The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

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

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.

Event Review: Technology in Sport — August 25, 2012

Event Review: Technology in Sport

When: Tuesday 22nd August
Where: Goodman Derrick LLP, 10 Bride St, London EC4A 4AD
Organised by: Amoo Venture Capital Advisory as part of their Amoo Booster Series

Having spent most of the last ten years working in the sports industry, an event called ‘Technology in Sport’ was always going to catch my eye.

So I headed to the impressive offices of event hosts Goodman Derrick on a beautiful Tuesday evening, making sure I arrived in time for the informal networking that preceded the event.

The first speaker of the evening was Angus McNab of Opta Sports. Opta Sports provides performance related data, such as passes completed, for a wide range of sports to clients all over the world. Angus gave us an overview of the company’s background as well as an insight into some of the fascinating ways that their data is used, such as by the Monday Night Football team on Sky Sports.

This was followed by an informal pitching competition by three London based start-ups combining technology and sport with the audience voting on the winner.

First up was Howard Kingston of We R Interactive. Howard introduced us to their flagship social game IAmPlayr, which allows the user to assume the identity of a professional footballer. The game tries to reflect real life as closely as possible so you have to make decisions that will affect your success both on and off the pitch! Howard also explained how the company has teamed up with brands including Betfred and Red Bull to monetize the game.

The next presentation was by Eric DeGolier of Vortex Sports Design who spoke about his new cycling product, Bodyrocket. Bodyrocket is a simple piece of kit that can be strapped to a bike to measure aerodynamic drag. This type of technology was previously only available to professional cycling teams with big budgets to spend on wind tunnels but Eric, a former elite cyclist, has come up with a more affordable version of the technology for both amateur and professional cyclists.

The last presentation was by Roman Grigorjev of Revelmob who talked about Guessmate, another social game that will be launched shortly. Guessmate allows users to guess which pictures they have received from friends from only a tiny fraction of the image. Although not strictly a sports product, Roman explained how it could be easily adapted for the sports industry using images of famous sports people.

In the end,Howard and IAmPlayr won by a landslide vote but both Eric and Roman deserve great credit for their presentations also.

Once the presentations finished, the networking continued and it was still warm enough for some attendees to venture out onto the balcony to take in some fantastic views of the city at night.

So, summing up, what did you miss? The chance to learn about some exciting new tech start-ups in the sports industry and to connect with a diverse group with an interest in both the tech and sports sectors.

For information about upcoming events in the Amoo Booster Series, click here.

About our Ambassador: Keith McGuinness is a freelance copywriter based in South West London. Connect with him on Twitter @mcginty312

Interview: London Local Nick Holzherr — August 24, 2012

Interview: London Local Nick Holzherr

This week, Community Ambassador Keith McGuinness was thrilled to interview Apprentice 2012 finalist Nick Holzherr about the upcoming launch of Whisk and how his appearance on the show has impacted the business.

Name: Nick Holzherr
Website: Whisk
Twitter: @whiskteam

How did you get started as a digital entrepreneur?

I have had an interest in technology since my dad bought me a computer when I was 15 and I started to build websites for local companies – even the odd bit of non-malicious hacking at the time. Getting into tech for business was however all by accident. I was interested in running my own business at university where I did a degree in business – and started a coffee business. We started putting advertising on the side of coffee cups, added QR codes onto the adverts and suddenly got lots of demand for our tech solution. From that, I did what any business person does – follow demand, hired a few developers and grew the tech side of the business.

And how did you come up with the idea for Whisk?

It goes without saying that starting a company involves long hours. Although I love cooking, I just wasn’t finding the time to buy the right ingredients for the recipes I wanted to cook. It frustrated me as it meant I ended up cooking the same dishes most nights, or eating out, which gets pretty costly. Many people I knew felt the same.  Craig, my co-founder, felt the frustration too, and had the ‘eureka’ moment when Tesco released their public API in 2009. We both found that buying the right ingredients was the part of home cooking that involved the most faff. It was then that he realised that technology could solve all this hassle by linking recipes directly with online shopping.

Can you tell us a bit about how the site works?

Whisk enables people to purchase the ingredients for any recipe they find on the internet via online supermarkets. People can add recipes they find to a virtual basket within Whisk and then check out the ingredients for those recipes at their supermarket of choice.

Whisk will be launched as a browser plugin, an iPhone app and a button on recipes sites. There are so many amazing recipes online, many which don’t take much time to cook. We want to open out the wealth of food ideas the internet has to offer and make them really, really convenient for people.

On top of that, Whisk does lots of other interesting things that people discover as they use the system – like recommend recipes to cook with what you’ll have leftover (which is worked out by looking at the difference between what you need to cook recipes and store item pack sizes).

Have you had much interest in the site since the Apprentice ended?

The interest has been phenomenal. We were the most read story on the page for more than a day, have had thousands of users sign-up for our system and we’re talking to the biggest recipe brands, FMCG brands and supermarkets. We also attracted the attention of a great set of people who have joined the team – making it a pleasure to come into work every day.

Did your appearance on the show help you raise finance for the business?

Absolutely. The idea is ambitious – linking together the world’s recipes with the world’s brands and the world’s supermarkets isn’t a small challenge. The exposure from The Apprentice helps with that. Having a good team behind the business also helps quite a bit. However, important to note is that while The Apprentice gives us a “leg up” – everyone believes in the vision we’re working to turn into reality – no-one would invest in a bad idea that had a lot of exposure.

Despite not choosing to invest, did Lord Sugar have any advice for you?

I have a lot of respect for Lord Sugar despite not being chosen for investment. Lord Sugar recognised the size of the challenge and recommended I may have luck in the US finding appropriate investors. We were lucky to find these in the UK and have a set of knowledgeable investors on board who can help us. We didn’t need to go to the US, but Lord Sugar was right that it is certainly a big challenge!

Are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?

I’ve been told time and time again that working on a single project and doing it well is the most important thing. I’m dedicating all my time to Whisk – so nothing else is in the pipeline – no. Or maybe, a L’Oreal hair campaign?! Just joking. Or am I?

Finally, what advice would you have for any aspiring entrepreneurs reading this?

I’d say test your idea as soon as you can. Don’t sit on it and wait for someone else to do it. Find someone experienced in running a company and ask them for advice if you don’t know what to do next. The best thing anyone can do if they have ideas and aspire to get them off the ground is start. Start designing your product, start contacting people who may like to buy it, start talking to investors. You’ll soon find out whether it’s a good idea or not – without spending any money or too much time.

About our Ambassador: Keith McGuinness is a freelance copywriter based in South West London. Connect with him on Twitter @mcginty312

Event Review: The Founder Institute: Sydney — August 5, 2012

Event Review: The Founder Institute: Sydney

The Founder Institute in Sydney recently graduated their first class. We attended both the Sydney Showcase to hear the company pitches, and an information night for their next semester intake. Hannah DeMilta and  Fleur Fletcher were there to cover these events and learn more about the program. 

The panel of judges at the Inaugural Sydney Founder Showcase

For Sydneysiders with a business idea, there’s a great selection of pre-seed incubators/programs available to help turn their dreams into a reality.  The Founder Institute is one of those programs now available here.  

It’s a four month program, where the accepted participants meet once a week. One graduate described it as “part Survivor, part The Apprentice.” Attendees learn from mentors covering a range of topics, from research and business models to marketing and funding. Each week there is also “homework” to complete (up to 10 hours). If you can’t put in the work, or your idea doesn’t stack up… you leave. By the end of those four months, the group has whittled down to a handful.

The Sydney showcase was an evening for those program survivors to share their businesses through a short pitching and feedback session. We also heard from Keynote Speaker, Brad Howarth as he shared his insight on entrepreneurs and trends he is seeing in the industry.

Graduates this year included the following companies; 

Babeenotes – a digital and interactive version of the Baby’s Personal Health Record, available on all platforms and devices

ProcessGo! – a cloud application to help enterprise CFOs streamline costs by simplifying the selection profess of finding back office solutions

SmartSource – connects highly skilled professional women, who want to work flexible hours with businesses that need skilled part-time support locally

Task Orbit – a way to connect verified, serious corporate hires and LinkedIn-registered, highly-skilled professional contractors

Training Deals – the ‘Wotif’ model for training and certification courses, allows you to search for last-minute, discounted workshops and classes online

Applications are open until August 12th for the next semester. Want to apply? Here are some tips on what they look for in a business:

  1. Simple ideas win
  2. One company, one product, one revenue stream (again, keep it simple)
  3. Make sure you can name your ideal customer
  4. Be succinct. Can you explain your idea in 10 words or less?
  5. Choose a market that’s big enough for you to make mistakes
  6. Mix in ‘secret sauce’ to show you’re an expert. Ideally, something defensible.
  7. Be original (new or better)

Find out more by reading the FAQ, or apply here.

Thank you to co-directors Benjamin Chong and Benajmin Ranck for organising, and AAPT for hosting. 

This article was co-authored by Community Ambassador Fleur Fletcher and Sydney Curator, Hannah DeMilta. You can connect with Fleur and Hannah through Twitter @fleurfletcher @HannahDeMilta

Event Review: How to Land a Job at a Startup —

Event Review: How to Land a Job at a Startup

This event review of “How to land a job at a startup” is brought to you by Solange Francois, from our Fetch Community Ambassador Team in Sydney.

On Thursday, 26th July I attended General Assembly’s ‘How to Land a Job at a Startup’. It was an hour of ideas led by Riley Batchelor, who has been involved with startups for many years before deciding to use his skills and contacts for educating and mentoring.

What types of startup jobs are out there?

The majority of tech startup roles are, unsurprisingly, developer roles, but there are also requirements for sales, business development, marketing, commercial management, operations, admin and more.

What are the benefits of working at a startup?

Startups don’t operate like large, established companies. Startups generally offer flexibility in attire and work hours and autonomy that comes from a smaller, flatter management structure. Startups often work in co-working spaces so staff interact with a wide range of enthusiastic, ambitious entrepreneurs.

How can I make it happen?

  • Get your story straight – work out what you want to do and focus on a core skill
  • Make connections rather than rely on job boards – network and ask for introductions
  • Demonstrate your passion – know the company and become familiar with the product and space
  • Differentiate yourself – stand out, be creative and get noticed
  • Know your place – envision the role you’d play in the business and deliver that value before being asked
  • At interviews, share fresh ideas and demo your work
  • Consider up-skilling in areas you’re not familiar with so you’re able to offer a broader skill set
  • Investigate various sources, for example, connections, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook pages, The Fetch, Silicon Beach Australia board

The opportunities for people driven to become involved in this space continue to grow, but it’s not a conventional recruitment path so it’s up to the individual to take the lead, up-skill and get connected.

About our Ambassador // This article was contributed by Community Ambassador Solange Francois. She is a marketer and lover of travel with a passion for psychology and lifelong learning. You can connect with Solange through her blog or on Twitter @solangefrancois

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