I attended a conference exploring the unsexy side of tech startups yesterday hosted by 500 Startups. The conference touched upon how some of the most forward thinking companies are overlooked due to all the marketing bells and whistles of ‘sexy’ consumer verticals.
As part of the swag, each attendee received a pair of very unsexy thick framed glasses. In recent years, hipsters have adopted this fashion item due to it’s unfashionability. Thus, in the back of my head, I was thinking that I was going to look like a hipster, not an unsexy nerd or techie wearing these faux glasses.
Interestingly, this anti-fashionable item has became so mainstream that hipsters are quick to judge other hipsters as posers for wearing these thick framed glasses. Moreover, Jenna Lyons, the Creative Director at J. Crew was on the cover of FastCompany wearing the all too trendy frames. The question now is, has this trend reached the point of market and cultural saturation? Or are these unsexy techies more fashionable then they give themselves credit for?
Dave McClure and other unsexy startup techies.
Yeah! I always feel super lucky when I get an email in my inbox from Girl Geek Dinner inviting me to one of their events. It’s a lottery with usually more than thousands of girls applying to get into a spot of usually 300. This time Facebook hosted the event at their Menlo Park HQ.
A few of the GGDs that I’ve attended have veered towards the more of the technical side, which looses me at times because of all the super technical jargoon. The panel group this time had a unique twist, and the topic of discussion was moving from a non-technical role to a technical role. Lined up were engineers, designers, and technical program managers who had previously came form non-technical backgrounds. It was certainly a great source of inspiration.
I also was surprised to learn how much FB values the visual arts. Since FB was built on the premise of innovation, I knew that great digital and UX/UI design was a given. However, the walls of FB are covered in posters that all have been individually hand screen printed and designed by a single (very lucky) employee at FB.
As I was glancing at all the beautifully designed posters, I serendipitously found one poster of a knitting machine punchcard! What an obscure find, and such a great example of the blend between the technical side of fashion, technology, and traditional print making techniques.
Knitting Machine Punchcard, above!
Here’s a link to GGD if you want to learn more about them.
Last night, SAP hosted a great panel group, consisting a mix of tech and fashion purest, and corporate and startup companies. Those that participated were Google, ModeWalk, Glam Media, and Tory Burch. The panelists discussed the emergence of fashion and technology, and how they influence both fashion company and personal brand.
Not surprisingly, there was a lot of talk about “humanizing the brand”. In recent years, social media has been the tool in helping marketers have a 1:1 conversation with individuals. We’ve learned that through social media, people engage with others who share similar goals and objectives, help each other, learn, and have fun — something that only people can do, not a company.
SAP believes that a method of humanizing a brand will be through their My Runway app. Kelsey Wanas of SAP writes: “My Runway is a social shopping app that allows fashion enthusiasts to follow the brands they love, and get personalized updates on what’s new, what is trending, and what’s on sale.
- As consumers interact with the app, brands and specialty retailers can gather market statistics on these consumers, including the brands and products they favor.
- Consumers can see product details and nearby store locations – all with one tap. It allows fashion enthusiasts to collect products in their wish list and share with their friends.“
The panel included from left to right the Mike Giresi the CIO of Tory Burch, Nola Weinstein the Executive Editorial Director of Glam Media Inc., Beatrice Pang the Co-Founder of ModeWalk, Barbara Holzapfel the Managing Director of SAP Labs North America, Marcelle Parrish the Head of Business at eBay Fashion, and Vineet Buch the Head of Shopping Search at Google.
Since techies are generally more analytical, here’s a breaks down in mathematical terms how high fashion and fashion inspiration works.
Courtesy of Fashematics.