Author Archives: admin

When hard work pays off

In 2014 I started as a voluntary web editor at the environmental NGO Plastic Change. I thought it would be a good way to gain some experience and do good at the same time.

Plastic Change’s mission is to put an end to plastic pollution which is harmfull to the environment, wild animals and in the end us humans. Read more about their work here.

After 6 months as a volunteer and 12 months of unemployment, I started as an intern. During that time Plastic Change was working on an application for the VILLUM and VELUX foundations, which with an aprox. 10 million Dkr budget was quite a big deal. Especially for a small NGO as PC.

Plastic Change teamed up with The Ecological Council and The Danish Plastics Federation and came up with 4 projects that would create awareness on the issue of plastic pollution in Denmark.

Even though my jobtitle was web editor, I took on other tasks as well such as graphic design, newsletters and social media. You have to be able and willing to take on all kinds of tasks when working in a small business. But it’s something I enjoy and learn a lot from, so, happy days.

In making the application for the VILLUM and VELUX foundations I got the task of layouting and make illustrations to make the application nice to look at, read and easy to understand.

In doing so I, among other thing, made this illustration The Lifesaver as an overview of the 4 projects.

redningskrans-a4

And now to the exciting part. We got the funding for the 4 projects! 8.9 million Dkr thanks to our hardworking team, unique collaborations and ambitious, visionary and passionated dreams and hopes for a plastic pollution free future.

I am super proud to be a part of this!

You can read more about the funding and the projects here.

What if Marketing was Simple

As much as I think about the future, I also find myself thinking about the past. Not in a nostalgic way, well sometimes I do that too, but more in a ”what if..?” kind of way. Like what if I hadn’t started the Multimediadesign education at that time and at that school? Or what if the internet wasn’t invented, or if it was invented 10 years before or after? So many things happen more or less by chance. That is also why so many things are impossible to predict as I wrote about in my previous blog post here.

But let’s not go down a philosophical deroute of ”what-ifs”.
I am in this blog post focusing mostly on the questions regarding the internet, online media and online marketing. Because what if (I did it again) Facebook wasn’t invented? How would your online marketing strategy look like? How would you sell, and how would you talk to your costumers and create leads without the benefits of social media?

Today we have a unique connection to and with our target groups and we can get vast amounts of information about them through big data that Google and Facebook collects.

But with all of these benefits and the fast development of handling data, and all the advertisement that our target group has to deal with everyday, I think it is very important to stop for a moment and think. And ask questions like ”what if…?”.

What kind of relationship do you want to have with your costumers?
The one thing that has been constant in marketing through the years is the business to consumer relationship. For a business, at least those with some self-respect, the most important thing is their costumers, and the costumer-to-be, the consumer. Because, basicly, without costumers there ain’t no dollars in the bank. But let’s keep the illusion of a company that lives for their costumers and not of them, alive and well. The company is providing this service or product because we know that it will make people’s lives easier, better and more satisfying. Earning them dollars is just a nice bonus.



marketing-dollars
Image source

Self-delusion aside, of course the costumers know that you are earning money and I suspect most of them actually thinks it’s okay, because you are providing value to them, not just in the product or service you are selling but in the whole package, the whole experience of being one of your costumers and using your product or service every day.

Social media, crowdsourcing and big data is not just benefiting the companies, it’s also making the consumers more picky and demanding.

I’m not saying that social media is bad or you should minimize it, I’m saying that you should always keep the most important thing in mind, and that is your relationship to your costumers.

My recommendation would be to simplify your marketing and focus on the people you are dealing with and the value you and your product/service provide them. Those two focus areas will never die out and always stay current no matter what the future brings.

What defines the future?

I often wonder about the future. Not just about what will happen tomorrow or next year, but about what will truly define the future. New apps, new social media, new technologies aren’t really that important, they are just tools. What I wonder about are tendencies and indications of changes in behaviors, needs and relations. What thoughts and intentions lies beneath, in the soil of development.

A year or so ago I read a book called Future Babble by Dan Gardner, which is basicly about why so many predictions have failed. A lot of people earn a lot of money on trying to predict the future and telling people what the next big thing is. But honestly, is it the predictions that drive trends or trends that drive predictions? Maybe the fortunetellers are just really good at spotting trends in the making and boost them. So called first-movers.

But why do they fail? In my view it’s because they focus too much on current trends, which often are very short term. As an example one of the hottest things at the moment, and in the past couple of years, are the smartwatches. It’s easy to get impressed and taken away by the hype of new technology. I do too occasionally. But I think it’s important to reflect a bit more on what the purpose really is and what needs this new thing satisfies (or at least tries to). I’m still not convinced that the smartwatches do that.

Earlier in this post I mentioned behaviors, needs and relations. I believe that these are the three most important things to consider then talking about the future (and the present for that matter). Allow me go through them one at a time and explain why.

  • Behaviors: Here I mean how we use and interact with technologies and media in our everyday lives.
  • Needs: Is quite self-explanatory, but indicates what needs we have based on our behaviors and relations.
  • Relations: Is for the most part our relationship to other people, but also to corporations and things we interact with in general.

The difference between relations and behaviors is that behaviors are your interaction with things you have and use and how it affects your daily life. A person with a smartwatch behaves in a different way than someone who don’t. Relations is the difference in how two people with a smartwatch interacts and uses it. That’s why I’ve also added coorporations and people to that category. Everybody has parents, but our relationships with them are different.

Anyway, the purpose of this post was really to try and get to the core of what is important for development, because development is what defines the future. Do we develop things just because we can or because there’s an actual need? Do new inventions strenghten our relationships? Do they optimize our behaviors? Are they made with people, the users, in mind?

On a final note let me be so bold and actually try and make a rather harsh prediction: In the future all we need is programmers and someone to tell the programmer what to do based on observed behavior, reported needs and distorted relations. Everything else will be conducted by robots.

 

robot wondering about the future

Source: viewwallpaper.com

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Ello – what’s all the fuss about?

In the past week or so I have tweeted a couple of sceptical tweets about the new social media network Ello. I have since then actually been so privileged to be invited to Ello and gotten an account set up and had a look around.

Ello’s motto is ‘simple, beautiful and ad-free’ and is a statement about their counter reaction to big and popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube who are plastered with ads, and collect a lot of data about the users to be able to target their ads more directly.

I must admit that the ad-free experience you get in Ello is liberating, even though I say to myself that I don’t care about and notice the ads on other social media. I know many people say that, but once you experience them not being there you suddently realize how annoying they actually are.

Design

You have probably already seen the design. And yes it is simple, whether it is beautiful is up to the individual. The use of Courier New typeface is a classic ”arty/designy/hipstery” choice and adds to the simplistic design and is also a statement about going back to the basics. The same is the deal with the color scheme of black, grey and white. I’m not sure I completely understand the smiley like logo but I suppose it’s a symbol of the happy and anonymous user, and it is easy recognizable.

Ello: The Discover page

The Ello Discover page

Bumps

There are some minor bumps in the usability. If I want to find new connections, the one choice I have is to go ‘Discover’ where I get a list of more or less random profiles (I actually have no idea how random they are), I don’t have the choice to search for specific people, I have to have the URL to their profile to find and add them to my connections.

Another bump is that I have 2 feeds, one with content that my Friend connections share and one with content that my Noise connections share. In the Friend feed I also get information about activities, like who I’ve started to follow and who’s following me, whether they are in the Friends or Noise connections. It’s a bit confusing.

A third bump is maybe not a bump, but just something you need to get used to. When you are having conversations with someone you communicate via your feeds, much like you do on Twitter. So when you scroll through people’s profiles to see bits of conversations. There’s not much privacy about that.

Ello: The Noise page

The Ello Noise page

Sceptical

I am still sceptical about whether Ello will succeed, despite the hype. The primary target group for Ello is clearly the same kinds of people who made it: artists and designers. When you go ‘Discover’ other Ello profiles you meet a lot of creative people who upload inspirational material like videos, images and gifs. It’s not bad if you, like me, are interested in design and art and always look for inspiration. I wouldn’t put Ello in the category of being a direct competitor to the main social media sites we’ve got today. You could maybe compare it to Tumblr and Pinterest, but on a smaller scale.

Another reason for my scepticism is the funding. I can’t stop asking myself how on earth they are going to survive economically. There are some features you can pay for, if you feel like it, and I really think that the freemium business model is the way to go for Ello. We already know the concept of freemium from Spotify, LinkedIn, online newspapers, anti-virus software etc.

There’s also been a lot of fuss about the venture capital with FreshTracks Capital, and I also believe it’s a dangerous path to go down. No matter how good intentions they claim to have, there will always be a demand for profit. And how is Ello going to make a profit now? Right now it’s just not possible. And when the $435,000 is used? They call FreshTracks again.

Ello: The Friend page

The Ello Friends page

Conclusion

Keeping in mind that Ello is still in beta and they keep improving every day, it is clear that Ello is a very interesting concept, and is definitely a symptom of a general movement in the online community. People are tired of being the bitches of big business. Let’s hope Ello won’t become a bitch of big business as well.

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Unboss – a book review and inspiration to transform management

I know the book Unboos is a couple of years old, in Danish at least, so you might think that this review is a bit late and outdated, and was even before it was written. But no, I have to disagree on that one, because Unboss is not just another management fad, it is the future of management.

For me Unboss started in 2012, when I was attending a talk together with my mom at Politikens Hus with Jacob Bøtter and Lars Kolind as speakers, where they talked about the concept of Unboss and the book.

I had through my education in Multimediadesign gotten in touch with terms like crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, and the social web had certainly come to stay. Reading books like Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Designing for the Social Web by Joshua Porter, Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky and Design Thinking by Tim Brown I had, and still have, a great interest in the possibilities in the social web and the idea of an open and dynamic web of unlimited resources and possibilities.

Unboss is in its foundation about the open company, where innovation and communication is open and everyone from the employees, costumers, management and even to the competitors are connecting and exchanging ideas and thoughts. Noone is afraid of speaking their mind and everyone is taken seriously, even the costumers (yikes!).

I believe that this will be the future of management, but I also believe it will take many years to get rid of the old fashioned highly hierarchical factory management. It has to start in the schools and universities. A book like this, which is written in a language that humans understand, and at the same time is entertaining, is ideal for teaching young people. I read it so fast and I didn’t want it to end, just like when I’m reading a really good novel.

So I’m hoping for a sequel, or maybe I’ll just read it a couple of times more, and keep recommending it to everyone I meet.

Read more about the book and the concept of unbossing businesses here (incl. a video): unboss.com/the-book/

The Awesome Unboss Book

 

Image source: http://unboss.com/english/

 

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Conversion to WordPress

I have for a month or so worked on a website for a hairdresser who wanted to be able to edit the content of her site, such as opening hours and prices.

Her website was a simple HTML site that she had made in Apple iWeb. She wanted the new website to look like the old one, but with the possiblity of editing it herself. I suggested that we should clean it up a bit, use a better quality picture on the front page and make it responsive so people easier could book a haircut from their smartphone. I also suggested a more clear call-to-action (online booking button), but she prefered it with the address and logo as the main elements.

Here you can see how the website looked before (left) and after (right):

gammel_og_ny_camillasteen

I used a theme called Responsive, which I modified to look like the old page. It is a nice and simple theme that is easy to work with and which is responsive, as the name indicates.

When the website was approved by the hairdresser, Camilla Steen, I made a guide for her which show her how to edit the content of her website.

If you are interested in something similar, whether it be a new website or a conversion of your old website, you are most welcome to contact me and get an offer.

 

BA in e-concept development -now what?

YES! Finally I can call myself an E-Concept Developer and say that I have a BA. How cool is that?! Except that 10 out of 10 people ask “e-con-what-is-that?”

So let me briefly explain:
Actually, E-Concept Development is a range of things, because you can choose between different subject like; Communication, Marketing, Business, Design, Media Technologies and E-commerce. I chose Communication, Design and Media Technologies, whereas others might have chosen Marketing, Business and E-commerce. Those choices make up two quite different education. Two, or maybe just one thing we would have in common is the first semester which consisted of subjects like Concept Development, Project Management, Philosophy of Science and User Research. Third semester was the internship, where a lot of the things we learn depend on what kind of company we are in and what tasks are given to us.

To me E-concept development is about interaction- and webdesign, usability, visual communication, digital strategies, branding, concepts and identity for companies, campaigns and social media.

So now what?
I have the possibiliy to go out into the world and find a job in webdesign, communication, marketing etc. I can start my own company. I can apply for a Masters in Digital Design and Communication. But what I really feel like doing is to find myself, in a professional sense. In what way do I want to take my carreer? How do I develope my skills and a more personal and comprehensive portfolio? These are some of the thoughts and things I will be messing around with this spring, while applying for jobs or a Masters.

Meanwhile, I will show you this moodboard I have made to represent me and things and like. I think, making a personal moodboard like this I a good way to find out more about yourself and your idea of aesthetics and values.

moodboard

My personal moodboard

3D printing

3D printing has been possible since the 80’es but within the last couple of years, the development in the technologies have really escalated, and today it is possible to get a 3d printer for under $ 1,000 and at a size that fits on your desk. At the same time, there are more materials you can make prints in, so you can print cups, bowls or bottles made in ceramics to contain drinks or food for human consumption without worrying about phthalates and other suspicious contents. You can make jewellery in steel and silver, and of course there are different kinds of plastics in different quality and colours.

 3D printing is extremely exiting, and there are so many possibilities for people in creative fields who often need to produce prototypes of product ideas (ceramics, jewellery, phones, furniture, art etc), architects can use it to make small scale visualisations of buildings, engineers can use it to see if their inventions work in reality as assumed in theory, before sending it to production.

 There are websites where you can upload your 3d image and order a print of your design, these pages also make it possible for you to sell your design to others. When someone buys your product, the company print it and send it, you earn money and the company takes a small fee for the printing and shipping expenses. That makes it possible for many amateur product designers to get their design and name out there.

Some people use 3d printing to print spare parts for things that  are broken. Spare parts from the producer can be quite expensive, so 3d printing is a cheap way to fix your stuff.

It is also possible now to print organic material like veins that can be inserted into a human body, and soon whole organs like kidneys. It is still a very new way of using 3d printing, but it is a very interesting area, that is evolving at a fast pace. Soon it will be possible to replace organs, and thereby save lives all over the world. In the food industry it can also have a big impact. If meat can be produced in labs instead of in farms and slaughterhouses it will have a big positive impact on the ecosystem, our water resources and we will be able to use our land more efficiently.

Here are 3 websites that print and sell 3d prints:

.

shapeways

 

thingiverse

 

Cubify

 

kickstarter

Another super nice website for anyone who is trying to start up a project, but need the funds to do so. Here you can upload a video where you tell about your project and why people should donate money. This way of funding your project is called crowdfunding, and is the new way for entrepreneurs to both get the start up money and also tell people about your project, and see if your idea is solid and have potential. The best critic out there are your potentially new costumers, if you can match their demands and needs, you will create a better product, and increase the funding at the same time.

In this blog post I have chosen to focus on Kickstarter, but there are other brilliant crowdfunding sites out there, such as Indigogo and Crowdfunder.

Kickstarter is an inspiring, and sometimes thought provoking, website to look through. It’s cool that there’s such a site that helps young creative minds make their dreams and plans come true.

So far, they have help launch almost 90,000 project and almost 500 million dollars, and with a succes rate of 43.54% I would say that the chances of your project getting somewhere is pretty good. Check it out!

Super awesome file saving site!

If you, like me, often find awesome stuff on the interweb that you want to save and share with others, here’s a cool tool to do so in an easy and straight foreward way. It’s called Gimme Bar. It’s not just another bookmarking funtion, it’s an intuitive, social, file saving and sharing funcion that you activate in your browser while browsing. How awesome is that!? You can, of course, choose to not share your saved files or just share them with certain people.

Let me show you how it works:

gimme bar explained

In this image you see my Gimme Bar profile/library where I can see all the files I have saved. In the bookmark bar in the top you can see the Gimme + button which activates the dark grey pop-up in the buttom of the browser. With this activated you can drag and drop the files you want to save. As you can see there are two categories: Public Firehose and Private Stash, which is quite explanatory.
You can save all sorts of files; videos, images, pdfs, text etc.

Here’s the link and a video presentation:

New Gimme Bar Demo from Gimme Bar on Vimeo.