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Building Experiences in the Age of Instagram.

A live recording from betaworks Studios in New York City, featuring Hush, Media Monks and The Dream Machine.

This post is a companion piece to our new podcast ‘Builders’. Builders is a podcast about the people who build stuff. The makers and the doers, not just the talkers. Each episode of Builders is a live recording of sessions we have held at betaworks Studios, our club for builders. We cover a broad range of people and ideas that cover the start-up, technology and media ecosystem. One week we might be talking about designing for blockchain the next week why you should quit your social media accounts.

Builders is hosted by Laila Oweda an independent audio and podcasting producer who lives in Brooklyn.

This episode looks at the growing trend of brands diverting advertising budget away from traditional spends, such as TV and Digital (especially banners and websites) to physical events — or experiences. One of my friends who works for a very big brand recently told me, ‘Digital is dead — it’s either film or experiential’. Take a listen, here:

Instagram perfected.

Dream Machine is a pop-up space designed to be tactile and shareable. It is, as Paige says, a ‘social media playground’. Paige explains that she was working on brand experiences and then had the eureka moment when she figured out she could make more money renting her own space, building it out and charging people to enter the space. She charges $38 a ticket. As you’ll hear on the show some people think that’s a rip off and others ….

What was fascinating to me was that Paige said that her ticket sales are directly related to instagram posts. A lot of posts one weekend equals more tickets the next weekend. The inverse is true. She is very clear that her business would not exist without instagram.

Note to Selfie. Not created for selfies.

Hush are mostly building large sculptural pieces for clients. They work on the intersection of design and architecture. David talked very thoughtfully about how things have always been beautiful, before photography existed, before Instagram existed.

Instagram perfection.

David also touched on the economics of experiential.

One audience members asked the speakers what they would build for themselves if money was no object. David’s response was:

There was another great question about waste from the audience that did not make it into the podcast because we try to keep it short and sweet. Brands spend a lot of money and use a lot of resources on these events that are often highly ephemeral. Sometimes lasting just a day. Eric from Media Monks said they would sometimes be able to use some digital components — like the odd Rasperry Pi here and there but the majority of the building materials are unable to be reused. This is something for the industry to think about.

A Hush experience built for Chobani

Eric spoke about the importance of physical experiences as a backlash against social media. We will tackle that subject in earnest soon with a talk by Jaron Lanier who just released his book; Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now’. Eric also looked beyond the typical photo that is shared on instagram. He asked what sort of medium we might be sharing when AR and VR experiences become more popular. One of the things that I think holds VR back is that it’s practically impossible to share the feeling of that experience.

An Audi VR experience made by MediaMonks

Like all discussions there were agreements and disagreements. Eric thought that Instagram will one day be the AOL of the internet. Paige — who’s business relies on instagram — was not so sure.

This was a fascinating event. Perfect for anyone interested in the intersection of creativity, media and technology.

You see that box? There were tacos in there. No tacos on the podcast. #MemberPerks

PS. If you’d like to know more about betaworks, check out the first podcast we made: the Intern. The self-produced story of a young woman navigating New York City and a new career in tech and media.

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