Author Archives: Alex Kniess

About Alex Kniess

University of Oregon senior, AdAge blogger, student advertiser, learner, dreamer, insomniac, geek, aspiring racecar driver

How to: Film in 3D using two Flip cameras

 3D Flip camera

This was incredible. We learned how to film in 3D using two Flip cameras! We will be doing this as soon as we get home. Check out how below:


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SXSW Interactive Tradeshow

We went to the Interactive Tradeshow today to check out what was on display and to see if anything was interesting. It was good timing too, because we got there right at the start of the Block Party, aka free food and drinks. What a great draw to an otherwise boring Tradeshow, too. The booths that shelled out the extra dough for food and drink enjoyed more engaged and larger crowds by far.

The swag was smart too. With everyone carrying around cold drinks, the booths that offered free drink-cozies were well-trafficked as well:


Cow and me

Other booths used music, giveaways and dressed up characters to attract attention:


One of the coolest displays we saw was Pixton, an easy to use comic strip creation online app. Check out their pitch and how they sell and demonstrate the product:

Main takeaways from tradeshow:

  • Have freebies, ideally food and beer, in order to attract attention.
  • If you’re at an interactive conference, make your booth interactive. Everyone likes to play with fun technology.
  • Have a flawless demonstration that is engaging and enthusiastic.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously…

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Making creativity actionable

One of the speakers I was looking forward to the most was Scott Belsky, of Behance. When working on another project and soaking in how people foster ideas, become ‘creative’, and be inspired, I stumbled upon Belsky’s work. His company doesn’t claim to care about inspiration or where ideas come from. Instead, they only care about making these ideas happen.

He calls this method for making ideas happen the Action Method. Watch him explain it here:

In a makeup that resembles most agencies, Belsky asserted that there were three main members of creative groups currently: doers, dreamers, and incrementalists. The doers and dreamers are typically paired together, while the incrementalists are the ones who can do it all, and the ones sought after. Unfortunately, they don’t have much focus.

Belsky also had something interesting to say about periodical meetings… something we have all been guilty of scheduling:

Other quick ideas on productive creativity included:

  • Seek cross-pollination, push your comfort zone
  • Don’t become burdened  by consensus
  • Get respect for your strengths
  • Make sure that leaders always talk last, don’t kill ideas before they can be said
  • Seek restraints on projects where there are none
  • Hire for initiative and value chemistry over the people themselves
  • And finally, share ideas liberally:


These lessons will certainly be embellished later, but as a parting thought, “Nothing extraordinary is ever achieved through ordinary means”.

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Best SWAG yet…

Maple Bacon Lollipop, originally uploaded by akniess.

Maple Bacon Lollipop… mmmmmmm.

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Tips on networking

 Deb makin' deals with Alex Bogusky

Yesterday, we both attended the first core conversation at SXSW with Thom Singer who shared some tips on networking at the event. Tyler and I are both somewhat extroverted people, so it seemed as though the session was somewhat more targeted to the introvert. But there were still some very great tips that sufaced to the top:

  • Show everyone respect. Even if they aren’t the CEO of the company you want to work with, doesn’t mean they don’t have the CEO’s ear, or perhaps will be their own CEO very soon.
  • Take baby steps. At conferences like SXSW, there are 12,000 people. Focus on small steps by meeting just a few everyday. If you go away with 5 solid new connections, then you have had a very successful time.
  • Put yourself second. When you meet someone new, focus on asking them questions first. Don’t verbally vomit about yourself because frankly, no one will care. After you hear about them, they will likely ask about you, and they will do it with a positive frame of mind.
  • Take notes. After exchanging business cards, quickly write down descriptors of them so that you can remember the experience. This will make following up much easier.
  • Follow up. Meeting someone and exchanging business cards doesn’t mean that they are now in your network. All it means is that they are now someone you have met. Follow-up with them and add value to their lives. Your network is only as strong as the value you add to it.

And finally, have business cards. If you don’t, then it shows the other person that you are a taker… and an unprepared one at that. Treat every new encounter as an opportunity for new business.

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Video report from the best of the first day

Check it out:

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Just arrived in Austin!

Tyler and I just arrived in Austin, TX for the 2009 SXSW Interactive Festival! Check out our picture of our arrival on the about page…

We are currently sitting in our hotel room at the AT&T Conference Center getting caught up on finals essays so that we can jump in head-first to all that SXSW has to offer tomorrow. We are especially looking forward to hearing Alex Bogusky tomorrow night to talk about his ideas on how to change the world…

Many, many more updates to come! Stay tuned.

– Alex and Tyler


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