Monthly Archives: March 2007

IA Summit 2007: Vegas, Part II

Finally, here’s my somewhat belated wrap-up of the IA Summit, which I attended in Vegas. The conference was absolutely amazing. I met a ton of interesting people from all over the world, including quite a few Seattleites, and had some great conversations. The workshops and presentations were non-stop brain food, and incredibly inspiring. Slides for a number of the presentations are up on SlideShare here, with more coming. Podcasts should be showing up in the coming weeks on the IA Summit blog.

Some conference highlights

  • Leisa‘s suite party the first night, with great company and conversation: Livlab, Andrew Hinton, Dave Malouf, and Jared Spool.
  • Joshua Prince-Ramus’ keynote was a great look into the architectural process. A very similar talk of his is up here at TED talks, including the evolution of the new Seattle Public Library.
  • Twitter. It adds so much to the conference/social/community experience. Leisa wrote a good post on how to get the most from a conference and includes some observations on Twitter.
  • Andy Budd‘s birthday celebration at the Pink Taco. Hanging out with Derek, Thomas, Nick, and even Jared Spool again. Here’s Jared doing drunken card tricks for some Dutch folk.
  • A very moving and mind-expanding talk by Grant Campbell, titled: Utilizing ritual in the design of information spaces for the cognitively impaired. The talk focused on the challenges of interactions with people who have dementia/Alzheimer’s, and how we may need to rethink our traditional methods of organizing information or designing iteractions. The biggest example was that of an advanced Alzheimer’s patient who could barely concentrate or remember anything, yet could participate in the entire Catholic eucharist ritual with complete attention. A great quote from Jesse James Garrett in the discussion afterwards (paraphrased):

    “What if you applied the same design/IA tactics to something like a communion ritual? Like counting clicks to a certain destination… you’d say why not just hand out the wine and wafer to people at the door as they walk in. And you lose the entire point.”

  • Countless other little things that I’ve got jotted down in notes. Microformats, design patterns, data streams, agile workflows… I’ll try to collect my thoughts into some more in-depth follow-up posts.

Any downsides or disappointments? Just that trying to fit in some Vegas fun on top of a jam-packed conference was barely doable, and very exhausting. It didn’t stop me, but it was a very hard bizarro-city to find that balance in.

What a great conference. I can’t wait until next year in Miami.

IA Summit 2007: Vegas, Part I

I’m currently in Las Vegas attending the 2007 IA Summit. Tons of geeking-out over Information Architecture with a lot of great people… in a crazy, crazy city.

The internet connection is incredibly flaky here, otherwise I’d be trying to update more often. I’ll write up some more thoughts and stories when I can. I’ve been trying out Twitter without too much fanfare, mainly because I don’t want to take the phone/text message plunge (SMSes aren’t free for me). But I’m absolutely seeing the draw to Twitter via text-message now, with people using it to keep in touch at a busy event, find out what’s going on, and adding color commentary during the presentations.

I’ve tried uploading a couple Flickr photos, but again the connection is too flaky to do much. Plus, there’s just too much going on to stop and spend time sorting and uploading all my photos right now. There are a lot of great shots under the iasummit2007 tag on Flickr too.

More to come!

How Much Money Did Ze Frank Make?

On Saturday, the epic journey that has been Ze Frank’s The Show, came to an end. With Ze’s final show, he closed out the promised year (minus weekends and holidays) of his daily energetic ramblings. Back in October he added the Gimme Some Candy donation system, where viewers could donate various amounts of money to the show, and get a simple ducky or jewel icon and custom message displayed on The Show’s site. For whatever reason, I started tracking the total donations for each day when I watched The Show. And here’s what I came up with:

Total Ze Frank donations: $28,535
Total from Bling Duckies ($250 each): $3,750
Total from Big Duckies ($50 each): $15,400
Total from Little Duckies ($10 each): $7,540
Total from Jewels ($5 each): $1,845
Highest single day (the last day of the show): $6,045
Average daily donations (including the last day): $297
Modified average (minus first two days’ spikes, Valentines, and final day): $170

And here’s what the daily data looks like in a not-so-pretty Excel chart:

Ze Frank Candy

Ze Frank daily donations (minus the last $6000 day, which threw off the scale)

I took out the final day, since it threw the scale out of whack and left things even less intelligible. You can clearly see the initial spikes when he announced the donations, and the quick drop down to the average levels. There were a few times during the year where Ze reminded his viewers of the donation system directly or indirectly. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas had increased donations from the generous givers out there. And Ze Frank also ran custom Valentine’s Day candy. I didn’t see the actual donation page that week, but assumed the sizes of the icons still translated to the same pricing. Aside from the $6000 finale, Valentine’s Day was a clear winner.

So in the end Ze has to pay some hefty taxes on his $28,000, but it still ain’t bad for just 5 months of the show. This doesn’t even take into account how much he made from his Revver.com video hosting and ads. He also had a couple show sponsors towards the end, with Dewar’s sponsoring the final week of the show. I’m sure there’s at least a few more grand in there. Ze often joked about wanting to sell out, and while he’s not gonna retire off these donations alone, the show itself and the incredible fan base gave him more than enough fame to move on to Hollywood. I look forward to whatever’s next.

Good ‘ol Jerry Masterson

I recently found an old t-shirt in my drawer from The Portland Mercury (sister paper of The Stranger), featuring the face of a charming young boy, Jerry Masterson. For those of you who don’t know, or don’t remember, here are his greatest hits:

RIP, Jean Baudrillard

I was sad to see that author and theorist, Jean Baudrillard, died yesterday. In a number of my college courses we read many of his writings and essays, and while I didn’t always understand them, I did enjoy the challenging thoughts he offered up. The Wikipedia entry on Baudrillard gives a great overview of a number of his theories and how they interconnect (and intersect) with other postmodern theories.