD: I think this will be a huge [art of the market, thinking 10-20%. Our survey found that 77% of borrowers would come to them first. it’s faster, quicker, it’s internet based (no need to go into branch). Half of our loan apps are outside business hours. It’s not an alternative, it’s a better product. We started off to £50k, now up to £1m. We are getting same kind of acceptance rates
RL: there is a transformation in way the industry is received. We don’t get the bank rejects only, we have a better customer experience, we have lower cost and more convenient, has generated positive selectance, get first choice.
RJ: same thing, plus great market for startup people to get a loan. Banks don’t touch them as high risk. If you do risk management right and get the right things in place, then manageable to do. It is a new niche, where too expensive for banks

NDS: in Germany it’s hard, lots of regulations. Will yours get big enough to regulate?

NJ: getting regulation could be good, gives stamp of approval. In Germany, heavily regulated, we comply anyway with a lot of the demands. We are asking for gov support, we are giving gov the tool to provide capital to people or companies

NDS: in UK, companies can’t get access
SD: we do, central gov, regional gov go through us. We have been lobbying for regulation and will be from next year…it helps for our credibility, That we are serious and is here to stay.

NDS: the US doesn’t like regulation either?
RL: we fell into the framework already. But as a matter of public policy we worked hard to be the good guys and the financial services see us as that. We are transparent., great service and people like us. We start with a tight credit policy, with different levels of return. Investors can choose their risk. We get about a 3% loss.
RJ: again 3-4% default rate across the full spectrum
SD: default is about 1.5%, and slightly higher return 6-8%

NDS: how about China, will growth be there?
SD: possble. we are at a generation shift, with finance. We have a shift in public trust in banks. The core business of banks, loads, balance transfers etc, the first real time internet coming to finance. So not just China, but western markets as well
RJ: we though there was a better way to allocate capital. We thought about how we could be more efficient. We were not waiting for right time, we had the idea and went for it
RL: ideation often comes from outside. I though it was nuts to pay the high credit card rate. So that was the business problem, most people it was fine, went to change it We had a slow build up in first few years. Now 6 years, we have investors earning, we have large investors.

NDS: do companies know what companies invest in and can they help them succeed
SD: yes, it’s a market place., you can chose which ones to invest in – ot have them assigned. you can have a relationship, we have restaurants, furniture makers etc. We have a lot doing local investments. It’s not about anonymity, it can be about transparency. YOu can see the data, the loans, the defaults and explore it, Owners seem to like being asked questions – that means someone is interesting.
RJ: we talk to investors and borrowers, learn what they are after, starting early and it helped scale it
RL: transparency is key, it is safer and sounder, people can see what happens, unlike banks that hide things
NDS: but will it be safer
RL: We have better matching, we have investor and lender matching, It’s not pooled. All of us have matching, it’s not leveraging, it’s one to one

NDS: can the banks learn from that?
RJ: we built our tech from the ground up. Banks have a long history, difficult to move away from process

NDS: is the virtual currency the indictment of the financial system? What do you think of bitcoin
RL: you need more stability.. You can’t have that much volatility. and more liquidity, then prices stabilise. Not a buyer or lender of bitcoin

NDS: you are backed by VC
SD: we lend to different types of companies. Mainstream – restaurants, etc. We lose money to get to the scale. A bank won’t lend us money, our VC are supportive

nDS: could you start a similar company through crowdfunding?

SD: there may by the opportunity, Need to to decide if get big quick or slow growth
RJ: it takes time to build the important pillars and only then can you scale up.

NDS: the sharing economy is alive, but you three are competitors.
RJ: it is a local market. We are Germany only.

NDS: where will you be in a year
RL: managing growth of platform, keep doing what doing, keep growing
RJ: it’s all about growth. we know it works
SD: Regulated, and bigger.

Jun 06

LeWeb London: Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau, Writer, Entrepreneur and Traveler

I was thinking about what can I share, what can I contribute to this conversation. I wanted to talk about adventure and travel. But adventure is almot an opposing value to optimisation, efficiency etc. I recently finished an adventure to visit every country in the world, over 11 years. It could have been quicker if i’d been more efficient. But even so, it brought a lot of meaning. There was a value in adventure; in meeting people. There are a lot of peopel sharing the same valueof freedom, of self evaluation. THat they wante dto forge own destiny, make own path. IS this something that is shared..the love of freedom is the link to sharing economy. How can we live a life that we want and that serves others. So I though i would share 3 lessons with you.

Time and Money
If you can understand early on all the different costs of a goal or quest, ot becomes more easily to conceive and to follow and pursue. I started off just because I loved travel. Had done about 50 through business and general travel. So set goal of 100 and started to organise this, to look at all the costs and realised that it would only cost about $30k. SO thought that if I was goign to do this over a few years, it is quite small ove rthe time and it would definitely be worth it from the experiences. I started writing about this abouthalf way through. When I first shared the goal, I got a comment that this goal was stupid..that anyone can do this.. that all it would take is enough timeand money. WHen thinking critisism, peopel are often projecting themselves..but if you think about critisism as a nut, to get into the shell and find something useful in it. Decided that I would really look at toime and money, Ti understand the challenge in that way. As I embraced the logical thinking about this, it made the whole experience easier

Experience produces confidence
I started with a love of travel. And with goal setting. I set the 100 and got closer to 100 sooner than expected and then decided to change goal. As I gained experience, I gained confidence. The same when I wrote about it, started sharing with a small number of people and then it grew. there are about 100k readers. There are people here who serve millions, so respect to you. And now I help people get their confidence, to start that transition. To get them over the first steps. When you are doing something for the first time, it is a big deal. So get this first experience as soon as you can. It makes a big difference

The new demographics are less about where you are from, but about who you are – psychographics
It’s about who you are. You are not alone. There are shared values and ideas. If you have a crazy idea and you think you are alone..the sharing economy, connecting, then there are all kinds of people who will share this interest. So one of the greatest things is in hearing people’s stories and seeing how othe people are doing. One of my goals is to get better at telling their stories.

With all of the opportunities available, hopes that they are not wasted. We take advantage. So w suggestions. So pursue a quest of your own. Chase your own brand of adventure. Musk said we spend too much time on small ideas. When started travelling, it scared me. I made tradeoffs. But I could not get out of my head. And that’s what i have heard all over. Peopel had the idea, maybe for a long time, but all were glad they took the next step and tried it. If no try, then they would have regretted it.

The second is to try and find a way to tie your request to something that makes the world a better place. A friend went to Afghanistan. Went all the way in country, asked for a shower and internet cafe. There was no running water…but there was brilliant wifi! In Africa, it’s mobile first. but often lack access to water and education. YOu need to think about tthe question of contribution,. What are we doing to help. It’s part of ourown fulfilment, our own meaning. As we seek to contribute and engage, we ourselves gain value from it as well.

Jun 06

LeWeb London: John Perry Barlow

John Perry Barlow, Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Leweb London 2013 - Day2
Photo by:Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/

I’ve been a hippie since sometime in 1965,when I quit being a beatnik. I’m fine with it, as part of what it’s meant, is that I know which side I am on in the struggle between certical and horizontal, religion and net and authority from consensus. I started writing songs for a band called the Grateful Dead, and there was also something that we did that was practical. By it’s nature, hippie is often someone who has done a bad job, but for us, it was practical. We started out early letting people sharing the concert. They could not take, as we’d played it already. They started, and there was resistance but we said what the hell, reproduce the tapes. And that was the viral marketing. By the time we quit in 1995, we could fill any stadium in the US. because we had shared our music.

THis led me to understand the economy of the virtual world in a way that few can do today. There is a difference between atoms and bits. Atoms have a value, a relationship with space-time scarcity. To make things valuable, then make it scares, as De Beers does with diamonds (which aren’t really rare). But when you talk about ideas etc, familiarity is much more important than scarcity. If I had the largest diamond in my pocket, it is valuable because it is scarce. If I had a song in my head, it is valueless until it is shared. It is in my best advantage to share. I have been trying to get a whole load of folks/institutions t understand this for the last 25 years.

I wrote in 1985 that it was extremely difficult to get people NOT to share anything that they found valuable and interesting if it could be reproduced and distributed at zero cost. The desire to share information that is interesting is fundamental

We are at the interesting point where the forces of the past, about controlling information, are vigorously trying to claim what can be known, keep as theres and make it harder for us to claim the possibilities that are here. That anyone on this planet will have the means to know anything about anything that interests them. The access will be there. We are coming into the ability to convey a right that no-one has thought before, the right to know. If there is a right to know, the human race will advance more, as we will seek the truth.

I was talking to Jimmy Wales…about wikipedia. Talking about what he was going to do…warned that he would still have this pile of disinformation and slander etc. Wales thought he was right but it was worth a try. Now he goes to Wikipedia to look at something he knows something about and finds, to his satisfaction, that there is good stuff on there and it grows. We care so much about knowledge and the truth and that we are doing this

We are willing to go to a lot of unpaid trouble to make it available to anyone about what is the truth about stuff, eg molecular biology. A few years ago I went and got a British Library card. I wanted to write the dot communist manifesto, even though I’m a rightwing republican. If you look at the Communist Manifesto know, it is more true and germane than it ever was. It is easier to share songs than cars. Marx thought there would be a revolution and all that was solid would melt into air and that is what is happening and stuff is not properly subject to property and sharing is easy. We now need to kill a few things, institutions and that is good.

As a musician I find it ironic that a record label talks about piracy when that is what they have done to us. But thinks about thing.s If you use content, ask if there is a container. Now we are taking something and turning it into a noun that can be owned. The word consumer, what is the word. When reading or listening, I’m not consuming. It is when eating, but not an idea. A consumer is about placing us into a subservient position which is where the institutions want us to be.

Asked what law he would change? He would abolish the idea of intellectual property, a very recent idea. It used to be a licence, a limited term to exploit the idea. It is impractical to own this stuff. There are other relationships to this stuff that we can have. But we will have to wait for things to get really bad before that happens

How will you make a living? He gets asked this question all the time. He gave away their songs all the time, and still made a decent living. The Dead Heads had access to all their music, but all of their studio records went platinum. I’m talking about musicians getting paid. If you have a model to strip them of their work and for something else to own the songs, then they don’t get paid!

People fail to recognise what sharing goes on all the time. Ask people if they would give up their assets or their relationships, then assets will go. Relationships are squishy…they are all about sharing.

We are still in the middle of a bloodbath around this and it will get worse before it gets better. The online dimension is extremely powerful and can express itself, (even if sometimes horrible) but it has meaning. We will still see horrible stuff, horrible crimes, but liberty resides in the rights of the person you find most odious and you have to defend that. But on other hand, you have wikpedia, you get works being put out there, not locked behind ownership.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Nick Halstead and Data

Nick Halstead, Founder & CTO, DataSift Inc
How Social Sharing Built a Billion Dollar Market
Nick Halstead has been at the heart of the social sharing economy for five years, creating the world’s first social sharing button and building a business upon the data that it generated. Nick will talk about the evolution of the sharing economy, from the early days of RSS and TweetMeme, to the prominence of social now and give his insight on the future of sharing in a social driven world.

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 afternoon
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

What Nick has created, is powered by the sharing economy. Is going to tell us the story of how he got to where he is now.   It started off with the RSS icon and an argument with his Dad. His Dad did not understand it, why it was in the browser. He could not get to the content he wanted to. THe original name was fav.or.it. It was how o take huge amount of data and use social signals (interaction with content) and use that as in indicator of whether that was good or bad. Engagements, votes and the source.  It was OK

Then Twitter came along. And Nick saw that the data from Twitter could be used as a replacement for the signals. A wider set of signals. Without a lot of people using favorit, then little signal. So build on top of Twitter, where even then 1 of 4 were links, so pulled our what was hot. We brought in the idea of the authorit yof the people, not the publisher source. We looked at how people sharing links, who reshared.   Then provided a sharing button, the RT button to put on signs. It wasn’t really a ‘invention; for an evolution. In 9months were doing 1.5b page impressions a day. That was all about sharing economy, share what was the best content. Behind that, we were developing a data business. We had access to the data, people were asking us to help them understand the behaviour of the users. We now have many other social networks as well, to share content out there

YOu have now got share buttons in 50% of sites, to allow content to be put out to social networks.   When Nick joined Twitter, it was few, now >500m tweets a day. Growing all the time.

How is the data use? There is a symbiotic relationship between people on the networks and the companies that use the data. Look at when Alex Ferguson resigned, the news broke and spread quickly via Twitter. Businesses are using this to drive actions, eg something that would have impact on stock price.   4 years go, it was pretty simplistic. Keywords, plotting trends etc. Look at something like SecondSync, which is using social channels to assess TV popularity. They are tracking all the tv programmes and assessing impacts. Can assess popularity.   The data gets sold onto the programme makers, so they can see how the programme was being received minute by minute. You have the network who cares about demographics and then the ads care about their placements, their ads.   That’s why programmes use hashtags.

We talk about the value with no context. Whether people who mentioned you were actual customers. Now that is changing. A company called Phace (Face?) getting info and using the social info to assess who is talking.

Bloomberg supply Twitter data into their terminals, so traders can track things. The social data has changes things.   But how are you empowered rather than companies?  Now you can impact Bloomberg and the markets. A football shirt company uses social signal to determine the favourite players so they can impact the supply chain and get right volume into the marketplace. A retailer is using geolocation to see where people are shopping and use it to influence if they should open a store there.

There are huge advances in being able to understand intent. Bringing in context.  If you have context, you can ask questions. Eg who should I then sponsor?  Another way is starting to join the data together. Starting to connect the data, to be able to prove the value, being able to understand social alongside other data to get the whole picture

Forrester is thinking that next year, social media marketing will be over $3.1b. Growth will come from China, connecting social activity to inshop activity. We’re going beyond the button, beyond the Like button are becoming less and less value. It is about implicit actions, rather than explicit. You can look at photos, at what is being said

It’s only going to keep in growing!

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Comments on Google Glass

Boys and their Toys – The Google Glass Phenomenon
Loic Le Meur, Founder, LeWeb
Robert Scoble, American blogger, technical evangelist, and author Rackspace
Ben Metcalfe, Co-host, LeWeb’13 London Co-Founder, WP Engine
Loic will be joined by Robert Scoble and Ben Metcalfe for this sure to be entertaining session.   Hear from these ultra early adopters their thoughts about Glass.  What’s it’s full potential? What are the cons? And everything in between!

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 afternoon
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

This was more a conversation, with little planning….so just some comments and points.

  • The assistive technology is what is most interesting. How it can help with your life. Maps, and plane gates etc. Show sports scores and weather. Meetings, the traffic between me and meeting,   Glass is not owner specific :) ie you can get another persons to do something!
  • There are a lot of senses that are not using. Eg eyesensors. There are going to be features that are going to be unlocked.  Has a ear vibrator to transmit sound to ear (rather than speaker)
  • It’s less distracting than a smartphone, is in the way of where you are looking, not down at phone
  • It is very google centric, pictures go to G+ (in private). I can comment etc via that. I can see tweets
  • One nice things..if you shoot a series, it will turn them into an animated gif, sticking them together, do changes. It makes things easy
  • You can select which Twitter users you see stuff from. keep a select group that comes direct to eye/ Plus emails that can be selectively shown
  • It’s too big to wear easily, the social aspect is interesting, Loic takes it off. But Scoble keeps the Glass on most of the time
  • Other interesting things – games. Functional information support, eg surgeons with xrays.
  • There is a fashion cost to it. with one eye only. But they are lightweight, and last.
  • Scoble have shown it to more than 600 people..they are getting feedback from more than just the small of testers. (eg SV white people)
  • Google has said it will be 18 months before this is in the hands of the consumers. They are slowly rolling it out wider.   They need people to think about building apps

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Snapsation

Chris Chabot, Founder & CEO, Snapsation
Chris has been a driving force of the social web for as long as it’s been been around. As a lead engineer on OpenSocial, Developer Advocate for Google on open web standards, and a founding member of the Google+ team, he’s always worked on creating new connections between people through technology. With Snapsation Chris has combined his experience with social, the fascination with the new sharing economy and his love of photography to create new opportunities for the countless talented artists, and people who need high quality imagery.

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 afternoon
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

Excited about this as get to solve a real problem. It’s only when you solve a real problem, will you make a change. So Snapsation is where photographers find people and people find photographers. Is photography dead? (or is it just cameras!) The problem was that few people had devices..and fewer knew how to use them. But now photography is really living – but the devices is the phone. And it’s everyone, not just the few.

As a society, there is so much information and we have a poverty of attention – photos are quick to digest.  Images are an effective way of communicating. people who use photography are visual story telling. Visual,, rather than texting. Much richer communication. The society is becoming more visual. If you have a business, a restaurant, you need great photos on your website. The impact is incredible.

There is no common language between photographers and people. They don’t do visual sites, they don’t do prices. Everything about finding a professional is difficult. The amount of friction to get to the incredible hard. And there are lots of great photogs who want to find customers.  But may not have the full business knowledge to find customers.

So this is what snapsation is. The market place for photographers.  (note, there’s nothing in the UK at the moment)  (he gave a demo of the market place site). You can define service requirements, and what you are wanting to do and do the payment.  It helps you to market yourself, gives you ideas, how to prepare your portfolio.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Collaborative Economy

Jeremiah Owyang, Partner, Altimeter Group
The Collaborative Economy:  How People, Startups, and Corporations build a new Market
Industry Analyst Jeremiah Owyang, will share findings from a recent research on the Sharing Economy.  He’ll highlight the trends in the startup space, including verticals served, funding, and forecast what types of startups that will make it –and who won’t.  The speech will outline how startups can work with corporations to serve this greater movement of sharing

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

Shows us Frederick VII, King of Denmark.  He was watching the EU revolutions spreading and had options. Fight or collaborate.
We have heard about orgs that are looking at sharing and collaborate. So what role do corps have if people don’t want or need them., We look at how ownership AND Access is shared. The interesting thing is that corps have to let go in order to gain more. It is the only way.

Sharing is not new but it’s happening faster. If we go on a business trip, rather than using a taxi company, we use a neighbourhood person. We avoid hotels, stay in someone’s home. As the company grows, you don’t grow to bank, you can get peer lending. Grow more, use crowd resources.  Use excess office space that is brokered. There is a disruption happening.   The average car, that is properly shared reduces need for 9 cars. That’s a $270k opportunity loss. Don’t forget insurance, gas etc. One properly shared car could have $1m impact.  This is absolutely a disruption for business

We looked at if this was a passing fad? is it a long term trend. There are many different instances/factors. There are silo, economy and techfactors

Silo Factors: 75% of people polled expect to see an increase in sharing objects and spaces. It’s not just the youth, or closer living etc. We are amplifying with scalable velocity the need to share

Economic Factors: The population continues to rise but resources stay the same. People want to do more with the products they buy. They want to re-use

Technology Factors: 87 phones per 100 people.  Startups use social channels. THis revolution is on top of the disruptor – the internet

Looking at startups in this space. They are being funded. 200 startups have received $2b. This movement is not going away and it will increase in speed

So what do you do if you are being disrupted?  What happened with Frederick?  Frederick collaborated. He helped with the government, a new constitution. He helped, on his own terms. So there are lessons to be learnt.  We call it the Collaborative Economy Value Chain

We take products and turn into services. We take services and turn into marketplaces. You activate your marketplaces to create your products

Company as a Service. You let products be rented, or subscribed to or gift them.  Look at BMS in SF. You can rent cars off the lot. Subscription is not new, can we do this ti durable goods and services. Build a long term relationship.   BMW see that cars will be saturated in cities in 2050, so they know the renting model will matter

Motivate the Market Place. You can encourage only, as they are already doing this. When buyers and sellers. The opportunity is to connect them. Rg Marriott can certify my guest hose/room and bring them trusted guests. You get trusted folks from loyalty programme and then gets a cut of the revenue.   Any type of company can do this. Can a software provider do this service?  It does not exist yet

Provide a Platform: your market places build products. Customers can build the next generation of products. Co-ideate. Co-fund. Co-build. Co-market. Co- etc etc etc. There is software but it is not connected to corps etc. Provide a platform that the crowd becomes the company. there are a few small examples. Eg Nike design shoes.

Why would you connect the players in this? how would you provide the services? why would you try the models?  You can tap into the crowd. You can be in a deep relationship and get them to help. You can add value between customers and extract some value. No-one is doing this yet. This is an open market.  THe opportunity?  is 20%  Looking at the startups that is the average cut in these transactions.  There is a revenue growth opp

Frederick was a hero. He stopped the bloodshed. They remained as a monarch. He let go of his throne to gain the kingdom. IF corps want to be part of the collaborative economy to gain the market/ What side of history will you be on?

Jun 05

LeWeb London: Movement of the Sharing Economy

 Douglas Atkin, Head of Community & E-staff Member, Airbnb

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

Wants to talk about a movement for the sharing economy. To grow the community. Grow the collective power. To stand up against the entrenched interests that stands in their way. Why?  There is an opportunity. There is enthusiasm. The players are looking at collaboration. How can the players share customers? Is  there ways to encourage people to cross-verticals (and take trust?).

And there are the challenges. The industries won’t stand idly by. The laws work against it. Should citizens band together to push for the sharing economy. A new kind of union for a new kind of economy. Looking for your support for this. Help your users, fund the movement, show your support.

We send on the brink of a new time that delivers social as well as economic benefits. Most people are not experiencing economic independence that mass production and consumerism promises. Production and control is centralised. The sharing economy is distributed.  You can’t do sharing without community, without creating individual experiences. Life is built in. (in regards to work/life balance).  The other rewards are important -not just the cash
The movement is independent, global. social. It uses peerpower and collective action to grow the sharing ecomony and overcome the challenges. It has the possibility of making the world better.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: AirBnB

Joe Gebbia, Co-Founder, Airbnb & Loic Le Meur, Founder, LeWeb

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning
Photo by: “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

Joe talked about how he set up, the idea behind it.
It was triggered by a huge conference, filling up the hotels and decided to see if there was a way to connect people to the space in his living room.   They had the concept – Airbed and Breakfast.  We wanted to make it more than a place to sleep, we wanted to cook them breakfast etc.

What advice is there to make yourself available to find ideas?
It’s about connecting new dots in a new and different way.. You need to marry the problem..find something that means something to you. We had to look at ways to pay rent to save apartment. You need to be close enough to connect the dots.

What happened next?
We had the concept. Then we built the website. We showed the apartment. We showed the neighbourhood and provided a guide. The end of the second day, we had the site live. But how did we get the word out?  We emailed the conference. And they sent out to the team and we had it in thw world. We got people emailing. People sent them resumes to convince them to allow them to stay with them. By Day 6, we had people there to share a living room with them.

On Day 7 and then what:
It was a great social experiment. They entered as strangers and left as friends. ANd we made money for the rent. But the social experience was greater.  And then we thought about how we can grow this and give other people this experience.  We found a tech partner. We went off to create the next version  For SXSW, 2008. But it was a failure. The hard cash exchange seemed to put people off. So we started again – so you could pay with card via the service. We got big press – but system failed, we built up the servers. But we weren’t growing, the market and the solution were not connecting. We went to the investors. They did not believe the founding team were right – 2 designers and a coder. They also thought it was risky. We did not get initial investment

Now?
THe business tipped last year. We were doing more internationally last year. We could see the growth and started to connect with the local community. We have teams on the ground.  We think you can’t localise without the local. Tech itself does not work. We run meetups, we connect with the community team to share tips, how to be a great host. People start to help each other out.

In some places it is not legal?
The car was once litigated against. We think it’s time to change. It’s a temp problem and will change

When will you go public?
It’s a misuse of our time now to think about that. We have to grow the community. No, we won’t tell you the revenue. Yes we employ a few hundred people

Are you a threat to the hotels?
Not directly. We are taking the pie and making it bigger. Last year in London, we helped expand the room supply. Let more people come to the city.   Our use cases are also different. Hotels are great for business, we;re not really business travel -only 10%. Also AirBnB often longer stays – eg a month.

What’s next? are you moving to other sectors? What do you think of the sharing economy? Where else will it become big?
When i think about it, it is those that have connect with those that want. It’s about connecting with resources. I imagine it between 2 people, not companies. Think about any resource? It will help unlock resources, there will always be something that people will want to ‘share’.   When you look at the internet. Act 1 was about companies, Act 2, we have a critical mass of people and it’s about connecting them. Act 3 is about the critical mass of people..who trust…and how to you get them offline and connecting that way.  The next big challenge is to design the online and offline transition. THat’s what we are thinking about. How can we simplify the key exchange. How can we reduce friction across the whole trip?

What are some key tips for entrepreneurs?
Marry the problem, empathise with the people. Meet people.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: The London Startup scene

Welcome to London!
Moderated by Ben Metcalfe, Co-host, LeWeb’13 London Co-Founder, WP Engine
Brent Hoberman, Co-Founder, PROfounders Capital, Chairman, made.com & Founder & Chairman, mydeco.com
Eric Van der Kleij, Head of Level39
Eze Vidra, Head of Campus, Google

Leweb London 2013 - Day1 morning;
Photo by “Luca Sartoni – http://www.heisenbergmedia.com/”

BM: what changes have been happening in London?
BH: there are more startups. There are more investors. We have more US funds investing here. It’s claimed it is the most regulatory friendly environment. It leads the rhetoric! With politicians calling for people to come and start here. The talent pool is great, the buzz is better, but challenges on the route to IPO.
EV: the density of network has increased. Not until recently has it grown enough. It is becoming more normative to become an entrepreneur.

BM: how are you fostering entrepreneurs?
EK: yes, the density increasing. At Level 39, they are specialising in Financial, retail and smartcity tech. That’s what we are focusing on. London does that well, has areas that are specialising.
BH: the corporates are seeing the digital change and looking at how to get into it. One of the best ways is to work with start-ups and develop new things. We connect big corporates with the startups to bring them together. Provide a conduit.

BM: in SF, it seems to be anti-corporate. So this is different. Why would a start-up want to be involved in a corporate.
BH: for credibility, for scale. Advises startups to look for things that give them credibility. If you are in retail tech and get in with Tesco, that opens the door for everyone else.
EV: Campus is a not-for-profit option, we support all sort. Campus is a little experiment. It’s an ecosystem, it’s a support foundation. Google will benefit form a healthy system of startups and so will the city. This is an investment. We have resources and talent committed. We provide mentors. We bring thought leaders to inspire and educate startups.

BM: in an ecosystem for startups, how do you fuel the system, add investment. Felt that there are lots of money, but are they really investing.
EK: it is improving, wasn’t great previously. We are moving the needle in London, we are lucky that we have access to talent, to the whole of EU who can come here to start their businesses without visa issues. On investments, we have seen a higher number of US. True Ventures have done 5 deals in the UK. We have also improved the policy environment to encourage investment. That has unlocked a little more opportunity. We need to encourage smarter investments so Angels do not make mistakes.
EV: we’re also one of the world leaders in equity crowdsourcing. Completely legal to invest down to £10. It’s easy to start something. There are lots of company creation happenings,
EK: we should also try and take a look at the corporates. US acquire for strategic purposes, in the EU, it’s often for revenue. So how can we encourage corporates to strategically acquire, for talent, for growth, for investment, for new ideas.
BH: tech companies are good at this – the others need to take a look at what they are doing?

BM: so what next?
EV: more ambition, more aspirations. More giving back to the community, those who are making a success
EK: continue to sustain relationship with EU. So investors see us as a big market. To be seen as a single, addressable markets. So better collaboration
BH: I would echo the EU point. It needs a renegotiation of a single EU digital market. Also, change the attitudes to success and failure.

Jun 05

LeWeb London: An Intro

For the next few days, I’m at Le Web London which is all about the sharing economy. There’ll be lots of liveblogging!

Loic Le Meur introduced the 2 day programme, welcoming everyone and opening the sessions with his definition of the sharing economy.

A quick summary of his Slide Share talk:

There is a new consumer mindset, simplicity, community, participation and collaboration. There are new values. Sustainability, authenticity. Creating together. Greed is bad, but money is OK. They want to live with less. You are not what you own. New products, are they are designed to last. It’s about use availability, rather than ownership. Why own a DVD or CD, just do subscription. Access, not ownership.

Dec 06

LeWeb 12: Matt Mullenweg and Word Press

Liveblogged – so mistakes

Matt Mullenweg, Founder, Automattic & Om Malik, Founder & Senior Writer, GigaOM

Le Web Paris Dec 2012

WordPress powers 17% of top million sites. it’s fun but also a responsibility, wanted to create open source publishing but also wanted to create sustainable business. So Automattic – those are the services that pay. Growing it to be large, sustainable and independent. Some of the things that are going on with the platforms are ‘troubling’. Instagram has been a user focused company; with twitter and facebook, the primary users are advertisers. The person is just the product. You then have a conflict. And that leads to lack of user focus. Matt has always tried to set up business model that is aligned with the person, the end user, not advertisers. Does not approve of what happens with Instagram and Twitter. WordPress is kind of Swiss – works with all of the various platforms. That’s what users want, you can comment with any of the accounts. You can always come home to your blog. have used everything. But you always need that digital home, No matter what, I come back. So for my blog to incorporate some of the third party, then that’s fine. A lot of people use it to post to and then push to Twitter etc. Social networks provide distribution channels for blogs and blogs explode in popularity.

WP is open, so people can start to connect things to the blog. make their own plugins. (Om: what i see is these platforms trying to sell us ‘their’ web. But it will get to the point (again) when it is our web again. There is going to be a fight back)

Matt thinks that WP is interesting on its own, but what is more interesting is the connection between them. looking for them to help shape habits and behaviours. When there are multiple digital inputs, what intelligence can be brought into WP…it’s probably not going to be something that Matt will come up with. There are 20k plugins. They solve problems

Mobile is becoming more important for Om, so he’s asking what mobile does for Matt. Mobile makes them re-evaluate WordPress from ground up. The WP dashboard allows you to do a lot of things, but for new people,it can be intimidating. For mobile, you reduce, you get it down to key elements, and it can be beautiful. Automattic has more people on mobile apps that the core wordpress. Get about 80m uniques on mobile, and tend to generate more page views (eg with ipads), Expect a slow growth for mobile to be the main interface.

Om asks if WP wants to get into the devices (eg cameras etc). Matt is start seeing the first round of smart cameras. The Nikon one, you can run WP on it. You can get devices that autopost, but not into that. The ration between creation and consumption needs to be right.

Dec 06

LeWeb 12: Brian Solis and changing behaviours

liveblogged – with mistakes

Brian Solis, Principal, Altimeter Group

Le Web Paris Dec 2012

Two years ago, discussed the Human API, where you body is open to connections. The internet of things is not just devices and data. I like the concept of superheroes and experiences. You have an opportunity to define what we are going to do as consumers. Give an app to do something better than you did before or give great experiences. I want to talk to you about opportunities around the IoT. Data and devices are everywhere. How many of us are doing things because you can. But I want to challenge you to not just do something there is a problem..but how can you change my behaviour. That is the real opp, because otherwise it’s just data and tech

We are building an incredible human network, where people, info and experiences are coming together. People talk and worry about big data, but what are we doing with it that counts, to make something that matters. We are not even seizing the opps that we have today. Altimeter refer to this as the sentient world..it’s all coming together. But what about what we don’t see. The IoT connects devices and people…but what else. It is getting better…but it’s going to be generic. Labels that don’t mean a thing, that don’t inspire you.

What are we going to do with all of this in a way that matters. When thinking back to conversations about human API, we have the opp to make tech do something, to change things. But there has to be something more. We have devices that allow us to do things – open a door, change the temp. They are utilities. But what else can the do. It’s not just controlling things, it’s about surroundings and experiences. If the medium is the message, how can the medium influence how the message is perceived. It is the interpretation of the data that allows us to do something different. here,. we have the opp to find what that it is. Some of you will develop amazing utilities. But can you deliver amazing experiences.

THe Human ALgorithm – people are at the centre – are you making things easier, to do something, to have something. I want you to give me something that I didn’t know I want. I want you to know where I’m going when in the car…to advise and communicate. That idea and dreams are what I want you to do. It is that vision that takes you beyond the idea. It is about making the idea better in the first place. We have not tapped that human algorithm enough, it is you and me and the possible.

Jobs wanted to create an experience. He could take ideas and make them better. believe that he had cracked the code for the Human algorithm, He thought differently. The idea is to deliver experiences that ties together all of this information. All of the digital breadcrumbs we lay out are powerful, how do we connect them. So how about a fridge that knows when you are running out, to get things into your cart and have it done automatically. That is a utility, that is cool. But is that good enough? YOu have tech that is tracking you, connecting with doctors etc. But it’s still just the beginning. Fitbit helps you think about living a healthier lifestyle. But it connects you with other people to encourage you. So thinking about the experience about how it brings you closer to friends and family., You are designing an experience with the sole job of making you a better human being.

These life hacks are now just becoming part of life. As designers and investors we should look for more opps to change lives. We are getting re-wired with all this tech but who is the architect.Who thinks through the experiences. We should not be surprised when people do different things with products. It is about designing an experience to change behaviour -0 ie how babies interact with ipads and then magazines.

Experience architecture is brand new, it is something that we all get to decide. How do you make it better and change things. If you make a new experience, a life hack, that helps me become something I wanted to be or do something I could not before, then that is good. Experiences that trigger the changes…because of your designs. To change behaviour, to force new trends, to make people want to follow you.

To design the future of IoT, we need to think about filtering out the noise, There is not enough innovation and vision. How you can add social hooks that get people together, to get people to talk about it. To buy a lifestyle not a product. How we predict who people will react. Anticipate needs and inspirations.

It comes down to this. Life is about creating and living experiences that are worth sharing. It is about how people interact with the IoT. It comes down to you, as the EA. You are going to help me change my behaviour and have new experiences. You are not just developing products, services and solutions, you can be a Experience Architect to help me change the way I live my life.

Dec 06

LeWeb 12: Ramon WOW

Liveblogged – may be mistakes

Ramon de Leon, Social Media Marketing, Dominos Pizza

Markets for 6 Dominos stores in Pizza. Uses social media to drive sales! Told us his tips. Be prepared to create and share content. THat’s what people do – create and share content. He is prepared to capture all the time – has about 6 gadgets in pockets. People are in the mobile device – he organised a pizza last night via Twitter. He’s on all the time. His goal is to make people smile wherever it is. His goal today, is to inspire us. He looks for ways to make people feel good!

When Facebook hit his area in 2005, at the college. They went out and took photos at all the events, labelled them with brand and encouraged the students to post on the (then student only) Facebook. They still work hard with students. They worry about how they can help students – to keep them in business (and buying pizza). It’s about trusting your instincts – and believe in what you are doing, Be your own caffeine!!! Don’t be lazy…..Don’t be boring. If you are operating a brand and you are boring, then you need to increase your budget for advertising – advertising is the cost for being boring. Partner with the right people – go to battle with a wingman.
When he started with the tools, they defined it. They planned everything. They knew that social media fire can only be put out with social media water.

He REMEMBERS. he goes back and interacts with people who have had a problem. He still sorts out people they had a problem with 3 years ago. He goes out of his way to make experiences. The question is always ‘how does it make you feel’
Social media is all about people – not tech. Give up control, let customers speak. Throughout, you need to make sure your message is clear. Don’t get lost in the clutter, but don’t overdo it. And although content is clear, you have to get out and talk to people. You have to show the face.

RC comment: a passionate and committed marketer who loves what he does, loves engaging with his customers and giving them a brilliant time. Some great tips and brilliant examples of why he is successful

Dec 05

LeWeb 12: Mid-conference report

So half way through the conference and what are my impressions?

The internet of things is complicated. Is it just on your phone? Is it the quantified self? Is it toys? Is it switches and buttons that you put round your house? is it embedded processors in cars and coffee machines. One thing that is missing is some discussion of what do we mean. At Futures of Entertainment in MIT last month, there was time to discuss meanings and semantics and common language. Here, with the focus on show me something new now, we can be left foundering in meanings and definitions without clarity.

Just because you have a new product announcement that may have a finger in the real world does not mean that you can talk with authority about the internet of things. There are lost of short speeches, of talks from the big companies that have nothing concrete and credible to say about the theme but have something small to announce. Just because of the scale and the PR around this conference they need to be seen and need to be seen to say something. But my challenge is not to tell me about something new – as in a product – but get me to think something new. Challenge my preconceptions about the world

The internet of things is not a new topic – as Adam Tinworth says, other conferences look to the future, Le Web looks at the now and what is happening. And what we are seeing is commercialisation and the start of commoditisation. The barriers are coming down. I don’t need to be an expert in circuits and soldering to connect my cupboard to the web. I just need to buy the right part. It’s not yet open to all, but the toys and tools are getting there so that people are interacting now without considering it the internet of things, this new thing, it’s just life and how things happen. Being able to turn my lights on as I turn into my street or turn the car heating on remotely as I drink my coffee in the morning. Everything is becoming connected and the connections are becoming invisible.

So that’s it after a day and a half. Time to dig in and get typing for the rest of the sessions

Dec 05

LeWeb 12: Amber Case and Cyborg interfaces

Liveblogged – may be mistakes

Amber Case, Director of Esri R&D Center Portland, Cyborg Anthropologist & Former CEO, Geoloqi, Inc.

Le Web Paris Dec 2012

We have devices that need to be looked after, fed and comforted. With our phones, we are all cyborgs. It is a symbiotic interaction between you and a machine. It is about having devices that allow you to adapt you to environments. We have had physical extensions to self, like the hammer or the knife. Devices that look like the do something. Modern devices don’t look like they are supposed to do, the buttons are liquid. The devices are small. And they impact people in different ways.

The devices make things that were invisible visible. So what can you do if your phone knew where you were. This is an invisible button, when you go into a space then something happens. In the 70′s that was called ‘calm technology’. Tech that gets out of the way, it reacts as you go through your life, with no direct action. It has ambient imput. location, time, speed etc. Phones become a remote control for reality, your location has power. Ideas like geonotes – notes and info from people are where you are. Location based controllers. Lights on and off when go in and out of house. More invisible buttons.

One main area is about quantified self. About tracking moods and activity etc. But we have frictionless data gathering, but not interpretation. There’s lots of data but on different devices. We need a way of connecting it all, of interoperability, That is holding back the internet of things. A way of connecting and correlating things. Without needing to code. Making it easy./ When we correlate, that is when we get real meaning. That will drive insights.

Looking forward to the future of maps and location. We have all this data, how can we use this in new ways. Intelligent routing. What is the safest cycling route. What is the least windy route through a city. The best technology is invisible, ambient and gets out of the way. And that it is easy to connect with and understand the data.