On my interests in collaborative, voluntary, unmanaged efforts—My grandfather left Lithuania when he was nine. His boat happened to stop in Argentina. Other relatives arrived in Cuba and in the United States. After some time, my entire family reunited in Buenos Aires. With limited communications, limited economic means, and rudimentary English and Spanish language skills, these immigrants in the 1920’s managed to build collaborative networks to stay connected one way or another. I have always wondered exactly how they managed to do so—to get to reunite families around the globe with such limited communications technology.
In 1999, I thought I was working in banking. My employer, Lloyds Bank, was a world leading financial institution. I was assigned to a project that was meant to improve the bank’s operations. Years later, I have come to realize that back then, I had been contributing to a new way in which people were beginning to connect, communicate, and participate. I was a member of the team that launched the first Internet banking platform in my country, Argentina.
In the year 2000 I started an online forum: HableAlPresidente.com (Talk to the President). It had the flavor of a blog; a diary of political thoughts nourished by opinions of citizens that were exploring an emerging political democracy. At that point, the Argentine government was not yet ready to engage in this dialogue, and participants were wary of sharing their points of view with the rest of the world.
A year later, I was working in Miami on a platform similar to what Hulu.com or YouTube Live Streaming are today. It was an online aggregator of video content enriched by in-house production of short films, animations, Japanese anime, and content licensing for the fashion, sports, and culinary channels. We bought the rights to live stream a full-length soccer game for the first time in the Web history. Thousands of sport enthusiasts subscribed to our pay-per-view offering (However, their slow dial-up connections did not allow them to enjoy the experience). Although the technology was not quite ready, for the first time in my career I faced the emergence of a savvier audience who was looking not just for new ways to communicate, but also for new forms of entertainment, manifestation, exploration, discovery, connection, and participation.
After some years in the advertising world at agencies such as JWT, Vidal Partnership, and mcgarrybowen—where I currently lead the Digital Strategy group—, I decided to continue pursuing my interests in 1) getting a deeper understanding of peoples’ drivers to interact with media and technology; 2) to gain a deeper knowledge of the way in which people relate with family, friends, colleagues, and particularly with strangers; and 3) to explore the motivations, the reasons why people collaborate in network-computed environments. In 2009 I joined the MA in Media Studies program.
- Urban Media Lab: Strangers—Jessica Blaustein
- Urban Media Archaeology—Shannon Mattern
Oh! And I am very much into Korean Martial Arts.