Reflections on Thinking Digital 2010 #TDC10


Picture Credit @kiwanja

Recently I attended my favourite conference of the year – Thinking Digital (#TDC10). Sadly, I was unable to attend last year. However, getting back to Newcastle and the Sage this year was great. I left the conference with my brain a little bigger but also fried (in a good way!) #TDC10 had a great line up of speakers, and it was fantastic to catch up with messers – Steve Clayton, Marc Holmes, Paul Fabretti, Christian Payne and Benjamin Ellis. (Shame about Mark Johnson not being there, I missed him even if some others didn’t 🙂

There is a lot of good stuff in this post. So, I would advise grabbing a cup of coffee, or indulging in some fine wine (depending on the hour) that you are reading this.

P.S. If you are wondering what the Diamond Shreddies reference above is, read on to find out!

Christian Payne

Christian Payne aka @Documentally presented an excellent talk on how mobile technologies have evolved, by getting ever smaller but ever more powerful. His talk focused on his own personal experiences as a journalist and photographer.

Documentally, intersects a perfect Venn diagram of citizen journalist, professional photographer and audio/video podcaster. Learn more about his work at:

Christian showed the following video in his presentation, and discussed that soon after the video was broadcast over Twitter, he received many calls of help.

Julian Treasure

Julian Treasure is chairman of the The Sound Agency, a company that helps its clients achieve results through the better use of sound – in branding, communication, retail or public spaces, offices and product design. Julian’s talk was an amazing journey into everyday sounds that surround us. From the Nokia ringtone to The Simpsons theme music. Sound plays a very important part of our lives, and yet we take it for granted.

I loved this talk for a number of reasons, Julian’s passion for the subject is obvious. But also his tips on how we can improve our own vocal sounds was invaluable. He was very kind enough to answer my own question on which CDs make the best calming music. I’ve already ordered Bird Song from Amazon!

Here is Julian discussing why “Sound Matters”. Learn more about his work on the Sound Business blog, and if you are inspired, you can read his book too.

If you get the opportunity to see (and hear) Julian speak, you are in for a real treat! A quick taster of Julian’s talk can be seen at a recent Ted Talk below.

Rory Sutherland

Rory Sutherland is a Vice Chairman of the Ogilvy Group in the UK and presented one of the most entertaining talks of #TDC10. The Ted Talk below, captures the essence. The talk touched on many aspects of Behavioural Economics, if you are a big fan of this subject (as much as I am), you will love the great book recommendations by Rory – Obliquity by John Kay and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Rory’s Ted Talk, which covered many of his points at #TDC10 can be seen below.

Now, on to the Diamond Shreddies picture at the start of this post. Watch the video below to discover the context.


Yes, there is even a website:

Andy Hobsbawm

Andy is the co-founder of Green Thing ( Green Thing is a public service that inspires people to lead a greener life. With the help of brilliant videos and inspiring stories from creative people, Green Thing focuses on seven things you can do – and enjoy doing. A flavour of Andy’s #TDC10 talk can be seen below.

Here are some of the videos that Andy showed during his talk.


Mary Anne de Lares Norris

Mary described spatial interfaces and presented the Oblong video below. The g-speak technologies presented here, inspired some of the UI scenes in the film, Minority Report. Mary described the process as “Emancipating Pixels”. I have included some footage from the film as a comparison. I think you will agree this is very cool.



Jer Thorp

Jer is a data visualiser, responsible for creating some of the infographics, (generally known as “infoporn”) sections for Wired magazine. He focused on data mining and using the open source Processing software to create  some amazing data visualisations. He describes his work between a cross section of Art, Science and Design and this is certainly is true.

Jer’s work is inspired by the work of Mark Lombardi, take a look at some of his amazing data visualised presentations here. Also, I recommend downloading and installing “Processing”.

In the video below, he extracted tweets from where people were coming from and going to as defined by their Twitter updates. If you like this video, check out the many others on Jer’s Vimeo site.


Ralf Herbrich


 Ralf Herbrich of Microsoft’s FUSE (Future Social Experience) Labs unveiled a new web application called “Project Emporia”. The app indexes tweets and provides a number of “lenses” which with to interrogate Twitter’s fire hose data (unfiltered tweets).

The goal of Project Emporia is to give the user a personalised search experience over the Twitter fire hose. The lenses allow you to discover “filtered and more relevant data”.

The project is certainly interesting and currently in alpha. I’m keeping a close eye on this one, as it has enormous potential as a Twitter “filtering mechanism”. Another great job from the Microsoft team.

Test drive Project Emporia today.


So there you have it, another Thinking Digital has come to an end. The quality of the speakers gets better each year and already is has become one of my favourite conferences in the UK. From the tweet pie chart above, you can see I wasn’t too far behind the other tweeters at the conference. Incidentally, if you missed the event and are looking for an archived selection of the tweets over the two days. You can find them here and here on my Windows SkyDrive.

Thank you Herb and team and see you again next year!


Author: Jas

Jas Dhaliwal is a highly experienced International Social Media Strategist. Currently working as AVG Technologies, Director of Communities and Online Engagement, he specialises in building and engaging with social communities across the web. Born and bred in London, he is passionate about technology and social anthropology. Prior to AVG, Jas launched the social media program for Microsoft’s MVP Award program. Jas holds a BSc (Hons) in Information Systems and has an MBA from Brunel University in London, England. You can follow Jas as @Jas on Twitter or on Google+

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