Something made me look twice at this when I was thinking of booking tickets for an event the other day, because I haven’t seen many events where a person’s age gets them a discount. I think brand sponsors of events can use this in interesting ways if they choose to. Youth brands can give people under 18, 21 or 25 special access, for example. Something like American Express priority access to the Tribeca Film Festival, or even O2 Priority, but linked to age rather than membership or ownership, so that a larger pool of the target audience are motivated to become members or owners. I attend a lot of events and wouldn’t mind exchanging my email address for the opportunity to get insider access to an interesting event. Of course, the onus would be on the brand to create and maintain a relationship that is valuable to me in the long run after that.
India Business Forum, London
Ever since Goldman Sachs’ famed BRIC report a few years ago, a lot of eyes have been on Brazil, Russia, India and China. Focussing specifically on India, students at the London Business School have been organising the India Business Forum for a few years now. This year’s event will take place on April 23rd, and features a roster of interesting speakers – to name just one or two wouldn’t be fair because all of them come from different backgrounds and are well-known in their respective fields of work. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Innovative India: Creating Value and Opportunities’. I think it’s quite timely, given the current situation of the global economy, to examine the role of innovation and efforts being made to change the status quo in various areas in the country. I hope I’ll be able to attend!
Protein Forum #2
Went to a couple of interesting events in the last couple of weeks. One was the second Protein Forum, held at the Grok Institute, where three interesting speakers clued me in to the stuff they do. First was Andreas Muller from Nanikawa, a programmer who has worked on art projects like Nokia’s Swimming Message System in 2006. Andreas thinks of himself first and foremost as a programmer, though I’d put him in the ‘artist’ category – his works are really beautiful, more than being functional (no offence to him). One of the questions he was asked was whether what his clients want has a bearing on what he creates, especially given the fact that his work is so aesthetically pleasing. Andreas minced no words when he said that as long as he is paid, he doesn’t really care. That seems such a practical way of looking at things – and coming from someone whose skill with computers is more art-leaning than technology, I was somewhat surprised to hear it. I guess at the end of the day, all of us who work in the creative industries that go Ooh! and Aah! over art and culture need to remember that what is beautiful to us isn’t always beautiful to the creator – it’s just what they do, and as long as they have money in the bank, it’s not such a big deal to them. Simply put, everyone doesn’t have a cause. They don’t need a cause.
Thoughts on Us Now
NESTA Connect organised a screening of Us Now this evening, a documentary that looks at how the concept of power is changing in an increasingly collaborative world. Rohan Gunatillake introduced the film by pulling together a tag cloud composed of the names of all the attendees at the event, and a slide that showed images of all those who were bloggers (gave me a bit of a shock to see myself up there, I can tell you – but a pleasant one!).
The Webbies at the ICA
I thought I’d write up some of the interesting stuff that was mentioned at the publicity party for the Webby Awards at the ICA earlier tonight, before I forgot. The event’s focus were the five-minute talks by people who had something to do with the web in one way or another. That’s my description, but they were a truly diverse bunch by personality, so technically it was just a bunch of cool people talking about cool stuff.
Education in art
I spent an educational afternoon at the Houldsworth Gallery in London today, where I went to view an exhibition titled ‘Learned Helplessness’ by the Royal Art Lodge. Each piece of art there is tiny – a small square of 2×2 inches, but has a message that comes out if you take the time to take in all that it is trying to say. I especially liked ones like ‘Kleenex Animism’ and ‘6’1-5’3′ which are among those pictured above (click on it to see a larger version). The latter, which shows a headless man, is a bit gory, but it is well-portrayed, in my opinion. The whole exhibition gives you a lot to think about, in terms of messages. For those who don’t really get it from looking at the images above, you have to BE there.
Ruminating on Ad:tech London
At Ad:tech London last week, I attended a couple of talks that gave me a new perspective to the industry. One was the talk by the guys from Bebo, who spoke about how to successfully promote a brand on social networks. Now I’m not a user of Bebo, so I found it interesting that a social network like them has executed on advertising in a completely different way to Facebook. The main mode of advertising on Bebo is not so much in-your-face (boxed ads that say ‘buy this’, for example) as through the sponsorship of an idea that appeals to teens and young people. Bebo is the only social network that actually runs mini-reality-shows themselves. For one of these, called The Gap Year, a number of brands came in to give the opportunity to 6 young people to take six months off travelling around the world, all expenses paid. Their travails became the reality show, telecast on Bebo only. It wasn’t an amateur show either – the people who made Big Brother are the ones who helmed this. I think this is an interesting way of reaching out to their huge user base. It reminded me of Skype’s Nomad programme though – except for the fact that the Gap Year initiative was on Bebo and the Skype Nomad thing was primarily publicized through a blog. A social network has a more captive user base than a blog, so from a publicity point of view, the Bebo initiative makes more sense.
What I’ve been upto recently
Two events I attended last week that I must mention:
1. Brief 2008. Ashley and Anthony did a great job of organising an event that truly encouraged creative thinkers to ‘push the brief’ (Good work by Ike on the design of the event poster, by the way). What I liked about it is that it wasn’t just for the experienced industry people, but newbies and middleweights as well. In fact, the newest kids on the block won, and I think it’s great they had the chance to get noticed at an event like that. Complicated brief, and a variety of ways emerged to tackle it.
2. A talk on harnessing user-led innovation, at NESTA. A couple of main issues were tacked: how to encourage innovation and push the change of regulation around user-led innovation in the UK. NESTA has commissioned this research by the Centre for Research in Innovation Management (CENTRIM), University of Brighton, and the Science Technology Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex. Interesting cases that were discussed (and the heads/a representative from these were included in the panel), were Sibelius Software, a firm that makes music notation software, and Swapitshop, a site for teenagers that lets them swap stuff for free and earn credits to buy things they want as well – essentially, sites that are utilising ideas contributed by users to innovate. The report is available to download free, here.