iSL’s Adventure to the Core 77 Conference


Field trips are always a treat for our team — it’s so great to see the work happening in our industry across the country. Several of us recently attended the Core 77 Conference to learn more about designing, manufacturing, and innovating with physical objects.

Core 77 Conference 2014

The conference was an amazing experience for our team. We’ve built lots of awesome social machines connecting the physical and digital worlds, and as we continue to build out an industrial design practice, this immersive 1-day event was well-timed for our hungry minds.

All of the talks were incredible, but the two that really resonated with us were the +POOL project and Carla Diana’s book Leo the Maker Prince.

We heard from Dong-Ping Wong about his enormous and groundbreaking project + POOL. The goal of the project is to put a giant floating swimming pool into the rivers of New York City. The pool will filter the river’s water so that the water in the pool is safe for people to swim in — an innovative solution for a city surrounded by water that’s too dirty to interact with. His team’s experience over the past four years bringing the project closer to fruition was so  different from our internal process, involving so many more parties and moving pieces — it was a treat to peek behind the curtain of such an awe-inspiring project.

Plus Pool NYC

We also got a tour of a Carla Diana’s Leo the Maker Prince, a fiction story that teaches the concept of 3D printing to people of all ages. Involving the next generation in such a simple but fun way is crucial to inspiring future innovation, and it was great to hear about a project that aims to do just that.

Leo the Maker Prince by Carla Diana

Many of the other talks at this year’s conference centered around responsibility in design — making sure that when given the opportunity to design something, that it is done with regard to the environment as well as everyone who will interact with what is created.


Two major takeaways:


As designers, we (have the best job in the world) get to make things that are used every day; it’s important that we take the time to make sure that they are benefiting the people who use them.

We need to consider the context in which our products are used; an idea might seem perfect in the lab, but we won’t know anything for sure until we get out into the field and test the prototype in the desired context.

Thanks to everyone at Core 77 who worked so hard to make the conference a great experience!

iStrategyLabs team at Core 77

iStrategyLabs Plus Ben & Jerry’s Equals Love At First Bite


I scream, you scream, iStrategyLabs 3D prints a teeny tiny Ben & Jerry’s truck for free ice cream!

We’ve had our eyes on the Ben & Jerry’s Core Tour since we caught word that it was rolling through DC this month. We took the whole “core tour” thing as a personal sign from Ben & Jerry’s that we should invite them to our office, seeing that we’ve referred to the iStrategyLabs staff as the “Core Team” since its inception. We’re a pretty passionate group here in general. Our passion for ice cream is matched only by our passion for design, development, strategy, and creating exceedingly awesome stuff for great brands.

So, what are we going to to do to stand out amongst the hundreds of Twitter invitations begging you to come to this, that, or the other office for a taste of these fine flavors? A stop-motion video starring a 3D-printed miniature Ben & Jerry’s truck, of course:


Demetri and Ryan begin the stop motion process.

Between this and our 2013 Ice Cream Social Infographic, I think you could safely refer to the iStrategyLabs Core Team as ice cream enthusiasts. We love visitors as much as we love ice cream (see The One Where Uber Delivered a Christmas Tree), so we cordially invite you to follow in the tiny truck’s tracks, and roll on up to Dupont Circle office (1630 Connecticut Ave. NW)  while we’re still here. We promise we’ll show you a fun time, and if you’re lucky there will even be 1-3 dogs in tow.

P.S. If your life’s priorities are inline with ours, apply to join the Core Team here.

[UPDATE] Well, that was fast (24 minutes to be exact):

Breaking Down Video Production


Video is on the rise; 52% of consumers said watching product videos made them more confident in online purchasing, but only 24% of national brands are using online video to market to consumers. Why the discrepancy?

It’s about what you don’t know as much as what you do. Mike Monteiro says that clients don’t know what you do, and it’s your fault. He’s right and this isn’t limited to web design. With the rising prevalence of videos on the Internet, there’s a lot more clients do not know and it simply scares companies off. Here are three things companies need to know about video production before kicking off:


“I thought you just needed a camera.”

Companies are simply unaware of all the factors that go into making a video including cast, crew, and equipment. The crew includes a director and/or producer along with a director of photography and/or camera operator. Depending on the scope of the project, a two-man crew may suffice, but if there are actors and lots of equipment to move, a couple of production assistants may be needed. Equipment includes lights, cameras, lenses, tripods, and sound recording equipment, which can easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars in assets. On top of everything, a video production team may need to rent more equipment for a specific shot. This is all reflected in the day rate.


It’s generally true that the shorter the duration of a video is, the shorter the production time, but that doesn’t always translate. For one video, we scheduled a full three-day shoot with a video production company, ranging from 8-10 hour days. There were multiple locations and they shot hours of footage. We squeezed out about 20 seconds of video from it. It’s not that the footage was unusable, everything looked great. However, there are unforeseen circumstances such as weather and emergencies that require booking long hours as a precaution. Video isn’t just limited to time on the set, but extends to the editing room. It takes hours of editing to produce minutes of video, which includes color correcting, color grading, syncing audio and music. After the first cut is submitted for review, there’s a back and forth between the client and producer until the final product.


Video is a tangible product as you’re paying for the cast, the crew, the equipment, the editing, and all the time that goes into it. But it’s so much more. It can invoke an emotional response to a brand, demonstrate a product, or simply entertain. Industry standards price video at $1k- $20k per finish minute of edited video or animation, but no one can predict the response to the final product. That’s a risk we all take in every good endeavor, but it’s one worth taking.

tom shoot

Next Steps

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Companies with video production capabilities are happy to answer any questions you have especially if it’ll help the entire process, plus everyone will sleep better at night. And when you hire the right team for the job, trust them with that job.

Introducing “Hypermind” — A Quarterly Publication by iStrategyLabs


Say hello to Hypermind: our very own in-house publication created entirely on iBooks Author.

Whether you’re a marketer, maker or designer, Hypermind is your guide for exploring the possibilities of creative technology. Each edition includes interviews, insights, and experiments gathered from innovators across the globe, helping you discover secret weapons for conquering your next big adventure.


This inaugural edition of Hypermind seeks to explore “The Internet of Things” — investigating how brands/startups/marketers have leveraged readily accessible technology to create innovative products & experiences. We’ve tapped some big names (from Budweiser to GE) and spoke with some stars in the making in order to provide a rapid fire snapshot of trends we’ve seen, and to illuminate a path for projects to come.

Download your copy of Hypermind from the iBooks store HERE. (Keep in mind: it’s an iBook, so you do need to have iBooks installed!).


#DCTech goes to SXSW


Half a dozen iStrategyLabs team members are here @SXSW. Check out this list of our must-do events, cool sessions, and killer speakers (oh and parties) hosted by DCers.