AIAIO: Our Blog

AIAIO: Our Blog

The pulse and reviews of Alexander Interactive

Posts Tagged ‘sxsw’

SXSW ideas: turning work into play

One of the most enlightening sessions I attended at SXSW this year was Andy Baio‘s Gaming the Crowd: Turning Work into Play. I went for fun and left full of insights and ideas.

Andy’s thesis (similarly referenced by some presenters at GDC 2010) is that creating game environments can positively impact human participation and performance. From the surprising “fun” angle cited by Amazon Mechanical Turk participants to Target’s cashier scoring system, game environments bring an element of entertainment to activities that could easily be seen as mundane. A hint of competition and achievement–communal or individual–triggers a desire to operate at peak performance, strongly improving results. (Beware the leaderboard, though! Create a top-ten-users list and prepare to battle folks that game the system.)

I’ve spent considerable time the past week thinking about the potential this has in the ecommerce arena, where Ai spends the bulk of its time. How can shopping elements be crafted to encourage people to think in terms of achievement? What are the potential implications for social media outreach? How can a site include top-tens without resorting to the absolutes that discourage some participants?

I’ll be looking for examples of gaming in ecommerce in the coming weeks. Feel free to post links in the comments.

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Field report: SXSW Interactive

I’m in Austin at South by Southwest Interactive (does anyone write it out anymore?) taking in loads of great ideas about the interactive landscape.
It’s an invigorating environment, if a bit insane: more than a hundred scheduled events each day and a reported 13,000 attendees. Simply picking an agenda requires planning.

So far I’ve seen smart panels on everything from fonts to philanthropy to metagame scenarios in non-gaming environments. There will be lots more to contemplate by Tuesday, I’m sure.

Watch this space for follow-up posts on several topics after the conference ends.

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International video star Mayor Jack Reynolds is a SxSW finalist

Ai is pleased to announce that our very own Mayor Jack Reynolds has been nominated as a finalist in the Amusement category of the 13th Annual SxSW web Awards. The website,, would never have come to fruition had it not been for everyone’s favorite dog on the Internet. There is a wide array of Mayor Jack’s video collection, the largest and most eclectic photo gallery of anyone online (man or beast), and a selection of buddy icons to download. Mayor Jack is quite the social butterfly, so there are also plenty of options for you to connect with him.

Mayor Jack Reynolds had this to say about the award nomination: “…”

Actually, he was sleeping. But it is safe to assume that if he was awake, he would have been grateful that he could inspire a website and if we all know him well enough, he is both humbled and excited to be considered for the award.

The SxSW Web Award Nominees can be viewed at, and the voting takes place online at