Like Minds Autumn 2010

Advertising, Blogging, Business, Design, Devon, Entrepreneur, Like Minds, London, Social Media, Twitter, WebTV

We can’t quite believe it’s a year on from the first Like Minds conference. So much has happened from our small beginnings on October 16th 2009 in the Exeter Conference Centre.

Back then (or back-along as they say down here) we held a half-day conference with 200 attendees and now, on October 28/29th we are expecting between 300-400 attendees over two full days of learning, engaging, networking and generating new business opportunities.

Clearly Scott and I could not have achieved all this without a great deal of help and our heartfelt thanks go to all the people who have really pulled together to make this all happen. From our early supporters who flew over to speak at our first conference like Trey Pennington (@TreyPennington) and Olivier Blanchard (@TheBrandBuilder) from the United States to the Head of Social Media for Sky TV, Maz Nadjm (@Mazi) and Ex-Director of Innovation & New Media at the BBC Media Trust, Daren Forsyth (@DarenBBC) who took a chance and broke free from the bright lights of London to come and speak at an unknown conference hidden away in the depths of the rural South-West.

Today it’s a different story. At our last conference in February you helped us bring over £100,000 of revenue to the city of Exeter and its community of small businesses. No small achievement I’m sure you’ll agree and we expect to increase the revenue this time around to around £200,000. We had speakers and sponsors from Ogilvy Worldwide, Kodak, 1000 Heads, Nokia and our TV platform provider Ooyala in February and we are building on that platform this October with speakers and sponsors from Microsoft, Smarta, Grapple, WCRS and many more.

We’ll have 5 morning workshop Immersives, 20 Like Minds lunches, 4 afternoon keynote Insights each day. All followed by some special evening events – on Thursday 28th there is Like Movies with legendary film maker and Clash collaborator Don Letts, at the Exeter Picturehouse, and on Friday 29th we have Like Music – a 15 band 4 venue live music event being filmed for TV broadcast headlined by Finley Quaye.

John Harvey (@ExeterCCM) and Val Wilson at Exeter City Council have been tireless in their support and enthusiasm and Dave Goodchild and Pippa Wragg at The Cavern have rallied the local music venues along with support from Pat at The Phoenix, Adam at Mama Stones and Garth from Timepiece who’ve helped build a movie and music program that will complete the full schedule we have lined up over the two days.

There are also many other people behind the scenes who help make your stay with us a special one. The team at the Exeter Conference Centre, Jason Tucker and Rachel Prouse in Exeter, our wonderful ‘girl about town’ Gina Decio who also helps run the Like Minds Club in London and of course our interns who keep everything running smoothly, under the watchful eye of the inimitable Faye Gould. All of them help to create such a special atmosphere on the day.

We hope you enjoy the next few days as much as we have had Creating + Curating it all. Don’t forget to tell us what you get out of it all either be it on Twitter or your particular blogging platform as we can only improve on things with your feedback. Remember to Listen, Lean, Engage and above all – work hard and be nice to people!

See you there.

http://wearelikeminds/autumn2010-program

Visit to Heather Jansch’s Studio

Art, Contemporary Art, Design, Devon, Sculpture

It was a misty start to the August Bank Holiday Sunday but we were determined to get out into the countryside and do something. The weather can be very changeable in Devon! The scultptress Heather Jansch happened to have her studio and grounds open under the National Gardens Scheme that day. She was an artist I’d been aware of for a few years so we took off as it was only down the road from us in Olchard to discover more.

What we experienced was an amazing, creative and stimulating visit. From the gate we walked down a long tree lined drive with a wide grass verge on the left had side mown into a continuous snaking pattern for its whole length. The house had a display studio on the side of it with a stunning view through some floor to ceiling doors into the wooded valley below. Outside there was a separate studio / workshop opposite where some more of her work was on display.

If you haven’t seen it before take a look here. The reclaimed wood that Heather works in was dotted around the entire site leaning up against the workshop walls, stacked in a lean to – all open to the elements to help it bleach and take on the weathered patina that is such a strong feature in her work.

Aside from the horses, stags, piglets (!) and other sculptures in the garden she’d created the most amazing arches, linking hand built wooden walls of stacked logs to the wild hedges. Worn, weathered, twisted branches retrived from local rivers and the sea were bound in with hazel and oak from the garden arching over each other to form very natural looking fluid shapes.

As we wandered down the hill into the valley we came across little sitting areas created by a circle of mulched leaves and wood chippings with old wooden benches and seats set onto them, found from the local re-claimation centre. We sat here for a while as each seat had it’s own particular view across the valley through the branches and watched the mist come down through the trees.

After the circular walk through this magical landscape, which took us past the stream in the bottom of the valley and back up through more woods sprinkled with smaller sculptures (including a bear), we sat in the gazebo with a hot mug of tea watching the windfalls from the apple trees and the fish darting around the pond below us.

A glorious and unexpected gem. So much so we’re going back again for the open studio this weekend with our youngest before she starts her A level art on Thursday. If you’re in the area it’s open from 10am – 5pm from September 5th – 20th 2009.

How to design Twitter backgrounds

Blogging, Design, New Media, Social Media, Twitter

If you’re tired of the standard background options on Twitter, or want to personalise your Twitter home page, then here’s a step by step guide showing how to design a bespoke background. If you don’t use professional image editing software then there are some other tips here showing a range of different options.

Design brought on to agenda at Davos

Design, Devon, London

It’s great that design has a voice at Davos this week. What with President Obama currently being lobbied for a Secretary for Arts & Culture (it’s hard to believe the US don’t already have this) maybe 2009 will be the year design finally gets the opportunity to flex it’s vocal chords.

But what is good design? At Davos, design critic and former Design Museum director Alice Rawsthorn will be curating two debates focused on design. The members of the panel will present one example of good design and one of bad design and discuss the reasons for their selection. Industrial designer Yves Béhar, founder of Fuse Project says he will compare two cars, the Hummer and the Smart car. He describes both models as ‘iconic’, but says the Hummer has ‘little insight into a changing world’.

However, I wonder if he’s been to Harrods recently. They have the coolest Hummer I’ve ever seen in the sports department. It runs on electricity, costs a little over £11K and has a range of around 70 miles on one charge. To me it’s a cross between the original Jeep but with that iconic Hummer grille. To the Americans it’s a golf cart. As I live in rural Devon I thought it might finally give me the upper hand over the farm tractors and sheep towing quad bikes that regularly stuff you into the Devon banks at speed.

Sadly Mrs E. hustled me out of there pronto when she saw me so glassy eyed and slack jawed…I dare not tell the kids or it could be a very expensive Christmas ’09.

Orbit DVD

Design, New Media, WebTV

We are currently creating an ambient/classical DVD project with renown producer Craig Leon under the band name Orbit. We’ll have a 3min demo up here soon, so check back to have a sneak preview. We are creating the piece to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing in July 1969.

We’re writing and storyboarding the project in the South of France at a villa in Villefranche-sur-Mer in early February. Check back here if you want to follow what we’re up to.