FortyThree at the 2017 Virtual Reality Strategy Conference by Gary Bird

The 2017 Virtual Reality Strategy Conference did not disappoint, with almost 500 guests from around the world in attendance. This October, the conference took place at the Hilton in San Francisco’s financial district, welcoming 85 featured speakers to give their insights on virtual and augmented reality. The goal of the event is not only to educate attendees about the capabilities and potential applications of VR and AR, but to expose them to companies that are currently using the technology to expand the reach of their businesses, and provide access to vendors who can make the tools and software a reality for everyone who attends. The diverse community of both speakers and guests created invaluable networking opportunities with tech and business insiders from around the world.  

At FortyThree, we were lucky to be a sponsor for this amazing event, and we had a blast as one of their media managers. The most exciting part about the event was seeing all the potential for growth that virtual and augmented reality has in store for 2018. There were tons of workshops and prototype testing stations where guests could try out some of the new AR and VR products before they hit the market. As impressive as the new technology displays were, we were even more blown away by the number of guests. There was hardly room to stand, but it was great to see the overwhelming enthusiasm for everything VRS had to offer. We were also thrilled to hear from so many speakers with such diverse backgrounds, like Clifton Dawson, CEO of Greenlight Insights, Rikard Steiber, President of Viveport and SVP at HTC, and Tony Parisi, Global Head of VR and AR at Unity.  We left the 2017 VRS conference with new insights, partnerships and most of all enthusiasm about what’s to come in the world of virtual and augmented reality.

 

FortyThree president Gary Bird at VRS 2017

FortyThree president Gary Bird at VRS 2017

A VRS guest tests out one of the virtual reality products on display at the conference

A VRS guest tests out one of the virtual reality products on display at the conference

Partnering with Our Community and Joan Baez to Solve Homelessness by Gary Bird

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Despite being one of the most expensive places to live, the Bay Area is also home to thousands of individuals experiencing homelessness. Once people become homeless, it’s nearly impossible to get back on their feet. As a downtown business located on one of Santa Cruz’s busiest streets, we certainly see the impact homelessness has on individuals, businesses and the community at large. This fall we were delighted to support the launch of the Downtown Streets Team in Santa Cruz, a project focused on ending homelessness by restoring dignity and rebuilding the lives of those who are unhoused.

We supported the Downtown Streets Team with our digital marketing skills – attending planning meetings, writing media alerts and coordinating press attendance at the official ribbon cutting. While we had a lot of fun helping the team, we also came away with a deeper appreciation for the power of community in solving problems together. As ribbon cutting speaker and renowned singer/songwriter, Joan Baez, put it, “this is not about survival, this is about transcendence.”

Next time you’re in Santa Cruz, give a friendly hello to Downtown Streets Team members (you’ll know them by their yellow shirts). You can learn more about the team here.

Top 4 Skills Essential for Tech Marketing Pros by Gary Bird

The old adage that half your advertising budget is being wasted still holds true, but now you know which half is being wasted and you can quickly correct it.

We live, work and play online and for marketers this new reality creates enormous challenges and opportunities.

After talking with numerous Silicon Valley marketing experts, we’ve picked the top four marketing skills essential for success in today’s digital landscape:  

Content Marketing: Create useful content for your target audience. This can range from insightful articles, surveys, videos, infographics, how-tos, etc. Once you have the content on your site or better yet published on a media site, then drive potential customers/partners to it. Use Facebook/Instagram for consumers and LinkedIn to target investors, partners and influencers.

Free Web Traffic: Very little is more valuable than free traffic resulting in new customers. Some effective strategies are: 1) Automate a free part of your service or product on the web in exchange for contact info; 2) Offer useful stats or a report in exchange for an email; 3) Get an SEO and/or search engine marketing (SEM) expert in and optimize your site for the kind of traffic you want.

Automate, Automate, Automate: Almost everything you do in online marketing can be tracked and then sliced and diced. The number of tools is growing every day, but some good ones are Mint, Clicky and of course Google Analytics. These will give you a very clear and real-time picture of what is working and not working.

Mobile: Mobile can’t be an afterthought and you are better off with a Mobile First marketing campaign. All your marketing campaigns need to be optimized for smartphones because a lot of times more than half the views will come from phones.

We are all in uncharted territory, but these best practices are quickly emerging to separate the winners from the losers. The reward for winners is successfully engaging with new customers in a way that is authentic and mutually beneficial.

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Crowning A March Madness Champ by Gary Bird

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No March Madness is complete without a Cinderella story. This year’s Cinderella story unfolded in the FortyThree office rather than in the actual NCAA tournament. Each team member carefully filled out a bracket and followed along as the tournament progressed.

After a few tight games and exciting upsets, a dark horse in the office bracket challenge, Account Assistant Melody came out on top. She will be taking home a gift certificate for Jack’s Hamburgers and the movies.

CES: A FortyThree Tradition by Gary Bird

At the start of each year, the FortyThree team returns to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world's largest technology event. We had several clients exhibiting at CES 2017, including Portal, Stern Pinball and First Orion, among others.

While our team had a blast representing our clients at media events and on the show floor, we also took advantage of all that the Entertainment Capital of the World has to offer—sans Little White Chapel. Highlights of the trip include CNET's Blink 182 concert, knocking down pins at Brooklyn Bowl, playing a round at Top Golf and flying drones at the Drone Rodeo.

Portal Brings High-Speed WiFi to CES by Gary Bird

ShowStoppers Internet Lounge, provided by Portal

ShowStoppers Internet Lounge, provided by Portal

If there's one thing everyone can agree on at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), it's the awful WiFi. Luckily for this year's attendees, the team from Ignition Design Labs came prepared with Portal, the smart whole home WiFi system that is shaking up the wireless networking space.

At Pepcom Digital Experience and ShowStoppers, the team demonstrated how the Portal router delivers consistently fast and reliable WiFi, especially when you're surrounded by multiple competing WiFi networks or devices.

CES 2017 Innovation Awards Showcase

CES 2017 Innovation Awards Showcase

Members of the media had the opportunity to experience its power first-hand at the Showstoppers Internet Lounge, sponsored by Portal. Even in the extremely congested environment, Internet Lounge visitors saw consistent speeds of 150+ Mbps.

Portal was an honoree at the CES Innovation Awards showcase and a finalist in the Last Gadget Standing contest.

David Pogue, Founder of Yahoo Tech, and Ignition Design Labs' own Vinit Modi

David Pogue, Founder of Yahoo Tech, and Ignition Design Labs' own Vinit Modi

Avegant Glyph Soars at CES by Gary Bird

Have you ever wondered what it's like to see the world through the eyes of a bird? At Drone Rodeo, the premier pre-CES drone event, Avegant gave the media and members of the public the opportunity to do just that.

While wearing Avegant Glyph, the world's first mobile personal theater experience, Drone Rodeo participants could experience the next level of drone piloting and the beauty of flight with ultra-high quality, ultra-fast streaming first-person view.

With 360-degree head tracking, the cutting-edge headset offers users of any HDMI-equipped drone a unique, detailed view of the world from above.

In addition to drone piloting, Avegant Glyph allows users to watch or stream any type of existing media, including an immersive 360-degree and side-by-side 3D.

On select CES-bound United Airlines flights, several passengers were able to take Avegant Glyph for a spin. Then, during CES, the Avegant team demonstrated the headset's many features at Pepcom Digital Experience and the CES Innovation Awards Showcase.

Rock 'n' Pinball at CES by Gary Bird

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Stern Pinball, the world's oldest and largest producer of arcade-quality pinball machines, made its triumphant return to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this year.

Visitors to Stern's CES booth had the chance to play six Stern Pinball machines, including Batman 66, the Pabst Blue Ribbon-themed "Can Crusher," Spider-Man and the brand new Aerosmith Pinball. At Pepcom Digital Experience and ShowStoppers, members of the media enjoyed taking the Aerosmith machine for a spin.

In addition, Stern Pinball showcased its new VR Pinball, as well as iOS pinball, Xbox and PS4 pinball games.

The team had a great time speaking with USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes and many other publications.