2nd day highlights - Touch 2020

The second day, and the first weekend of Touch Digital Summit was a success. This Sunday we learned about motion design, about the good and the not so good uses of AI, personal and professional growth, meaningful brands building, customer service and Michael Jackson, from speakers that joined us from Oakland to Sydney. We had 7 keynotes, 2 workshops and also morning/evening yoga, and Georgian flavours cooking lesson for good measure.

I hope you had a great Sunday and an even better weekend. If you missed some of the talks though, you wanted a recap, or need a reminder for why you should join us for our second week, here is our summary of this sunny Sunday.

Motion Masterclass — Elevating product design through animation

Mark Lamb, Product Design (UI/UX) & Strategy Consultant, ex-Google, Uber, Adobe

First, joining us from Australia, Mark kicked off the day with a masterclass in motion design. Motion is a powerful tool and a core design skill of product designers that allows them to create world-class experiences and game-changing products. In this workshop, Mark shared the fundamentals of what makes really great motion design in products, as well as some of his secret tips, tactics and techniques he’s learned throughout his career.

Mark Lamb, Product Design (UI/UX) & Strategy Consultant

He started with breaking down the five main principles of good product and motion design and stressed that motion design needs to be intentional, understandable, usable, natural, and feasible. With these principles in mind, Mark led us through several use cases where motion can really help designers elevate their products. These included creating continuity, providing feedback, indicating activity, creating affordances, user onboarding and brand expression.

Mark then discussed the theory about transitions and finally walked us through a few teardowns to really demonstrate what does and doesn’t work well, and why. We talked about the blank frame syndrome, the power of good timing and hierarchy. If you are a designer I really hope you managed to catch this masterclass because as Mark said, no motion = no interview!

Leveraging AI to scale up your business

Eliza Casapopol, AI Engineer, MIcompany, Romanian Science Festival

Eliza took the stage next to demystify AI and show how businesses can leverage AI to scale up. She noted that AI can be used to improve business strategies based on facts, decrease business costs by predicting user behaviour, and increase the user experience by offering them personalized products.

She focused on three main ideas that can help businesses leverage AI.

1. High-quality data. To have good models you need good-quality data, both external and internal. To store this immense amount of data Eliza recommends that companies make use of new technologies like the private cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud.

2. End-to-end solutions. Building AI models is not a small undertaking, especially for smaller companies. Luckily companies can use already developed and pre-trained models that exist in the cloud. However, what is crucial is that companies also integrate these models into their business processes.

3. Fast iteration. Technology is growing and changing rapidly so consequently, solutions have a limited lifespan. Companies must be prepared to continuously iterate based on user feedback and metrics.

Eliza Casapopol, AI Engineer, MIcompany, Romanian Science Festival

How to protect your business against weaponized AI

Constantine Bychenkov, CEO, Aligned Research Group

War drones and missiles were not the focus of this talk. Constantine did however talk about malicious use of AI that can be turned against people, and how we can protect ourselves against it. Constantine believes that AI technology is intrinsically good but in the wrong hands, it can have malicious applications, such as DeepFake Videos and Voice, phishing, intelligent automation, generation of audio-visual content and obfuscation. DeepFake Video and Voice is the most popular use of weaponized AI today and really, we can’t be completely sure anymore if what we see is real or fake.

Constantine Bychenkov, CEO, Aligned Research Group

Data is key to making your business secure. For example, Uber collects a lot of data from its users and drivers. This gives them a complete picture of who and how is using their app and allows them to differentiate between real users and attackers as their pattern of behaviour is completely different. Furthermore, Constantine stresses the importance of keeping your data under control (i.e. keeping your source code safe), being sensitive to context, knowing how your models work, and being sensitive to ethics.

In his view, we shouldn’t be afraid of AI, but we should understand the world we live in and because of this dual nature of AI, we should constantly question the information we consume.

Pandemic Pivot: COVID-19 Support in a Marketing Consultancy

Craig D’Silva, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, STR8FWD

Craig joined the stage next to tell the audience his Pandemic Pivot story. When the pandemic hit, businesses globally were affected and STR8FWD was no different. They started as a full-service communication and digital consultancy, but in light of the pandemic, realised quickly that they had to diversify their offering in the short-term. As COVID measures intensified, clients reached out to them in an informal way, asking whether they could help them with sourcing medical supplies and PPE. While this wasn’t STR8FWD’s core offering, they saw an opportunity to bridge this gap and help out, by leveraging their network.

They found a way to efficiently connect the manufacturers and buyers directly without the need for middlemen. It was a learning process as they had to first fully understand the situation. Primarily they focused on masks but in a short period of time, they managed to grow to a position where they can offer all kinds of PPE as well as medical devices and IVD diagnostics devices. Craig emphasized the importance of carefully choosing your partners and cultivating relationships based on trust and reliability.

Craig D’Silva, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, STR8FWD

Self-doubt can fuel creative growth

Liva Grinberga, Associate Design Director, AnalogFolk

The wonderful Liva concluded our first block of talks with an inspiring discussion about the connection between self-doubt and creative growth. Liva shared her own story and struggle with self-doubt as a young designer working at a big global company. While it was a dream come true, she struggled with imposter syndrome on the other side and almost left before really being able to fly. However, she decided to not let self-doubt stop her from striving towards her dreams and learned that with every new project she gained a little more confidence and felt like she belonged there a bit more. She stayed, grew and evolved. By allowing her self-doubt to fuel creative growth, she became one of the best designers there.

Liva discussed how an environment of honesty and vulnerability created by doubt-facing and genuine self-reflection actually breeds the ultimate climate for optimal collaboration. Success is better gained from a mindset of collaboration, rather than competition. Liva urged all of us to not be afraid of our self-doubt, as it is completely natural, it is part of our evolution. It can be scary to be out of our comfort zones, but the critical thing to remember is that we always have a choice. We shouldn’t let our self-doubt stop us, and instead, we should harness our doubts and let them push us to meet new challenges. Remember, ‘there isn’t a skill out there that can’t be improved with self-awareness and practice’, she said. Let self-doubt fuel our evolution and help us grow!

Liva Grinberga, Associate Design Director, AnalogFolk

Following a vibrant round table with a Q&A discussion, we came back to the main stage where Helena Bedwell introduced us to Georgian flavours during a healthy food masterclass and made all of us wish we could be in Tbilisi in person at that moment.

Round table (from top left — clockwise): Kristina Redek, Program Manager, Touch; Liva Grinberga, AnalogFolk; Constantine Bychenkov, Aligned Research Group; Craig D’Silva, STR8FWD

From Fashion to Tech

Merritt Fletcher, Founder, Meet

Merritt started off the second part of the day and shared how she went from walking runways and gracing magazine covers to filing patents and building cutting edge apps in technology. Her experience in fashion made her understand the power of media and how interconnected this world was. She recognized the need that professionals, models, influencers had to be able to book their time wherever they were.

The idea for Meet was born, however, turning this idea into reality was a winding journey. Merritt started pitching her ideas to investors and noticed that people were very interested in her ideas but less interested in letting her execute these ideas as well. She needed a way to protect herself and get funding, and the solution was filing for a patent. From years in the modelling industry, rejection didn’t phase her and eventually, with the help of different teams managed to build her product.

Meet is a video chat platform that allows users with a professional skill or fan following get paid by the minute anywhere, directly through the app. Users can name their price per minute, and their schedule, or alternatively accept requests from fans and clients around their availability.

Meet application

The Global Influence of African American Culture

Lewis Williams, EVP, Chief Creative Officer, Burrell Communications Group

Joining us next from Chicago was Lewis who shared how the African American culture has risen from once enslaved people to influence creativity, music, sports, fashion, political and social activism, to all corners of the globe.

Lewis started with a discussion of black power and dove into how sports has been a catalyst for projecting culture and influence around the world. He gave the example of Michael Jordan who essentially exposed basketball to the world stage. He then discussed the influence of African American culture on shifting societal/political boundaries, drawing on examples from fashion, music and culture. Hip hop, for instance, spread from the streets of Bronx, New York and is today the best selling genre in the world. And who can forget Michael Jackson, whose album Thriller still is the best selling global album of all time? And these are only a few examples of how African American culture permeated all boundaries and spread globally to all corners of the globe.

Lewis Williams, EVP, Chief Creative Officer, Burrell Communications Group

African American culture can be a toolkit for creativity, innovation and influence, however, Lewis finished with a call for creatives (and others) to be mindful and respectful when choosing to look at projects through this lens, or using this influence in any way.

How to build a meaningful brand

Paul Campillo, Director of Brand, Typeform

‘Great brands are built from within. If you don’t go within, you go without.’

In our third talk of the block, Paul spoke about how to build a meaningful brand from the perspective of Typeform.com. He discussed how culture and strategy work together, how at Typeform he is helping build a “meaningful company” and what that means for their customers, partners, as well as employees/teams.

In 2018, Typeform had a tough year which included a not-so-successful rebranding, a data breach and a lot of soul searching. This led to the cofounder asking Paul to work on a brand to reboot it. He helped create the Typeform’s own definition of the brand which says that brand is ‘A story (that sticks) about the difference you make’. Paul noted that when your company (purpose, mission, values, vision), the customer (the problem you are solving and who it’s for), and communication (the way you express yourself) are aligned, you are able to communicate with clarity and values, and you are also able to take calculated risks with your brand.

Paul then touched on what it means to become meaningful and discussed the meaningful brand’s framework they follow at Typeform, which emphasizes that meaningful brands should create not just functional but also personal and collective benefits. In fact, research shows that personal and collective benefits are becoming increasingly important in the eyes of consumers. Paul concluded his talk with examples of meaningful in action and stressed that every interaction counts when building a meaningful brand. The entire organization needs to be bought in so that the company story is as in line as possible not just with your customer’s but also with your employee’s story.

Paul Campillo, Director of Brand, Typeform

Workshop: Retention in B2B SaaS

Oksana Kononova, CEO & CoFounder, LOOQME

To conclude our series of talks and workshops this weekend, Oksana shared her experience and insight and gave us an information-dense workshop about how to achieve better retention rates in B2B SaaS. She emphasized the need to focus on retention (how many have stayed) instead of churn (how many have left), as retention is continuous and so you have more space and time to gather information and manage it.

Oksana Kononova, CEO & CoFounder, LOOQME

Oksana recommended four simple steps on how to start the work on retention in B2B.

1. Cohort analysis (# and $). This is where you calculate how much you lose from every churned customer.

2. Churn Analysis. While it is sometimes difficult to conduct, it should be done as it is important to know why a customer decided to leave you, or at least to learn about the most obvious problems.

3. Behaviour Research. This is where you really test if what your customers told you was true, and learn ways that you can help them solve their problems.

4. Feedback Analysis. This is very crucial and important, however, equally important is structuring feedback in a way that is clear and understandable.

Retention really is a never-ending story and you can’t control all external factors. However, you can control the development of your product, and manage the user experience from your product, by offering both amazing customer care, which Oksana divided into customer support and customer success.

After our second round table of the day and our evening yoga session, the day and the first weekend of Touch Digital Summit came to a close. Over the week, take time to network, schedule meetings with your favorite speaker or an attendee that caught your attention. Or maybe take part in our chat roulette and let the Pine gods decide who you will meet.

We will see you all back next week! We have even more exciting speakers in store, from companies like Magic Leap, Deloitte, Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, Aligned Research Group, InVision, Wolt Georgia and many others. It’s really not to be missed.

You can find the full agenda for our second weekend here: https://touch.ge/summit/agenda.

There are also still some available tickets for those that missed our first weekend: https://touch.ge/summit/tickets.

Let’s Touch!

Author: Kristina Redek