The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Event Review: Pecha Kucha in Auckland — May 5, 2013

Event Review: Pecha Kucha in Auckland

On Wednesday the 23 of April Deirdre Dawson from The Fetch Community Ambassador Team in Auckland went along to the Pecha Kucha event that was held in the Iron Bank building on K’Road. 

pecha3
Jules Turner I Performance and Photography I Monster Beauty touches a sensibility

Pecha Kucha Auckland #35

The delightfully named Pecha Kucha, has been fascinating creative folk in Aotearoa for the last six years. Pecha Kucha is a semi-regular event designed to bring together creatives across a number of disciplines to speak about their practice. The format is fantastic, fresh and energetic, with anywhere from eight to fourteen speakers, presenting 20 slides and speaking on each for only 20 seconds.

Originating in Tokyo the first Pecha Kucha was held in 2003 but now adds to the creative architecture of 643 cities around the world. Luka Hinse is the curator of the events here in Auckland and first came across Pecha Kucha when he was working as a designer in Tokyo.

Tuesday’s event held at the Biz Dojo on K Road introduced the audience to eleven speakers; ranging from performance artists, a body builder, designers, architects, digital strategists, writers, and even an historian. Check www.pechakucha.co.nz for details of all the speakers from the night.

Sonia Pivac was one of my highlights. The founder of Deaf Radio she gave us a crash course in NZ Sign Language. Sonia may be deaf but I would definitely rate her as one of the strongest speakers there. It was a wonderful touch to have all speakers syncro-translated for the hearing impaired.

Edward Bennett, the K Rd historian also captivated all with his speech titled ‘Unbuilt Auckland’. Who knew at one stage Auckland was proposed to have two Town Halls or a giant statue of Christ on Bastion Point? You can learn more about the history of K Road on his free Heritage Walks. K Road also kindly sponsors the event when in its locale.

I would highly recommend this event in the future. At a cost of $10 it’s a small price to pay for the inspiration guaranteed to flow hearing such a variety of passionate speakers.

About our Ambassador // This article was contributed by Community Ambassador Deirdre Dawson. While she is currently working on the startup, Rentaholic, her background includes steering Disruptv gallery as the business manager of the multi faceted creative company  which specialised in large scale murals, graphic design, event management and graffiti workshops. 

Interview: Wellington Local, Anna Guenther — May 3, 2013

Interview: Wellington Local, Anna Guenther

This week our community ambassador Katherine Field interviews Anna Guenther, the founder New Zealand’s crowdfunding startup, PledgeMeFollow Anna and the PledgeMe team on Twitter via @pledgeme.

AnnaGuenther
Photo credit: Guy Ryan

As the driving force behind PledgeMe, New Zealand’s crowdfunding platform for creative projects, Anna Guenther is one of Wellington’s golden girls. Passionate about building resilient creative communities – online and offline – she’s found herself as somewhat of a beacon of hope for creatives at that awkward junction where art meets financial reality.

Since their inception in 2011, PledgeMe has helped to raise over one million dollars in pledges – recently celebrating this success with three consecutive parties on one street in Wellington, complete with puppets re-enacting Pulp Fiction, fairy bread and a complimentary walking-bus to ferry guests.

Anna joined me to chat about all things crowdfunding, the end of bootstrapping and her potential career as a rock-star.

Congratulations on reaching a major milestone of raising $1,000,000 in pledges. What is the next big goal on the horizon? 

One billion dollars? But, no, honestly – we’re aiming for one hundred million in the first five years. So, one million is great – but now we need to multiply that by a hundred!

pledgemepeople31
Photo credit: Tess Brosnan

You’ve recently jumped ship to work on PledgeMe full-time.  How big a decision was this and what were the major considerations for you and the business before taking this step?

It was a massive decision, but one a long time coming. I’ve had some really smart people telling me that you can’t be half committed…. and, that’s right.

If you’re in start up world there really comes a time when you just have to jump.

For us, it was realising that there really was a huge market in New Zealand – hitting the one-million-dollar mark proved this to us – and that it was time to focus.

How does PledgeMe set itself apart from similar models such as Kickstarter and the new local addition to the scene, Boosted?

We see ourselves as a local version of the mighty Kickstarter. Having a New Zealand focus means that we’re not just an online platform, but also an offline community. People see that what they’re giving is making a difference locally -and that’s important.

We also see the rewards side of what we do as enabling creatives to be entrepreneurial. It’s a new model, not reinventing the patron model of old, and we think that’s pretty powerful.

It’s insider tips time! What are your top three nuggets of advice for prospective crowdfunding campaigns?

I think the three golden nuggets would be:

– Pitch your project (and you) well. People need to see you in it, and understand why the funds are going to help make it happen.

– Have a video. Really. Videos make you at least 117% more likely to get funded.

– Rewards are rewarding. People don’t want begging, they want value. So show them what you’ll give in return – and make it a mix of physical and experiential.

What does the future of crowdfunding look like in New Zealand?

I think crowdfunding is the next BIG thing. It’s a tool to give the crowd the power to decide what’s cool and what isn’t, what deserves to be funded to happen (and what doesn’t). The power of distributed decision-making is so 2013.

crowdsurfingthanksamillion
Photo credit: Kane Feaver & Bek Coogan

At PledgeMe’s ‘Thanks-a-Million’ celebration, you partook in some impressive crowd surfing! Are you a closet rock-star? Or is there another creative outlet up your sleeve?

More like a reluctant rock-star! I thought I was a bit of a fashionista back in the day, but now I’m just a massive supporter of the creative critters out there trying to do their thing. I’m really just a geeky fan of everyone!

About our Ambassador // Katherine Field is one helluva busy lady. In between holding down the fort as the Community Manager at the BizDojo, she is also back at university and helping to coordinate Startup Weekend Wellington. Find her on twitter as @kathfromwelly

Interview: Sydney Local, Gretel Killeen — April 25, 2013

Interview: Sydney Local, Gretel Killeen

This week our community ambassador Jacqueline Shields interviews Australian journalist and author- Gretel Killeen. Follow Gretel on Twitter via @gretelkilleen.

Gretel Killeen’s career has run the gamut in the field of communication. She has written more than twenty books, hosted radio and television programs, worked as a journalist, a stand-up comic, and a voice artist. In addition, she has written and directed for film, TV and stage. She produced a documentary following the plight of AIDS orphans in Zambia, as well as profiles to raise awareness about unexploded ordinance in Laos, poverty in Bangladesh, the defense force on Australia Day in Taren Kaut, Afghanistan and rabies eradication in India. Gretel is a renowned MC, key note speaker and debater. She is currently channeling all of her experience into instructing individuals and corporations in the art of communication. Most of all, Gretel is keeping it real.

Gretel, you’ve recently moved into the corporate world to help executives and corporations improve their communication skills and find their authentic voice. How do the three areas of writing, performing and business interconnect?

To be truly successful in each of these three fields, you must stand out by expressing uniqueness. Unfortunately the pressures of society and the workplace until now have discouraged this and instead encouraged us to conform and suppress our individuality.

The Tall Poppy Syndrome in Australia has contributed to this. Women need look no further than our plethora of magazines to see how strong the message to fit in is. The ads tell us the importance of ‘being you’. However, upon opening the publication we see that page after page tells us what to wear, what to eat and how to be. It’s befuddling hypocrisy. Those who don’t conform are ridiculed and harshly judged.

Pulling people down who do stand out is accepted as the way our society operates. In the long term such inhibitors can lead to ordinariness in our personal and professional communications with a lack of integrity and profundity. I’m keenly aware of that when I gently encourage people to be themselves. It requires firm support and guts, but the rewards are enormous not only professionally but personally as well.

My team and I work to allow the unique voice to emerge with strength, confidence, and profundity… and dare I say it… enjoyment.

How do you differentiate an authentic voice from an inauthentic voice?

An inauthentic voice is dull and its speeches are riddled with clichés and predictability.

An authentic voice speaks from the heart and the mind; it surprises and engenders trust with its honesty. Those who speak with an authentic voice are those whom we subconsciously believe in and follow.

If we look at the corporate environment, those with an authentic voice are those who don’t use jargon. They acknowledge their faults and vulnerabilities, and in doing so come across as honest. There is in fact a move in corporate leadership towards embracing and acknowledging mistakes. This is increasingly becoming a requirement with the evolution of social media and the transparency this brings.

As a leader, you cannot afford to be deemed shallow, two dimensional or artificial. The day of the archetypal ‘suit’ has gone. The audience wants authenticity, and we teach people how to access and deliver that.

Who do you feel exemplifies an authentic voice?

Off the top of my head? Richard Branson, Mother Theresa and President Barack Obama. Obama is a classic example of an authentic voice. He conveys an overriding aura of ‘realness’. His delivery is to the point, said with feeling and often with humour.

In our country most politicians come across as perfectly rehearsed automatons. At the other end of the spectrum, stand-up comics are a group who exemplify having an authentic voice. They are the most successful communicators in Australia. They deal with the toughest crowds, are out on a limb expressing obscure new thoughts, and if they fail the audience is unforgiving. Their vulnerability is their selling point.

The exchange of information allowed by technology has led all communicators, whether comics or TED speakers, to raise the bar for the corporate world. The audience now knows what is possible. They do not and should not expect to be bored or unstimulated by a presentation. If the speaker does not touch his audience, move them or teach them… then perhaps he deserves to boo’d off or at the very least heckled.

What inspired you to share your skills with the corporates world?

I am obsessed with the expression of the individual and enabling each person’s unique self to show. I believe that we can do this at work and still effectively represent the corporation.

When we continually stifle the self, it results in deeper social issues such as depression. The pressure to hide yourself from society and to conform is incredibly strong. Of course no one fits into this mould and the result is that many feel an underlying sense of inadequacy… of not being good enough to present our real self. So we present a fictitious persona that is safe and dull; that could say what anyone else could be saying instead of standing out, being who we are and making it a fulfilling and stimulating experience for everyone.

I think the tide is slowly turning. No longer do we need to hide our personalities and all the things that make us real people. Before, especially in the 1990s, showing your true self was seen as self-indulgent. More and more you can talk about your life or share an insight into your passions, inject a sense of irony or humour, and use metaphors that resonate with you that others can relate to in your corporate persona.

With the rise of technology people are increasingly yearning for a real off-line connection. People want to be touched. Metaphorically, if not literally. But because we have been so focused on the fonts we use, the links to articles we share, the photos we show and hiding behind our online personas, we are losing confidence in face-to-face communication.

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Does that seem right? That means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy”. -Jerry SeinfeldYou teach being ‘comfortable, fearless and powerful’ when presenting. Has this always been the case when you are in front of an audience? 

There have been times when I have been absolutely terrified. I remember when I first performed, I prayed for the ceiling of the building to collapse. Admittedly I was dressed as a drunk housewife in a black negligee. That said, it took me some time to realize that I was the only person who’d come to the event not planning to have a good time. In my career I’ve been criticised, vilified, praised, defamed and honoured. I’ve had to learn to swallow my nerves and believe in myself.

How do you do that? What is your approach when addressing an audience?

My approach is to have a logical structure to my presentation or performance because the skeleton of a presentation is vital. I remind myself that I am there to enrich, entertain, educate and enjoy. I focus on how this experience will benefit others and how it will also benefit me.

When I’m coaching in the corporate environment, I emphasis these three areas:

Remove the expectation of perfection. People don’t relate to perfection. They relate to flaws. So work out what you are comparing yourself to that is making you so insecure. Acknowledge that you are perfectly imperfect.

Have confidence in the value of your contribution and if you don’t feel you are saying something important… rewrite and prepare until you do.

Know what it is that you are trying to achieve i.e. when you go into battle you need to know what you are fighting for. You need to work out what you want your audience to feel and how you want to feel during and after the presentation.

What is the greatest problem most people have with public speaking? 

Fear that they will not be good enough and as a consequence they won’t be liked. However we forget that imperfection is what we relate to. Perfection is alienating.

It’s all really a question of self esteem. (Ironically however some people are appalling communicators because they have an excessive degree of confidence and inability to acknowledge the chasm between themselves and their audience.)

To overcome your fear you need to think through the goal of your material, familiarize yourself with it, and make it interesting to you and to your audience.

Your presentation is not something to be endured. If that is your approach then your audience will definitely feel it. You need to find your own uniqueness and strength and hone in on it. That might be your compassion, your statistics or your ability to self deprecate. You need to turn your uniqueness into your strength.

We also need to redefine the word ‘nervous’. Often we are actually ‘excited’ and not ‘nervous’. But if we are ‘nervous’ we need to ask what we are nervous about and break it down and solve each aspect of the anxiety. We need to treat it as a real foe and assess how we are going to defeat it. Saying to someone ‘ don’t be nervous’ is ineffective. What we need to do is apply the appropriate tools to conquer it so that we are focused and forceful.

One of these tools is having a structure to what you are saying. If there is logic to your presentation it takes a lot of the nerves out as it makes sense and flows. A speech, like any form of writing, needs a story arc. The story arc is very effectively applied in the film and TV industries to keep the audience captivated. This is knowing when to have the drama, the highlights, the intensity amongst your beginning, middle and end for the greatest impact for your audience.

Do you feel social media helps or hinders communication?

Both. Social media is fantastic in that it gives everyone a voice. But unfortunately it doesn’t give everyone something worth saying.  A lot of people use social media to communicate other people’s thoughts. This happens for a number of reasons. Perhaps they are too busy or too lazy to think for themselves, or perhaps they think it’s a positive to be aligned to someone else’s profile. And many people too simply bombard the world with constant messaging, whether they be their own thoughts or others’.

But the greatest use of social media is not quantity… it’s quality. Using social media to express individuality and uniqueness to bring information, enjoyment and enrichment to the lives of others.

About our Ambassador // Jacqueline Shields. Luckily Jacqueline is not a cat. She’d be on her ninth life. Her inquisitive nature sees her say yes to pretty much anything – a  Tough Mudder, an African Safari, sailing down the Nile in a felucca and even a HTML workshop. And each and everything she tries, she takes great joy in writing about. You can connect with Jacqueline on Twitter @hillrepeats.

 

Event Review – Raw: Ensemble — October 1, 2012

Event Review – Raw: Ensemble

What: RAW Brisbane: Ensemble
Where: Oh Hello!
When: 26 September 2012
Reviewed by: Steph Dooris and Andrew Watt, Brisbane Ambassadors

Somewhere between the visual art, samba dance routine and fashion shows, Steph and I looked at each other and realised: what a crazy amount of diverse talent exists in the Brisbane arts scene.

RAW Artists is an independent arts organisation originally from the United States, but last month saw their first international showcase at Oh Hello in Fortitude Valley. With RAW’s fourth showcase in Brisbane, dubbed “Ensemble” the organisation is fast solidifying itself as the hub of Brisbane’s art community.

After both attending the launch of RAW last month, Steph and I were eager to get along to the second Brisbane showcase and check out the fresh batch of artist’s work on show. Yet again we were dazzled with a slew of visual art, photography, music, fashion, dance, hair and makeup that our city’s art scene is bursting at the seams with talent.

This time around we wanted to connect with more of the attendees, and hopefully suss out some juicy information from them. As we floated through Oh Hello! mingling with the crowd, drinks in our hand, we got chatting to some interesting personalities and decided to share their opinions with you.

Nicki and Linda (exhibitor)

Thoughts so far: I’m loving tonight so far! I can’t wait for the showcases to begin. We’re very excited.
Excited about: The work by the other designers on the runway. I can really relate to how excited they will be. So far tonight has been a lot of fun.

I’ve met a lot of fun people and there were lots of fun behind the scenes. Hair and make up was really great. But we’re really just excited for the show to start.

Brad, Sonya, Emma

First time? Yes
Discovered RAW through: Zanee, my sister, is one of the design exhibitors here. She’s awesome.
Excited about: I’m quite excited to see the bands. I’ve been told that they’re quite good.
Three words for tonight: Raw, energetic, Zanee

Aicha

Discovered RAW through: My friend, Megan Lumley, has art in tonight’s exhibit and she was like ‘Come along!’ So I thought OK because I haven’t seen her art before. But it’s really amazing and I’m really excited.

Everyone’s art tonight is really cool. I’m enjoying it a lot.
Inspired by: Damien Hirst. I love the skull he did that’s covered in diamonds! I really like him and he has really controversial artwork that I think are interesting.

Alex Gee (exhibitor)

Excited about: I really enjoy the photography, actually. I think I’m just attracted to photography in general and to see good work coming out of Brisbane is always exciting.
Inspired by: The studio that I work with inspires me every day. I work for Breeder, which is a part of another company called Josephmark. We’re doing really exciting things for a lot of really exciting clients, Myspace being one of them.
Points for: All of it. It all rocks.

Lauren

Discovered RAW through: I was here to visit Kahlia Litzow, one of the artists. I’m really glad I came because I’ve been introduced to so many other amazing people as well. It’s been great.
Inspired by: It’s sort of hard to say because I’m not really involved in the arty scene. But I have been looking at a lot of burlesque stuff so I guess that’s been inspiring me.
Points for: It’s nice to have a bar where you get spirits, you can’t really do that at other art exhibitions so that’s definitely a plus.

Jose and Jacob

Thoughts so far: Jose: The art is really nice. I really like it. And all the artists are really friendly as well, so its great. Jacob: I’ve really liked the art tonight. It’s very good. Really diverse, as well.
Excited by: Jose: I like Fleur‘s work. She’s my friend’s sister. It reminds me a lot of Agnes Cecile, which is good.

Jacob: My favourite would probably have to be the landscape photography.

Three words for tonight: Jose Indie, fashion, art. Jacob: Lively, inspired, art.

Rose

Thoughts so far: I think the fashion show is definitely the most exciting part of the night. I also love all the artwork as well. I think it’s really good to get young artists out there.
Inspired by: Everything in Brisbane. Everything and anything that looks good to my eyes, which in Brisbane there is a lot.
Three words for tonight: Really fucking awesome.

Andrew and Steph attended the Ensemble showcase courtesy of RAW Brisbane. The next RAW event is on the 24 of October at Oh Hello!

Interview: Melbourne local, Scott Brewer, Art Processors — September 28, 2012

Interview: Melbourne local, Scott Brewer, Art Processors

This week, Jackie Antig interviews Scott Brewer, the CTO and Cofounder of Art Processors.

Name: Scott Brewer
Website: 
http://artprocessors.net
Twitter:
@ArtProcessors

Scott Brewer is the CTO and Cofounder of Art Processors, a company which designs and develops innovative mobile applications and content delivery systems for cultural institutions. The technology they’ve built has completely removed wall labels from the visitor experience. Imagine that!

Their first mobile museum guide app, The O, at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania, runs on an iPod that is provided to every visitor. The O lists which artworks are near you as you walk throughout the museum, allowing you to decide which object to see next, generating a more exploratory museum experience. Each artwork in the app comes with an extensive bundling of rich content varying between curator commentary, personal emails and interviews with the artists and food-for-thought starters. We ultimately tailor what we learn and discover with what we find engaging and relevant with each work of art.

The O relies on data to feed content about the artworks and to identify where the visitor is within the building. It also generates a lot of information about individual visitor and collective audience behaviour. Scott Brewer talks to us about museum data, technology and of course, a little bit about art.

Museum data usually refers to a museum’s collection. How has Art Processors re-invented data in the museum context?

I believe we’ve made the data a museum has on offer available to the visitor in a way that hasn’t been previously achievable and that’s been our biggest re-invention.  When you go down to MONA (as an example), as a visitor you’re now able to access so much more content about works than is usually on offer in a more traditional setting.

It is strange, but by removing the wall label we’ve actually been able to increase the information available to visitors and make the aesthetic of the museum more focused on the works and less on the content. Win!

What excites you about the potential for this data? Are there things you’re cautious about too?

I think the most exciting thing about freeing this data is that it offers the visitor a more engaging and personal experience. The visitor is free to take in the works and then only seek out the information on those that they want to engage with; instead of being forced to read large wall texts that don’t hold interest, a museum can put that information onto a device for visitors and provide them with more works to view.

Are there plans to translate the personal data visitors kick up from their visit into shareable online content?

Funny you should mention it, we’re currently in the middle of working on improving user feedback within our platform!

The amount of research that takes place in ways to provide this functionality is staggering. Giving the visitor the chance to respond without bias and in a simple and intuitive way isn’t the easiest problem in the world to solve! Then there is the question of what to do with the content the visitor is creating and who owns it all.

So many questions to answer. We’re planning on putting new aspects of our software into beta later this year that will have some of these features, then we can start testing them on a small scale before rolling them out en masse. We are really excited about some of the possibilities that come with great user generated content though so hopefully we’ll get it done right.

Name an art movement or artist whose ideas about creation inspire your own take on building new products.

As anyone who knows me well knows I’m slightly obsessed with Dick Bruna. His use of colour and line just amazes me. His minimalist style is definitely an inspiration to me in most everything I do.

Although a lot of people probably write him off as simply being an author of childrens books, for me his ability to get it so right in such a succinct manner is something that more people should consider (especially in software development!).

Miffy: Dick Bruna’s infamous children’s book character

Learn More: Take a quick glance at the Art Processor’s video about The O for an overview. For a more leisurely stroll through the experience, jump over to Seb Chan’s account of using it first hand.

About our Ambassador // Jackie Antig is a product innovator who doubles as a wordsmith and visual designer. Insatiably curious, data junkie. Works in the trenches. Connect with her on Twitter @jantig.

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