Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stamford Tech Meetup #4

The recap from last night's Stamford Tech Meetup #4 held at Tiernan's on Main Street May 24th 2010. We had four presenters last night

  • Social Wish
    Social Wish is a way for you to raise money via your social networks for your cause. They have a unique payment gateway option which allows you to get to your money faster and with less fees. It's a different open way to raise small amounts of money similar to that of Kickstarter.

  • Speak to Me
    Speak to me is a way to connect experts to people that are looking for them. They have a widget that connects users to experts on a per minute fee. Video, audio and chat are included when you grill your expert.

  • Fifobooks
    Fifobooks is an online bookstore for independent book downloads. They're taking advantage of the e-books revolution with Kindle, iPad, Nook, eReader, etc.

  • Adopt a Guy
    Adopt a guy is a new take on the dating scene by allowing girls to pick which guys they would like to "adopt." Once these guys are placed in a shopping cart only then are they allowed to contact the girl. Cute animations and an interesting spin on dating set this site apart.

After it was all said and done, we took a vote on our favorite startup from STeM #4. It was a tight race between Fifobooks and Adopt a Guy at the beginning. However, as voting continued Socialwish pulled through and tied Fifobooks. So we had a vote off and SocialWish ended up winning by a vote to be crowned the winner of STeM #4; (winner received a one year membership to Founder's Card valued at $695.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Relevancy leads to Viral Buzz

So like a ton of other people did last night, I watched the finale of Lost. Now there's a ton of folks that have written about the actual show so I'm going to skip that in order to write about something that was nearly unavoidable....the commercials. I think at one point (around 10:15 - 11:00 ET) there was a one to one ratio of commercials to content. (5 minutes of content to 5 minutes of commercial). So there were a lot of commercials. Kudos to Cuse, Lindeloff and JJ for making a show so darn compelling that millions of us sat thru commercials.

Regardless, I think that these expensive commercials which I heard were approaching $900K for a 30 second spot were somewhat wasted with a few exceptions. The two that jump out at me were Verizon's Goodbye to Lost Messages and Target's Smoke and Keyboard ads. And the reason that they did was because of the integration that they had with the show's content. Heck, I would bring my eyes back to the screen because I thought the show was starting again.

The Verizon ads were a combination of user generated content with some clever editing. They would pull a scene where a character from Lost would be looking at a screen or a book or something and cut to a Verizon generated screen with YOUR message. Pretty simple to do from a production perspective. No need to hire actors, no need to be on set. Take existing footage and re-cut it. Easy. (Except for, I'm sure, the millions they had to pay to actually use the footage).

The Target ads were much different, although again, from a cost perspective probably not too expensive (less licensing of course). The first ad had the infamous "numbers" 4 8 15 16 23 42 that had to be typed into a computer in order to avoid destruction. But instead of hitting enter like Desmond did for years, the button got stuck. Time to get another keyboard at Target for $23. The second ad was with the "smoke monster" flying around all of your beach gear. Get a smoke detector for $10.99. Jeez I think I really even remembered these prices correctly.

Just goes to show that if you can make the ads relevant (even though I doubt that I was going to leave the series finale at the moment to go get keyboards or smoke detectors), people will WATCH and remember them. On top of that, both companies now get a "cool" factor associated with them. And in a way Tivo proof themselves (at least the first time around for Target).

Image via Huffpo

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

CT Film Festival

Through organizing the Stamford Tech Meetup, I met Dave Bonan (@CTFFNewMedia) who runs the digital arm at the Connecticut Film Festival. I was invited to speak about "Interactive Video and the Future of Filmmaking" as well as to be on a panel entitled "New Media Frontiers 2.0." (Actually I was double booked for a tech demo at the same time as the panel but such is the problem of being in demand! :) jk).

Arrived late to Danbury CT on Friday night but woke up relatively early on Saturday morning to get ready for my 75 minute talk. A few people in the audience appreciated the interactive session with Choose Your Own Adventure, Augmented Reality, Klickable, and some of the other things that I'm working on.

Later at the panel we had a blogger, a programmer, a musician, newscaster and myself talking about the future of media. The discussion got heated and we bounced around from topic to topic but it was a great debate. The audience got into it too and I think that we have some great material for the tape.

Exhausted from the experience and hoping that we can recreate some of the energy at some other upcoming events!