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The Road Ahead

I like this image because it’s clear and focused, however you can’t see what’s around the bend. It could be more of the same or total chaos. And that feels very similar to how business has gone this year.

As 2018 winds down, there’s finally time to reflect. To begin, I haven’t posted an update or sent a newsletter since July. I recognize that this is not good for business and I don’t really have an excuse other than the unoriginal “business has been overwhelming, leaving little time for anything else”. (takeaway - delegate, or hire someone to manage your news/media/business updates for you. #2019goals).

Studio Kairos began as a company that produced events and speaker series, or speaking gigs, for executives and media clients. In an effort to build professional profiles, we looked to podcasting as a way for clients to communicate ideas and expertise to an audience. We partnered with a company called Revoice in 2017 and at the time, they were focused on building a podcast network for musicians. It was an easy partnership, as we’d already been producing a tech podcast called “Fast Forward” (with Dan Costa, editor in chief of PCMag). The partnership also allowed Studio Kairos to expand its capabilities, and potentially start a new line of business. (+ full disclosure: I personally was eager to get back to the music industry, where I began my career.)

Over the last 15 months, the partnership with Revoice has pushed Studio Kairos in the direction of producing content as a primary service. We are letting go of managing speakers (though we keep our select group on the site because we continue to promote their talent and remain partners). And we still produce live events and conferences, though are moving in the direction of producing events that relate directly with the audio & video content we produce.

It’s an exciting time. The first music-related podcast we produced was with multi-platinum recording artist Andy Grammer called The Good Parts. The show launched in June 2018 and was originally meant to be a limited series to promote his summer tour. It’s so good and so popular that we kept going. We’ve just published episode 11, which was recorded live in L.A. We’ve now got several new shows in development, one that will will launch in December and the others in early 2019.

Studio Kairos, in partnership with Revoice, can now offer in-house content development, production, distribution, and marketing services to clients that are interested in exploring a new way to tell a story or engage an audience. Watch this space to see where we go from here.

Take a Mental Health Day. Or Three.

Photo by bigapple/iStock / Getty Images

We're deep in the throes of programming Techonomy '18, the flagship conference for Techonomy Media. It will be 3 days of intense discussions about the impact of technology on business and society and given the current state of things, some of the conversations are taking a dystopian turn. But that keeps it interesting, right?

Techonomy founder and host David Kirkpatrick  has been writing about some of the things you can expect while you're there and the variety of voices you will hear. I'm excited that Manoush will be joining the program to talk about her revolutionary journalism experiment (if you haven't started listening to her new podcast ZigZag, you should probably go ahead and catch up now). We've also got Marissa Mayer joining us - can't wait to hear what she's working on these days; and, Tim Berners-Lee, who will shed some light on what the internet has become. There will be a live debate, hosted by the Intelligence Squared folks (and the topic they're developing is super provocative) and a live musical performance by a special guest (we're debating internally - so many bands!). 

And, it will be at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, CA. Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in the country (see photo!). So, yea -- you should probably find a way to join the program. Your brain and your body will thank you for it. (and if you want to learn more about how to participate, email me)

 

 

 

From the Stage to Your Ear(buds)

Photo by karn684/iStock / Getty Images

Last year, we took on a new project to build a podcast network. The project was called Revoice, and was intended to be a network of podcasts created by and for musicians. The idea was sparked by Nick Ruffini, founder and host of the successful Drummer's Resource show - a podcast about, you guessed it - drummers. For a year, Nick, Dave (our other partner), and I worked thorough various business models, story ideas, interviews with stakeholders and creative partners. We spent a lot of time figuring things out and changed direction several times. The world of podcasting is new and exciting, but it's also the wild west of media and content. How do you monetize it? And now, the landscape is so full of excellent podcasts to listen to, how do you compete? (to go deep on this, Manoush's new podcast details how she and her producer, Jen Poyant, are navigating the world of building a show from scratch)

In the end, we decided to keep things simple. We'd begin by working directly with musicians who already had ideas - or recorded content - ready to go. Our project has turned into Revoice Media and our first client is award-winning pop singer Andy Grammer. His podcast, called "The Good Parts", will be live in a week. And it's really good. 

It took more than a year, but we're finally getting this thing off the ground.

A New Vision for Ford and the city of Detroit

This week, the Techonomy team and I went to Detroit to meet with Ford to learn about their vision for the future. Part of that future includes bringing the company back downtown. They've purchased the Michigan Central Station, the iconic building that has been vacant since 1988. Ford will take on the massive task of renovating the building to create a new workspace in Corktown. 

We also hosted a community event at Gold Cash Gold, a fantastic local restaurant in a former pawn shop. Chef Brendon Edwards is a super cool, low-key guy who made his famous fried chicken for us (even though it wasn't on the menu) and spent time chatting with everyone who attended.  

Here's Techonomy founder David Kirkpatrick's report from the trip

I've been to Detroit regularly over the last few years (as I've written about before) and each time, it's striking to see the change happening in the city. See below -- two photos of the same house, taken 5 years apart.

 Photo taken in 2013

Photo taken in 2013

 Undergoing renovations in 2018

Undergoing renovations in 2018

For Women Only (a new event series)

Photo by AzmanL/iStock / Getty Images

Long before #metoo and the recent awareness about women's issues, I was having conversations about how to create something for women - an event, a media platform, a company. A platform for diverse female voices to talk about real issues, solve problems, and just have a comfortable place to hang out with like-minded women. 

As an event producer and programmer, I find the lack of female representation at conferences appalling, and have worked to correct it where possible. It is more difficult than it should be to get a company to put forward a female speaker. I've heard many ridiculous excuses and have often been ignored when requesting a female speaker, even when pressing to hit a 50/50 gender balanced stage. The recent call out of lack of female presenters at CES by the Advertising industry is a step in the right direction, for sure; but we still have a long way to go. 

In response, I'm starting an event series for women. It's not the most original idea, of course, but I have been thinking about doing it for a long time. There's no reason to wait. I have two amazing partners in this effort - Manoush Zomorodi, who is a co-founder and host; and, Amee Mungo, a digital strategist and entrepreneur who has been scheming with me for years. 

Our first event is on January 25 in NYC. Our mission is to build a strong, vibrant community of women who don't need anyone's permission or promotion to speak. We will cover issues that we grapple with every day, and provide an open, supportive network from which to pull inspiration, ideas, and energy. Away from the internet, IRL. 

Details: 

Thursday, January 25
5:30PM at
Norwood Club

Our first event features Manoush in conversation with Azita Ardakani about how our unconscious world shapes our career more than we know; and that by having a relationship with our inner world, we can empower what we create in our outer world.

If you're interested in learning more, please get in touch

 

Commit to 50/50, at minimum.

A few days ago, a number of high-powered executives called out CES for the lack of female speakers on the upcoming 2018 program. The Drum brought the story to life and asked for comments. So we contributed, glad to see this become part of a larger conversation. 

This is an issue we've grappled with for years, not only for major industry conferences and events, but on projects where diversity of thought is a key component of changing direction, shifting culture, and driving innovation. And even though they recognize the need to change things up, there are far too many leaders who prefer to stay comfortable with things as they've always been.
Gender balance, diversity of perspective, and inclusion should be imperatives for anyone who produces and programs an event. Any organization that doesn’t recognize the importance of this moment is simply not progressing at a modern pace. 

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Edits from The Edit

There's an internal debate going on at Studio Kairos about which medium is most valuable when sharing news and content - a blog, a newsletter, or social? Social trumps all, I think, so really the question is what complements that effort? To find out, we've been off the blog for a few weeks to work on our version of a newsletter. It's called The Edit and we launched it this week. Here are a few stories that were in the newsletter - and, a few that weren't. 

If you're interested in receiving The Edit in your Inbox once a month, let us know!

September is Productivity Month

Dan Costa interviews NerdWallet founder & CEO Tim Chen about the future of finance. 

Dan Costa, Editor-In-Chief of PCMag.com, was recently in San Francisco to interview several tech company founders about productivity, including Tim Chen (above), the CEO of NerdWallet. Tim thinks of NerdWallet as a "book of maps" for personal finance, orienting people so they can make the best financial decisions for every stage of life. He and Dan covered a lot of ground in their conversation - how NerdWallet is applying social to a FinTech product, Millennial consumers, Artificial Intelligence, Bitcoin, and why Tim tries to "be more analog", only checking into Twitter every 3 months. Listen to the interview with Tim on the Fast Forward podcast

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Can your office furniture impact your productivity? Sophia Stuart recently visited the Herman Miller showroom in Culver City, CA, for a look at Live OS, the company’s new sensor equipped desks.  

Ryan Anderson, head of commercialization for Herman Miller's IoT Solutions, spoke with Stuart about the concept behind the furniture. Anderson commented, "We asked ourselves, what would it look like to have sensor-enabled furniture? In a mobile-first workplace, what are the new patterns of behavior?" To find out the answers, read Sophia’s article.

 Cocktail hour at Lazy Bear, San Francisco

Cocktail hour at Lazy Bear, San Francisco

Fine Dining, Disrupted

Inside a nondescript, dodgy-looking building in the Mission is one of San Francisco’s most innovative dining experiences: Lazy Bear, a “modern American dinner party”. Once an exclusive supper club started by lawyer-turned-chef David Barzelay, Lazy Bear has become one of the hottest dining events in the city.

You arrive, your coat is whisked into a closet, and a handsome host sweeps you into the cocktail lounge, where you're handed a welcome drink from the communal punchbowl. You dine on cocktail "snacks" like whipped scrambled eggs and soft-shell crab while getting to know fellow guests before dinner begins.

Each seating at Lazy Bear is limited to 40 people, split between two communal dining tables in a gorgeous, dramatically lit room. Dishes are presented individually, passionately introduced by a chef as servers deliver them to the table. It's an evening designed for interaction - conversation is encouraged, and diners are invited into the kitchen, which is open to the dining room, to chat with the chefs as they cook. 

Creating scarcity: "Each month’s tickets go on sale all at once, usually at noon on a Wednesday in the middle of the previous month." And they are sold out every month. October reservations are on sale now.
Lazy Bear, 3416 19th St, San Francisco, CA

 L.A. band Warpaint at Outside Lands.

L.A. band Warpaint at Outside Lands.

And finally, we spent the last few weeks of summer cooling off in the bay area and hit Outside Lands, the music festival held every August in Golden Gate Park.

Artists we loved:
Royal Blood - what Mike Kerr can do with a bass guitar is nothing short of extraordinary.

Maggie Rogers - to understand the buzz, watch her blow away Pharrell Williams during her final masterclass at NYU (and you can hear more about her process for writing that song, "Alaska", on Song Exploder)

Sleigh Bells, a band we've been following since 2008. The difference in their performance between those early days and now is astonishing. Alexis Krauss is a force, reminding us to practice, practice, practice.

To hear music from this year's festival, hit the playlist button below.

On the Future of Travel: an interview with Hotel Tonight's Amanda Richardson

The latest Fast Forward conversation: an interview with Hotel Tonight's Chief Data and Strategy Officer, the fabulous Amanda Richardson. Dan and Amanda discuss "real-time pricing, the incredible power of user data in crafting products, and the existential threat of Google swallowing up all service industries."

July Updates: Independence and Innovation

July is halfway over, and while the summer months might make us nostalgic for the days of summer camp, road trips, and one hit wonders, the Studio Kairos crew has been working too hard to think about anything other than the next project. (and we have some exciting new work on the horizon!) In the meantime, here's what some of our speakers have been up to... 

Josh Robin reported from Queens on the 40th anniversary of the Hindu Temple Society of North America, the first Hindu temple in North America.  Opened on the site of a former Russian Orthodox Church, the temple was first opened on July 4, 1977. Congregants weren’t welcomed into the neighborhood right away, so they welcomed the neighborhood into the congregation. Located on Bowne Street, the temple was smack dab in the same location where John Bowne had fought for religious freedom in the colonies.

Dan Costa was recently asked to define what PCMag fights against. Not used to thinking in these terms, Dan finally realized, “Some enemies are worth having, and some battles reveal who you really are...I'm talking about PCMag picking the right fights. So let's get ready to rumble!”  Dan and PCMag are fighting against Brand Spin, Payola, Fanboys, and Hack Journalism.  You can read more about it here.

Sophia Stuart spent time at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles learning about IVEY, “a small, —just 13.5 inches tall—robot named for the IV procedures it helps young patients endure.” IVEY is just one of the new technologies being used at CHLA - there is also a family Fitbit challenge, and an entire program dedicated to innovation.  

Since we can’t take IVEY home with us, how about adopting a puppy named Cramp, Satty, or Booncy? John Keefe spent one Saturday creating a program that generated an algorithm mimicking dog names. Unfortunately, the names aren’t real, but if you adopt a dog, we’re sure John would be happy to let you use one.

Last month’s blog post mentioned Dan’s trip to D.C. to interview Peter Cherukuri, President & Chief Innovation Officer for DC startup incubator 1776, and Aneesh Chopra, who was the first U.S. CTO under Obama. The podcasts are up on PCMag.com - keep an eye out for new Fast Forward podcasts in the upcoming weeks.

To get in touch with Josh, Dan, Sophia, John, and the rest of the Studio Kairos team for an event or project, say hello and tell us about it! We'd love to hear from you.