Episode 102: Lori Schwartz, IPG on Gadgets of Desire, Bleeding Edge Companies She Loves and Trekkie Heaven

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Lori Schwartz is cool. Wait until you hear her describe the gadgets she desires most. The Chumby, The Clutch, The Hub and her favorite, the Apple TV. She also shares the most interesting companies she brought to ad:tech SF in her session, “Tales from the Bleeding Edge.” Passenger, Blip.fm and Sojourn made her favorites list. Find out why.

One of the ‘100 People to Have Lunch With’* according to MediaPost, Lori is fun. Playfulness and openness are what turn her on spiritually, creatively and emotionally. And she’s a Trekkie! She’s definitely the kind of girl geeks love, even girl geeks.

She runs the Emerging Media Lab for IPG, the big agency holding company. “Equal parts think tank, research facility and change enabler, IPG Lab is both a physical space and a collection of resources (read, “TOYS”) designed to help marketers drive successful digital initiatives.” Essentially she has an apartment-like room full of gadgets and one way windows where marketers can experience consumers using technology in situ. It’s interesting to hear some of the insights her clients have gleaned from this technologic anthropology adventure.

Tune in and get invigorated by the possibilities of consumer technology.

*I am compelled to call out bad grammar. Shame on MediaPost. I’d prefer the more grammatically correct, “100 People With Whom To Have Lunch.”

Transcript

Susan Bratton: Welcome to Dishy Mix. I’m your host, Susan Bratton, and on today’s show you’re going to get to meet Lori Schwartz. Lori is the senior vice president and director of the Inter Public Emerging Media Lab. She gets to play with toys for a living. And we’re going to do two fun things with Lori; we’re going to talk about Tales From the Bleeding Edge. It’s a session that she just conducted at Ad Tech that I missed, and I want it first hand from Lori seven of the most interesting companies that she brought to the stage and why she chose them. We’re also going to cover a really interesting report that’s free and available for download, that is the IPG 2009 Trends, and we’re going to talk about everything from the transmission effect to Zen Tech Warriors. I know you are thinking you are a Zen tech warrior. Well lets find out if you really are. So lets get Lori on the show. Welcome Lori.

Lori Schwartz: Hello from Los Angeles.

Susan Bratton: Hello Lori. So go ahead, you say.

Lori Schwartz: Well I was just going to say it’s sunny here today, and I know that everyone thinks it’s always sunny here, but its actually been kind of gloomy, so we’re having a nice day again.

Susan Bratton: Well you get the doom gloom, even though it’s only May.

Lori Schwartz: Exactly.

Susan Bratton: I know. So I have heard fantastic things about you Lori Schwartz. Our mutual friend Brad Barrens, who gives me a lot of my favorite guests as recommendations, just can’t stop talking about you.

Lori Schwartz: Oh well I write checks to him, so that’s why he’s so flattering.

Susan Bratton: Oh, I don’t think that’s why, because Brad doesn’t really care about money. He cares about love. He’s a love muffing.

Lori Schwartz: You know, we’re hitting Star Trek on Friday together.

Susan Bratton: Oh you are…

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: before he moves?

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, before he moves because we’re all die-hard trekkies and sci-fi fans, so we can’t wait.

Susan Bratton: You are, I know that about you. Well that’s good because you love the future. So tell us about your Emerging Media Lab, a.k.a Lori’s toy store.

Lori Schwartz: Well we’ve been around for about four years now, and we were founded by Inter Public, which is one of the large holding companies, marketing holding companies that basically houses advertising agencies.

Susan Bratton: List the agencies so people know.

Lori Schwartz: McCann World Group, which has McCann Erickson. MRM Worldwide, Momentum, Weber Shandwick, Owen Harris. There’s also Draft FCB, Lowe’s. And then we have the media brand side of it, which is the media holding companies in Inter Public, and that has Universal McCann and Initiative, and we sit inside of that media entity.

Susan Bratton: Okay. That’s a big lofty group of…

Lori Schwartz: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: that place a lot of business

Lori Schwartz: Tons of big clients.

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: So tell us about your toy store.

Lori Schwartz: Well, so the Lab was really built because about four years ago everyone was getting overwhelmed by all the new technologies and consumer platforms that were starting to gobble up peoples attention, and people were noticing that behavior was changing, that yes, television viewing was still happening, but there was a lot of PC activity, mobile was bubbling up, gaming was bubbling up, and so there was a real concern for how do we keep up with this, and also how do we keep our clients educated and engaged in this space. So there was a commitment from Inter Public to basically fund a physical space, which could act as an emerging center, and then also fund a number of resources who had become experts in various consumer platforms. So today the Lab actually has different areas which focus on those consumer platforms. So we have a gaming space and a living room, which has all the different set top boxes like X-box and Apple TV and a TiVo and a media center PC, and we can look at all the newest consumer platforms and really start to understand behavior and how should marketers and advertisers who are trying to understand how to communicate to their audience reach them on all these new platforms. And we also have a digital out of home space, because that’s another huge burgeoning area, and also a mobile area, and we do a lot of research here too, so the entire space is filled with cameras and we can do focus group research. And also when I’m traveling out of town I can spy on my team to make sure they’re showing up, so that’s one of my favorite softwares.

Susan Bratton: You’ve got a nanny cam, huh?

Lori Schwartz: I’ve got nanny cam. Yeah, exactly.

Susan Bratton: What is one of the things that you noticed about consumer behavior in your lab that one of your brands was able to integrate into a program or project or an insight?

Lori Schwartz: Well I would say that, you know, immediately you have clients like, we have Army as a client out of New York, and I would say that anything that helps with direct response or really getting the message out to potential recruits is really attractive to Army, and so one of the things that Army has jumped on with testing is getting into looking at targeted advertising. And that’s something that we’ve talked about a lot on a lot of different platforms, including video on demand, trying to understand in advance television services, what opportunities are there for targeting there, as well as in mobile, and also on the gaming platform. So Army has really played on all of these different platforms because they’re really looking at 18 to 24 year old, first of all, and obviously the younger demographics are the ones that are the most active on these new platforms. So I’d say Army has really played around with this. And then we have other entertainment focused clients, a like Sony or a Lions Gate, that are really exploring all the opportunities with video because they have such great assets, so their content, their trailers and their home entertainment content can really leverage on all of these platforms, ‘cause what’s really driving these platforms is content, and so theatrical clients are really positioned well to experiment and to play with a lot of the new video solutions, including those in broadband, where you’re really starting to see a lot of experiments with like what YouTube is doing and what Hulu is doing and overlays and just really, you know, interacting with great content. So they’re positioned well, and I think a lot of our other clients are starting to learn what content really means and how they’ll start to play.

Susan Bratton: In your blog, The Future of Media, which is blog.ipglab.com, you talked about recently doing a deal with OTX Research…

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: Now Shelley Zalis, the CEO and founder of OTX, is a dear friend of mine. She’s been on Dishy Mix. I absolutely adore her. I’m actually using OTX for research project on a company…

Lori Schwartz: Oh great.

Susan Bratton: whose board I’m on right now to do some early market understanding. What is it that you’re doing with OTX, ‘cause I bet it’s around your entertainment clients?

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, well part of it is, their lab has this great facility for research, and so one of the things that drew us together is leveraging each others skill sets. So we have this great physical, which has an observation room where clients can sit and watch all the different spaces in the lab, and OTX is really looking for another tool in their tool kit in terms of physical spaces to conduct research. So that’s definitely one of the prime reasons why we’ve partnered is here we are in LA with this great space and we also get a lot of clients asking about research, so we wanted to partner with a top tier research partner who we could bring to bear when research solutions came up. So it’s really about both the space and about the lab having a powerful research partner. And certainly on the entertainment side, because we do have entertainment clients, all of them are very interested in leveraging OTX’s sweet spot with entertainment research.

Susan Bratton: What are the three devices in your lab that are your personal favorites, and what’s the one new thing you want the most to put in your lab?

Lori Schwartz: Well, okay, so my three personal favorites, I definitely love Apple TV.

Susan Bratton: Mmm.

Lori Schwartz: Apple TV was one of the easiest solutions to set up in the lab and at home, even for people that aren’t, you know, technology oriented, because we have so many clients that come in and they get so excited about playing with different things, and then they’re like, “Well, I’ll have to call Best Buy, or I’ll have to hire one of you guys to come in and…”

Susan Bratton: Yeah, the Geek Squad. We need the Geek Squad…

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, the Geek Squad, and the thing that’s so great about Apple, which they continue along any of their products, is that it’s really easy to set up, so it took like ten minutes to get it into the living room, and it’s just great. So, I have an 11 and 14 year old in my life, they’re our step kids, and they come every other weekend and they end up sitting in the living room and watching YouTube in the living room and really sharing what they experience on YouTube with us. So I actually get exposed to a lot of the sort of Junior High and High School mindsets through  YouTube through Apple TV because that’s how they’re accessing it. And then the HD and just TV and film content, quite often on the weekend we’ll just pick a movie and we’ll download it from Apple TV and we’ll watch it. So it’s just become one of, you know, my favorite solutions.

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Lori Schwartz: And then I love our Chumby.

Susan Bratton: Oh, I love those Chumby’s.

Lori Schwartz: The Chumby’s are fantastic, and they’re…

Susan Bratton: Super cute.

Lori Schwartz: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: Does it do anything worthwhile or is it just, you love it ‘cause it’s adorable?

Lori Schwartz: Well it, so it’s this little box that sort of acts like a digital clock in the sense that it pulls information from the web, so it literally reads widgets and other information from the web. So we have ours at home in the kitchen, and when I come in in the morning it plays off, just it’ll show like top ten Letterman pieces or what was said on another show, you know, the night before. It just has all sorts of things, and there’s so many pieces of content that are available that are brought into the Chumby and they’re little snippets, but it’s great for when you’re trying to figure out, well what happened last night culturally that was intriguing, or while you’re cooking breakfast you can literally hit the Letterman countdown and it’ll play the video. So it’s just a real, it’s a fun way to tap into a lot of that blogosphere widget content out there and it’s delivered in a really simple easy way. And I think you’re going to start to see more devices that open up to the internet like that and bring that content into your life in spaces in your home that are relevant.

Susan Bratton: Can’t you also make the Chumby do rolling digital photography, image…?

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, it could play Flickr…

Susan Bratton: Yeah, it plays Flickr.

Lori Schwartz: It could play Flickr photos.

Susan Bratton: Yes.

Lori Schwartz: It actually has games on it too, so the other day, you know, I was just like waiting for the dishwasher to finish and I was actually playing like a game physically on the device, like rolling a ball around it very similar to, you know, an iPhone…

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Lori Schwartz: with applications.

Susan Bratton: The telemetry or whatever it’s called.

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, so it has that functionality as well too.

Susan Bratton: Fun.

Lori Schwartz: And then in terms of the third device… I’m trying to think because there’s so many things I like. I really like Sony’s little, it’s sort of akin to the Net Book. They call it The Clutch…

Susan Bratton: Ooh, I didn’t know about that.

Lori Schwartz: And it’s a little PC that looks like a woman’s handbag.

Susan Bratton: Oh my God. I’m coming over…

Lori Schwartz: And they show that…

Susan Bratton: I’m coming.

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, and they showed it at CS and it’s just, it’s so small, and it’s got a great, you know, operating system and it’s really convenient and I know that Net Books right now are very popular and I really like the Clutch as a solution in that space.

Susan Bratton: Okay. And what’s the one thing you still desire?

Lori Schwartz: Well the Verizon Hub, the new Verizon Hub.

Susan Bratton: I don’t know this.

Lori Schwartz: So Verizon put out a hub a couple of years ago, and they call it a hub because it’s basically a, you know, router, DSL router phone solution for your home. But what it has is it has internet content, so you go to it and it has a little touch screen and you can get weather and traffic and basically a lot of local information. And so we have the early version, which was a little goofy and awkward and didn’t always work. S they now are doing massive advertising for their new hub, which is just so sexy, and again, it’s a touch screen and it plays video and it has all sorts of content, so again, in the morning when you are getting ready and you want to know, well how is traffic or, you know, what’s the weather today or, you know, what’s a good local restaurant or anything like that, all that content is accessible in this interactive screen. And it’s just one of those challenges that we have that it’s, the company can’t register for a hub, you have to have a personal account, and we just haven’t gotten around to technically getting it in the lab, but I’m coveting it badly.

Susan Bratton: Oh, I love that. Well those are really fun devices.

Lori Schwartz: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: I’m glad I asked you that question. We’re going to take a short break to thank my sponsors. I really appreciate having sponsors so I can have this kind of fun with you. And when we come back I want to talk about Tales From the Bleeding Edge and The Zen Tech Warrior, for sure. So you are listening and learning from Lori Schwartz. She’s the senior vice president and director of the IPG Emerging Media Lab. I’m your host Susan Bratton, and we’ll be right back with more stun and more fun.

Susan Bratton: We’re back and I’m your host Susan Bratton. You’re getting to know Lori Schwartz, senior vice president and IPG’s Emerging Media Lab. We talked about all kinds of fun gadgets, I want to go spend money right now. I’ve already, I’ve coveted a Kindle and I want the new Ios Cannon Camera that just came out, but now I think I have to add a Chumby to my list.

Lori Schwartz: Absolutely.

Susan Bratton: I’m a gadget girl, a geeky gadget girl, just like you Lori. So you did a session that I couldn’t get to at Ad Tech, so I want the direct download, the Lori transmission, Tales From the Bleeding Edge. There were seven companies. We don’t have time to talk about all of them. Tell us a couple of the ones that you showcased at Ad Tech that were your favorites or really interesting or you think a Dishy Mix listener might really appreciate.

Lori Schwartz: Sure, well the whole idea was just to give new companies that have been around for the last year or two and probably have secured some funding a chance to sort of pitch what they’re business solutions are. So one of my favorites that was on the panel was a company called Blip, and what Blip does is they’re sort of like a Twitter for music. And they literally have a site where you go and you kind of share your music interests with your friends, and when you invite a friend to a song that you like it literally gets put into the invite and you can click and immediately hear the song. So it becomes this real communal way to share music.

Susan Bratton: I see people sharing it on Twitter…

Lori Schwartz: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: through Blip all the time…

Lori Schwartz: Exactly.

Susan Bratton: That seems like the app.

Lori Schwartz: And it’s blip.fm and it’s just a very social great way to explore music, and then obviously they tie into music publishers and to bands and that’s sort of their business model. Another company that I love that I just thought was wow, they just found a spot, you know, a sweet spot in terms of a business solution, is a company called Sojourn. And what Sojourn does is it actually plays content on e-tickets when you’re traveling. So when you go to print out your e-ticket for a flight…

Susan Bratton: Sure.

Lori Schwartz: the content that is relevant to the city you’re traveling in like weather or events or anything like that, is all published through Sojourn. And so the CEO basically noticed that those tickets were blank and not that interesting, and now what he’s done is he’s worked out a deal with a lot of content owners to publish relevant content. So it’s just smart, you know, great idea providing service to people and also creating a business opportunity. And then the third company that I was really turned on, and we’ve actually met with them many times about doing business with them, is a company called Passenger. And what Passenger does is create white label social communities for businesses. So quite often we have companies coming in and they want to do brands, they want to figure out how to play in a social network space, they don’t really want to start from scratch or build a whole social community themselves. So Passenger has a turn key solution for allowing businesses and brands to create a social environment around whatever their strategy is for that social environment. So those were the three that I thought just presented well and, you know, were just really interesting solutions, and they all had in common not only a business model, but they filled a niche, you know, they found a niche and a, you know, great idea in a growing digital space.

Susan Bratton: I love all of those. Now I know about Blip ‘cause I’ve seen them on Twitter. I’m going to check out Passenger and Sojourn. I agree with you; they’re both really logical, really logical. And one of the things that I also love are trend reports. It’s so great to see what other people think are the trends. I recently had Clark Kokich on. He just got promoted…

Lori Schwartz: Oh, how nice.

Susan Bratton: between me interviewing him… See, it was that he came on Dishy Mix he got promoted to chairman of Razor Fish…

Lori Schwartz: Fantastic.

Susan Bratton: ‘cause he was only president and CEO. Now Bob Lord is the CEO of Razor Fish, and they have a really good trend report, it’s called the Digital Outlook Report 2009 from Razor Fish, and Clark and I kind of went through that. And then I blogged about the Nielson Online report, the… Charlie Buckwalter released this at Ad Tech. He took all the different Nielson experts, and they bubbled up the outlook that was essentially ten years ago ‘til now and looking toward the future…

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: in different categories that they tracked, and that one was really good. I have that on the Dishy Mix blog. And then I discovered in preparing for the interview with you that you’ve created an IPG Emerging Media Lab’s 2009 Trend Report, and I want you to tell us… We can’t cover it all, but I want to focus on two of these big trends that you’re tracking; the transmission effect and the Zen Tech Warriors. So start with the transmission effect and tell us about that trend.

Lori Schwartz: Sure, so when we come up with our trends we’re looking, really trying to understand the aggregation of technology, behavior and just the current environment. So transmission effect has to do with the fact that conversations and content are moving so fast and spreading everywhere in a really powerful way, and you’re starting to see individuals become groups that then become organized units that can really start to move mountains. So it really has to do with things like someone Twittering about, say, Star Trek that they see on Friday, and saying, “This is the greatest movie I’ve ever seen”, and on people, you know, three or four hundred people reading that on their blog and then all being encouraged to go and see Star Trek as well. Or leveraging some of the newer technologies in your phone where you can actually, you know, capture live video, like a solution like Flicks Wagon or Live Cast, where I can go out and if something out there is happening in the news I can literally shoot it live and send it to my blog, and now it goes around the world really quickly. And if you guys remember when the airplane landed in the Hudson, one of the first pictures was a Twit Pick, which was someone taking a picture of the plane in the water and putting it on their Twitter blog, and AP picked it up and that’s how sort of the world saw that image. So really it has to do with, you know, don’t send that email if you’re not sure about it, you know. Be careful about how you put your messaging out there because the speed of which things move now is so fast.

Susan Bratton: Also about social reputation management…

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: That was a big part of this, right?

Lori Schwartz: Yes, because what’s happening now is, you know, within a moment a brand can have something happen, a consumer saying something bad about them and then that can be, that can take the brand down. So, if you remember, there was something we were all calling ‘Motringate’…

Susan Bratton: Oh yeah.

Lori Schwartz: where Motrin literally had an ad campaign telling mothers that if their back hurt them because of using the Bjorn and carrying the baby around in the front that Motrin was a good solution for that, and mothers didn’t like that they were saying, you know, mothers are too weak to be able to carry their baby and that they can’t handle the little back pain in order to connect and bond with their baby. So all these mothers started connecting on blogs and through Twitter and through other social communities, and it became so powerful that Motrin had to basically take down the campaign and literally their CEO put up a letter on their site to basically say “We apologize for at all communicating that mothers weren’t strong or powerful people.” So this is really, you know, potentially powerful stuff, so when it comes to brand reputation management there are all these tools out there now where you can literally type in your brands name and see what transmissions are going out about your brand, and then start to plan how you manage those communications.

Susan Bratton: Well it was so funny too. I had, I was interviewing Kelly Mooney. She’s the president of Resource Interactive, a really solid agency out of Columbus, Ohio that has some great brands. She talked about the future of social media requiring a new role, the social profile manager, who would essentially…

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: you know, make sure that everything that was out there about you was copasetic. Then a couple of episodes later Lorrie Thomas from Web Marketing Therapy was on the show, and she essentially described her job… Not all the things she does, she does many, many kinds of things with her agency and the training that she provides, but she’s a social profile manager for a lot of people and brands. So it’s like within three episodes that had manifest, you know, the, it went from concept to it’s actually happening and it’s exactly what you’re talking about with the transmission effect.

Lori Schwartz: It’s moving so incredibly fast. I mean, there’s still this, you know, blog I wrote like ten years ago that I can’t seem to get rid of online that I’m embarrassed about. So there’s things like that that people are dealing with, you know.

Susan Bratton: Well now you have to tell us what it was.

Lori Schwartz: Well, it goes along with the Star Trek theme. I wrote to the director of the movie documentary Trekkies, and I told him how much I loved his movie, and it was a little bit too…

Susan Bratton: Sickafontish?

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, exactly.

Susan Bratton: It’s okay. The sickafontinist comes out of a love, right? I can’t wait to see wait to see what J.J. Abrams does with Star Trek though…

Lori Schwartz: I know, I…

Susan Bratton: Oh my god. He’s…

Lori Schwartz: I’m counting down to see it.

Susan Bratton: perfect for that. He’s perfect to do that, isn’t he?

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, totally.

Susan Bratton: I love him.

Lori Schwartz: I’m a big fan of Fringe too, which is also one of his projects.

Susan Bratton: I haven’t started watching it yet, but I, I think I’m TiVoing it or it might be conflicting with some, I, if it’s conflicting with The Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger, then forget about it. I have to watch The Millionaire Matchmaker.

Lori Schwartz: I know, we have our priorities. I totally understand.

Susan Bratton: Definitely. I think Patti Stanger is such a good matchmaker. I can’t stop watching that show…

Lori Schwartz: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: It’s my little delicious luxury that is, you know, terrible. So Zen Tech Warrior; I think I’m one. Am I? Tell us about that.

Lori Schwartz: Well the Zen Tech Warrior is basically this aggregation of a lot of different behaviors that we’re starting to notice or are actually becoming singular individuals. And it’s basically somebody that wants to be digitally connected, but really on their own terms. And they’re people that are, you know, pocketbook conscious and also very conscious of the environment, and they’re very discerning about how they use media and how they use their technology platforms. And an example really of sort of how Zen Tech Warrior behaves is almost their nomadic lifestyle, so that they carry around all of their content on USB’s. So you’re starting to see a lot of people now, not necessarily carrying around these big heavy PC’s that are heavy processor and have a lot of memory, but instead carrying around USB’s that have all their music, all their images, and even have applications that live off the USB’s, so they can literally show up to a friend’s house or even a public terminal and access all of their content and all of their applications. And this is really tapping into the whole idea of the cloud and how everything will be housed in the clouds in the future so that you don’t have to have all these intense desktop applications that drive your life. And so this nomadic USB driven behavior is a big thing that we’re seeing, and also just cutting free from, say, landlines and from big satellite and cable subscription packages and depending more on the PC for content and entertainment, and then really looking at how to be digitally sustainable. So looking at products and solutions that, while are technology enabled, are also green. So those are all the things that we’re starting to see, and it’s amazing to me… ‘Cause we put this together, we just felt it was a true thing, and in the last six months I have so many people coming into the lab that are absolutely Zen Tech Warriors.

Susan Bratton: That’s a really interesting psychographic segment.

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, it really is.

Susan Bratton: I wonder, there have to be some really good products that could be targeted to that? Well, the first one that comes to my mind is go to meeting, go to my PC…

Lori Schwartz: Yup.

Susan Bratton: Citrix’s Online, I bet they know a lot about that Zen Tech Warrior.

Lori Schwartz: There’s a fun application, this is just a simple example, but there’s a fun application called Remember The Milk, and it’s literally…

Susan Bratton: Right, I know about that, yeah. Go ahead.

Lori Schwartz: Yeah. It’s just a to-do list that lives online and synchs with, you know, your iPhone or Outlook or whatever it is. Or even those online storage systems, like I use Mosie…

Susan Bratton: Okay.

Lori Schwartz: And I just upload like home personal documents up to Mosie just in case something happens physically to my hard drive.

Susan Bratton: Oh yeah. I’m a back-up maven.

Lori Schwartz: Yeah, so all that stuff is all about creating this, you know, really mobile portable sustainable lifestyle.

Susan Bratton: I love it. Well we are out of time, but I have one more question for you. This has been a lot of fun. You are a gadget girl, and I love that about you. But I want to switch gears a little bit. I always like to ask a few personal questions when we’re getting ready for the show…

Lori Schwartz: Sure.

Susan Bratton: and one of the things that I asked you about was what turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally, and I loved your answer. Your answer was ‘playfulness and openness’.

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: So I ask you, how would you like to be played with?

Lori Schwartz: Wow, I could answer that in so many different ways.

Susan Bratton: Well go ahead. We’re listening.

Lori Schwartz: Well, I love, say, either at meetings or at parties or in any kind of environment where people ask a very personal question to the group and everyone has to go around and share…

Susan Bratton: Oh yeah.

Lori Schwartz: So quite often what we do at business dinners is we’ll ask a question like, “What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?” And we did this at the Consumer Electronics Show a few months ago and we had a lot of powerful executives at our table, and about three out of the six stories were jail stories, about these executives having….

Susan Bratton: That’s those CES people.

Lori Schwartz: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: They’re jailbirds.

Lori Schwartz: So I love stuff like that. I love any chance you get to kind of catch people off guard and sort of open up information and stories about their lives that you just wouldn’t normally know within the confounds of their job or their suit or anything like that, and I think that’s really how connections happen.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely. It’s the intimate details…

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: and that’s why, that’s my format for Dishy Mix, it’s…

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: lets talk about Chumby’s and lets talk about what turns you on spiritually, you know?

Lori Schwartz: Yes.

Susan Bratton: It makes a difference in the level of connection. I have a fun game for you.

Lori Schwartz: Okay.

Susan Bratton: We won’t play it now, but I’ll tell you about it. And if you’d like to come back sometime we can play it.

Lori Schwartz: Alright.

Susan Bratton: It’s called Hot Seat. And we’ve actually done this, believe it or not we’ve done this at Ad Tech. Some of our crazier moments at Ad Tech. Hot Seat is a game, and we usually play, like my girlfriends will come over and we’ll all play it, and sometimes, it’s really fun if you get men and women to do it. You have a group of friends. They don’t all have to know each other. It doesn’t, it actually doesn’t preclude that anyone knows anyone. And, but you have to have playfulness and openness, it’s exactly what you want. Hot Seat can give it to you. Say that you are on the hot seat. The rest of the group puts their full attention on you, and they raise their hand and, anybody who has a question raises their hand and you choose who you’d like to give the pup to, if you will. That person asks you a question. And you are allowed to lie, skip or tell the truth, and of course telling the truth is the most fun. When you’re done answering it, that person says, “Thank you”, and then more people raise their hand. So there’s no interaction; they can’t ask another question, except if they raise their hand again and you call on them. And what’s really fun is that when you put your undivided attention on a person, you can think of a million questions that you want to ask them. When you really focus on an individual, there are so many things that come up that you’d like to know about them, about what’s going, you know, everything. And so…

Lori Schwartz: I love it.

Susan Bratton: it’s a really fun thing, and you’re on the hot seat for five minutes, that’s about as long. And I’ll tell you, the reason they call it the Hot Seat is you actually do get sweaty. I mean, having all eyes turned on you, no matter how, no matter if you’re the Leo with the microphone, you still, you know, all eyes completely focused on you. No one’s allowed to look at each other when the questions are asked, it’s just keep your gaze on the person on the hot seat one question at a time and people play off each other’s questions, and you can get really deep, really intimate and really interesting really fast.

Lori Schwartz: I think that sounds great.

Susan Bratton: It is. So sometime you and I have a date to play Hot Seat together.

Lori Schwartz: It sounds great. I love it.

Susan Bratton: I would too. Well Lori, I’ve really enjoyed having you on the show. Thank you again to Mr. Brad Barrens, who is a matchmaker for me in so many ways.

Lori Schwartz: Yes, he’s a love.

Susan Bratton: He is a darling. And actually I am headed out to Oglevies Innovation Lab in London.

Lori Schwartz: Ooh.

Susan Bratton: I’m part of a blogger junket, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, which is a governmental organization for the country of England is bringing a dozen of us tech bloggers to London and Cambridge to meet with a whole bunch of companies, and one of the things that I did was reach out to my friend Mish at Ogelvie and say, “Hey, could the bloggers all come in and see your Innovation Lab?” So that’s going to be our first Innovation Lab trip that we’ll be blogging about, so I’m going to have to get some good questions to ask from you…

Lori Schwartz: Oh yeah.

Susan Bratton: before I head out to the traveling geeks UK trip.

Lori Schwartz: Oh my god, I am so jealous.

Susan Bratton: Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Lori Schwartz: Yes, totally.

Susan Bratton: All expenses paid, putting us up in the Malmaison. You can check it out at, it’s tg2009.com, and we’ll be blogging and live blogging and doing all kinds of crazy things with Robert Scoble, Sarah Lacy, Craig Newmark, JD Lasica, it’s a great group of bloggers, and I think I’m going to learn a lot from both…

Lori Schwartz: That’s fantastic.

Susan Bratton: my traveling compatriots, as well as from everyone who’s running fabulous companies in London and Cambridge.

Lori Schwartz: That’s so exciting.

Susan Bratton: Yes. I got a trip to the lab.

Lori Schwartz: Aw, man.

Susan Bratton: I know. Well alright, so we’ll synch up on that. And Lori, thank you so much for being on Dishy Mix, and thank you everyone for listening to Lori. I hope you had as good a time as I did, and I hope you’ll tune in again next week when I find another wonderful person to talk to. I’m your host Susan Bratton. Have a great day.