All Posts in The Working Mechanism

March 2, 2012 - Comments Off on Peter Diamandis “Abundance is our future”: The Thinking Mechanism

Peter Diamandis “Abundance is our future”: The Thinking Mechanism

This week we've been under deadline and taking little breaks here and there to follow TED2012. We would like to finish the week with a TED Talk fresh from the TED2012 stage from our friend Peter Diamandis.  He makes a case for optimism -- that we'll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. "I’m not saying we don’t have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down.”



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

Published by: antonioortiz in Non-Profits, The Thinking Mechanism, The Working Mechanism

December 9, 2011 - Comments Off on The Futures of Entertainment 5

The Futures of Entertainment 5

The Futures of Entertainment conference brings together artists, artisans, technicians, academics and real-world producers for a lively conversation about the future of media, culture, marketing and entertainment. The conference was started by Henry Jenkins and is now also the sister conference to Transmedia Hollywood, which occurs on alternating years. Jenkins explains the conference best:

The goal of the conference is to provide a meeting ground for forward thinking people in the creative industries and academia to talk with each other about the trends that are impacting how entertainment is produced, circulated, and engaged with. Through the years, the conference has developed its own community, which includes alums of the Comparative Media Studies Program who see the conference as a kind of homecoming, other academics who have found it a unique space to engage with contemporary practices and issues, and industry leaders, many of them former speakers, who return because it offers them a chance to think beyond the established wisdom within their own companies. Our goal is to create a space where academics do not read papers and industry folks don't present prospectus-laden powerpoints or talk about "take-aways" and "deliverables," but people engage honestly, critically, openly about topics of shared interest.

This year FoA5 took place on November 11-12 with a special event on the eve of the conference. Here are summaries of all the sessions with links to the videos.


Global Creative Cities and the Future of Entertainment.

Today, new entertainment production cultures are arising around key cities like Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro. What do these changes mean for the international flow of media content? And how does the nature of these cities help shape the entertainment industries they are fostering? At the same time, new means of media production and circulation allow people to produce content from suburban or rural areas. How do these trends co-exist? And what does it mean for the futures of entertainment?

Moderator: Maurício Mota (The Alchemists)
Panelists: Parmesh Shahani (Godrej Industries, India), Ernie Wilson (University of Southern California) and Sérgio Sá Leitão (Rio Filmes)

Day 1

Introduction (8:30-9:00 a.m.)
William Uricchio (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Ilya Vedrashko (Hill Holliday)

Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Society. (9:00-10:00 a.m.)

How are the shifting relations between media producers and their audiences transforming the concept of meaningful participation? And how do alternative systems for the circulation of media texts pave the way for new production modes, alternative genres of content, and new relationships between producers and audiences? Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green-co-authors of the forthcoming book Spreadable Media-share recent experiments from independent filmmakers, video game designers, comic book creators, and artists and discuss the promises and challenges of models for deeper audience participation with the media industries, setting the stage for the issues covered by the conference.

Speakers: Henry Jenkins (University of Southern California), Sam Ford (Peppercom Strategic Communications) and Joshua Green (Undercurrent)

Collaboration? Emerging Models for Audiences to Participate in Entertainment Decision-Making. (10:15 a.m.-11:45 p.m.)

In an era where fans are lobbying advertisers to keep their favorite shows from being cancelled, advertisers are shunning networks to protest on the fans' behalf and content creators are launching web ventures in conversation with their audiences, there appears to be more opportunity than ever for closer collaboration between content creators and their most ardent fans. What models are being attempted as a way forward, and what can we learn from them? And what challenges exist in pursuing that participation for fans and for creators alike?

Moderator: Sheila Seles (Advertising Research Foundation)
Panelists: C. Lee Harrington (Miami University), Seung Bak (Dramafever) and Jamin Warren (Kill Screen)

Creating with the Crowd: Crowdsourcing for Funding, Producing and Circulating Media Content. (12:45-2:45 p.m.)
Beyond the buzzword and gimmicks using the concept, crowdsourcing is emerging as a new way in which creators are funding media production, inviting audiences into the creation process and exploring new and innovative means of circulating media content. What are some of the innovative projects forging new paths forward, and what can be learned from them? How are attempts at crowdsourcing creating richer media content and greater ownership for fans? And what are the barriers and risks ahead for making these models more prevalent?

Moderator: Ana Domb (Almabrands, Chile)
Panelists: Mirko Schäfer (Utrecht University, The Netherlands), Bruno Natal (Queremos, Brazil), Timo Vuorensola (Wreckamovie, Finland) and Caitlin Boyle (Film Sprout)

Here We Are Now (Entertain Us): Location, Mobile, and How Data Tells Stories (3:15-4:45 p.m.)

Location-based services and context-aware technologies are altering the way we encounter our environments and producing enormous volumes of data about where we go, what we do, and how we live and interact. How are these changes transforming the ways we engage with our physical world, and with each other? What kind of stories does the data produce, and what do they tell us about our culture and social behaviors? What opportunities and perils does this information have for businesses and individuals? What are the implications for brands, audiences, content producers, and media companies?

Moderator: Xiaochang Li (New York University)
Panelists: Germaine Halegoua (University of Kansas), Dan Street (Loku) and Andy Ellwood (Gowalla)

At What Cost?: The Privacy Issues that Must Be Considered in a Digital World. (5:00-6:00 p.m.)

The vast range of new experiments to facilitated greater audience participation and more personalized media content bring are often accomplished through much deeper uses of audience data and platforms whose business models are built on the collection and use of data. What privacy issues must be considered beneath the enthusiasm for these new innovations? What are the fault lines beneath the surface of digital entertainment and marketing, and what is the appropriate balance between new modes of communication and communication privacy?
Participants: Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard University) and Helen Nissenbaum (New York University)

Day 2

Introduction (8:30-9:00 a.m.)
Grant McCracken (author of Chief Culture Officer; Culturematic)

The Futures of Serialized Storytelling (9:00-11:00 a.m.)
New means of digital circulation, audience engagement and fan activism have brought with it a variety of experiments with serialized video storytelling. What can we learn from some of the most compelling emerging ways to tell ongoing stories through online video, cross-platform features and applications and real world engagement? What models for content creation are emerging, and what are the stakes for content creators and audiences alike?

Moderator: Laurie Baird (Georgia Tech)
Panelists: Matt Locke (Storythings, UK), Steve Coulson (Campfire), Lynn Liccardo (soap opera critic), and Denise Mann (University of California-Los Angeles)

The Futures of Children's Media (11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.)
Children's media has long been an innovator in creating new ways of storytelling. In a digital era, what emerging practices are changing the ways in which stories are being told to children, and what are the challenges unique to children's properties in an online communication environment?

Moderator: Sarah Banet-Weiser (University of Southern California)
Panelists: Melissa Anelli (The Leaky Cauldron), Gary Goldberger (FableVision) and John Bartlett (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Futures of Nonfiction Storytelling (2:15-4:15 p.m.)
Digital communication has arguably impacted the lives of journalists more than any other media practitioner. But new platforms and ways of circulating content are providing vast new opportunities for journalists and documentarians. How have-and might-nonfiction storytellers incorporate many of the emerging strategies of transmedia storytelling and audience participation from marketing and entertainment, and what experiments are currently underway that are showing the potential paths forward?

Moderator: Johnathan Taplin (University of Southern California)
Panelists: Molly Bingham (photojournalist; founder of ORB); Chris O'Brien (San Jose Mercury News), Patricia Zimmermann (Ithaca College) and Lenny Altschuler (Televisa)

The Futures of Music. (4:45-6:45 p.m.)
The music industry is often cited as the horror story that all other entertainment genres might learn from: how the digital era has laid waste to a traditional business model. But what new models for musicians and for the music industry exist in the wake of this paradigm shift, and what can other media industries learn from emerging models of content creation and circulation?

Moderator: Nancy Baym (Kansas University)
Panelists: Mike King (Berklee College of Music), João Brasil (Brazilian artist), Chuck Fromm (Worship Leader Media), Erin McKeown (musical artist and fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University) and Brian Whitman (The Echo Nest)


Published by: antonioortiz in Entertainment, The Thinking Mechanism

November 11, 2011 - Comments Off on The Futures of Entertainment

The Futures of Entertainment

Starting today, for the next two days, the Futures of Entertainment conference will be taking place at MIT Media Lab.

Futures of Entertainment is an annual event exploring the current state and future of media properties, brands, and audiences. This year's event will look at how media producers and audiences are relating to one another in new ways in a spreadable media landscape. The conference features a roster of great forward-thinking speakers covering transmedia, digital development, crowd sourcing, collaboration, mobile, and using data to tell stories, to name a few of the themes.

Follow up-to-the minute updates from the conference at this page, or by following #foe5.

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 Entertainment, The Thinking Mechanism

September 14, 2011 - Comments Off on The Mechanism and The James Beard Foundation Prepare to Cook Up a Delicious Online Presence

The Mechanism and The James Beard Foundation Prepare to Cook Up a Delicious Online Presence

The Mechanism, North America
Sharon Terry
+1 212 221 3444

NEW YORK, NY September 14, 2011 — Nonprofit culinary arts organization The James Beard Foundation has hired The Mechanism to help them establish a modern and effective web experience through powerful back and front-end development and online marketing. This fresh approach will allow The James Beard Foundation to utilize robust social media tools to better reach and expand their audiences. It is imperative to get hold of an agency that can add value to your marketing strategies because there simply is no way around buying youtube likes for a beginner other than seeking the assistance of a social media agency. It will also encourage site visitors to not only connect with the Foundation, but to connect with fellow food and wine lovers around the world, enhancing their culinary and social experiences. Additionally, the site will offer improved online benefits to members.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America's diverse culinary heritage and future. Their programs run the gamut from elegant guest-chef dinners, to scholarships for aspiring culinary students, to educational conferences, to industry awards.

“We are delighted to partner with The James Beard Foundation to take their online presence to the next level,” said Dave Fletcher, Founding Partner, The Mechanism, New York City. “The Mechanism and The James Beard Foundation teams are working hand-in-hand to create the ultimate foodie experience for their members as well as future members.”

“The James Beard Foundation is excited to be working with The Mechanism to take our online presence to the next level,” said JBF vice president Mitchell Davis. “Food is such an important part of why people engage with digital media. We are looking forward to enriching the breadth and depth of the experience the Beard Foundation brings to the table.”

The Mechanism is a full-service digital agency founded in 2001 with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa. They provide a distinct brand-focused approach, demystifying and guiding the use of technology in a highly strategic manner.

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.


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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September 28, 2010 - Comments Off on Dave Fletcher Discusses the Social Media Strategies Behind “Flight of the Conchords”

Dave Fletcher Discusses the Social Media Strategies Behind “Flight of the Conchords”

PRSA 2010 International Conference presenter Dave Fletcher, founder and executive creative director, The Mechanism, speaks with Eric Schwartzman, host of “On the Record…Online,” about the stellar social media strategies behind HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords.” Listeners will gain access to the various tools and applications behind the success of the talented duo’s popular website and will learn tips on building a seamless and highly interactive website. Fletcher will present a session titled, “Compelling Social Media Strategies: Soaring With Flight of the Conchords,” at the PRSA International Conference in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 18.

December 30, 2008 - Comments Off on Support OneWebDay on

Support OneWebDay on is a citizen-driven effort to identify the best ideas to effect the change the Obama Administration has promised. Anyone can go to and submit a policy idea, discuss with others and vote on the best ideas from around the country.

OneWebDay, the Earth Day of the internet, has submitted a proposal to make OneWebDay a national day. Please review their full proposal below, and, if you support it, vote for it at

The idea behind OneWebDay is to focus attention on a key Internet value (universal access and digital literacy in 2009), focus attention on local Internet concerns (connectivity, censorship, individual skills) and create a global constituency that cares about protecting and defending the Internet. OneWebDay is like an Earth Day for the Internet, celebrated every September 22 since 2006! We are building an organization that works like the Web: an open platform that supports collaboration on annual projects that educate and activate a broad range of communities about issues that are important for the Internet's future.

In recognition of President-elect Obama's deep understanding of the power of the Internet and his stated pledge to bring "true broadband to every community in America," we hope that the new Administration will recognize OneWebDay and partner with us in 2009 to organize a week of national (and global) service to bring more access and skills to communities that are still left behind in the new digital world.

Tomorrow is the deadline! Please take action and vote at now!

Published by: jeffreybarke in Non-Profits, The Programming Mechanism

August 13, 2008 - Comments Off on ISOC-NY monthly meeting

ISOC-NY monthly meeting

ISOC-NY's August monthly meeting will take place tomorrow, 14 August 2008, at NYU.

Date: Thursday, 14 Aug 2008
Time: 7:00 pm–9:00 pm
Location: Room 317, 251 Mercer Street NYC (SW corner of West 4th)
Note: Use the entrance on the west side since construction blocks the Mercer Street entrance. Must bring photo ID.


  • Meet new members. We expect and welcome new faces!
  • By-laws reform. Progress report from Joseph Shraibman.
  • Planning future meetings and events. Good news is we have just received a sizable grant from ISOC-NY for our Fall program.
  • ISXubuntu Linux project progress report. News from our trusty coders.
  • OneWebDay planning progress report. Washington Square Sep 22 event taking shape.
  • NYC Broadband. Discussion of new report from from the Mayor's office.
  • ICANN. We have been accepted as an at-large structure.
  • Status of Connecting .NYC. An update from Tom Lowenhaupt.
  • Web standards. How can we make our own site more W3C compliant?

Jeffrey Barke is senior developer and information architect at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.

Published by: jeffreybarke in Non-Profits, The Programming Mechanism

June 21, 2008 - Comments Off on OneWebDay


OneWebDay, a global celebration of the Web, is looking for 100 ambassadors for the 100 days leading up to this year's event (22 September 2008). OneWebDay ambassadors take a day to talk to their community (it can be as simple as a blog post!) about their values and how those values tie to OneWebDay's 2008 theme of participatory democracy.

To view the schedule, visit To become an ambassador, contact

For more information, visit the formal invitation to be an ambassador and the OneWebDay slideshow.

Jeffrey Barke is senior developer and information architect at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.

Published by: jeffreybarke in Non-Profits, The Programming Mechanism

June 9, 2008 - Comments Off on Forum on Participation and Politics

Forum on Participation and Politics

A forum presented by OneWebDay, ISOC-NY and the Information Law Institute at NYU during Internet Week New York as part of the build up to a politically-minded OneWebDay on 22 September 2008. It brought together a variety of renowned scholars, thinkers and activists to provide their perspectives on political engagement on the Net

Jeffrey Barke is senior developer and information architect at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.

Published by: jeffreybarke in Government