Instantly Obsolete

NYT’s Interactive Mirror (and Kinect Hack)

The R&D team at The New York Times designed and prototyped this interactive mirror they call Reveal. It displays news media content as well as personal health and lifestyle data — all controlled through voice and gestural in-puts (or “natural user interfaces”).

More here on Reveal and the NYT R&D Lab.

Hello Future — So Glad You Could Make It

I’ve seen my share of childhood science fiction come to reality, and it never gets old.

I knew that Jaron Lanier was working at Mircosoft Research on applications for the Kinect device, however, I was unaware of the output from their Sensors and Devices Group — a part of the Computer-Mediated Living research area. The team produced the “HoloDesk” (video above), a system that combines a special optical display and the Kinect camera to create an experience that replicates realistic physical interactions with virtual 3D objects.

The demo is intriguing. And adjacent possible, astounding.

The Future of Media: Channeling Passion, Culture and Relevance

Above: Angry Birds Theme, covered by Pomplamoose — the VideoSong was filmed with a Samsung Infuse 4G phone.

Recently, I participated in SAY Media’s Create conference with an inspiring group of passionate people who are all creating amazing content and building culture around the things they love.

The event got me thinking about the future of media — and how brands can best position themselves alongside “passionate” content to foster more meaningful connections with their customers.

Media creation and consumption continues to fracture and expand into every conceivable space. What once were a few trusted sources has become an ever-expanding universe of niche players. Never before has there been more content available in more places. However, consumers and creators are often overwhelmed, finding it difficult to know what’s relevant, and to connect with others who care about the same things they do.

For brand marketers, this landscape has become frightfully convoluted, proving to be a difficult ground to find reliable tactics for consistent success — particularly when it comes to connecting meaningfully with their target audiences.

So, how are people discovering media today? What draws them in? What inspires them to engage and what compels them to come back for more?

One thing is clear; people aren’t waiting for it to be delivered to them from the same old mass media channels.

Consumers are actively, sometimes feverishly, seeking out content about their passions. They’re on the lookout for fresh thinking from people who share their interests and demonstrate like-minded views. Generally these passionate creators also foster a persistent exchange with their audiences — catalyzing communities that generate even more content for, and about their passions.

Their voices are authentic. Their platforms are open. And, in aggregate, they’re drawing profound, even massive audiences.

New jack media networks like SAY, are capitalizing on this phenomenon by aggregating and connecting the best independent content creators and their communities to provide simple ways for brands to engage with passionate audiences, at scale.

This new wave of media networks continue to experiment with opportunities for brands to get closer to the content and provide meaningful ways to engage with audiences.

It was in this vein that Odopod helped develop the Master of All Skills promotional contest for DonQ Rum earlier this year. A highly bespoke program that positioned their brand at the center of deeply engaging custom content from publishers with passionate interests, including Cool Hunting, Instructables and Good Magazine.

What’s more, it seems the individual creators don’t mind working with the brands either. In fact, when a brand shares their interests, they welcome collaboration, even earnest co-creation.

For example, during their presentation at Create, Jack Conte, of the musical duo Pomplamosse, discussed their collaboration with Samsung to develop one of their inventive YouTube video-songs (see above) in order to generate buzz an upcoming product launch.

And, that’s the kind of relationship can propel a brand out of the cluttered margins, and smack dab in the center of passionate conversations and cultural relevance.

PS. Thanks for the invitation Troy.

Internet of Things Say Hello to Model S

It’s true Tesla is a client, but that’s far from the only reason I love ’em.

In a large part it’s because they behave much more a lot like a Silicon Valley software company then an automotive manufacture. And, in addition to weaning us from our costly dependence on oil, Tesla on a mission to create the most connecting car. Ever.

Based on the videos from this Engadget post, it looks like there on track to do just that.

Sure, there’s that sexy 17-inch touchscreen in-dash display. That along with a full Webkit browser operates everything from the climate and navigation to the cloud-connected entertainment system. However, it’s the demo of the native app above that’s really got me ready to burn the $50K+ hole in my pocket when it rolls into full production in 2012.

Touch Me, I’m Creative

At this year’s MAX conference, Adobe announced their Touch Apps — a new family of touch screen applications designed to enable creative professionals to use their mobile tablets to create and present their ideas.

Inspired by Creative Suite, including the industry standard image-editor Photoshop, the Touch Apps are designed to work with both finger and stylus input.

Perhaps it’s time to get a room?

You Say Transmedia, I Say Multimodality?

In advance of my participation at the upcoming Storyworld Conference, I’ve found myself debating the meaning and usage of the term Transmedia. Sometimes with my colleagues and peers, and sometimes with myself.

Without a doubt the “T” word is frightfully overused—and with its growing popularity with marketers, and the like, it’s becoming increasingly misused. Or at least, contorted from it’s original definition.

In a recent post from Henry Jenkins, the Provost’s Professor of Communications, Journalism, and Cinematic Art at USC, the man who who first popularized the term, he outlines the range of uses, definitions and reflects on it’s continual evolution.

Transmedia 202.

I found it fascinating and thoroughly insightful.

More good reading on the “T” word:
Why Transmedia is Catching On — July 5, 2011
Transmedia Storytelling 101 — March 22, 2007

Creating a Culture of Innovation

Eight Pillars of Innovation

Everyone’s talking about innovation. Some are even doing it. But how do you institutionalize it? Susan Wojcicki’s contribution to Google’s latest Think Quarterly offers eight guiding principles. Smart and clear thinking.

Dandy Porn

When I’m not trolling the internet for LOL cats and new examples of “digital innovation”, you’ll likely find me practicing virtual consumerism on a style blog. One of my recent favorites is Convoy. Subtitled “An Ever-growing Collection of Nice Things I Like”, it’s clear I share the same taste as some fine Swedish dandy.

By the way, if anyone can identify the model of the Paneri watch above and tell me where I can find it, I’d be greatly appreciative. In the meantime, I’ll run to the corner store and grab a lottery ticket.

The Digital Shire

Trout Gulch Hut

Recently I learned about a group of three friends that hunkered down on some family-owned land in the Santa Cruz Mountains and founded an Open Sources Ecology (OSE) commune. Think Localism, DIY Engineering, Organic Farming and loads of Green Tech.

Their hillside village has been dubbed “Trout Gulch” and it’s patchwork of huts, tree houses and tiny shops are home to 18 artists, designers, engineers, technologists and organic farmers. Living together in happy Hobbit-esque harmony. Other then some elegantly designed biodegradable architecture, the community is relatively unremarkable, particularly for our Left Coast culture.

What is surprising is that Trout Gulch is also home to one of the most sought after animation studios—Encyclopedia Pictura. EP have created fantastical music videos for Bjork, promotions for Spore. But before you get any ideas about calling them up for commercial work, you should know that they only do work for brands and products they believe in and use themselves.

Encyclopedia Pictura team is also working on a feature film—intended to create a “new populist heroic myth for the maker movement” in the form of animated action adventure movie called, “DIY”.

This is nerds gone wild, in a great way. Queue the video.

The Age of Algorithms

One of the best TED Talks I’ve seen in some time. Kevin Slavin argues that we’re living in a world designed for—and increasingly controlled by—algorithms.

Yes, math is rad. If you haven’t already, go tell your kids.


I'm Guthrie Dolin. I'm a seasoned creative director, connector of dots, marketing strategist and insatiable entrepreneur. I’m Principal and Director of Brand and Strategy at Odopod in San Francisco.

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