Conference Report: Sime 2014

Sime. A conference by, and with, a bunch of fun and crazy people. I used to be part of the team, and as we former Sime people joke about, once you are in, you are never really getting out. Every year I am surprised by how much I still enjoy it. So, here is my brief summary of Sime 2014.

Everyone talked about

David Robert‘s talk about exponential growth, disruption and changing the world got standing ovations, which does not happen often at conferences in Sweden. One of the best talks I have seen, with a perfect mix of education, inspiration and emotions.

You can not watch it online, but here is another talk from him, similar from the beginning.

A quote worth sharing

“I have started building fewer apps and more geeky stuff, which interests people less, but it’s more fun for me.” – Puck.

Smart kid. I think we should all focus a bit more on what is fun for us.

Impressed by

Both Natasha Tsakos and Lanz Pierce left an impression at the end of the first day. Natasha with an interactive presentation that was incredibly well thought out and executed, Lanz Pierce with being an inspiration talking about the hip hop industry as well as giving a great performance with her single Waterfalls.

Buzzword of the day

Data. “Big data is the Holy Grail for most media companies” was said on stage, I believe by Thomas Franzén, CEO of Bonnier AB. Yes, data holds a lot of answers, but as a Erika Hall said at The Conference this summer, you need to know what you are asking. Otherwise you’ll just end up with 42, which is funny for us Douglas Adams fans, but I doubt it will do the job as a the Holy Grail.

At a session later, Rochelle King, Global VP of Design and User Experience at Spotify, made some good points regarding data and design.

  • Data and design are tools to craft great user experience.
  • You have to remember that there is real people behind the data.
  • What data are we collecting, and why are we collecting it?
  • The designer need to remember their role and the people behind it.

This surprised me

sime-chip

The number of people who were willing to implant a RFID chip in their hand at the conference. One even did it on stage. Interesting, but it will take a few years (and a lot more testing) before I feel inclined to join the club of high-tech humans.

This provoked me

Listening to Jonas Häger, founder of Lexbase. In a time when more and more companies try to take responsibility for the world around them, Häger does not at all see the problem with their service. A service that capitalizes on people’s fears and prejudices.

Another thing I did not quite understand was a comment from a panel member during a workshop about innovation. She answered the question “what stops innovation” with “introvert people”. Really?

Three things I will remember

The thought that tech is as natural as a bird’s nest.

After a discussion about innovation, me and my colleagues agreed that constant stress kills innovation, but limited stress (and boundaries in general) drives it.

“Companies should be allowed to try and fail”, said Therese Engström, Sime Social Impact. Our demands on companies taking responsibility are increasing, which is a good thing. But online, this often turn into a witch hunt, where people go from criticizing to crucifying companies and people who fails, without finding our the facts first. Take a deep breath, stop see things in black and white, and try to be constructive. It would do us all good.

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