Tuesday was a day well spent.
I spent it with two colleagues at a marketing seminar in Vancouver. “The Art of Marketing”. I know, I know… “yawn” right?! The MC was Ron Tite, who sounded like he should have a career doing voice-overs for Futurama or something. Far too hyped and loud for that time in the morning.
The first speaker was David Usher. I vaguely knew him to be a singer. Turns out he fronted a band called “Moist” (Fnaar, fnaar) back in the day. He’s still a recording artist, but has now started to indulge his interests in technology. Most of the women in the audience seemed to be particularly attentive I noticed. He gave a little talk about how his band found “the rhythm” of the show every time they went on stage. A slightly different tempo at each performance. Wouldn’t it be great, they mused, if the audience could set the rhythm? Enter Arduino, a heart monitor and a drum machine. He asked for a volunteer and rejecting the high hands of several hundred females in the audience of 2,000, he stepped off the stage and cruised for the perfect victim. In the end, he selected one young lady because she averted her eyes from his gaze.
David Usher… and John
Under ever so slight duress, she followed him up on stage and held the device as instructed in both hands. The unmistakable thump of a heart beat began… except it sounded like a drum, not the sound we’re conditioned to hear from watching hospital TV series’. Usher commented on how fit she must be as it was a very slow rate. Once he casually draped his hand on her shoulder though the rate sharply increased, the audience laughed and she went a delicate shade of crimson. It rose higher when he jokingly started to massage her shoulders.
John the guitarist valiantly attempted to strum to the rate, and as predicted the soothing tones slowed down her pulse. Usher sang a few improv lines to the rhythm of her heart, and the demonstration was done.
Usher spoke eloquently about the hard slog and grit needed to produce creativity, but that he believed it was possible for anyone. Then came the classic quote which echoed through the rest of the day: “It’s not all hash pipes and hand-grenades” . Plainly this was not premeditated, and he said something along the lines of “not sure where that came from”. He then gave a generous Q&A session. One lady said she was herself a recording artist and asked for suggestions on how to “break out”. “Do it for the love of the music” was the not entirely helpful response.
After the break, Tite called Flora Ware – the young lady who’d asked the question – up to the stage and offered her the opportunity to sing A Capella to the 2,000 strong audience. Without hesitation she accepted and belted out a note perfect rendition of a jazz ballad to loud applause.
Mitch Joel was next up, and gave an interesting session about how to better engage the customer and have “sex with data”. He gave lots of great innovative examples including Amazon’s PriceCheck, Kickstarter crowd funding and Chipotle’s Coldplay-murdering Willie Nelson food video. He asserts that the “three screen” era (TV, PC, phone) is passing, as we enter a single screen era.
This video about Samsung’s new Smart Window technology was shown as an example of what’s just around the corner…
More people in the world, it seems, have access to mobile phones than either mains electricity or even safe drinking water.
Randi Zuckerberg (Mark – of Facebook fame – is her brother) was very smiley… and totally forgettable.
Biz Stone came next and was entertaining even if he seemed a little, er, medicated. That or exceedingly laid back. Which is possible given he co-founded Twitter. To the early complaint that “Twitter isn’t useful”, his co-founder Evan Williams is purported to have replied “Well neither is ice-cream! Shall we ban it and all joy?”
Lastly, we had Scott Stratten. From Toronto. But we won’t hold that against him. He said he used to be in HR until he realised he hated people. Then he moved into marketing… where it was OK to hate people. He came perilously close to being a stand-up comedian, but managed to keep a curb on his anti-QR Code rant, and instead gave some hilarious examples of how NOT to use it.
- Like in aeroplane magazines… when you can’t use the internet
- Or in emails to mobile phones… when the camera is on the opposite side to the screen you’re reading it on
- Or in web pages… when the QR code sends you to the same web page
- Or pulled behind an aeroplane, so you need to run down the street trying to scan it from the sky
- Or on a dog tag in case the hound gets lost… but without a phone number! (Remember what you use to scan a QR code? Yup – a phone!)
Or my favourite… on the back of a bus! Readable only from a moving vehicle! And note what it gives you access to – Atlanta Medical Center ER. No irony at all…
Update: OK – so I found a really good image showing the bus I was talking about. Unfortunately, since I wrote the post late at night, I had forgotten to do the usual and add the source location. My bad. I was tired. I had added a link to encourage people who were interested to visit their site and read more, but had forgotten to mention it in words.
Anyway, the site owner seems to have an issue with people actually seeing their content, despite it being on a public website, easily locatable via google images, blah, blah, and put up a snotty replacement image instead. OK. A little rude (they’re probably Lancastrian 🙂 ) but OK. The image had words about stealing their bandwidth. OK… but it seemed to miss the point that even THAT image needed downloading from their site.
C’est la vie dear reader… there’s nowt as queer as folk.