I recently got invited to judge the Webby awards this past year. I considered it quite an honor, even if I am working for free. I learned a ton fro reviewing other projects from related industries, and have linked to a few that really stood out to me (I can’t publicly post the judging links, so I have to scour for whatever is public online right now):
Water is Life
I found this social media campaign very evocative in its way to spin the frivolity of how we use twitter on its head to promote issues in Haiti:VW GIFaway
VW and Moma sponsored a rare show by Kraftwerk. However, the ticket server crashed, and tickets got astronomical in price. VW had reserved 15 percent of all tickets to give away at their discretion, so they decided to run an animated GIF contest to determine how to give away the remaining tickets. Winning GIFs were integrated into the show visuals, so the winners got to see their work as part of the performance. Brilliant.
Instead of awkward product placement into unrelated video content, Subway decided to create an entire show around teens that work after school at Subway. So while never directly mentioned on the show, Subway is an integral part to the storytelling. The show ran as mini episodic original content on Hulu (watch all of it here), and was directed by James Widdoes of 2 and a Half Men fame.
There were plenty of others that I would love to post about, but I ended up reviewing over 30 entrants and can’t seem to dig up any others at the moment.
I hope to get invited back next year, I learned a ton from the experience.
Riding the Alps
Since I was already half way around the world, I figured I would pop over to Switzerland to visit Al Peters for a few days of riding. Al is a family friend, an ex pat, who has been living in Switzerland since 1975.
It’s hard to describe Swiss culture, but the aesthetics definitely reflect the values of engineering, and logical austerity. Everything is well thought out and designed to last, with precision emphasized over style. I guess this shouldn’t be surprising for a culture known for crafting watches.
After being picked up in Geneva from the TGV (I love the TGV! I wish we had more high speed land based travel like this in the states!) we headed to Als place. In the morning, we drove up to Verbier, and rode there for the day, before then driving to Zermat. Driving through the mountains was fun, the mountain scenery is gorgeous, and I spied a few landmarks that were inspirations for Ridge Racer and Rally Racing. There are tons of tunnels and bridges, I think the Swiss look for any excuse to build infrastructure.
The aesthetics of the ski villages are much more like what you would picture Switzerland to look like. As if Christmas and Winter decided to have a baby, and that baby was a town. Given it snows here 5 months a year, you can imagine the winter wonderland aesthetic working quite well.
Being such an international place, everyone seems to speak at least a little English, but mostly Swiss variations of French and German.
The Alps are like nothing I’ve ever seen before from my experiences in North America. Instead of a single Tram or Gondola that takes you to the top, imagine a series of them all linked up that take you from mountain top to mountain top, endlessly. We saw maybe 20 percent of the terrain after 2 days of riding. The snow wasn’t particularly great, but the views alone made it all worthwhile. I think the Matterhorn is my new favorite peak.
I discovered Gulache, and now think it is the ideal midday ski meal. Filling, but doesn’t make you tired.
When Al moved here 30 years ago, the exchange rate was 4 CHF to the dollar. Its now almost at parity, which says a lot about the American Economy of late.
On my last night, we had Raclette : Molten cheese served with Potatoes and spicy mustard. It was a treat to be hosted, and I look forward to coming back for an extended stay in the future.
Well, at long last Im ready to build the “2.0” version of my online persona… though I suppose technically this is really the 4th site I’ve built for myself. I’m sure the direction will evolve and crystalize over time, but expect to see a mish mash of personal musings, commentary, and sharing of all things tech and storytelling related, with a sprinkle of socio political because I can’t help myself…
Now let’s see if I can upload a photo…
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