Free Ideas for DCWeek Companies

So DCWeek (for me) has come and gone.  Here are somethings I learned, and some ideas I gave away at the conference.

At the innovations in media panel with USA Today, The Atlantic and Curbs, I learned that none of them were actually innovating in media.  I did offer this idea though:

I’d like to wake up in the morning, and tell USA Today that I have 6 minutes.  I’ll have already told the website what my interests are.  On the fly, and in realtime, it puts together a video newscast for me with all the things I need to know.

This is what I think innovating is media is all about.  Coming up with ways to make the user experience tailored to the user’s needs, wants and desires and not get in the way.  I was told that TedTV does something similar, although not with news.

Honest Tea was there giving away free drinks.  Thanks by the way, it worked, because it reminded me how much I realize how much I like your tea.  But what about this?

Get the folks at ISL (one of the sponsors of DCWeek, and from their reel, a company that does some pretty cool stuff) to A-Team up a vending machine for you.  It accomplishes a couple of things.

  1. It puts all of your products on display, so people can see all the choices, and interact to choose their favorite.
  2. Make the machine take a picture, and tweet it out to the person.  Then the person can retweet it or something.  Advertisement for Honest Tea, a “twitter mention” for the person getting the drink.
  3. Have the machine make the person do something for a drink.  Draw a picture, do a dance, read part of a story, and then assemble it into a commercial or something.  Use your imagination.

One of the nice hosts at QGA during the election war room mentioned that President Obama’s campaign did something interesting (which I could find no evidence of on the Internet but…).  He said that in the final days of the campaign, the organizers sent an e-mail to volunteers with the first name, last name, phone number of undecided voters along with a script.  They asked the volunteers to call the person, and read them the script.  He said it was hugely successful.

The measurement of success shouldn’t be how many people actually made the call (which is measureable).  It should be in how many undecided or Romney voters were persuaded to vote for Obama after the call (which doesn’t seem to be measured).  All said and done, I have yet to see proof that social media helps win elections for presidents or governors. (See more below in what I learned)

Affinity Labs hosted the “how to throw a great party”.

Say it loud, say it proud, offer tours of your space.  Sell it, sell it, sell it.  I asked for a tour and got one, but I shouldn’t have had to ask.  Or it should have been REALLY easy to ask.  You’ve got smart people, why not take advantage of it.

To the Dormify people.  Their idea was that a mother and daughter wanted to spruce up their dorm room, and didn’t know where to go to get decorating advice.  Clearly I’m not the market for this type of service.  But what AM I the market for?

Why not do exactly the same thing for work shops, garages, etc.  Sure, I can get custom cabinetry or go to Sears and get cool looking stuff for my garage.  But why not make a place where guys can go to see different setups (floor to ceiling; storage, work areas, floor coverings) for stuff they are interested in.

To the gentleman at Tech Cocktail who made the system to keep teachers and the parents connected…  He mentioned that federal law prohibits what information can be passed over an electronic medium.  I asked if his software filtered for those kind of things, and he said it didn’t but would be a good idea.

If you make a system that transmits data, but is under regulation, help out the users by building in content aware filters that can help keep people out of trouble.

To the presenters at Tech Cocktail.

Get a banner, tell me what problem you solve.

If you have 2 or 3 people at your table, and 1 of them is explaining the product or service, the other people shouldn’t be listening, they should be making themselves available for the next passer by.

To the java developer who did contracting work for the government looking for a new job.  He was also interested in frameworks that could help content providers make their sites / content once, and then publish to a bunch of different platforms.

Go work for Adobe.  They have some amazing products that do exactly this.  With your government focused ability to understand their needs, you could help them realize the potential of using their products or upgrading to the latest release.

There was a sign taped to a post that kept falling down.  People would walk by, see that it fell down, and put it back up.  This happened 5 times while I sat there, and got the attention of at least 3 people each time.  That’s 15 people that interacted with that sign that otherwise would have walked right by it.

The oddest definition of interactive media in my book.  Totally analog, totally unexpected, but with the right message could have been incredibly powerful.

I can’t recall his name, but he was an urban planner.  His friend’s name was Garret.  That I recall.  He was interested in how to make things better in an urban environment.

I explained to him that large stores should install WAAS to augment GPS to navigate my way through a store to get my shopping done faster.

I also explained the reason McDonald’s gives away free WiFi isn’t out of the kindness of their heart.  There is data to be mined there.  MAC addresses off your device help to quantify same store purchases, and even track you across stores.

RFID does the same thing

18 – 60 second pitches.

The team that won, deserved to win, because they rehearesed their pitch.  I don’t think many others did.  Sure, it might be nervous, but just remember, people are THERE to listen to you.  Rehearse until it is almost boring, then add life back to it.  Then you got your mojo.

Oh, and everything Glen Hellman (the guy on the left with the low scores) said was harsh, but absolutely true.  His advice should be well heeded.