Launching the Omnium Creative Network

Omnium Creative Network

I am very pleased to announce the launch of the Omnium Creative Network (OCN), which is what I will be spending quite a bit of my time on from now on. The OCN is a free and non-profit online global community of creative people (students, professionals, educators, theorists, writers) and its aim is to encourage members from all over the world to collaborate in a variety of ways; to focus their attention on more socially aware and ethically responsive art and design projects.

Over the past eight years The Omnium Project has run several global projects exploring creative collaboration online. The last big one, Creative Waves involved 107 participants from 22 countries around the world and included such design luminaries as Stefan Sagmeister and Steven Heller.

I was fortunate enough to be involved in the very first project as well as Creative Waves. Each time a thriving community was built and many engaging conversations and debates were had. But once the projects wound up the community dispersed again. We wanted to continue those conversations, which is what the OCN is all about.

Membership is free and made up of participants from a wide variety of countries worldwide; in particular, we hope, countries less fortunate in terms of having easy access to creative interaction through conferences, publications and exhibitions.  The OCN aims to become a rich research resource and information exchange, as well as a place for its members to get the chance to meet and work with people normally out of reach due to their geographical or socio-economic situation.

Apart from the ongoing content (debate, essays, interviews, guest lectures) we hope to run a project each month for organisations and charities. Suggestions for topics, guests and projects are very welcome.

You can join simply by going to the OCN page, which by should also soon be hosting the top ‘scrape’ of activity in the community as a website called Outline.

It’s crucial that we spread the word far and wide, so if you would like to help you are invited to download this PDF and send it on to people that might be interested. A more detailed PDF outlining some of the above can be found here.

Being honest about your company

It pays to be honest, even when it’s all going wrong.

A while ago I bought the very useful application, Spamfire after I went on holiday and came back to about 1,700 e-mails of which about 350 were non-spam. I’m not using POP mail at the moment so I don’t need it, but I just received an e-mail from Michael Herrick, CEO of Matterform Media who make Spamfire. They’ve had some problems and he has been incredibly honest about the situation and what they’re doing about it.

We’re still a tiny company — Daniel and I are the only full-time employees right now — but that should make it easier, not harder, for us to provide the kind of personal service that only Mac users can expect. We’ve been thinking and worrying about this problem for some time and have come to some realizations:

  • We’ve been trying to provide tech support like a large company, instead of relying on our strengths as a small company.

  • We’ve been trying to fit our customers’ service needs into categories that we thought would be convenient for us, instead of asking our customers what they really want.

These two misconceptions have caused us to rely for too long on a high-end case management technology, one that we designed for large companies. We held tenaciously to the belief that we needed more technology to solve our customer service problems. We kept making the technology bigger and better and ended by losing touch with many of our customers.

At the end his gives his personal e-mail address (but hey, I guess his mail is filtered pretty well) as well as his iChat address. There aren’t many CEOs who would be willing to do that and, for me, it is one of the great things about the web – it flattens social hierarchies. Wouldn’t it be nice in this age of corporate corruption and politics to see others being so open?

The other significant point is that technology, though sometimes amazingly useful, can often slow things down to a crawl. I would add policies and procedures to that as well – the paperwork required to buy a cheap online flight through my university took so much of my time (and therefore the Uni’s money) due to their purchasing policy that is meant to save money that it was almost pointless to do so.

Throwies – LED Graffiti

Throwies Close Up Throwies in Action

I can’t believe I haven’t come across the Instructables website before – it’s a kind of collaborative How To for all sorts of things. These Throwies are a great addition from the Graffiti Research Lab (good name), which is part of the generally excellent stuff going on over at Eyebeam OpenLab.

Throwies are basically an LED, a battery and a magnet all taped together so that you can throw them at ferromagnetic materials (you know, steel sculptures and cars…) and they stick. Very playful, very amusing, very clever. The only big downside is throwing away lithium batteries…

The Graffiti Research lab have a great clip of them in action and the Instructables site has, as you would imagine, instructions on how to make them.

Jenna Jameson in new Adidas spot by Tronic

New from Tronic Studio is an Adidas viral spot starring porn star adult entertainer, Jenna Jameson.

From Vivian at Tronic:

Jenna Jameson flexes her muscles as never before as a mallet wheeling, white clad, arcade obsessed femme-fatale in this viral spot for Adidas. Conceived, directed and animated by NYC creative collective Tronic this spot gives a whole new meaning to being hit over the head.

It’s a pretty decent ad, nicely surreal and of course including long lingering shots of Jameson. So in that respect, probably perfect for the web audience of teenage boys. On the other hand, it’s an interesting move by Adidas to have Jameson endorsing their products – she has a pretty amusing set of titles in her filmography.

Maybe I’ve got used to the conservatism in Australia – here in Germany people seem much more relaxed about sex after all.