FutureMidwest 2011 #FMW11 Sparks Another Tech Revolution In Detroit -
For three days Eastern Market, a vibrant marketplace in downtown Detroit, was transformed into the epicenter of Tech Socialites. Hundreds of attendees including seasoned marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and digital creators. The marketing professionals frantically wrote notes in hopes to better understand the role of social in the new age of media. The venture Capitalists could be identified as the only attendees wearing either Dockers or suits. Digital creators swarmed around conference speakers to thank them for their work in their field. And entrepreneurs showed off their pride and joy. The cause of all this ruckus can be directly linked to FutureMidwest. Coined “the largest digital business conference in the Midwest,” FutureMidwest has been in existence for only three years. The team of organizers would have you convinced they have been here longer with the level of professionalism they showcased on the weekend of April 28th, 2011. Read the rest by clicking on the link.
For three days Eastern Market, a vibrant marketplace in downtown Detroit, was transformed into the epicenter of Tech Socialites. Hundreds of attendees including seasoned marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and digital creators. The marketing professionals frantically wrote notes in hopes to better understand the role of social in the new age of media. The venture Capitalists could be identified as the only attendees wearing either Dockers or suits. Digital creators swarmed around conference speakers to thank them for their work in their field. And entrepreneurs showed off their pride and joy.
The cause of all this ruckus can be directly linked to FutureMidwest. Coined “the largest digital business conference in the Midwest,” FutureMidwest has been in existence for only three years. The team of organizers would have you convinced they have been here longer with the level of professionalism they showcased on the weekend of April 28th, 2011.
Read the rest by clicking on the link.
An enjoyable view of a city is the observations of life in its “spaces”. When you live in a heavily populated city, a culture erupts in these spaces. It could be the unique qualities of a burrow in NYC, the architecture flood after the Great Chicago Fire or the blue collar work ethic of those who work in Detroit.
If you look closer at how the everyday person uses spaces, you gain a perspective. The area of space I re-kindled my fascination with was Street Food in India. Street Food in its purest form is simple, fast food you can consume on the street. It is anything but that.
Street Food is encompassed in the “now”. The ingredients that make up the food are hand picked from the market on a daily basis. There are not hidden walls between you and the creation of the order. With all manners aside, you eat. Not politely waiting for your friends food to come out, forgetting about the sounds of the city that surrond you or the fact that more than half of your fingers are smothered with food.
Within this naked view of kitchen, you observe the mechanics of Street Food.
“You can observe a lot by just watching”. - Yogi Berra
For me, the observation became an obsession.
It’s these small techniques that add to the culture of this space.
I have a new hobby. I capture stories with still frames.
Past experiences taught me, taking pictures was a nusiance. To my untrained eye there were only two types of pictures: ”I was here” and group pictures. Thanks to my HTC Hero, that changed. The instant gratifcation of taking a dull picture and breathing life into it with an app (Vignette in my case), lowered the barrier to enter Photography. Vignettes camera options were so vast, it gave me the confidence to change manual options on a real camera.
In the midst of finding this confidence, I was planning my first vagabonding trip. To capture moments of my long term travel, I decided to upgrade from a water damaged Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FX7 to a Canon G12. Yes, I know I didn’t upgrade to a DSLR camera. The sheer thought of carrying around a DSLR made me cringe with thoughts of, “I’m over compensating”. I mean, did I really want to jump from Little League to the Majors? No.
Two days before my journey began, I received my G12 and bought a book to accompany my new found hobby.
Now aside from the technical jargon and techniques I have learned, my favorite part of the camera is the swivel LCD screen.
I know, it already comes with a 28 mm wide angel lens to capture a variety of angles.
The double cake layer top dial allows for easy access to scene and ISO settings.
Of course, it has impeccable 720 HD Video recording capability.
And, the G series from Canon has received numerous awards and accolades.
But, my favorite part is still the swivel LCD screen. It allows you to take self portrait and self timer pictures without “shooing in the dark”. And, now tough to reach angles become an arms length away. As I progress in my hobby I am certain I will appreciate the finer features of the G12, but as an “Amateur’s Amateur”, it’s the ability to take a easier pictures that trump additional functionality.
The first time I witnessed a great dancer was at my cousins wedding in California. I was 8 years old and was eager to strut my no rhythm self on the dance floor.
Side note: Two things that happen at all Indian Wedding Receptions:
At one point in the Reception, the circle was in full form and the DJ decided to play YMCA (a group dance song). The circle dissipated and everyone started to act like cheerleaders spelling letters with their hands. My attention was soon diverted to the stage as a YMCA performance was happening. Several people were performing the YMCA routine, but it was the guy in the middle that caught everyone’s attention.
During the performance, we realized he wasn’t dancing, he was conveying what he felt through movement. He wasn’t overly dramatic with his steps, each part of his body was in unison. And it wasn’t how he made the letters with his hands, it was the coordination of his head with his body. We didn’t have to see his body to know he was a great dancer, you could take one look at his head and see that was where it started.
A few weeks ago during Navaratri, I was in Kitale, Kenya. On the last night of the festival, my family informed me that there was going to be a Garba competition and I had to wear the traditional kehediyu outfit. Kitale is a small town, but they took pride in their Navaratri celebrations. Awards for best costume and dancers were going to be given out and the town did not disappoint. As the night progressed, the music intensified.
At one point in the night, I turned my head to see the crowd and noticed that I was the only one with my head up. Everyone was focusing on the ground while the rest of their body did the dancing. It appeared to me, that to them dancing consisted of moving your hands and feet. In an environment where the science of the steps is commonplace, the art is where you differentiate. That’s when I realized I was having a “YMCA” moment.
The one tip to stand out during Navaratri:
Keep your head up (stop looking at your feet)
Slightly bob your head
Personalization allows for an increase in quality and quantity of content.
A couple of weeks ago, a blog my friend and I run decided to promote it on the Tumblr Humor Directory. Below are a few insights we calculated after the promotion.
92.5% - Subscriber increase
Follower Traffic Conversation
20.9% conversion rate of unique visitors who then subscribed to our blog
Cost per Follower
<$0.10 - Cost to gain a subscriber
0 - Recommendations
0 - Stickers
51 - Notes (combination of Reblogs and Likes)
Timing of Posts
Users visited our blog primarily at lunch and evening (till 9pm).
The steady traffic we received from www.tumblr.com/directory/humor infers that different people visit the humor directory every day.
The abysmal number of accolades means a couple of things
1. We don’t promote “recommend us” enough.
2. Our content was not “recommend worthy”
I recently finished reading “Rework” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson and it has been a breath of fresh air in the world of learning about business.
In their own words, Rework is about…
“We have something new to say about building, running, and growing (or not growing) a business.
They say you can’t possibly compete with the big boys without a hefty marketing and advertising budget. They say you can’t succeed by builidng products that do less than your competition’s. They say you can’t make it all up as you go. But that’s exactly what we’ve done.
They say a lot of things. We say they’re wrong. We’ve proved it. And we wrote this book to show you how to prove them wrong.”
Reading “Rework” while working on 37signals has redirected my development of hashtagd. Below I highlight two lessons from the book and how they affected hashtagd.
out-teach your competition
Teach and you’ll form a bond you just don’t get from traditional marketing tactics. Buying people’s attention with a magazine or online banner ad is one thing. Earning their loyalty by teaching them forms a whole different connection. They’ll trust you more. They’ll respect you more. Even if they don’t use your product, they can still be your fans.
the goal of our company blog is to tell stories and educate users about hashtags. one community aspect of twitter is talking about a certain topic (a hashtag). people use hashtags for an array of uses; events, jokes, subjects…etc and we highlight these stories on our blog.
half not half-assed
Take whatever you think your product should be and cut it in half.
during the conception phases of hashtagd we ran into a decisive foe, thinking without constraints. as our discussion continued, our list of features and benefits spiraled out of focus. after throwing everything off the table and looking at our product in a fresh light we decided we wanted to create a product that “shows people the best tweets for non-news worthy hashtags”.
the gloomy days of Detroit being an unforeseen place to live and work are slowly losing color. just as the world was watching us create the “Industrial” revolution, the judgmental eyes of the world are under the belief we are losing our breath as the “Industrial” industries crumple.
in the words of Evey Hammond from V for Vendetta,
” We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world.”
the quote resonates clearly with detroit
the idea = blue collar work ethic and the ability to lead change
the man = corrupt businesses/politicians and individuals who have lost hope in themselves
the apex of the conference was a video conjured by several of FutureMidwest’s partners to help everyone visualize; what we as Detroit have accomplished, what we have gone through and where we are going.
with nothing to lose, detroit has everything to gain. futuremidwest is one of the many organizations in detroit that are making people aware, that detroit is here to stay.
“Never contend with a man who has nothing to lose”
- Baltasar Gracian quote