Northern Voice 2009 Dave Olson Letters from Russia

Comments 7 by Rebecca Bollwitt

From Dave on Flickr

When Uncleweed is on tap for a speaking engagement I make sure not to miss it even though I’ve seen him do over a dozen talks in the years I’ve known him.

In fact, his F*ck Stats Make Art talk last year was so successful that he was asked to present it this year at SXSW.

Today he was talking about the process from idea to publication while sharing his personal journey surrounding his Letters from Russia series. I wasn’t live blogging his session as I wanted to pay attention and focus on his message, delivered as he stood before a packed while sporting a smoking jacket.

I did however jot down some of his quotes on Twitter and John Biehler snapped some photos so I’ll share those now.

“I came across a ticket that was $420 to Belize. I was like ‘BUY’ … I wonder where Belize is?”

Photo credit: Dave on Flickr

“If any of you have read it, it’s a big long story and there’s a lot of war and a lot of peace…”

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

“If you snip the kite string will it soar higher? No it will tumble to the ground.”

“80% meditation, 10% execution, 10% inebriation.”

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

“What makes a work important is giving it an audience.”

Photo credit: Dave on Flickr

Check out Dave’s podcasts, blogs, and prose on his site, which links to a bagillion other sites where his inspirational content lies.

Northern Voice 2009 The Death of Advertising with Chris Heuer

Comments 2 by Rebecca Bollwitt

By John Biehler on Flickr

Is advertising dead and if so, who killed it? Chris Heuer‘s talk becomes a discussion rather quickly surrounding marketing, advertising and its shift to reality and reviews in the online realm.

“Big clients, small clients, they’re coming to me and saying my advertising isn’t working anymore,” Chris then plays a clip from Monty Python bring out your dead comparing it to the world of advertising. “They don’t understand that marketing has become a four letter word.” He adds, “We don’t want to be sold anymore we want to be able to buy.”

Update: It’s all about a power shift, “because things are more visible now, we don’t need people to make us aware of it — our friends do.” What killed advertising? Tivo? Craigslist? Chris says it’s choice. He ads that informative and entertaining advertising works — “it’s not spam, it’s helpful.”

The discussion in the room is going back to print advertising quite often and how that is looked at as dead.

“We don’t have to sit back anymore, we can interact,” says Chris, which leads to sharing and more engagement. He pulls up a screen that shows a heat map of eye-tracking when people look at websites and the “red zones” are all on the main content – not the sidebars or on banner ads within posts.

“One of the reasons why advertising must die as we know it is because we have to change the way we think about it.”

Update: Chris talks about advertising versus adding value. This is something I personally believe in (for anyone who advertises on my site I also write up a blog post in order to add content, information and value for my readers and the client.

Chris pulls up Will it Blend – saying this is a form of advertising and it works even without “ads”. They toss products in a blender and create videos and posts which then land on the front page of Google for that product — they are profitable yet spend zero on ads. At one point you could Google “iPod” and you’d get the episode of Will it Blend where they blend up on iPod. The product they actually do sell… is the blender itself.

We’re running a bit behind at Northern Voice so Chris wraps up his talk while the discussion continues about where should people be putting their advertising dollars… he adds (thanks to Twitter, I could look it up after the fact) that you shouldn’t be spending money on advertising when you can simply be making money (a la Will It Blend).

Northern Voice 2009 Friday Keynote with Stewart Butterfield

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

As I took my seat at the very front of the auditorium (like a keener) for Northern Voice 2009 I realized I forgot my card-reader as well as my camera cable. The result of this being none of my photos will be uploaded until the evening so in the meantime I’m going to grab a bunch from John Biehler (who is uploading his pics on the fly). That in itself is not a terrible thing, it’s actually a fantastic system since John’s photos from last night’s dinner are pretty spectacular, here’s a sampling:

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Update: The fact that I’m sharing John’s photos from Flickr is fitting seeing as how our morning keynote is none other than Stewart Butterfield — one of the founders of Flickr.

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Update: Stewart’s keynote begins as a photo story, from an image of a shack in the woods to illustrate his home town of Lund, to black and white hippie photos of him and his parents, and a young Stewart in a “Radio Shack Computer Camp” trucker-style hat.

“Back then, in 1992, the internet was a way to keep in touch with people going to university in other places,” mentions Stewart while sharing some of his old usernames and email addresses (that, at the time, were at least 20 characters long). He’s also showing some postings he’s made to groups online (circa 1993) including his first online community

“There was a web when I first got online but it was such a small thing, there was so little content there that it didn’t pop on my radar til about 1994.” His first real expressions on the web was Sylloge, and he shows us an example of its activity using the Wayback Machine.

Update: “When I first got online, Howard Rheingold had already written a book, The Virtual Community.”

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

Update: Stewart moves on to “this is who I am” and shows images of various ways people express themselves and who they are, from bumper stickers to hairstyles and clothing. “People tend to pick up more adhoc bits of culture,” while a photo of a crowded auditorium pops up with Apple notebook symbols glowing (and a little red arrows points out the single PC user).

Update: “In the early days, photography was about memory preservation,” notes Stewart as the Flickr logo spins up on to the screen. Trends Stewart highlights include: Ubiquity of capture devices, Spread of the network, Change in perception and attitudes — participating is no longer weird.

“Obese man in underwear hunched over computer in basement,” pops up on a slide as Stewart addresses some of the stereotypes of internet users and mentions another trend: The desire to participate became very wide spread. Stewart shows an image of Obama and the crowd before him, each person with their own camera. “You can see a whole wall of LCDs.”

“There was a time when you wanted to make music, you would head into the parlour and friends and family members joined you,” moving on to a brief discussion about Web 2.0. “This will probably be the last time I have to do this presentation because I think we’re going to stop calling it web 2.0.” It’s about creating and sharing rather than consuming.

A graph representing internet usage pops up on screen, “when you look at this graph you must know it’s totally made up — but it’s super positive!”

Stewart address the changing role of computing over the years including, ‘Relationship-based computing’ which replaces document-based computing which replaced application-based computing (from Stewart’s slide).

Update: The presentation ends with “Anyway, this is why I love the internet.”

Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

The keynote has ended so it’s time to pick up the schedule and see where I should head next. There are so many tracks and presentations today (including an unconference track that will have sessions added in a few minutes). Ill continue my coverage today in another post but so far, NV09 is off to a great start.

Northern Voice Dinner 2009 and Last Minute Notes

Comments 9 by Rebecca Bollwitt

This weekend the UBC Forestry Sciences building will be filled with a sold-out crowd of 300 social media enthusiasts. Canada’s largest personal blogging conference, Northern Voice, will kick off tomorrow morning with two special keynotes, a main conference track as well as an unconference track. On Saturday there will be another keynote and several panels, including two of mine.

Tonight everyone is gathering at Frederico’s for the official conference dinner (which is also sold-out) but it will be Bollwitt-less. Last year John was under the weather and I went to the dinner without him. To say that I was missing him / thinking of him all night long would be an understatement. This year after going strong for the last few weeks with his day job (which often spills into the night when there’s a Canucks game) on top of our work for sixty4media, John is feeling under the weather yet again. This time, I’m staying in with him; making some dinner, steeping some tea, and covering him with our super awesome Iowa fleece blankets.

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

We’re not boycotting (but some others are due to certain sponsorship) we’re simply taking time out for ourselves, which just really needs to happen tonight otherwise we’ll both run entirely into the ground.

Conferences, dinners, and networking events are important — especially to folks like us whose entire business is based on such things — however taking care of yourself, and the person you love most, must come first.

I look forward to seeing the pictures pop up on Flickr (tagged: northernvoice09) and I’ll post a few here when they start rolling in. I hope everyone has a fantastic time tonight and I’ll see you bright and early at UBC for the morning address and keynotes.

Tips for the morning: How to get there, bring your own lanyard, child care is provided, there is an iCal-friendly Northern Voice schedule, the conference hashtag is #northernvoice09.

World Vision's One Life Exhibit Opens in Metrotown

Comments 9 by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time and World Vision is trying to spread awareness across our nation with the One Life exhibition that shows you the effect of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on a child growing up in Africa.

World Vision - One Life

From now until March 1st the One Life exhibit will take up 2,000 square feet at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby. During a 20-minute audio tour, you will follow the life of a specific child and hear their story. The goal is to, “inspire Canadians to move beyond the statistics by hearing the voice of a child in the midst of this struggle.”

World Vision - One Life

I was given a preview of One Life this morning at the media opening and all I can say was that it was enlightening and compelling. Just to know all the myths and stigmas floating around these cultures with regards to HIV/Aids and learning of the alarming rate at which children and adults are dying across the globe because of this is staggering.

When you stop by the One Life exhibit at Metrotown (in the Grand Court), you’ll be given an iPod shuffle and audio will play with the voice of a narrator guiding you through the life of someone very special – giving you just the slightest idea of the impact of this crisis on one helpless child.

World Vision - One Life

Today I heard Olivia’s story and as I walked through the exhibit I started to feel bad just thinking about where I was and what I was experiencing while surrounded by dignitaries and the glow of commerce in a shopping mall. I then started to realize that point of the entire exhibition is hope; giving hope to those thousands of miles away, letting them know we are aware of their situation (although cannot even fathom the extent) and that people are very willing to help out.

World Vision - One Life

World Vision - One Life

World Vision - One Life

World Vision - One Life

One of the people I look up to most in the world is my sister, and with 5 amazing children to raise they all still have the time to support a World Vision child as well. “Especially in these economic times it really makes us appreciate what we have and that we have the opportunity to help someone that hasn’t had the fortunes we have, living in Canada.”

Today I also ran into Stephen Fung and John Chow — now say what you will about John’s money-making ways online but out of every single event I have attended for a non-profit, John Chow is the person I run into the most at each one.

World Vision - One Life

Hope resounds through personal notes, the sponsoring of a Hope Child, or simply getting the message out and doing your part. We only get one life and I’m pretty sure what I want to do with mine is to make sure that everyone gets a fair chance at theirs.