SXSW 2017 – Monday 13th March

14-15 – Augmented AI

  • Melanie Cook

Human + machine are stronger than human only or machine only (IBM). 30 years window to design AI to augment humans. 90% of clerks in Whitehall in U.K. can be replaced by 2030 by automation/AI. Top of the adoption curve today but organisation readiness is behind.

Different human & AI goals leads to the AI control problem e.g. AI verifier like with chemical weapon of mass destruction? Super AI would actually trick a weaker AI and lead it to believe it would only fit the boundaries set by the verifier. AI with the objective to please you, learning by observation it could learn to prepare coffee because it sees it makes you happy in the morning.

Difference between AI (Artificial intelligence) and IA (Intelligence Augmentation). Technology is never designed in isolation of its designers: AI and human are one. IA supplements and supports human thinking. Aim is to democratise technology for human eg. Siri, PC.

9:30-10:30 – Future of Retail: The On-Demand, Peer Economy

  • Aarthi Ramamurthy, Lumoid
  • Steve El-Hage, Massdrop
  • Tim Chang, VC

SXSW2017-Future of Retail-The On-Demand-Peer EconomyTim intro: If Amazon owns 50c on a dollar of ecommerce, there’s a lot going on in the remaining 50c. Amazon’s great when you know what you want, with free shipping etc… the Amazon ends when the box is delivered at your door, when your experience with he product starts. Discovery, entertainment is key eg. you go to Whole Foods and want to buy honey.

  • Massdrop: reached to leaders of communities and feedback was that buying experience was broken.
  • Lumoid: Try before your buy gadget e.g. Drone, fitness tracker. Tapping into return process which is a big issue in ecommerce when people realise the product is not for them.

Both tap into consumer behaviour e.g. access rather than ownership. Customers as merchandisers. They’re even enthousiasts and now manufacturers are creating new features accordingly.

Lumoid initially crawled Best Buy, Amazon reviews & ratings but now they have a big enough community to get direct insights. Discovery is now easier with Lumoid or Massdrop

Massdrop mechanical keyboard started with a 50k community with 10-12 people meet ups, now 1M community with more accessible products and meet ups of 300 people (20% women).

Lumoid is doing editorial now. Community is on the case when 1 thing is missing. Photography was the 1st vertical. Discovered ‘momsphotographers’, stay at home mums, who shoot for weddings during weekends as an income (2M people on Lumoid). They have very specific kits.

Future marketing of next gen commerce companies is user stories where they share their experience of the product 

Massdrop is about making decision purchase: ratings & reviews are a big part of this but they’re not created equal. They feature experts within community rather than averaging reviews.

Next gen commerce is about inventory light. Drop chip economy.

Massdrop: Pre-sale or prototype with kickstarter model. Lumoid: Sample model

On Pricing strategy:

  • Lumoid not competitions with Amazon. Trial model, with different items in a box, for a week for fitness trackers; for photography gear, shipped to where you go on holiday, pay per day basis – becomes credit against what you buy later. No straight subscription programme. Observed sticky behaviour within Lumoid community overyears, now looking at making it an experience e.g. Prime shipping model; pickup location with smaller stores over the country. Add one like memory card with better margin.
  • Massdrop unique value prop is based on something unique e.g.  1800 headphones rather than 500-600

Other successful initiatives: Personal buyer, concierge programmes

Paid marketing and acquisition?

  • Massdrop team leaned towards their comfort zone: product, design, community not marketing. In 5 years, fastest growth without marketing thanks to their community. Investor pressure may lead to paid media: importance of the investor to address why you missed a quarter rather than push into paid media (which only buys you time).
  • Lumoid: Referrals is strongest acquisition tool; pop up events; no pure paid acquisition campaigns. You get customers who are not your customers (for a promo code and then never come back). “What if we had nothing and could spend nothing” approach.

Conclusion: Era of unit economics: contribution margin not revenue growth matters. A good commerce startup pays back in CAC with contribution margin in 6 months. Attention rate.

11-12 – Crossover of Future in ArtxTech by Women in Design

  • A Dara Dotz – Field ready
  • Noa Raviv – Fashion designer
  • Tiffany Trenda – New media performance artist
  • Wendy Fok – WE-DESIGNS

Session twitter #xoverwomen

Anouk videos: fashion & body as interface, embodies emotional interface, Wired video of garment prototype changing shape based on male gaze.

Tiffany making and wearing wearables for performance. Body code: suit with QR code for people to scan with their phone (2013 performance). Ubiquitous state (2014 performance) pacing heartbeat on viewer to match it with hers.

Noa’s inspiration came from glitches at school in 3D computer modelling. Favorite quote: ‘Do not fear mistakes there are none’. Miles Davies

SXSW2017-Crossover of Future in ArtxTech by Women in Design3Wendy: Disrupt supply chain to have modular goods for social good & smart city (Forbes article). Open source architecture now that we have 3D printing: Published Digital property book.

Dara: Hyper local digital fabrication for disaster relief.

How is tech integrated in your process? Challenges for women in design?



15:30-16:30 – Future Fashion: Designing in a Digital World

  • Matthew Drinkwater, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

Version 2

Brands who do not embrace innovation do not deserve to exist

Intel R&D budget is $30Bn. Not what the typical fashion houses would budget (some of it at Nike). Generational gap between tech and fashion designers. Role of London College of Fashion = R&D for fashion. Tech in Fashion is always on the back foot e.g.  Google glass by Diane Von Furstenberg.

It’s not about collaboration but co-creation. Experiments with Nokia, Microsoft now incubating startups with fashion designers: e.g. flexible battery belt that charges devices

SXSW2017-Future Fashion-Designing in a Digital WorldHaptic feedback in sweater with Claire Barrow for W hotel:

SXSW2017-Future Fashion-Designing in a Digital World2Wearable technology is usually too functional e.g. Counting steps. Not relevant to fashion industry. There’s an emotional reaction to a dress whether it has wearables or not. With Disney, tinkerbell dress:

SXSW2017-Future Fashion-Designing in a Digital World3

Mixed reality in catwalk experience, AR: collaboration with Emma Shipley (Scarfity) & Westfield. News ways of trying on products for customers and way for Emma to design scarves in 3D.

Sep 2016: Hololens with Microsoft at London fashion week & Martine Jan Veen designer. 4 HD cameras. Then in Jan 2017: 24 cameras to capture Sabina’s collection, changing clothes of model by pitching. Can scan and should add commerce to it.

Avery Dennison evrything platform is tech agnostic: you can then release services for that garment

What’s next?

  • Define new business models for tech fashion
  • Conductive yarn (Google)
  • Conductive inks
  • Bio engineering
  • Robotics

IBM exhibition 

  • Quick prototyping:

YouTube exhibition

  • Disappointing VR trailer for Wonder Woman:

Exhibition Hall – NASA

Exhibition Hall – Shiseido