Lights, Notes, and Brews from XOXO (Episode 43)

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XOXO is a truly remarkable festival and conference that you've heard me talk about quite a lot. I interviewed Andy Baio and Andy McMillan just before they announced the line-up for the 2013 show, which took place in mid-September. At XOXO, I interviewed the folks behind four companies or projects exhibiting there about what they were up to: Brewbot, Draplin Design, Projecteo, and NeoLucida. To read more about the 2013 event, read my account at Boing Boing, Leah Reich's essay "The Uncanny Valley of Earnestness" about the place for criticism in the midst of positivity, and Frank Chimero's "The Inferno of Independence."


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Chris McClelland. 

Chris McClelland, Brewbot

This band of app developers, known as Cargo, and home brewers from Northern Ireland attended XOXO in 2012 and were so inspired they built a prototype of Brewbot, an automatic beer-brewing system that relies on sensors, precise temperatures, and app to get you consistent results. Their Kickstarter is 60% of the way to its £100,000 goal as we finished editing this podcast. I spoke with Cargo's CEO, Chris McClelland. (Kickstarter allowed UK-based creators to launch projects in October 2012.)

Aaron Draplin. 

Some of Aaron Draplin's designs. 

Some of Aaron Draplin's designs. 

Aaron Draplin, Draplin Design

Aaron Draplin is an American original. A graphic designer who produces bold and interesting work that's rooted in love of place and love of materials, he had a huge booth for Draplin Design, selling T-shirts, posters, and Field Notes products. Field Notes is a co-venture between his firm and Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners. Aaron and I spoke while someone else staffed his booth, which was selling out of gear as fast as he could drive it over; he works in Portland.

(I interviewed Jim in January 2013 in "Any Color But Purple," Episode 7. The purple referred to the purple-covered Field Notes guides custom printed for XOXO 2012. Aaron told him to use any color — but purple. This year's were slightly redder than puce.)


Ben Redford, Projecteo

Projecteo is adorable: a tiny film projector that's connected with your Instagram account. Select photos and they're printed to a 35mm frame as an itsy-bitsy film wheel, which the company cuts out and delivers with the micro-projector. Funds were raised via Kickstarter ($87,000 towards an $18,000 goal.) One of the fellows behind Projecteo, Ben Redford, and I talked about how it works and about a tiny 3D-printed "theater" that pairs with it.

An attendee uses NeoLucida for a drawing. 

The parts of the NeoLucida. 

The parts of the NeoLucida. 

Pablo Garcia, NeoLucida

The advent of good-quality lenses in the 1600s brought new ways of seeing things. The camera lucida overlays what someone sees through a lens with a piece of paper onto which one can trace or draw. Pablo Garcia and Golan Levin collaborated to make a modern version, the NeoLucida. Pablo had antique models on site, and a table set up for visitors to try out his new version. Funded on Kickstarter for vastly more than their target — $425,000 towards a $15,000 goal! — Pablo explains to me in this interview how they worked to scale up and meet production demands.