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A Trend Product by Matte Black
 

Issue No. 32
— June 2017

 

the
Technology
Issue

 

 

 

 
 
Digital trend publication
blending a mix of culture,
insights and data.

A trend product by


 

EDITOR'S LETTER

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Do you consider yourself an early or late adopter to the advances of technology? This is something I seem to toil on, often unclear where I stand in the matter.

 

There are many things I can't imagine going without now that we have the technology at our fingertips (on-demand rides, groceries, bottles of rosé) and things I just can't seem to stomach (self-driving cars, drone deliveries)... yet. In tech, it always feels like you're dancing in the waters of 'what's next,' hardly getting to appreciate what you have before the next user update happens.

 

For this issue, we wanted to celebrate the smart future of tomorrow, while also celebrating the tech of today. Personally, I immediately bought the Lindlund Ruler from our roundup of tech products to scoop up.

 

 

 
 
 
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Chelsea Matthews

Editor-in-Chief

 
 

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Editor's Letter

 
 

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

-Albert Einstein

 
 

Contents

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Dig into the issue by clicking on the links below!

 
 

features

1. Going Car-free in Los Angeles and enhancing experience through technology

To most, having a car in Los Angeles is a no brainer. The city is big, the traffic is bad, and the public transport is questionable. But what are the benefits of going car-free? One brave LA resident shares how she gave up her car and is using that driving time to be productive.

 

— Miki Reynolds

 

 

2. 12 Tech products for creatives with b8ta

Just because you consider yourself a creative doesn't mean you can't benefit from the use of technology. We curated a list of the best tech products for creatives in partnership with b8ta, a retailer designed for discovering, trying, and buying new tech products.

 

— b8ta

 

 

3. Fashion Tech Startups to Watch

GRID110 is a Los Angeles based accelerator that specializes in fashion technology, providing resources like funding guidance, mentors and office space while taking a 0% equity from their participants. We partnered with them to highlight some of the brands they work with - from direct-to-consumer engagement rings to nail wraps to personal fashion financing.

 

— Miki Reynolds, Co-Founder and CFO of GRID110

 

PORTRAIT

4. Smart mirrors and the future of retail with oak labs

Oak Labs is a San Francisco-based innovation company that is driving the future of brick and mortar shopping. They are best known for their "smart mirrors" inside select Rebecca Minkoff and Polo Ralph Lauren stores. These mirrors allow customers in the fitting room to request different sizes and colors from store associates, adjust lighting settings, and pay for their items using contactless payment. We chatted with them about  the immersion of fashion and technology and the future of retail.

 

Tools

5. Facebook Advertising: A Simple guide to retargeting

Make the most of your Facebook Advertising with this simple step by step to start targeting your most profitable audiences. Retargeting on Facebook allows you to reach the people that already know and engage with your brand - the people most likely to buy.

 

— Jacob Marrero, Paid Media Specialist at Matte Black

 

 

FINDINGS

6. Entertainment

7. art

8. Technology

9. Culture

 

OBSERVATIONS

1o. Brushing up on your brand with simon enever, founder of quip

It's the toothbrush that you've seen everywhere - quip, the functional brush with a beautiful design. Tune in as we chat with quip Founder, Simon Enever, about the history, milestones, and future for the disruptive brand.

 
 
 

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Contents

 
 

"i believe innovation is the most powerful force for change in the world."

-Bill Gates

 
 

—Findings

Entertainment

WHAT MAKES A FILM A FILM?

At the Cannes Film Festival this year, Netflix is causing quite the ruckus. The digital distributor has produced two films that are premiering in competition at the world's most famous film festival.... and according to the New York Times this has made a lot of (French) people unhappy. There's a law in France that dictates films cannot premiere on digital streaming services (like Netflix) until 36 months after their theatrical release. That's a long time. But what makes this complicated is that Netflix films don't have a theatrical release whatsoever. After much complaint... the rules have been changed for next year's festival, and only films that are going to be theatrically released in France will be eligible for the Main Competition.

 

Why is this interesting? Because in a culture where television is at the forefront of the zeitgeist and the water cooler conversation, why are people trying so hard to stick to definitions of cinema from the past? Films no longer need to be shot on film, and films no longer need to be distributed in movie theaters. The amazing piece of technology in your pocket not only lets you shoot video at 24 fps, it allows you to watch virtually any film ever made - right in the palm of your hand. Technology is changing the culture, and Cannes definition of film better catch up... or the culture will leave it behind.

 

- Jonathan Godinho, Project Manager at Matte Black

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—Findings

art

star wars: The Last Jedi Cover portfolio

As a Star Wars fan, I was super excited to see the Vainty Fair article this past month. Obviously, pumped for the next installment, Star Wars: The Last Jedi!  It's incredible to see the iconic images by Annie Leibovitz.  Our newest heroine, Rey with the lightsaber and in the Millennium Falcon with Chewbacca.  My all time favorite image is the behind the scenes with the Droids.  

 

A few questions I'm ready to have answered:

 

What happened with Luke Skywalker?

Who are the parents of Rae?

And what will happen to the Jedi?

 

Even if you're not a fan, the photos are spectacular.  If you have a slight interest, I highly recommend spending a weekend watching the original trilogy. You can thank me later. 

 

- Alexa Jacobs, Live Programming + Partnerships at Matte Black

 

—FINDINGS

Technology

the female inventors exploring brain stimulation through braiding

Virtual Reality. A rapidly expanding, vast world of tech that we hear updates about nearly every day. A tech apparatus that continues to be explored by many, from artists to marketers to even the common folk through new app features (looking at you, SnapChat). But, even as VR becomes a household concept, I still find myself thinking - how will VR speak to communities and cultures? How will we take something that's often regarded as high-level, high-brow tech and utilize it for social commentary? Enter Hyphen-Labs.

 

Led by Ashley Baccus-Clark, Ece Tankal' and Carmen Aguilar y Wedge, Hyphen-Labs is "an international team of women of color working at the intersection of technology, art, science, and the future." Driven by the goal of creating meaningful, engaging ways to explore emotional, human-centered and speculative design, their project NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism showcases products that focus on the experiences and needs of women of color. The product line includes transparent sunscreen and a reflective visor for deterring micro-aggressions.

 

What truly ties the project together is the setup in which it is displayed; a scene familiar to many women of color - a salon. NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism relishes in the fact that salons are a safe space, a place where political and social interactions bloom.  A place where women of color could not only experience, but actually see themselves as a part of the tech culture.  Because, if VR is the future, then the future generations need to see themselves portrayed in such. 

 

Read more here.

 

- Aria Davis, Junior Strategist at Matte Black

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—FINDINGS

culture

culture_findings_shapeshiftrreport_ClarkstonGeorgia_refugees

Sanctuary in the South

The small community of Clarkston, Georgia has received over 40,000 refugees over the last quarter of a century. It's on track to become the next gem outside of Atlanta, where a younger and more inclusive generation is starting to take root. 

 

Explore an intimate picture of the culture surrounding this unicorn of a city in the deep South. The refugees have painted a wonderful picture of what community can look like and what it means to love your neighbor. Read about it here.

 

- Jacob Marrero, Paid Media Specialist at Matte Black

 
 

going car-Free in los angeles

And enhancing experiences through technology

by miki reynolds

 
 

This month marks 15 months of being car-free in Los Angeles. This is an appalling concept to most people, I know. I’ve lived in LA for 18 years since I moved here to attend UCLA. For 16 years, I’ve been one of the millions of car owners in LA until March of 2016 when I gave up my car. And I have never been happier or healthier in mind, body and wallet.

 

Why did I give up my car?

I’ve lived all over the Westside of LA (Westwood, Brentwood, West LA, Playa del Rey), but 5 years ago I moved across the 405 freeway (gasp, another appalling concept to most Westside dwellers) to Downtown LA. In my 18 years here, it’s the first neighborhood that has felt like home. There’s been a recent resurgence in culture, entertainment, dining and industry in DTLA that I have loved being a part of. It’s walkable and provides every convenience you can think of (except for a Trader Joe’s, unfortunately). I still needed a car to get to my job at a software development company until that company shut down three years ago, and I found myself with an incredible opportunity to work in/around where I actually lived. My car sat idle most days of the week. And the costs of a lease, insurance, parking and gas made it an absurd expense with little return. As soon as my lease was up, I happily returned the keys to the car and decided to go car free. It’s been the most liberating experience of my life, thanks in large part to something most people try to disconnect from in order to feel free: technology.

"It’s been the most liberating experience of my life, thanks in large part to something most people try to disconnect from in order to feel free: technology."

 
 

"But now, without having to worry about driving or sitting in stop & go traffic, I can safely tap into the digital world at my convenience and leisure."

How does technology enable me to be mobile in la?

When I tell people that I gave up my car by choice (yes, I can drive, but no I choose not to), the incredulous looks I get are always the same.  “But how do you get around?” Easy. LA has a fairly remarkable public transit system that the city is investing billions to expand. You can travel across the city, transferring from line to line (for free) for only $1.75 each way. The Metro train system opened a line from DTLA to Santa Monica last year that changed my life. General Assembly (the company I was working for at the time and just recently left) had two locations that I needed to split my time between. With the help of the Transit app, I can easily figure out from current location to destination what the various public transportation options are (train, bus, even ride sharing services like Lyft/Uber), how long it will take, where the closest stop/station is, and when the next departure is. For places a little out of the way, Uber Pool and Lyft's equivalent "Lyft Line" are still incredibly economical options here in LA. For occasions where I want to go out of town, take a road trip or just run a bunch of miscellaneous errands over the course of a weekend, Skurt (an on-demand car rental service that drops off and picks up at your destination) is my go-to, and still economical, option. I spend a fraction of the cost on these methods of transportation from what I use to. I can hop on the train from DTLA and be in Hollywood, Santa Monica or even the Valley in less than an hour.

 

How has technology enhanced my car-free life?

I have a tendency to be a somewhat distracted driver, as unfortunately most people I know are. With calls, texts, music, GPS and social apps all in the palm of your hand, this tends to be the default activity when sitting in daily traffic. But now, without having to worry about driving or sitting in stop & go traffic, I can *safely* tap into the digital world at my convenience and leisure. When I was taking the train from DTLA to Santa Monica 3 times per week, I would use that 50 minutes to queue up a new podcast episode (current favorites include: How I Built This, Startup Podcast, Stories of the Influencer Economy, The Indie Hackers Podcast, Other: Mixed Race in America and ::shameless plug:: this one I was featured on) check in on the digital world (Instagram and Twitter are my news sources and water cooler chat) and skim through my inbox so that didn’t have to be the first thing I did when I sat down at my computer. Most of my work related tasks can be done via email or Slack, a group communication tool that every team I’ve worked with in the past few years uses.

 
 
 

But what about groceries? And heavy things?

DTLA has two major grocery stores and we have these things called legs that allow us to be mobile. But seriously, not having a car has forced me to be more mindful about what I buy and when I buy it, given I can only physically carry so much. If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, they have a free same day delivery service called Amazon Prime Now where you can not only order from a selection of Amazon items but also from a few grocery stores! In fact, here in LA they offer same day delivery from Sprouts, which is my favorite and often describe it as the love child of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s - free delivery and typically within a 2 hour window. There are also services like Postmates and Instacart that offer similar on-demand delivery services in immediate timeframes. Los Angeles is also fortunate to be home of Joymode, a startup that delivers/pick-ups rental experiences like camping gear, outdoor movie screening kits, BBQ equipment and more! Imagine not having to buy things you’ll only use a few times and you can have them delivered directly to you! Thank you, technology!

 

What has surprised me about being car-less in LA?

The cost savings has been an incredible benefit. Given how little I was using my car for two of the three years I was leasing it, it felt like an absolute waste of money. The money I’ve saved has actually afforded me the opportunity to recently quit my job at General Assembly and focus on some exciting entrepreneurial endeavors (one of which is Grid110,  a non-profit startup I co-founded two years ago that supports the growth of early stage tech startups and entrepreneurs in DTLA). It’s a terrifying feeling, but one that I’m so excited and ready to take on.

 

I also feel more connected with my city. As drivers, we’re confined to the space of our vehicle and usually only focusing on the road ahead, other cars and potential obstacles. But commuting by foot, public transportation or ride-sharing services has allowed me to connect more with the world around me. I look up and around to take in what’s going on. I’m constantly taking pictures using my iPhone of the unique and mundane things that catch my eye and editing with the VSCO app on the fly.  I have random conversations and encounters with fellow passengers (the ones with Lyft drivers are always my favorite). I get a shift of perspective to one that is not my own. And even if my face is typically buried in my phone, I still take the time to be aware of my surroundings. All of this has allowed me to fall more in love with the city of LA because of the way I’m able to travel through it.

 

Giving up your car may not be an option for everyone; I’ve been fortunate in my personal situation. But what I’ve learned is that while technology is often thought as a distraction or disruption, it’s actually the best enabler for efficiency and productivity. Services like Lyft/Uber, Amazon Prime Now and Joymode exist to give us all a bit of time back in our lives where we can focus on truly experiencing it. Communication apps and our phones allow us to do work from wherever we are without skipping a beat. If you too want to make better use of your commute time while driving, queue up a podcast or learn a new language through an app like Duolingo. Our phones and the countless of apps available for them have allowed us to become the ultimate multitaskers and better connected humans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Imagine not having to buy things you’ll only use a few times and you can have them delivered directly to you! Thank you, technology!"

 


 

 
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colophon

 
 

Editor-In-Chief  
Chelsea Matthews
@chelseamatthews

 

Managing Editor
Delanie Billman
@delanie___

 

Contributing Editor
Micah Heykoop
@micahheykoop

 

Creative Director
Nolan Goff
@nolanwgoff

 

Research Coordinator
Jacob Marrero

 

SESSIONS Producer
Aria Davis
@theariachanel

CONTRIBUTORS

 
 
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Miki Reynolds

Miki Reynolds is an active community builder in Los Angeles. With a background of 12+ years working for technology companies, she recently left the global tech education school General Assembly to focus on entrepreneurial pursuits, including supporting early stage startups as one of the co-founders of Grid110. She is fueled by tacos, tech and fitness and moderately obsessed with design, innovation and simplicity. 

Follow her on Instagram & Twitter @mikster.

 

Last movie watched: Wonder Woman

Podcast to listen to: How I Built This

Comfort food: Mac & Cheese

City to escape to: anywhere outside LA, near (Palm Springs) or far (Bali)

App to download: Slack for Team Communication/ Productivity, Product Hunt for new apps, Spotify for Music, Instagram consumes the rest of my time :)

 


 

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Jacob Marrero

Jacob is a Paid Media Specialist at Matte Black. He enjoys spending time researching, testing, and volleyball. He considers himself suffering from an unsatisfied curiosity and a lifelong learner. Always open to good discussion and an old fashion. 

 

Last song played: There Is a Cloud, Elevation Worship

Childhood comfort: Refried Bean and Cheese Burritos

Streaming on Netflix: Wife and I are currently rewatching Parks & Rec. 

Something to check off your bucket list: Win a volleyball championship. 

Favorite social network: Gab.ai. Look it up. #SpeakFreely

 

 

 

Oak Labs

Oak Labs is a SF-based retail innovation company, creating a simple platform for evolving, digital retail experiences in the physical world. Started in 2015 by the founders of eBay’s Retail Innovation division, the team is comprised of retail, e-commerce, manufacturing & technology experts. The Oak Mirror, the first iteration of the company’s interactive retail solution, is currently available in select retail locations worldwide, including Polo Ralph Lauren and Rebecca Minkoff stores.

 

Last song played in the office: Despacito (by Luis Fonsi) - never fails to inspire a spontaneous office dance off

Favorite lunch spot: Garaje in SoMa, SF- incredible tacos & burgers just across the street from HQ

Early birds or night owls? All of the above? It's fair to assume someone at Oak is awake at any given hour of the day. 

Dream dinner guest(s): A potluck with Teddy Roosevelt, Angela Aarehndts and Nicolas Cage 

Instagram account to follow: @officialseanpenn (we have the calendar hanging in our office... pure, NSFW genius).

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b8ta

b8ta stores set out to improve the customer and maker experience of new technology projects. We help people discover, try, and learn about new tech products while empowering makers with a simple retail model that puts them in control. 

Visit b8ta in downtown Palo Alto, at Santa Monica Place in Los Angeles, Austin, and at Seattle's University Village.

 
 
 

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