Monday, August 27, 2007

Silicon Beach House - the quiet revolutionaries

I've been hearing a lot about the new Silicon Beach House, the shared tech-space in the heart of Perth's up-and-coming West End.

While the name is based on what Perth is probably most famous for - our wide, white beaches - the actual SBH is more inner-city urban chic. Despite the outback image overseas, Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world - although we LOVE our beaches, and most of the population lives within an hour's drive of the ocean. Hence the name, like Silicon Valley... but with an Aussie lifestyle.

So what IS Silicon Beach House? It's a shared working space where a bunch of very promising web 2.0 startups have banded together to share overheads and develop a creative hothouse of ideas, energy and technical know-how. In a beautifully restored old building in King St, Perth's trendy West End, Silicon Beach House isn't your average poky office. It's light and airy, with high ceilings, wooden floors and a converted-warehouse feel.

I'd met most of the Silicon Beach Housemates (sounds like a geeky reality-TV show....) online and at digital content community events. I've been really impressed by each of their projects, and meeting with each of them individually over the past few months while I've been developing BM!F has been really inspiring. Each one of them is a vibrant individual with commitment and vision - an overused word, I know, but in this case it's really true.

Some of the SBH projects: - a UGC (user generated content) ratings site that covers both video and podcasts. Already has a strong following in the US. - another UGC, this one being a news-site where citizen-journalists (CitJ's) write articles, post links and comment on local and world events. - Perth's IT Blogger community. Seriously nerdy tech-speak that makes me realise I'm really just a geek-wannabe. - a time tracking system that can be installed as a widget, easily keeping track of billable hours etc, even when you're on the road.

More about the Silicon Beach House and other projects based there (many of the residents have blogs that are worth subscribing to) can be seen at:

Silicon Beach House is just the sort of thing that Byte Me! Festival is about... the cool stuff that's going on in Perth that the average Perth person doesn't know about.

Some of the Silicon Beach Residents will be doing a Seminar at the ICT Week Conference in October. Did you know about that? Definitely worth checking out too. Funnily enough, I'll also be running a Seminar at that Conference :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kat begs; still working on 'fetch' and 'rollover'...

The Byte Me! Festival is seeking your support. I'm sure you have some idea how much work and expense it takes to put on a Festival, and as you're probably aware, it's all being developed from the ground up. We've been lucky enough to be offered some incredible national and international guests that will really raise the profile of the Festival and help to position Perth as a hub for Digital Content in the Asia-Pacific Region.

But we need to pay for it all, and I'm asking for your help.

Donations will go towards the cost of flights and accommodation for guest speakers and performers, and allow us to keep the ticket prices affordable (some events will even be free!). Donations also encourage us to keep working towards building the first Digital Content Festival in Perth by showing your commitment to personally supporting BM!F and putting your money where your proverbial mouth is.

For the 2007 Festival, I'm very pleased to be working with the Australia Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) to enable BM!F supporters to make tax deductible donations under the Australia Cultural Fund:

If you'd like to be a donor please complete the donation form (Word or pdf version) and post it directly to AbaF with your payment or credit card details. They'll provide you with a receipt and take your preference into consideration when allocating grants. Please do not make donations payable to the Festival or me personally, or you'll miss out on the tax deduction - a tragedy.

All donations nomatter how small are appreciated. And just think, you can tell all your friends you're a "Patron of the Arts". Wow, fancy!

Then, you can pop this funky little badge on your site, just like the tin-rattlers give out. It's an honour system, we'll trust you to send in the money. Link back to here and spread the love...

Byte Me! Festival Supporter

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Byte Me! Festival Supporter

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To embed on your Facebook, MySpace, Blog etc, see

Thanks a bunch for your support :)

kat black, festival director

Friday, August 10, 2007

Four Eyed Monsters, Girl Friday and other DIY Revolutionaries

Seems a lot of people are suddely taking this web 2.0/social networking stuff seriously in a business sense. Which is great news for digital creatives of all types, but it's a scary frontier and things are developing at a crazy pace.

AFTRS Centre for Screen Business did a seminar recently at the Revelation Film Festival that was the best roundup of these evolving new business models I've yet seen. So much of the info that they covered has relevance to creatives way beyond the Film + TV audience that was targeted, so I'm really pleased that they've agreed to come back and reprise the seminar (no doubt with updated content, since this stuff is changing constantly) for BM!F. See Events for details as they get confirmed.

I think AFTRS CSB are doing an amazing amount for the Australian Screen Industry - an example of what a small number of committed, switched on visionaries can do with pretty limited resources. eg, their 'the Knowledge' vodcast interviews where experienced Industry professionals talk openly about the Industry is an invaluable resource. Keep up the great work, guys - and I recommend anyone interested in the Screen Industry subscribe to their blog and get to their seminars whenever you can.

Some of the really interesting models that they featured in the 'Business Models for Digital Delivery' Seminar included:

The Secret - in a content-neutral way, the business model is clearly a huge success regardless of what you think of the content.

Girl Friday - an awesome cross-media project, one of the most well-conceived and executed examples I've seen. Tip: click on the zipper to get into Girl Friday's handbag, which will feature all manner of interactive content as the project develops.

3eep - perfect example of a user-content web 2.0 business model. Aimed at those who play in local sporting teams and their families throughout Australia, you can upload the scores and fixtures for your local club, photos and video you took of little Timmy in the under-9's footy match at your local oval, discuss the games, etc. This site really shows how the demographic of the web's changed in the past few years. Sites like this must really be making the traditional media nervous. Considering that more Aussies participate or spectate in sport at a local level than watch 'big' sports on TV, is this where advertising revenues will move to in the near future?

Four Eyed Monsters - the ultimate example of a social-networking project.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

City of Perth - Gold Sponsor of Byte Me!

I'm very happy to announce that the City of Perth have given us generous support by providing the wonderful Perth Town Hall venue for the duration of the Byte Me! Festival, and as such are our first Gold Sponsor.

If you're ever looking for a stunning, well-appointed and very centrally-located venue for your corporate function, wedding reception, exhibition, or community function please consider hiring the Perth Town Hall. There's a great virtual tour of the building and it's facilities online. Yeah, it's a plug and they gave us some sponsorship - but I really mean it. The refurbished Town Hall really is an amazing venue.

We're very grateful to the City of Perth for providing this support. Since I first started researching potential venues for the Festival, the Town Hall quickly became THE venue that I wanted to be home of Byte Me! The co-operation and depth of practical knowledge of the facilities manager there, Colleen Dixon, has made me even more convinced what a great venue it is. I am sooo happy to have it locked in (do a little dance).

Coincidentally, Jasper and I went to a City of Perth Public Forum this week, which was really interesting. I wish these public forums were better attended, it's an opportunity to get to know the Elected Members (aka Councillors) and what they're doing. There was some fascinating discussion about the big projects the City has been working on, and we got to hear their perspective on the delays with the Northbridge Link project and also their plans for the James St piazza. We were especially thrilled to hear that their plans for that site (currently an open, grassy area that replaced a run-down food hall) include a huge LED screen similar to that in Melbourne's Federation Square.

Having a large screen available for public arts projects is BIG news for those of us involved in digital arts. The Digital Fringe Festival in Melbourne is just one of the many festivals in Melbourne that utilise the Federation Square screen and once Perth has a similar screen, perhaps it will be the tipping point to get public interest in digital art to the level where we can have a multi-format community screen-based events like the fabulous Digital Fringe. Perhaps that could even be part of Byte Me! Festival in future years?

These things take time, and it's not likely to happen before 2009, but in the meantime, I'm personally enjoying the open space on the corner of Lake and James. And those big, plain walls around it... hmmmm... just perfect for some guerrilla-style projection perhaps? ;)