SANTA MONICA — Sept. 20, 2012 — The 4A’s 2nd annual CreateTech Conference, which promised a “vision of the possible” did not disappoint, concluded with a presentation by Mick Ebeling, CEO, of The Ebeling Group, a think tank that nurtures inventors and innovators and of the Not Impossible Foundation, which helps restore creativity in people suffering a neuromuscular disorder. One of the inventions made possible by both organizations is the EyeWriter, which uses eye movements to control computer keyboard functions.
Ebeling discussed the product at length as well as the documentary film he executive produced: Getting Up: The Tempt One Story, about a graffiti artist stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease who regains his creative voice using technology.
Ebeling offered some key lessons about innovation and making change. “My wish is that you’ll take these lessons and use them for your work,” Ebeling said.
- Catch yourself from not jumping, don’t catch yourself from not falling. A toddler hears the word “no” 300 times a day. We’re constantly bombarded with this concept of impossible. Every single thing in this room was impossible at one point.
- Celebrate the failures.
- Have a sense of urgency: If not now, when? If not me, who?
Winston Binch, chief digital officer at DeutschLA, opened the day’s sessions with a morning keynote to explain what exactly a chief chief digital officer does: “I’m a digital CEO” who help his agency get to better in the digital realm, work on making money; and put a stake in the ground in terms of a vision. As such, Binch gave a plug to the agency world. “I like working in an agency,” he said. “The start up world is overrated.” He advised agencies to Invest heavily in technology if they want to attract top-notch creative technologists from the internet world. “Hire inventors,” he said. “Art directors and copy writers push ideas through, which works well for message-based communications but not for digital.”
David Pio, Partner Engineer, at Facebook, who talked about OpenGraph and the semantic web.
Pio said the definition of the semantic web is that it’s the common set of guidelines and standards that allows the web to be understood by machines; the OpenGraph is how the web connects and can be viewed as a graph.
The social graph is people, said Pio, adding that a social graph is merely a connection of relationships and interactions. “Every connection in the social graph is an opportunity for a story,” he explained. “The power of the social graph is the power of creating connections and human interaction and discussion.”
What is the open graph? The open graph connects people to concepts and ideas. It’s a way to mark up pages on the internet giving it semantic meaning.
“The Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist,” was the topic of Scott Brinker’s presentation.`He’s president & CTO of ion Interactive, who declared that “at the end of the day, the agency is responsible for the creative; the brand is responsible for customer experience.” The distance between creative work and the customer experienced has evaporated, he added, it has collapsed to a click.
“We’ve entered the golden age of marketing software,” Brinker declared, noting the impact on marketing of targeting software and listening software. As a result, he concluded, “He who controls the software controls the marketing.”
The 4A’s Peter Kosmala, SVP, Government Affairs, gave an overview of privacy and security as it relates to online data collection by marketers about consumers. Privacy and security in tech development have been scant, he admitted but that reality shouldn’t impede technologists’ ability to create “cool stuff.” They should however, always be mindful of the implications of their marketing in terms of consumers privacy and software security.
Additionally, Kosmala pointed out that privacy perceptions are different across consumer segments depending on age, gender, national origin and other factors. He then gave a definition of how marketing associations and government agencies define online privacy: “The appropriate use of information given the circumstances.” Young consumers are very uninhibited in sharing personal data in return for something cool like an app, Kosmala explained while “privacy fundamentalists” are very strong believers in protecting personal information
The U.S. is more free-flowing about sharing data and personal information, Kosmala said, but “doing privacy right” can strengthen brand perception in this market. Marketers must consider the following in terms of consumer privacy:
- Know where data is in play
- Avoid storing personally identifiable information (PII), the most sensitive type of data—street address, SS number, email address—beyond a strict business need
- Identify opportunities for consumer choice by giving them brief information about how their info will be used and whether they want to proceed into the marketing offer
- Notice, choice and consent are critical pillars in privacy principles
Khan Smith, of Akamai, talked about how it is the biggest company nobody’s ever heard of, but “if you’ve streamed video or bought something online, you’ve been on the Akamai platform.”
An innovative collaborations panel included executives from Virgin America, Tool and Eleven, both agencies. They discussed how consumer-generated content becomes part of its marketing. For example, Virgin America gets about 1,000 tweets per hour from customers, and many customers instragram their in-flight experiences.
Colleen DeCourcy, who left TBWA\Chiat\Day to launch a new agency, Socialistic, talked about the importance of self-actualization among advertising professionals and why so many of them make the leap into the unknown of a start-up. “The tech companies and consumers are holding hands and walking into the future. The agencies are left out,” she said.
Artist-in-Residence and Research Scientist at UC Irvine Garnet Hertz expounded on the “makers” movement—people who just love to tinker with and create new contraptions. “I grew up in the middle nowhere in Canada,” Hertz said of his beginnings as a maker. “Ruralness can inspire creativity.” He lamented what he sees as an omission in American culture—that it has forgotten how to build things and think through design process in robust way.
Various Star Wars film clips were shown during “Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction,” a presentation by Chris Noessel, Managing Director at design firm Cooper.
Nearly 200 people from around the country attended the two-day conference, now in its second year.