Category Archives: lift08

LIFT08 Notes: Genevieve Bell, Intel, do our digital worlds require secrets and (white) lies?

Genevieve is an ethnographer looking at digital culture and the necessity of “lying”

45%5 of mobile users have lied about wherabouts in sms
100% of online daters lie about height or weight

James Katz says entering arms race of digital deception she locked herself out of flickr because she lied about her age and forgot which lie she told what might an ethnographic intervention yield here?

telling lies is always bad, most religions and legal systems are against lying but keeping and telling secrets is more ambiguous, and white lies are okay in some cases

hindu proverb “any number of lies is okay as long as the wedding still happens” we tell somewhere btw 6-200 lies a day some theorists argue that lying is necessary part of surviving daily life notion that all info should be equal and avail to all is a new concept are icts succeeding in part bc they facilitate our lying ways or because lies are needed to keep us safe.

Israeli researchers find that online deception appears to be an enjoyable activity. guild, fear, shame largly absent newer technology arriving that can’t help but tell the truth.

Do secrets and lies offer new ways to think about privacy and security. do our digital worlds require secrets and lies?

My reaction: Fascinating question for social media. We often argue that transparency and accountability are naturally beneficial to efficiency and effectiveness of organizations.

Sure, organizations tell lies or at lest partial truths all the time. (Sometimes it’s called marketing)

But are there other little white lies (not to mention secrets) that are essential keeping a company going?

Most social networking is also about self marketing as well.

Perhaps enabling benevolent/harmless “lies” is a key and subtle but important factor in the success of any social media?

LIFT08 Notes: Younghee Jung Nokia Research

Younghee JungYounghee is a product and interaction designer from Nokia. This talk though left me on an arc from curious to wondering about some unanswered questions about Nokia’s actual role in the developing world. Nokia is engaged global product development. Mobile phone users are of course massively global. How do you design products for poor neighbourhoods in Mumbai or Rio. Nokia conducts charrettes of sorts with locals, design contest sketches and forms all on one sheet of large paper, interviews photos, the whole family comes, high illiteracy too requires interpretation.

winning example a phone you can point at the sky to get the weather. intuitive, many people dependent on weather.

winning example an environmental phone that measures air quality and charges by solar power.

Ghana phone with 4 sim cards, because there are 4 providers and you need multiple SIMs as you move about.

Everywhere, unbreakable waterproof durable – common requirements (does this help nokia?).

And the skepticism, not that the devices aren`t potentially enormously valuable and empowering to people, but how does, and how much money does nokia make from impoverished people all over the world?

she`s not talking about operators at all, or how those services are delivered and contracted. What about them? [Rob next to me mentions there are some opperators that deliberately set up in conflict zones because they are unregulated. And when government returns, they leave.]

And are these commando-style ethnography missions truely effective practice for nokia?

Lift08 Venture Night: 5 Venture Pannelists and one MC

This update cross-posted from

Welcome to my live-blogging coverage of Lift08 in Geneva. At venture night togight. 50 submissions, narrowed to 8 startups to present their demo and business case tonight. The format is a good one, familiar from Under the Radar for example, 5 minute demo and business model, 5 minute questions from pannelists and 5 from the audience. This is a posh event, wine and Swiss breadsticks no less and the turn out is substantial turnout for this “pre-lift” event (I’d estimate 400+). And the inimitable Guido Van Nispen as MC.

A venerable panel featuring techcrunch europe, VC an Angel, a top euro blogger and long time lifter Robert Scoble (twittering and blogging from stage, would we expect any less).

    video search company. find people in video, image, contextual and voice cues. more than just tags. Very slick and ajaxy
    searches for clinton, then narrows by Iran, shows in search results streamable clip of Hillary speaking of Iran. Options: sort by tag, by content channel, and by timeframe and, oh god, they have video tag clouds (what is this 2006?). But the seach works well in the demo, and it’s cool.

    Have widgets for blogs. Business model is video search sold to content producers (reuters) or video aggregators. Processing is computationally intensive, not trying to crawl or index web on their own (smart).

    2) holistis
    converting online store visitors to buyers 98% of online shoppers don’t make purchases. Uses, past behaviours, intention and behavioral targeting to convert viewers to buyers. Turn known visitors into loyal customers through targeted content. Theory is to grow the 2% end of the funnel as more profitable than the 98% end.

    3) wuala
    Free and simple online hard drive. sure great, online file folders with sharing. This has been done before. The twist, using distributed storage and bandwidth. You have to share your own HD and bandwidth to us it. They’re catch phrase is to be the skype of online storage (great catch phrase). Judges are throwing softballs until vc asks about copy write infringement they have the same issues as youtube or ftp servers say. Revenue streams, ads, photo prints, or sell for premium services. makes sure data is available even if large part of network is down, they also back up on their own servers works with bittorrent principles, fast downloads through fragmented storage

    4) Mixin
    what are other people are doing cause i wanna plan my friday evening. Like a dopplr for activities with your firends. Nice looking screens. looks like a jaiku/twitter calendar mashup begs the question, why not bundle, or at least mash this up w/ existing social networks instead of creating a new one. I asked this question. They want to, will support integration.

    5) IO
    digital is more present in the physical world like table top computing, surface computing and like bumptop but real. For public spaces, skinnable walls and tablesgorgeous interactive sufaces, rippling water and blomming flowers, more art than tech. VC pannelist says there are a few funded competitors – which also means this is a validated market with some action in it. I’d like one of these for my living room. But, revenue mode, they have no interest in making it cheap, not a consumer technology.

    6) cocommentwas launched way back at Lift 2006 syndicates and collects and aggregates blog comments tries to solve the problem of bog comment viability trouble is blog comments are less interesting than blog posts. Cocommenters comment more and are stickier. Rev model is ads, and conversation tracking. A lot of “former” users on the panel asking ome questions about performance, usability.

    7) clipperz
    Do you trust online services, do you trust them with your data? You should have control of your data. Keep it to yourself. Data is stored on cards that aggregates all your secure data and logins. talk about a vulnerability, get hacked once and they get everything. Admit that I don’t really understand this play or how it’s differentiated. Authentication and security is important, but in reality, mostly people say they do, but, in practice, don’t care. Many many startups before them have leapt onto this sword of federated online security management.

    8 ) Pixelux entertainment
    Digital molecular models. animate materials like materials instead of scripted animations. metals bend like metal, trees bend like trees, great for realtime video game animations. reduces costs of video game production through procedural physics rendering. DMM physics engine, realtime animation libraries, based on glass, metal, wood, etc. the algorithms know how it will break, bend or shatter. For movie market or for games and animation. Flat fees, and licencing business models on titles sold by the millions. nice.

Whew, a solid deck of demos. Now this is a larger scale of event (and later stage companies) than our typical democamp or startupcamp, but I’m left feeling that we in the Canadian community step up our game. A lot of good Tech here (whith a capital T). Good polish of apps, good polish of demos and some impressive technology that could actually work (mostly). Bravo.

UPDATE: minor typographical edits 7:00a.m. 020708 GMT+1

Last Call for Lift Early-Bird Pricing

LIFT08Reminder, Friday is the last day for early-bird pricing to Lift08. Laurent writes:

a quick email to remind you that the LIFT08 price will go up by 200CHF on Friday. If you want to participate in this year’s event for only 650CHF (390 EURO, 570$, 280£) and get your yearly dose of new trends,
innovative people and ideas, please register before midnight on Friday.

After that date attending LIFT08 will cost 850CHF (510 EURO, 750$, 365£). Register now and join the 215+ persons who already signed up.

Visit for more information. Best regards and see you at LIFT!

Oh, and Email me if you want to be on the Lift08 Team Canada email list.

see also the Lift Group on Facebook, and the Lift08 event page.

Lift 08 Program Announced


The program looks fantastic.

more pics: Lift06 Lift07

Lift is a tech conference about “Life, Ideas and Futures Together”. And a massive annual dose of inspiration. Geneva, Feb 6-8.

UPDATE: Pricing has been announced for LIFT08. It’s gone up again (ouch). Fortunately the shining loonie is awesome against the CHF right now ( 1 CHF ~= 0.82 CAD), which makes Switzerland almost a bargain these days. Our American cousins, owners of the impoverished Yankee-peso are close, but will pay a few bucks more.

Early bird price:

  • 550CHF for former participants to LIFT06 or LIFT07 (in CAD) (in USD)
  • 650CHF for newcomers (in CAD) (in USD)

From December 15, price will be 850CHF (in CAD) (in USD)

Register here