Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

30 April 2012

Obama the Jokestah at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

I'm usually the first to jump on a "look how cute and human Obama is!!!!!!" moment, but watching this left me with the nagging feeling that we've turned our President into a reality TV character.

Worse, it's almost as if he feels pressure to maintain it (like a still-jovial Jon Stewart) to hold our fickle affections, which clearly can't be won by simply being the rare President who reflects before acting, builds for the long term, maintains dignity amidst so much baiting, and repeatedly opens negotiations with a party that'll do anything to unseat him, even believe that ideas once adopted half in jest are now real causes.

29 April 2012

Facing facts about Nutella.

Yes, it’s delicious, but some folks need to stop dancing around the fact that we’re eating chocolate sandwiches. I’m a grown woman, I know when I’m eating a chocolate sandwich. I accepted that as soon as I licked my finger and went “goddamn that’s delicious, find me something edible I can spoon this shit onto before I just start scooping it out with my hands!” I’m good with it. 
What I’m not good with are these yuppies who are trying to pretend that that’s not what’s going on. What happened is, they got a spoonful of it in their mouth for the first time and all of a sudden shit was way too real. They lost their goddamn minds and couldn’t come to terms with their circumstances. 
“You dunno what you’re talking about! Its hazelnut spread- with cocoa! It’s got a subtle chocolate flavor, that’s why I like it!”
Okay, motherfucker, really…that’s what you’re bringing to my doorstep? Whatever you have to tell yourself. I know and YOU know that you’re spreading icing on a biscuit. Let’s stop bullshittin like we’re not buying a jar of chocolate and get serious.
I thought this was awesome in light of recent news that Ferrero USA plans to reimburse any Californian who bought a jar of Nutella between August 2009 and January 2012, up to roughly $4 per person and $3.05 million in total. (Get your bids in quick, wounded yuppies!)

This is to quell outrage that Nutella is, in fact, pretty fucking fattening, which was discovered by a mother, hoodwinked by Nutella's positioning as part of a healthy breakfast. The discovery of that traumatised genius -- namely, that Nutella is fattening -- led to a class action lawsuit.

Progrès à l'américain. If you can't be held responsible for what you push down your digestive tract (or those of your spawn), put heat on the company. That way, you can eat banana chocolate sandwiches and be reimbursed. Beats reading the label!

28 April 2012

I Guess That's About Right.

@PatStansik's produced this video about being in your early 20s, which @CandaceHetchler showed me as part of an ongoing discussion we're having about whether or not Girls is a depiction of reality.

I tried to dislike this video but it was hard to, because this is what my early 20s were like: my parents paid for the gas, I paid for everything else; Trader Joe's was the organic supermarket of choice because Whole Foods is wallet rape; and coming in early to work was a way to show enthusiasm as well as a symptom of the ever-present paranoia that you could get canned for sucking at any given moment.

This isn't my time anymore, but I remember it because that's what it was like. I still can't find anything remotely relatable about Girls, though, and at the very least now I know that it's not just because I'm too old. If Judd Apatow's big "joke" is that he's put some smart privileged girls on the screen to prance around ruining their lives and being abjectly unfunny and mediocre, that's cool ... but the schadenfreude needed to make that consistently funny is separated from me by too many degrees.

27 April 2012

Just Wait for the Tape Measure Part.

When you think about it, all Mary Poppins did was bust those kids’ balls while demonstrating how amazing she was in her own universe hidden from the rest of the world. I suspect it is the only reason why she was in childcare: among adults (barring our chimney-sweep homie whom she mildly resents and who is obviously in love with her), she would just never get away with it.

This is a moment of clarity.*


*Nighttime is a fertile time to reexamine childhood movies because that's what French TV likes to play. The night before last, I rewatched Jumanji and felt soothed by the idea that every family-oriented '90s movie in all of life seems to end with a Christmas scene. I still thought the game was beautifully styled, and it still made me tense to watch Alan and Sarah throw it into the river. What made them think that was going to last? Many recurring evils recur because their accidental vainqueurs seem to think death by drowning is the answer. Consider the One Ring.

25 April 2012

...and Down He Went.

This is Agent Provocateur's latest for the classic Margot line. Generally I love AP ads but this one is almost willfully sloppy. We'll ignore the fact that there's no HD; why is a girl with underwear that sexy and expensive otherwise so poorly dressed? Was it all to match her hopeless shoes, lovingly chosen for spontaneous moments of heroism?

By Pencil Agency, which also appears to need website ideas.

24 April 2012

Unthinking the American Dream

A place that used to be home.

This week I contributed an article to, which asked me to recount the torrid* tale of my financial life before and after France, a task that proved surprisingly very hard and felt almost embarrassingly personal. (Then again, until recently I was one of those people who felt that your character could be judged by your FICO score.)

The article was published this morning and is called "Unthinking the American Dream." Here's an excerpt.
Over the course of my short working life, a lot of money has come and gone. Most of it came and went in the U.S. I spent much of that time believing my value as a human was tied to my ability to consistently turn some money into more. I concede that this was largely driven by my own obsession for untold riches, but that’s also the dream we’re sold. Under the shadow of Silicon Valley, where I grew up, it’s a noble enough reason to neglect your family and friends: people who don’t support you aren’t really constructive elements, are they? And if you do it right, you’re putting in three years of endless work in exchange for 60+ years of leisure, aren’t you? 
In another country you don’t just learn a new value system, you learn new dreams: live within your means, do work you care about and still make time for the people that matter. To be able to find balance in work and life ought to be a definition of success, because it’s surprisingly difficult. Things come and go, ambitions change: I realized I wanted a life that resembled a rich, carefully-constructed tapestry, not a bar graph.

*Okay, it's not like I was a pirate on the high seas or anything.

23 April 2012

The BeanCast 198: Specifically Targeted

Listen to the show.

Yesterday I joined The BeanCast for its 198th episode alongside some illustrious and fun folks: social media/digital director Chris Baccus of AT&T, vp marketing/social Jeremy Epstein of Sprinklr, and founder Joe Jaffe of Evol8tion. We covered a lot of ground, including:

  • The value of earned media (versus paid)
  • Advertising on The Olympics
  • Mid-roll advertising's video virtues
  • Geofencing: is this THE YEAR?
  • Crowdsourcing with Starbucks
If you're familiar with the show, you'll know that at the end we also share the topics we'll be watching this week. I'm watching the technology coming out of AT&T's research department, which could make a lot of people happy but also pose a lot of problems for privacy to those being watched at a given point in time.

A prime example of this is the The Drive Safely iPad app, developed in tandem with AT&T and some Israeli developers (a lot of incredible tracking and identification tech is coming out of Israel right now). This pretty little beast enables parents to track their teens' driving in real-time -- great for parents, not so good for teens (although what do they know, their frontal lobes aren't even fully formed yet).

Take a listen! You'll dig it, I promise.

20 April 2012

Meet Disruptomatic.

One of my favourite things to do in the year is attend MIPTV and MIPCOM as an official liveblogger. Both conferences serve as real-time deal-making spaces for TV networks and production firms, and the biggest thing this industry's been wrestling with is how their business models are changing as a response to online services and shifting user behaviours. The heads of networks fall at different extremes: open and experimental, or shut-off and defensive.

With that said, it's with happy surprise that I found Reed MIDEM (which runs MIPTV and MIPCOM) has been open to our experiments and discoveries in making the conferences themselves more social. In addition to liveblogging, we tweet, track progress and play around with new tech, like Soundcloud bytes and video posts. It hasn't just helped to make the conference seem more relevant to young producers and developers; it's also warmed me to an industry facing torrents of scary change.

On the train ride home this year, my fellow liveblogger Stuart Dredge and I were texting gossip and jokes back and forth. Between laughs about how often we heard the word "disruption" that week, Stuart -- half in jest -- suggested we start a disruption blog. I made up the name, he bought the URL and we quickly told MIPBlog community manager James Martin, who immediately joined us.

That's how Disruptomatic was born. It's the fruit of our tongue-in-cheek (but generally optimistic) wombs -- mine, James' and Stuart's. Our axe is "technology disrupting media" -- it covers significant changes in TV, gaming, publishing and mobile. (Probably more, once we think of them.)

It sounds general but I do think this picks at a scab nobody's fully ripped off: real lay coverage of how seemingly fixed industries are mutating, forging digital roots and mutating again. And most of these industries were lucky: they had years to cash in on a business model that hasn't changed much in over two generations.

As technology advances with increasing speed, so does disruption: some people are already demanding disruption in SoLoMo, which hasn't had time to sort out business models that are nearly as fixed.

I also think we are well-positioned to give these topics the balance and multiple perspectives they deserve: Stuart regularly writes about music and apps, James is deep in the trenches of music and TV, and I regularly cover ads, technology and user behaviour.

Note that this version of the site is basically our "beta". We'll be launching a new design in the month to come, as well as an official logo.

For now, read along for the fun of it and follow us on Twitter: @Disruptomatic.

17 April 2012

David the Robot, Whose Fingerprint Betrays His Origins.

Meet David, the robot you want so desperately to have for a friend (if only because he's such an upgrade! from Data).

This jarringly real-ish promotion for "Weyland Corporation's" David is actually a promotion for Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof's upcoming film Prometheus, which follows the crew of spaceship Prometheus as it explores an advanced alien civilisation, part of a quest for the origins of humanity.

What is interesting about this campaign is how hard Fox has worked to make the film's promotion as standalone-consumable as possible over the 'net and at events. This video, separated from its ties to a movie, could easily hold its own as a provocative and even bittersweet expression of the future we seem so eager to hurtle toward.

Prior to this, Fox treated February TED attendees to a TED Talk from 2023 by Weyland Corporation's own CEO (played by Guy Pierce). The promotion remained loyal to the spirit of TED, giving us plenty to think about while priming palates for the movie to come.

I am so walking all the way into the theatres and sitting down to see it. There may or may not be popcorn.

Originally posted here (new project! More on that later).

04 April 2012

The Boat Hack That May Change TV, and How Corporate Culture Affects Design

I just finished MIPTV, where I was liveblogging like crazy with fellow journo/blogger Stuart Dredge. This year MIPTV held an event called MIPCube, which focuses on better acquainting TV producers and network execs with the digital folks of whom they're so wary.

Over the weekend MIPCube hosted a Hack Day event in partnership with Rewired State. In short, a passel of hackers were put on a yacht and given less than 48 hours to hack something that would improve our TV experience. On Saturday night they presented all their projects, a whopping 12 of which 10 properly work and are now online.

But only one could win judges' hearts, and that was GrabMagic!, featured above. It was developed by Aral Balkan.

What I love about this Kinect hack is that it really does feel magical. It doesn't just produce a fluent connection between your TV and phone; it creates one between you and those devices as well. You behave like a connected organism, moving muscles without thinking, and that's beautiful.

During the Hack Day presentations I asked Aral how he avoids feature creep in his design. This was his response.
 As a designer, your greatest asset is the ability to say no. But that's simplistic - sometimes it's not your inability to say no, it's the structure of the organisation itself that doesn't allow you. If the organisation is design-led, it's easy; but otherwise designers may not have the authority.

A lot of organisations, because of their corporate cultures, because of their corporate structures, make simple design impossible. It isn't because of a team. That's very low level.
User experience begins at the top and trickles down.

See the other projects from the boat hack at MIPCube.