Heading To Copernican Awards and GEL Conference This Week
The Copernican Awards honor companies that revolve around their customers. Creative Good CEO Phil Terry says it well:
Like the misguided early notion - debunked by Copernicus - that the universe revolves around the earth, many businesses today still think that they, not their customers, are at the center of the business universe. The Copernican Awards recognize companies that put customers first. Customer experience will be as important in the 21st century as advertising was in the 20th century.
Companies like Flickr, Jet Blue, and ING Direct (among others) are nominated for the awards. I'm really looking forward to meeting some of the distinguished folks who are at the top of their game and who believe that investing in customer experience can have a significant business impact.
The GEL conference brings together folks who create interesting experiences in disciplines like art, technology, design, architecture, and entertainment. I'm really looking forward to hearing all of the folks speak, but am especially looking forward to Charlie Todd. He's the "urban prankster" behind Improv Everywhere, and has masterminded some hilarious pranks, including three that I've previously linked to from this site: No Pants 2k5 (bunch of people ride NY subway without pants), Look Up More (bunch of people stand in backlit windows in Union Square and dance, do jumping jacks, etc. in unison), and McDonald's Bathroom Attendant (put bathroom attendant in Times Square McDonald's). The pranks are interesting because they generally have a positive impact on the pranked (unlike, say, MTV's Punk'd), and I think it will be fascinating to hear him speak about his work.
Born Into Brothels is a documentary about how photography is used to empower the children of prostitutes in Calcutta. Geneve raves about the movie, but I have yet to see it (she sneakily went while I was out of town.) The kids have a bunch of photos up on Flickr, and Flickr's Caterina Fake has a post about the non-profit that came to exist from Born Into Brothels: Kids With Cameras. I think the world seen from drastically different perspectives than my own are generally interesting, and it does not get much different than seeing the world filtered through the lens of these kids in India. Hearing Kauffman talk about the production should be fascinating.
Schwartz' book, The Paradox of Choice, has been on my reading list for some time now. It talks about how Less is sometimes More, which is a philosophy I subscribe to when developing software, and try to subscribe to in life (it's unfortunately easier in the former instance than the latter.) I'm excited to hear Schwartz speak about the underlying reasons why he thinks Less can be More. I'm interested largely because he will provide insight into how he believes people process input and make decisions, and this insight will only help me make better decisions myself, and will help me design better and more usable products.