Monday, 21 October 2013

COLLABORATION - HOW DIGITAL DESIGNERS & BUILDERS need to work more closely together...

Two weeks ago I hosted the Dibi Conference, produced by those lovely  people at EPIC TIMES. Part of my role was to open the morning and afternoon sessions, and close the event with a summing up. Here is the second of those two Blog Posts relating to the conference - here is my opening of the afternoon session and my summing up...

TRON - a pioneering movie back in 1982, CGi was in its infancy - in fact many of the CGi Sequences in the original film were not in fact Cgi but Actors in costumes, clever use of lighting and hand drawn animation -  to simulate the idea of CGi. How far we have come in the 30 years since the first film, the clip we closed that sequence with was about how one man might influence others to enable the future of the whole - and in the latest film Tron Legacy one of its key themes is collaboration. Indeed, only by working together can we hope to create lasting success.

Collaboration, is key to our Creative industries - many of the projects we work on today employ the talents and skills from dozens of disciplines to create those environments, solutions, systems that deliver our present and future needs.

Our conference here today offers the opportunity to hear from specialists from both the Design and Developer/Build Arenas - but we hope through the breaks and beyond that we stimulate better dialogue between all the disciplines - For a future where we are far more conscious of each others disciplines, blurring the lines between Design, Build and development.

Crowd Sourcing for Talent and skills through the many freelancer networks has increasingly made Global collaborative effort an every day occurrence for many of us. Employing the cloud as a global project hub we all can share and benefit  in the Design and Development skills from around the world meaning we all grow and develop together.  Open Source platforms have been key to developing shared effort and experience.

This morning you will have had the opportunity to hear of Motivation, Revolution, Consumer, User and HTML5! From Building it to Memories of the way things were and the dreams of how the future might be - 

This Afternoon,  our speakers, themselves great collaborators will continue some of those thoughtful journeys and hopefully inspire you to some new ones - 
Here was my final summing up of the days key speakers...

Today we have gone behind the curtain, and more...

Dan Rubin opened our day by asking us to ‘Follow your heart’, but more importantly to know  your passion (s) through trying new things and once you understand your passion (s) you can excel. Successful returns for the best of companies are byproduct of their passionate priorities - Siting Apple and Disney as examples of organizations who have been successful through passion.

Phil Sturgeon showed us how using the right language,  working in the right environment and how monitoring and measuring will ensure you measure up. Oh and how we can all hopefully get free beer! 

Jack Sheppard talked of the revolution the extension of us humans and how we have moved to user value and the creation of products the influence social structures for human gain. Left field cult style meets the web .

Colin Eberhardt explored HTML5 and showed us that today it might not be the Framework for all, but that through open source, a collaborative cross platform framework solution might be a shining light as we hit the doldrums in the hype cycle of HTML5 in the near future. 

Luke Murphy - Wearmouth discussed design led by data, desire paths leading UX UI. Inspiring a lot of debate in the room. He showed that analysing data is not nearly enough. Acting upon it is the only way!

Paul Mckever examined that sweet spot, the perfect balance pitch with great content - and gave us an insightful reflection on typography and not to talk it at face value.

Paul Adam Davis showed us some great gifs to illustrate that there's always a better way! 

Only working together through collaborative effort can we succeed... Kirstie Anderson reminded us that our sleeping life is really as important as our waking and how our dreamtime allows us to realise them - our dreams, in our waking lives.

Joseff Mendelssohn discussed culture and that Culture starts with ourselves - how our own drivers and motivations and the blend of cultures from colleagues, sharing similar values and motivations, shared overall goals - through great communication - give an organisation it's wider cultural identity. 

Dan Donald talked of pure UX and its impact on responsive design.  Leaving us a trail of choices for digital professionals .

Ross Lawley,  took a fresh look at Databases,  Data Management and scaling. 

Marta Armada gave us a fresh look at using the right tools for the job. A Confident close and persuasive argument for us to take away. Design good not lazy!

Wes Mason took us to Japan... Well Honshuu , and showed us how 'island life' can be sweet! And not to fear, fear itself - prepare for failure and expect the unexpected - it will happen. Communication - logging and speaking across .

Aral Balkan concluded our day as we started our afternoon -  only by working together can we create a successful future. Collaboration across all disciplines. Because we are all in this together - our experience is shared.  Shared whether we like it or not. That an open world might be a better world for all of us. An inspired and insightful conclusion to our day. 

See you all next year! 

For more information on the speakers or the conference - click the links or visit

Monday, 14 October 2013

How Digital Designers & Builders are our new Wizards...

Last Tuesday I hosted the  Dibi Conference, produced by those lovely people at EPIC TIMES. Part of my role was to open the morning and afternoon sessions, and close the event with a summing up. Here is the first of two Blog Posts relating to the conference - here is my opening speech...

“I’d like to begin with those references you saw just then from the Wizard of OZ. It celebrates its 75th Birthday this year, having been digitally cleaned and now remastered to IMAX 3D. 75 years since the world of Cinema took us from the sepia world of Dorothy’s Kansas to the Technicolor world of OZ.  I doubt there is anyone in this room who has not seen this film - as a child on TV and been captivated by that cinematic Magic. 

The Cinema and Television are probably the first time we experience, and are brought to ‘feel’ the efforts of technology. And in todays world the second is probably via a PC, Mac or indeed a Tablet. 

The ‘Magic’ as we might perceive it and indeed Dorothy and her friends did when they met the Wizard - is an illusion. The Illusion of Technology. ‘They’ say Science Fiction is the Science fact of tomorrow. Indeed only last month in the labs of Harvard and MIT they discovered a new form of particle matter born out of light that could see the ‘STAR WARS’ Jedi Lightsaber a reality.  Who wants one? Me!

The experience you feel as a consumer of Film, TV, Technology has been the paramount concern since, some might argue,  the birth of Microsoft’s Windows - when those designers and builders ( YOU GUYS or people very like you) closed the (WIZARDS) curtain and we, the consumer, the end user bought the illusion of the ‘relatively’ seamless user environment. No longer would most of us see that guy pulling the levers, switching the switches - or in conventional parlance - writing the CODE. 

Only those of us who chose the ‘Blue Pill’, were permitted to see the Matrix and create the world  - I call the 'iConcept'.  Apple, Steve Jobs now Tim Cook and their teams ably supported by Sir Jonathan Ive have mastered the art of creating iConcept consumer goods and software - iPhone, iPad, and the iMac... for the ‘End User’. Whether Consumer or Corporate  - its all about their user experience and that is the illusion of seamless friendly environments, that do what we require and well. 

Dibi Conference, goes behind the curtain - its a conference for the 'U Concept', you the designer, you the builder, you the developer  - you who have taken that ‘Blue Pill'  and are busy behind the curtain persuading us all through your design, build and development,  not to see beyond that Wizards curtain and to inhabit those environments you have created for us. Whether its the virtual world of a Gaming universe, an accounting software program to help us all pay less tax than Starbucks or a even a smart search engine that will help us find the nearest one! 

From the engineering, to the build, the development, and then marketing our efforts to the right audience in the right way - the world of Dibi is yours  - this is our 3D Experience for you - to connect with. Speakers, workshops and Seminars that we hope will assist you on your journey to boldly go where no one has been before. 

Those cinematographers and effect pioneers of 1938 at MGM wanted to create an illusion of an alternative world, an 'Over the Rainbow'. Today their efforts have been remastered by new technologies  - IMAX and 3D,  to bring the audience closer to that world. In another 75 years we might see that same environment remastered into a Holo-Deck environment? We could literally feel and be in that world. But those worlds will be engineered, designed and built by people like you.  We know what is possible for our future, we just have not built it yet. Dibi Conference is about connecting you all and inspiring you to deliver those iConcepts of all our tomorrows. "

*Introduction to Dibi Conference 2013 by Craig Wilde.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

An Apple rarely falls far from the tree. Autumnal reflections on my Digital Life.

Isaac Newton’s fortunate incident with an Apple, proved a windfall (pun) for us all, as we learnt the gravity of all things and that the school of hard knocks, perhaps  - can be beneficial.
It was in the summer of 2010 when my true ‘Digital life’ took root - yes, I’d always been a prolific social media user and promoter but this had not translated much to my bottom line - either as an employee or as a freelancer...
Toshiba, was my PC world and frankly a lackluster Nokia 3410 had powered my professional life, having had a few dalliances with HTC ‘Not so Smart’ handsets in the years preceding.  Apples iPhone 3G was my first taste of the Apple Ecosystem, and as my Toshiba laptop - finally went to sleep and to ‘dream of Ewe’; I was generously gifted a Mac Book Pro 17” for Christmas. 25 minutes  after switching on, the ‘Cult’ of Apple which I had much maligned for years as ‘geeky’ and akin to some evangelical illuminati, had another convert. 

The intuitive elegant operating system, packaged in Sir Jonathan Ive’s stunning design, the speed, the efficiency - need i go on... Well it changed my life! It did, I’m not ashamed to admit - and for those others who have taken the not inexpensive leap to Apple to make up its $120b sales last year, they will know what I mean...

Following my Mac Book an iPhone 4, Apple TV and I sit typing this blog on another generous gift, my iMac 27”  - last Christmas’s addition to my digital life. Yes, I am one lucky guy...and now I’m on the iPhone 5 and my partner has joined the ecosystem by inheriting my iPhone 4.

As a Voice Artiste, Actor, Social Media Marketer, Trainer, and Public Speaker - and a few hats besides , my one world Apple Ecosystem not only gives me access to a world of clients - Hong Kong to Finland, Canada to The British Virgin Islands. I am entertained, I communicate - and am able to build, create, design, voice and direct all my projects. The Cloud, specifically the iCloud has become my global access anytime, anywhere Server/HardDrive. 

Yes, I could buy into Android, PC, Windows and a multitude of other handsets, Hardware, Platforms etc... but the seamless integration of Apple allows me to spend time adding to my bottom line rather than soaking up the tedious task of getting all those potential tools to  work together with any kind of synergy akin to my digital life with Apple.

The fruits of Apple’s labors enhance every aspect of both my professional and personal life, from FaceTime with my global client list and those nearest and dearest scattered about the global village, to recording Voice Over’s in our studio, to collaborative real time projects with co-workers on sometimes 3 continents... 

So, as I AirPlay mirror a client video to my Apple TV across our wifi network and sit down to snack on a Granny Smith’s, I recall how Newton’s fruity experience sowed the seeds of my Digital life. Thank you Isaac..

Monday, 5 July 2010

The SCIENCE of sustained Experiential Marketing

For experiential professionals, our main work is born from Brand campaigns, somewhat short lived, with a lifespan of no more than a year at best – but how do you create a sustained experience? How do you create an experience, which lasts twelfth months or more?

Theme Parks such as the DISNEY and UNIVERSAL parks are an excellent example of sustained Brand experiential, with rides focused around a particular brand drive – having a basis in a movie or video game franchise, cartoon or all three; these experiences offer true-life experientials, which are a real extension of the original format.

The 'Theme Bar' and the franchise restaurant/coffee shop e.g. McDonalds, Hard Rock CafĂ© and Starbucks - all real life global brand examples of sustained experiential marketing – with these examples the experience is as much a part of the brand as the food and drink they sell, the brand and the experience are one of the same.

In the retail world, Abercrombie & Fitch and Disney stores are two examples of where the stores are as much the brand as the items they sell. Buying from these stores enhances the product, informs the product and sets the tone of the product at the outset.

Sustained Experiential Marketing is a SCIENCE, here are our 7 Keys to successful sustained Experiential:

The overall idea must be simple, over complicated ideas are by their nature difficult to repeat and are open to interpretation.

Consumer Driven
The Experiential must be created from the view of the Consumer, it is all about them and their experience – consumers must feel they are willing partners in the experience. Like an actor and an audience, one is nothing without the other. Experiential marketing is always consumer reactive - without a reaction from the consumer, it is failed.

The brand is king and the consumer must recognise throughout that they are in the Brand. By utilising Logo’s, key Brand messages, Iconography and encompass Brand values.


Every aspect of the environment must be managed, sight, sound, smell, touch and taste must be considered and controlled.

The holy grail, is to be new, to be different – but a new twist on a classic idea can be just as valid. Great experiences have been created from the reinvention of classic ideas; brand a rollercoaster and stick against a backdrop from a movie and suddenly it’s an extension of the movie franchise.

Timed or not, passive or participative, the decision on which, should be controlled - decided by the marketer.

Great ideas must be able to be delivered, On paper and in practice – dream big but be able to make it happen and to budget!

Our marketing is a SCIENCE, as is born out of the need to create great lasting impressions on consumers though experience driven initiatives.

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Friday, 2 July 2010

Birth of a Brand?

Beer is king! A huge growth in the sales of imported lagers and beers as well as the output of microbrewers has meant great change for the license trade.

Whilst big names such as Carling and Fosters dominate the pumps of bars up and down the country, the continental beer invasion has been swift and grows daily. When Heineken acquired Scottish and Newcastle - The UK’s largest independent brewer, the continental Beer invasion was absolute.

The economic downturn has seen a significant move from the cocktail culture of previously prosperous years; craft brews have been the order of the day, and not just with male drinkers. The growing army of female drinkers have noticed the trend too; and some of the beers in the market such as Molson Coors’ Kasteel Cru - Champagne yeast brewed Alsatian lager, with its Rose and Blanc variant has proved a massive seller with the Female consumer. Fruit Beers from Liefmans, Timmermans and Fruli have seen females drive sales of beer rocket over the typical tipples for females, such as wine and cocktails.

Aiming for a timeless USP for a bar is almost impossible; theme bars by their very nature have a limited lifespan. So creating something that had longevity, had sufficient USP’s to make it attractive in a crowded market place and have broad appeal would need a lot of thought.

With the supermarkets using alcohol as loss leaders increasingly widespread, the publican has to try hard to attract customers away from their cheap alcohol, large format flat screen TV’s and heated Patios! So why would a consumer step out of his or her own drinking and leisure palace to drink elsewhere, paying perceptible premium for the pleasure?

We needed a Brand that would stand up in any town, convey immediately what the offering was and be a good blend of the timeless and the contemporary - a tall order in anyone’s book.

So with a background of increased consumer growth in the Continental Beer and World Beer Markets it seemed sensible to focus the new concept in this area. Taking an idea I first formulated some 4 years ago, inspired by the Beer Halle’s of Glasgow and from a trip to Germany, I re-addressed the concept for the 21st Century.

The drinking ‘experience’ itself had to have something special attached, many of the continental beers had their own branded glassware, designed to enhance the drinking experience. We would go one better, we would introduce the largest of all drinking vessels, the Mas or STEIN, the 1ltr (2Pint in the UK) branded drinking pot.

Many of the classic Brands we still enjoy today were born in the early part of the 20th Century, such as coca Cola, Cadbury, Ford.

From the font, design copybooks of the early 20th century came the idea for a simple Iconic idea, which would translate, into a perennial brand. Our offering would be 70+ Beers from the continent and around the world, Live Music performed on a branded stage, handmade branded Beer enhanced Pies and that Oktoberfest favourite Roast Chicken.

So one very wintery night in the Historic Quayside Area of Newcastle upon Tyne, STEIN Bier Keller™ was born.
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