SXSW: Afterthoughts and Afterhours

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As flight delays scrolled across screens and text messages tapered off, SXSW negated to close its doors, yet gave a swift slap to attendees as it dismounted from Interactive. As mentioned, most of the interactivity action happens outside of the panels and what happens in SXSW, stays on Flickr. With leftover hand-stamps from evening outings, attendees gingerly, yet somehow still enthusiastically dragged their feet to morning panels over the last few days. The main word on the carpeted streets was "overwhelming" with the plethora of things to do and people to see seriously taxing attendees stamina.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-16-07    
Topic: Industry Events



SXSW: Toys for Boys, Playing in Will Wright's Virtual Doll House

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At the recent SXSW conference in Austin, Will Wright, the famed game designer behind SimCity, The Sims and the yet to be released and highly anticipated Spore, flipped through pages of storytelling to an audience of all ears. Linking stories with the shift from passive to interactive media, Wright outlined the social and biological differences between games and film. While games utilize our basic instincts within the brain, film typically provides a rich emotional palette. Rather than push for the complete adoption of one or the other, Wright integrated the two into a cohesive experience.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-16-07    
Topic: Games, Industry Events, Trends and Culture



SXSW: Tune in Isn't A Turn On

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While television content may be king, the overall user experience is moving in to claim checkmate. How we interact and interpret television currently is on a static plane of directional geography: surfing channels up, down, left, and right. Helping break the tangible and virtual norms at the recent SXSW conference, David Merkoski (Frog Design) narrated the audience through an up and coming product yet to hit the markets.

Appropriately titled Mondrian, the product set to go public next year, is a TV navigation and recommendation Zoomable User Interface (ZUI) that attempts to rethink TV user interaction. A few major differences with Mondrian is that a user no longer needs to be stuck within nested menus while navigating and it has an active anticipation engine that takes in the content, time, and environment you watch in to build a profile and recommendations. It goes without saying that Mondrian becomes an easy target for Big Brother contextual advertisers. While there have already been proposals for all-advertising channels within the ZUI grids, Merkoski remained unclear on any efforts to save the product from advertising overload.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-15-07    
Topic: Industry Events, Television



SXSW: Tinker Toys For Technologists

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This week, SXSW Interactive featured a keynote conversation with Limor Fried (Adafruit Industries) and Phil Torrone (MAKE Magazine). Hacking the DIY culture, Torrone and Fried discussed the techniques of tinkering with technology. With examples such as the Bacon Alarm Clock, skin-embedded RFID chips, and the recent Gummy Bear Chandelier, the panelists whetted the audience's palate with a selection of delicious DIY snacks.

Hacktivism culture has been spreading at a rapid rate as of late. Simply said, "People make weird and bizarre things," Torrone stated in response to the movement. Sharing "recipes" has now become commonplace among tinkering communities and unlike dating, you're not slapped if you show all your intimate parts too soon.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-14-07    
Topic: Industry Events, Online, Social



Agencies at Diversity Conference Seek Diverse Talent

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Continuing what we started in New York on Nov 8, yesterday Adrants and BDI held the second Ad Industry Diversity Job Fair and Leadership Conference in San Francisco, hosted by the Academy of Art in conjunction with BIG. Local and nationwide entities including Google, Modem Media, Draft FCB, Dieste and T3 (The Think Tank), showed up to trade paper with giddy be-suited candidates.

The set of pews and the wide church like set-up served as a good backdrop for what could be both parts keynote and sermon.

Larry Harris, EVP and Director of Integrated Marketing at DraftFCB, made a straightforward delivery on topics we expected to rise to the surface: the disparity of diversity in our industry, the changing face of marketing in the face of new media (iPods, internet, mobile phones, chip-reading billboards) and the importance of knowing what you want before leaping into the wild blue yonder. He also told an awesome story about how he infiltrated agency execs by pretending to be a message boy. "They let you right in!" he exclaimed.

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by Angela Natividad    Mar-14-07    
Topic: Agencies, Good, Industry Events, Opinion



SXSW: You Don't Need to be Here

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Ushering her audience out, Kathy Sierra questioned why interactive attendees would bother to show in person in the age of live blogging and streaming content. With an opening line of "you don't need to be here", admittedly a few poured out of the conference room doors. However, Sierra stated, that there are still elements that exist as the missing link between computer interaction and human expression. Responsiveness to software was compared to the likes of Asperger's syndrome, unintentionally rude and often narrowly focused.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-12-07    
Topic: Industry Events, Online, Trends and Culture



SXSW: Drunk at the Wheel, Driving Social Technology

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Offering no apologies for social disruption, the Emerging Social and Technology Trends panelists invite themselves into your conversation. The panel on Saturday hosted yet again a large group of speakers from diverse backgrounds. Although intimate panels tend to be more revealing, this one at least showed a little leg. Headed up by Laura Moorhead (Wired), the panelists included Andrew Blum (Wired), Robert Fabricant (Frog Design), Eliot Van Buskirk (Wired), Peter Rojas (Engadget), and Daniel Raffel (Yahoo!).

Perhaps drunk at the wheel sometimes, technology does drive social change. In turn, everyday people are now enabled to be the drivers as well. Similar to the blur of how you got home the night before, there is no longer a clear sobriety line to walk between social interaction and technology. Likewise, a constant negotiation between public and private, business and pleasure, leaves many at polar realms. Understanding the integration versus isolation debate is said to help us understand ourselves, or at least what Kool-aid we drank to get there.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-11-07    
Topic: Industry Events, Social



Hoard the Hangovers, SXSW Interactive Kicks Off

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First in a series of articles by Ariel Waldmen covering the famed SXSW Interactive Show in Austin.

South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive kicked off on Friday with a panel dedicated to "pop the cherries of the SXSW virgins". The How to Rawk SXSW panel was headed up by a variety of familiar names and faces, including Min Jung Kim (Photobucket), Glenda Bautista (Agendacide), Tantek Celik (Technorati), Nick Douglas (Look Shiny, formerly Valleywag), Andrew Huff (Gapers Block), Lynne d Johnson (fastcompany), and our friend Tony Pierce (LAist). Sharing swigs out of a bottle of Jack Daniel's the panelists calmed the crowd's expectations.

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by Ariel Waldman    Mar-10-07    
Topic: Industry Events



Adrants Hits San Francisco for Diversity Conference

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Continuing what we started in New York last November, the Advertising Industry Diversity Job Fair and Leadership Conference (take a breath) will take place, again, in San Francisco Tuesday the 13th. The show is free for students and job seekers. You can read all about it here.

After a morning keynote with Larry Harris of Draft FCB, Adrants, in the form of me, Angela Natividad, will be moderating a panel on what it's like to work in advertising and marketing. Panelists will include Larissa Acosta, General Manager at Dieste Harmel and Partners; Gay Gaddis, President and CEO of T3; and Rodney Withers, VP/Director, Interaction Design, Creative, Modem Media.

Come by and say hello. The event promises to be educational and we're occasionally less snarky in person. Only occasionally, though.

by Angela Natividad    Mar- 9-07    
Topic: Industry Events



Adrants to Rant About Social Media on ad:tech Panel

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On April 24 at 4PM during the ad:tech conference in San Francisco, the topic of personal and social media as it relates to brand personality will be discussed on a panel led by Ogilvy PR Interactive Marketing VP Rohit Bhargava. The panel will consist of PodTech Director of Corporate Media Strategy Jeremiah Owyang, AskNinja Co-Creator Kent Nichols, N-Gage Web/Social Integration Manager for Nokia Karl Long and yours truly, Adrants Publisher Steve Hall.

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by Steve Hall    Mar- 9-07    
Topic: Announcements, Industry Events










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