Category Archives: Convergence

Agency Open House Sydney

Register for our free event now: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/web-directions-agency-open-house-reactive-tickets-4776690209

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Next Wednesday afternoon, Sydney will see its first Agency Open House. You can visit and have a beer with people at places like Reactive, Host, Soap, Deepend Group, Digital Arts Network, Reborn, WeAreSocial, Pollen, TheFarm,Small Multiples or The Interaction Consortium.

Check out this Agency Open House microsite for Wednesday October 29 where you can also RSVP to the respective agency events. Rub shoulders with art directors, copywriters, uber-geeks, producers and strategy minds. Learn from their work exhibited, listen to talks, ask questions, make connections. You could score an internship, dream job or your next creative collaboration partner. As it is part of Web Directions 2014, expect some heavy hitters from their international speaker roster like Jessica Hische to maybe make a cameo appearance. Just saying….

Check out the full program to RSVP here

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We at Reactive are excited to partner with Web Directions & Creative Social to open our doors for a Sydney-wide Agency Open House So in particular we would love for you to join us at our office in Surry Hills next Wednesday afternoon (Oct 29), between 4-6pm. You can RSVP by registering online https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/web-directions-agency-open-house-reactive-tickets-4776690209

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What are Web Directions, Creative Social and this Agency Open House?

Since 2004, Web Directions has been Australia’s cutting edge conference that bring together the world’s most pioneering, interactive creative directors, business owners, strategists and other global experts of digital design and development. As a social warm-up for this year’s Web Directions (October 30-31) the aim of our joint Agency Open House is to have a beer and a chat, explore agencies’ work and workplaces and build some new connections. Reactive has been part of Creative Social since 2007 and together with this group of leading agencies, we recognise that collaborating in a digital landscape is how we will advance the whole industry and enjoy the journey.

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What’s the inspiration all about?

Reactive has been a partner of Web Directions for 3 years now. This year is particularly special as we were invited to create the opening title sequence for the conference. The film is completely HTML-generated and plays live in the browser, unlike traditional videos.

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One of our creatives involved, Melissa Baillache, explains the thinking behind the film:

“We wanted to touch on the importance of everyone that come together to imagine, design, create and build great digital products and services. The people, who passionately labour over the tiny details, behind the scenes as well as at the forefront of the digital world. In our film, all these individuals are represented by a ‘pixel’. Their stories evolve into playful geometric structures, yet always keep their original core—the element that binds everything together into a single experience.”

We’d be thrilled if you can stop by Reactive’s office for some beers, food and showcasing and explaining the tech behind the title sequence. Registering can be done by simply replying to this email or visiting the event page below:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/web-directions-agency-open-house-reactive-tickets-4776690209

We hope to see you next Wednesday arvo, guys!

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That Startup Show starts up

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I am quickly coming back to my earlier post about Reactive working together with start ups. Now everyone can inhale a whiff of modern entrepreneurialism by watching the live YouTube project ‘That StartUp Show”. It kicked off in a pub-come-studio in Melbourne, which is by no means a statement on the city’s tech-edge over Sydney. Yet judging from how many times Fed Square, Flinders Street and downtown Melbourne were pushed in the interstitials (hello sponsor City of Melbourne) they kind of think it is. But being from the Emerald if not yet Silicon City, we’ll let that slide. So please watch the first episode down below.

Picking strong cues from ‘The Gruen Transfer‘ and a sprinkling of ‘The Dragon’s Den‘, it pairs stand up comedy with a bar-camp like crowd and light-hearted yet informative chat with founders, journos and (dare I say it) online gurus. I think the wild dancing sequence in the beginning of the show was a bit ill conceived. But keep on watching, the shows gets much better afterwards, decidedly more professional than lo-fi channels like Silicon Beach Santa Monica.

Thanks to host Dan Illic pounding on comic opportunities, we heard catchy lines like “St.Kilda is Sim City for Perverts” (take that, sponsor!) and “Google Plus is the Adelaide of social media“(take that, Google!). Guest and Google Australia’s engineering director Alan Noble just had to grin and bear it.

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More entertainment came from Dan re-combining 2 random expressions to create start up ideas: Pinterest for Babies, SnapChat for Kebab lovers and Procrastination Tool for Bored People (‘That’s Facebook!”). Other guests included the founder of (show sponsor) Blue ChilliSebastien Eckersley-Maslin. Start up incubator Blue Chilli is actually a place I have spoken at a while ago during one of their ‘Pizza and Beer’ weekly wind downs.

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While incubators like Blue Chilli and Muru-D don’t really rival our own agency offering, they do sometimes provide or connect to UI/UX and development resources. This is another sign of our two worlds overlapping In my view it’s for the greater good of creative ideas and speed of innovation in Australia. But maybe you disagree, what experiences have you made at the intersection of agency- and start up land?

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Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin sitting in the middle

Digital agencies teaming up with start ups

I am sure you have already noticed:  digital creative agency work heavily overlaps with start ups. I am hardly the first to notice that talent, ideas, formats and processes are very similar in nature. It’s no wonder some talented staff leave agencies to pursue their start up ideas. Murat Mutlu has delivered a great rant on it here. Similarly, whole agencies team up with venture capital to pursue start up ventures. R/GA’s Connected Devices Accelerator comes to mind. Check out the crowd in this new YouTube content called ‘That Start Up Show’ (you can read my review here). You’d be hard pressed to tell the people apart: agency geezers or start up folk?

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Photo by Heisenberg Media under CC

Or look at the photo above: is it a group of start ups or a digital agency? Click through to Heisenberg Media and you will find out. So in many ways there is little difference. The reason we are still somewhat different is how agencies deal with a variety of industries & clients rather than one target market or one vertical. And most importantly, we differ in the way ‘our businesses work’. We agencies handle risk and reward a lot different from start ups. More often than not, we agencies would love to follow up, evolve, optimise and perfect our ideas for apps and services. Yet the budget often isn’t there for those last hard yards. On the side of the start ups people must often re-adjust their ideas and pivot the whole entreprise. And still their genius might hit a wall. Or the money might run out. Or the market might not react at all.

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Photo by Heisenberg Media under CC

Despite those differences, I thought there is so much to be gained from getting closer to the start up world. I investigated our own Reactive agency & start up relationship further. And as part of our constant Research and Development, Reactive has started a relationship with Telstra’s incubator program Muru-D.

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Through them we got to know a Sydney start up called ISSUE. Their venture is a browser-based authoring tool that creates mobile/tablet ready magazines with e-commerce and affiliate marketing, all built in. Or as they would call it: “Mobile magazines with shoppable stories”.

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Last week Reactive Sydney turned into a little film set, hosting the ISSUE crew shooting a demo reel with us. Reactive is acting as their partner agency in this video (with yours truly among the amazing cast). The final video (see below)  features fashion & design bloggers Lisa Hamilton from See Want Shop and Terri Winter, founder of Top3 by Design. They worked together with us to create an amazing interior design and fashion mag – and we had a blast being part of it.

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We will post this ISSUE hype video once it’s finalised. In the meantime you can check out the elaborate set and suave actors in these ‘Behind the scenes’ shots:

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My Ode to the Transformers – Dutch Digital Day

Today I will be speaking at the ‘Dutch Digital Day‘ in Amsterdam, an event held by the Dutch equivalent of AIMIA, called PIBN. Speaking with luminaries such as Joshua Davies, Gadi Amit (FitBit founder) and Sam Hashemi (UX for NASA) will be a treat (full line up of speakers here). In advance of my talk at Amsterdam’s hip location Undercurrent (below) I got interviewed and wanted to share some of my answers below:

The theme of Dutch Digital Day is Ode to the Transformers. What’s in your opinion the most transforming power in digital nowadays?

Simple: it’s still our brains! All means of production have become democratised, low cost and achievable. There are distributed teams, plenty of APIs, agile workflows and crowdsourced funding models. Even 3D manufacturing has gone into constant iteration and rapid prototyping. One day it’s getting produced in backyards or upstairs studios, the next day it’s in the app store, on the streets or in online shops, ready to be ordered and be transported to anywhere. There is absolutely nothing stopping any of us. And there are no more excuses why you can’t just create whatever you can think of.

Probably the most famous work you’ve been involved in was The Most Powerful Arm which changed thinking about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in Australia. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned working on this project?

That your best work comes from trusting relationships, from working with people you know, from small teams, from cutting the bullshit and just doing the work. Some things you will get wrong and you never have enough time or money. There are actually many things we could have done better with The Most Powerful Arm. But unless you are actually creating something, you are just talking about it.

It’s a beautiful demonstration of creativity, technology and data coming together. Do you have practical tips for people how to make this work?

Plenty of tips and most of them I will share on DDD. To keep it interesting till the day I am just giving away the headlines: Get Physical, Stir an Emotion, Go Mobile, Set a Goal, Simply the Tech, Build It and They Will Come, Re-use Your Ideas. And it will all be wrapped in an even bigger topic: football! Believe me, it will make sense (in a way).

You’re only 20 years old with a resume of someone who’s 35. What’s your story? (;-))

You’re so kind but I am not 20 years old anymore, unless you’re counting in robot years. I’m more like the 35+ you mentioned. So it might be that I simply spent my time like everyone else, inching forward day by day. 😉

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Web Directions Respond Conference with Reactive

This week, our fearless Creative Technologist Drew Schrauf takes the stage at WebDirections Respond. It’s a “Festival of Responsive Web Design for designers and developers of the multi-device Web”. So it’s basically unmissable – unless you still code in tables or consider responsive publishing some sort of copywriting style. International thought and practice leaders like Brad Frost and Jason Grigsby grace our shores, so snap up one of the last remaining tickets here.

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Our relationship with Maxine and John from Web Directions has grown with hosting some pre-conference BBQs and speaking at smaller events like ‘What Do You Know?’ and now continues with our Drew presenting on the tricky subject “Picture Perfect: Tackling the Responsive Image Dilemma”
http://www.webdirections.org/respond2014/#drewschrauf

drewI know how chuffed Drew is to be invited to speak and I am happy that Reactive is able to contribute to such a cutting edge tech event in Sydney.

Using Innovation for Good at SXSW

The interactive-film-music conference juggernaut SXSW (South by SouthWest) comes around early March and this year I and Emad Tahtouh are lucky enough to be panelists. Reactive and Finch will present together our joint work for ‘The Most Powerful Arm‘. In the panel ‘Using Innovation for Good‘ we discuss the possibilities of using innovation and experimental technology for worthy causes.

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And best of all, you can participate by tweeting question that will be written in real time by ‘The Most Powerful Arm’ robot itself, live, in the room! Use the hashtag #SXSWArm and it shall turn into words on paper.

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The Most Powerful Arm Ever Invented

Here are the details of Emad’s and my panel: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP22776

Tim and Emad at IAB Mixx Awards

If you happen to attend the interactive part of SXSW, please connect with us on SXSW’s social platform and/or say hi at our panel.

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I am also currently piecing together my own schedule of favourite events, which you can publicly see here. Maybe we can match interests or share interesting events:
http://schedule.sxsw.com/user_events/628a38f5b2d3793e35cb91f72719527cabe74cd0

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Google Chromecast in our boardroom

“The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed” famously quipped cyber-punk authorWilliam Gibson in 1993. And in a very small way that is evident when little gadgets come out. Recently our Reactive brethren in the US were able to purchase a Google Chromecast, ahead of us here Down Under. But collaborative folks as they are, Carl Panczak and his NYC crew sent a device our way. So that we could experience the future!

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Chromecast is a small extension to your TV or boardroom display, essentially giving you the ability to display what’s happening in your browser (be it on the phone, tablet or desktop). In a nutshell: Send video or anything on the Web to your TV from your smartphone, tablet or laptop (as it says on the box). The fact that it uses your local Wifi to receive the content makes the performance quite appealing.

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We waited for a proper software update from Google (the original version wasn’t that smooth) plus Google only recently made the Chromecast manager app available for Australia. This meant we could finally set it up via our Android phone. Install the Chrome extension from here. And the Chrome browser has a new functionality currently in experimental stage that will cast your whole screen to the TV, which definitely makes this a promising (and cheaper) alternative to Apple TV.

Here are a few resources on how to use it. Sadly, some of the apps (like Netflix or Hulu) are still only available if you are of the American persuasion: Google Chromecast Home

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So next time you come visit us at Reactive Sydney, you can expect to enter the future.