20071111
SPACE ROCKS @ Harvard's GSD

Whilce Portacio's wallpaper on his tablet pc.

Friday morning I came across a post pitching SPACE ROCKS, a design conference hosted by AsiaGSD, a student group at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. I proceeded to spam Sooran throughout the day until she agreed to host me, got on the 10:30pm bus and was in Cambridge by 3am.

The main draw for me was Dana Cho of IDEO, a company which "helps organizations innovate through design", without getting too inquisitive about their statement, how awesome does their job sound? Pretty damn awesome. Her lecture covered IDEO's practices / methods followed by a sampling of some of their projects.

Other speakers of note included Raine Noe who has his hands in almost everything deemed cool in my book (of note is his gig as a writer at Core77, one of my favorite design blogs). Elmo reminded me that he spoke previously at Carnegie Mellon (apparently Chewy's flyer was awful). His lecture consisted mostly of photos and coverage gleaned from the magazine he edits, Theme, caught my attention enough that I'm considering a subscription. Need to scrutinize the current issue before I add another magazine to my overfilled mailbox.

When you have a process that works, a service that speaks for itself, you don't have to manufacture anything in a talk like this. Just walk the audience through what is done in the offices and it makes for a great presentation. That's where Cho and Noe shined. Irene Hwang of Actar wasn't bad, for a second I thought the 'boogazine', Verb, she was pitching was UOVO a similar magazine I saw at a shop nearby work. Unfortunately the others didn't really catch my attention though a good portion of the audience really appreciated work from Groovisions, MK12 and Brooklyn Foundry (which used to be located in my neighborhood before moving to Crown Heights).

As for Nurri Kim, she came after Cho and Noe and immediately killed the conference. Her blue tarp lecture was pretty awful, something akin to a first year student's work. Not much of a concept behind it and the interesting blue tarp images already came before in Noe's lecture. Remember people, if you guys are giving a presentation, please don't describe what is on the screen. For god sakes you are presenting at Harvard not to Bush and his cronies. Whilce Portacio and David Imber both tried too hard and didn't have much to contribute.

I did speak with Whilce on the side and really wanted to ask him what were the family issues that kept him out of work when Image Comics launched in the early 90s. An interesting note, during the 90s, comics regularly sold more than 100,000 copies per issue. In fact, any title hovering at around 125,000 would be at risk of getting the axe. Compare that to today when titles are only selling around 30,000 copies an issue, for a title to be considered for the chopping block, they would have to drop down to 12,000 issues today.

Outside of the lecture, Gund Hall where the architecture studios are is sweet. Sooran naturally sits in the back of one of the floor plates surrounded by fellow Asians. During the lunch break, I quickly strolled through the campus seeing what I could. After the lecture we walked over to Porter Square where I got reacquainted with the burritos from Anna's Taqueria. Definitely prefer them over the Chipotle burritos. Cheaper, tastes slightly better and packaged in a much more friendly form factor (way easier to eat than a Chipotle burrito).

On the bus back to NYC I checked the scores and was shocked to see that the Buckeyes lost. That really jolted me out of Boston and back into reality. Saw the highlights when I got home and Illinois played a great game... blown coverages, the OSU defense just didn't get it done. Giants lost to the Cowboys... what a crappy second half. Out of principle I sat Romo and Crayton, kept Folk active, I was hoping for defensive stops in the red zone. Guess I'll be paying for it with my second fantasy loss.

A few more hours and it's back to the grind.

Labels: , ,