Live from X|Media|Lab Sydney – Ian Charles Stewart, Corvida Raven @corvida & Steve Baty @docbaty #XMediaLab

The second presentation at X|Media|Lab Sydney was delivered by venture investor Ian Charles Stewart, co-founder of Wired Magazine. Stewart talked about his early career as a photographer and how that led to the creation of Wired, and its foundation as a means for communicating cool ideas, rather than making money. Stewart discussed personal evolution to become an entrepreneur focused on doing things that are good and fun, including a project to help yak farmers in a remote part of China. His goal now is to bring wheelchairs to China, with a business that sells lightweight chairs in the West and uses the profits to supply the same chairs to children in China.

His final message was: “It’s possible to do cool things, it’s possible to have fun, and it’s possible to make money.”

The third presentation for the morning was from Corvida Raven (@corvida), founder of Raven based her presentation on the concept of listening, and discussed her life as a blogger and speaker on topics related to social media, including her work with Chrysler and TED. Her cache is based on the alternative views that she can bring, and how she uses her blog to connect audiences to companies. Her current project is to create a place where others can bring their own voices from the edge and have them heard in the centre of society. When you build on connections, listening happens.

The final speaker in the first segment of X|Media|Lab Sydney was user experience specialist Steve Baty (@docbaty) who discussed the concept of interaction design. He started with the invention of the mouse, and its evolution through the age to the wheel-based interface on the first Apple iPod, such as how we have moved from asking people to fill in forms to the creation of online services that are much more about action and reaction becoming a much less conscious component of the interaction. We have now moved to behavioural models, rather than fixed interaction models, which means removing barriers. Baty also gave the example of bicycle hire schemes, and how different cities have tried different models, many of which have not worked – but those that have have done so as a result of small behavioural observations. Baty’s company Meld Studios has applied similar thinking to the design of superannuation forms.

His message was that to understand people, and we can’t make assumptions, and we need to get out of our chairs and interact with people where they are in order to understand who they are and what their motivations are.