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July 21, 2016 - No Comments!

Highlights of an interview with Dave Fletcher in CTO/CFO Magazine

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The Founder of The Mechanism, Dave Fletcher, was interviewed in the recent issue of CTO/CFO Magazine about the company, their work and what surprised him over the past 16 years of running a company.

Read the entire interview, conducted by Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine right here: http://bit.ly/CTOCFOinterview

Here are some highlights:

CEOCFO: Mr. Fletcher, front and center on your site is “We use technology to develop authentic and affectionate interactions between human beings.” What does that mean day-to-day? What are you doing at The Mechanism?

Mr. Fletcher: I founded the company in 2001, and have worked in the digital design field since 1996. One thing I discovered early on is that many digital agencies were focused purely on technology and programmatic solutions, and less so on developing human-focused, branded interactions. After all, whether it’s an app, a website or another hybrid interface, ultimately, there’s a human being on the other side looking to build a relevant, enduring relationship with a brand or product. Since my background is in brand identity development, I still maintain an interest and enjoy working with tactile experiences and understanding what it means to interact with something; whether it is a brand or an experience. Therefore, The Mechanism strives to create affection for our client’s brands by injecting organic, fluid and meaningful interactions into the digital solutions that we are creating.


CEOCFO: When you are developing a concept for a client what might you take into consideration that less experienced people do not realize is important?

Mr. Fletcher: The number one thing I explain to our clients is that no matter the size -- their audience is always the gauge – the most important thing to focus on. What does your audience want? What does your audience expect? Not, what do "you" expect. It is a tough pill to swallow at times. This is because when you are working with large companies, there tends to be large egos involved at the top. There is nothing wrong with that, because I believe that it is definitely a part of how they achieved success. However, I also believe that one of the most important things is to help company leadership (and their marketing teams) understand as much as they can about the people they are reaching out to with their brand identity. What do they expect? Where else do they go online? What are some of the apps they use? In knowing this, it helps us pull it back to a second tier, which is, “Let us look at what else is going on in your industry by examining trends and data, and let us look at all of those things that are a part of who you are as a brand or company.” By looking at the audience first, we tend to find serviceable information.


CEOCFO: On your website it indicates you do select projects on the basis of their challenges and opportunities. Do you know pretty quickly when you are first talking with someone if the project is right for you? How do you know?

Mr. Fletcher: We look at projects that have a meaningful impact. I know that sounds like kind of a bogus response, but we really like working with clients that are either doing good for other people, helping people succeed, or helping people enjoy their lives or their work lives. It is funny, because when you focus on positivity, if someone contacts you and has a well funded, but personal project that may not have a positive impact on a larger scale, it is easier to turn them away. In rare cases, we will look at a project on the basis of what the long-term ramifications are. When we worked with Flight of the Concords, for example, we enjoyed the music, and they were nice guys. Over the years, we have gotten a lot of interest for potential employees and interns from that client. Was it a financial windfall because we worked with them? Absolutely not. But that's ok, because from a business standpoint it was something that helped us to build reputation. Therefore, occasionally projects will come along that are reputation builders and not the most financially fantastic.


Read the entire interview, conducted by Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine right here: http://bit.ly/CTOCFOinterview

September 18, 2015 - No Comments!

Friday Link Bait: Elon Musk, Carbonite Pop Tarts and the Mystery of the Dislike Button

Cowabunga! It's your weekly dose of Link Bait - September 18, 2015.

facebook, terminator, han solo

  • Elon Musk Not many people know that The Mechanism has a connection with Elon Musk, who according to Steven Colbert may be the world's first Supervillain.

    Back in the days that we were working on the Ansari X Prize website, Elon had a team in the competition, building a spaceship to win the prize. We were introduced to him at the Explorer's Club in NYC for a fundraising event - and he was a real swell, quiet and thoughtful guy. For a dude who's "afraid of robots becoming smarter than humans through A.I.", it seems very "supervillain-like" for the guy behind Tesla and SpaceX to want to deliver the internet to every corner of the world by sending satellites into space. What should he name it? Perhaps Skynet – and maybe we should call in a Terminator or two to really expedite his (presumably) evil plans?
  • Han Solo Pop Tarts Before they sold out in minutes, you could buy a 30-dollar Pop-Tart with Han Solo frozen into the frosting, just like he was frozen into carbonite. Hospitals anxiously await sick nerds lining up who couldn't resist tasting a hand-painted, resin Han Solo. May the Fork Be With You... Always.
  • Dislike Button? Everyone, including many highly-regarded social media bloggers, members of the Technorati, and several TV newscasts touted the Pro's and Con's of Facebook's upcoming "Dislike" button, causing an internet uproar. In reality, there was no such thing, as Facebook noted they were working on an emoji that will convey "empathy" for instances where a "Like" might be a little inappropriate. Sounds to us like they found out about a project we recently did with the Pharmaceutical giant Amgen...

August 18, 2015 - No Comments!

How to Bring Big Design Ideas to Big Pharma

In this short, Dave talks about how to bring big design ideas to Big Pharma. The Mechanism has recently been introducing innovative interface and identity solutions to several large pharmaceutical companies.

The Pharmaceutical industry is evolving - digitally. By trusting modern creative agencies to innovate within the eLearning and branding space, and by cultivating micro-branded communities and unique gamification-centric learning techniques (typically reserved for modern university-level education), to transcend their internal curricula, they are educating their teams, physicians and caregivers in profound ways. Granted, there are always going to be government-controlled conditions to prevent certain online communication from being immediately accessible, but it's the agencies that are able to think outside of the regulatory box that will usher forth a new paradigm in pharmaceutical learning and sharing.

As part of our 14-year celebration, we sat down with our Founder, Dave Fletcher -- to talk candidly about The Mechanism, how it started and where it's headed. We've put together a series of short video clips from the lengthy interview that we'll be sharing over the next several weeks.

December 12, 2014 - Comments Off on Intern Chronicles – with Christian Houmoller

Intern Chronicles – with Christian Houmoller

Our #ProjectManagement #WebDesign and #MultiMedia Dev intern Christian Houmoller fills us in on his favorite aspects of working for The Mechanism, what he has learned/experienced so far, and how he has adapted to the city that never sleeps.

Intern Chronicles

Intern Chronicles

Halfway into my internship at The Mechanism, I look back and reflect on the experience, so far. Even though I consider myself a city boy, I found it daunting coming to New York. The shear amount of people seems overwhelming when my little country of Denmark only has 5 million, and they are always in a hurry to get somewhere. The uptown/downtown subway ride, the insane taxi drivers, the east and west streets and the SoHo’s or NoHo’s, it all didn’t really make sense to me at first. But after a while it all just clicked and New York City became an exploration adventure. You always hear about the diversity of people, the melting pot of cultures, but diversity in NYC is found everywhere. Every neighborhood is different, like little towns within a city and the glorious food is worth the trip alone, I’m sure I’ve packed on a few pounds.

As for The Mechanism, It has been a wonderful experience so far. The firm is comprised of some talented developers and designers, with founder Dave Fletcher at the helm. During his 20-something years in the business, he has acquired a solid network of clients, including big pharma, big realty and government and it has been a joy for me, to soak up some of his knowledge. As an intern, with aspirations of starting my own company one day, working in a professional work environment has given me insight into how the web development industry works and broadened my understanding of how to run a business, from managing projects and employees to designing websites and working with clients. I have enjoyed seeing the process The Mechanism goes through, from the early conceptual phases to implementation and deployment of a product. Its impressive how embedded this process is in their work methods, it’s almost automated and along with good commutation makes productivity run smooth and fast. This is reminiscent of what I’ve learned in school and it makes me think that my education has not been a complete waste of time. It gives me the confidence to feel that my aspirations of starting my own company, may someday be possible.

On a personal note. The guys at The Mechanism, has been really welcoming, showing me around the city and inviting me to their homes. This has meant a lot to me. And I could not have imagined that my internship in New York City would be going so well.

August 19, 2014 - Comments Off on Could the iWatch Revolutionize Medical Research?

Could the iWatch Revolutionize Medical Research?

“Talkback Tuesdays” is an original weekly installment where a team member of The Mechanism is asked one question pertaining to digital design, inspiration, and experience. The Q&A will be featured here on The Mechanism Blog as well as on The Mechanism’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, every Tuesday. Feel free to offer up your 2¢ in the comments.

George Brassey, The Mechanism’s lead developer, discusses the great potential smart watches can have in revolutionizing medical research and healthcare management. It seems like only a matter of time!

What new piece of tech are you most excited about hitting shelves?

I'm excited to see what sensors Apple will introduce with the iWatch. I'm hoping they announce a watch with an array of sensors which might revolutionize health care research. Last year there was a huge amount of media buzz around the wearable space, with nothing appearing. This year the rumor mill is turning again and it sounds like Apple will finally announce an iWatch next month to be released later this year/early next year. Why am I interested? Last year I didn't like the idea of the wearable. The potential uses didn't interest me. I already have a phone, tablet and laptop. I don't need yet another screen. Especially considering how limited the functionality will be on such a small device. This year, however, I've been hearing about the sensors that will be included.

I'm a migraine sufferer. From time to time, without warning, I get massive blind spots in my field of vision, followed by debilitating headaches. Research on migraines has been inconclusive. The Mayo Clinic lists: hormones, foods, food additives, drinks, stress, sensory stimuli, changes in wake-sleep pattern, physical factors, changes in the environment, and medications; as potential causes. That's a long list with very little practical information as to how to prevent a migraine. I will be interested to see what could be learned by analyzing various health markers preceding migraines.

Depending on how Apple's new Healthkit SDK deals with privacy, the platform could standardize the sharing of medical records. Currently, there is very little access to medical data for researchers. Fears of records getting into the wrong hands means that acquiring data for research often requires a new study, even if a similar study has been done before. This involves, raising money, finding volunteers and conducting the study which may take months, even years. Most health information is under lock and key. The proliferation of devices to passively record a wealth of data could provide easy access for life saving research.

March 21, 2014 - Comments Off on Marketing the Meme

Marketing the Meme

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A marketing revolution occurs every time a meme is discovered.

If you blinked, you may have missed that for the moment, it's all about health-related wearables. Generation X not only wants to, but firmly believes that we can live forever. Ask Ray Kurzweil, an elder statesman of futurism and author of The Age of Spiritual Machines, and The Singularity is Near, with the help of our machine overlords and a nice regimen of pills, we'll soon be downloading our brain into the Universal Mind. Health wearables, in their current state, are the perfect snake oil to market to a generation hell-bent on avoiding purgatory. It's Terminator X. And it's not a matter of if, but when.

Data is King - the device is just the royal messenger.

If you asked me two minutes ago, I would have said that one way Apple could save itself from inevitable obscurity (high-noon is coming for Apple under the marketing machine of every other tech company that wants to destroy them for the simple reason that Steve Jobs existed and pissed them all off) was not even to bother releasing a digital watch. They needed something "bigger," but still in the spirit of a wearable. A watch or wearable for checking email, or knowing that your mate is drunk texting you at 2am (in my opinion) was already existing quite comfortably in the realm of Samsung and a dozen other crowdsourced devices. However, give me a discrete and clever device that is plugged into the cloud by transmitting my health information and data in real time to be compared against the rest of the planet - well there's something that I can get behind. Smart, predictive medicine and fitness - imagine how much that would help our race to fill up the overcrowded planet even quicker!

Wearables DevCon is happening in San Francisco in March, so it seems that all Apple needs to do is fart an idea into the wind (Note: I'm not insinuating that Apple invented the wearable industry, it's just that Apple has been teasing the idea of a watch for so long that they've become the boy that cried werewolf), and the world's innovators now proceed to leapfrog them rather than wait to build on their platforms. It makes for a real mess when it comes to products. Too much competition eventually becomes unregulated noise, and too many unregulated products rushing to market will kill the market before it has a chance to blossom.

I discovered this on a recent trip to Best Buy. I was there to observe a business model rolling under itself - a library of tech that is filled with browsers but very few buyers. It turns out that Best Buy has an entire aisle dedicated to health wearables - each device more specialized and useless than the next. Nothing on the shelf fully grasps the concept of a health ecosystem, because they are the shoddy output of mindless corporate meetings called to simply "Market to the Meme."

health-devices

If Apple gets the health wearable right, they could dominate, but the domination will come from the thoughtful integration of the device into iCloud. Google had a health cloud product (Google Health) many years ago, but unexpectedly shut it down due to a shift in the wind, like many of their other products. Think of how ahead of the game they could have been with the release of Android Wear. Right now, some executive who made that decision is hiding under their hydroponic desk chamber - because they could have been light years ahead of Apple.

With Healthcare like every other industry, Data is King - the device is just the royal messenger.

So a successful launch of iWatch (don't get me started about how perfect that name is for a device which keeps an "eye on your health and well-being") would require the following:

  • Data infrastructure - The means to record personal Health data safely and securely. iCloud is already in place for that.
  • Automatic sync - A device which reports automatically to the cloud - we're all too lazy to sync our devices. Ask Nike how many people sync their Fuelband a month after putting it on.
  • Price - The price point has to be fair for this as well, because the more people using it the better. It should be released as a discrete necessity, with the basics included like heart monitoring, steps taken per day, and calories burned.
  • Open source development - A means to use the data and present info graphics and tools for individuals. Apple got it right with iOS and the App Store. Not everyone will be a runner, but a running app, a weightlifting app tracking reps, weight lifted, a pill taking app that reminds you when to take them, etc. -- all will be part of the health ecosystem with the right developers making money for their hard work.

Due to their formidable marketing prowess, the first loud shot has been fired by Apple in the healthcare and fitness revolution with the announcement of Healthbook. The only question is how thoughtful, nimble and careful they can be anymore when the snarling wolves are at the back door of their spaceship -- and they're all wearing Samsung watches on their paws... Integrated neatly into their own proprietary healthcare ecosystem.

August 26, 2011 - Comments Off on The P is for Paul

The P is for Paul

This week we saw an earthquake hit New York, a hurricane shutting down the city's massive subway system, Google forfeiting $500 Million generated by online ads for Canadian pharmacies and the aftermath of HP's decision to flat out get out of the PC business, but the biggest news of the week was the resignation of Steven P. Jobs as CEO of Apple.

Though it did not come as a surprise, what with the medical leave and the move of the publication of his biography from next year to this November, it did shock. We knew it was coming, and yet it startled us.

Many stories have been published in response to his resignation, and about the future of Apple, including many profiles of Tim Cook who was immediately named CEO in perfect succession.

[ Shame on all those who have only focused on the sexuality of the man whose operational genius allowed Apple to produce the Macs, iMacs, Macbooks, Airs, iPods, iPhones and iPads the way they wanted while simultaneously maintaining an envied inventory chain worldwide, leading Apple to profits so large they recently had more money in the bank than the US government and surpassed Exxon Mobile (for a brief period of time) as the world's most valuable company. So if you want to talk about who the man sleeps with go ahead, you are an idiot. ]

Jobs reinvented many industries and forced all of us to reconsider what we thought was the norm. There is a reason we always hear the question "how would Apple do it?"

I was tempted to include lists to my favorite articles concerning the resignation, a quick search would yield many of those. Instead I'll share this: I wrote my university application essays on a Mac. All my college papers, dissertations, assignments, all done on Macs. I made a website to sell the arts, in 1993, on a Mac. All the career-elevating work I've ever done in my life, happened on a Mac (and now on an iPhone and an iPad as well). All the work we are doing here for our clients, happens mostly on Macs (and every time we have to test a website on a PC I am reminded why). Many call such loyalty fanboy-ism, and yes, there is a touch of that, but the truth is simpler. At every step of our lives when we wanted to challenge ourselves, when we had to challenge ourselves creatively, when we've pursued something so large we weren't sure how we could do it, or whether we could do it at all, an Apple product helped us forge ahead. It really is that simple.

Oh alright, one link, the commencement speech is really a must see.

And in the spirit of all those amazing keynotes that I will surely miss:

One More Thing.

Pixar.

Because of Pixar we know that Apple will have a bright future without Steve Jobs as CEO. Jobs has been an integral part of the growth of Pixar and yet we seldom think of him when talking about the unprecedented string of multi-billion-dollar-earning movies created by the studio. Because Jobs' biggest contribution at Pixar is the company's team and culture, the way they work and create, in essence the company itself. Likewise, Jobs' greatest accomplishment at Apple is not any of the many products they've created but a team, a work ethic, a company capable of producing them.

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

Published by: antonioortiz in Pharmaceuticals, The Thinking Mechanism
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