Guest Review: Iain Tait

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In our July installment of the Guest Review, we turn to Iain Tait, creative director at Poke London and also the man behind the need-to-read blog of exciting happenings in and commentary about the world of digital, Here, Tait introduces us to some of his faves of the last month, many of which show the pay-offs of good, simple ideas, old fashioned honesty and just plain giving a damn.

Mario Marathon 2
I just love this. . It's three guys who set out to play through every single level of every single Mario game and collect all the stars. All for a great charity called Child's Play. The whole thing was webcast live and was far more addictive than I'd ever have guessed. They did an amazing job of getting a community behind them and raised $30,000. But they didn't manage to finish the game.

There's something that real people do so well when they create things like this. Things that brands have a really hard time getting their heads around. It's not about success, or being perfect, or using the latest technology or most expensive techniques. It's about being real, genuine and just bloody well loving it.

The HospitalCast
This podcast is presented by Tony Colman of London Elektricity who runs the Hospital Records label. He does a great job of knitting together the show with cheeky chatty commentary. It's what all music podcasts should be like.

Recently they've been previewing the new album by a Russian chap called Bop (check which sounds like the kind of music that freaky cyborgs would play as they whaz round the outer rings of some far off system. It's stunning future music.

The show is pretty much exclusively Drum and Bass which isn't everyone's cup of tea. But the enthusiasm and passion with which it's put together and presented is something we could all learn from.

The Auteurs
I came across this site for the first time last weekend. It's an amazing online arthouse cinema. I love the simplicity of the site. It's been kept really stripped back. Letting the films be the heroes.

In terms of streaming movies it's got one of the best collections I've seen. Absolutely rammed with classic flicks. And the quality and speed are super-impressive. The lightweight social network that it sits on top of is genuinely useful, and helps extend the whole experience rather than getting in the way. And naturally it's hooked up to Twitter.

The writing about the films. The director profiles and their blog all feel as if they've been lovingly crafted by people who really care about cinema.

Are you starting to see a theme emerging?

The Tesco API
Tesco (the world's biggest online supermarket) has opened up an API so that developers can build applications and services that extend and improve Tesco's services. It's been around for a while now, but in the next few weeks they're putting on an event called T-Jam to get developers involved and excited.

They're not the first to do it. And they certainly won't be the last.

If you read the background to the whole thing you'll see exactly why it's a good idea for Tesco to open this stuff up. You might even start to feel like this technical voodoo could be a genuinely profitable form of creativity. For everyone involved.

Oddly they've built the site using iWeb on a Mac. Which is strange given how the whole thing is an "in bed with Microsoft" affair. But you know what, I don't really care. And I like the fact that the whole thing is a bit ghetto. It makes it feel that it's being done by a bunch of people who just want to make stuff happen. And they're being allowed to. Which is great.

I suppose I'm simply trying to wave a flag for the people who are out there doing and making things that they love or believe in. Far too often our industry looks at the surface of things to decide it they're good or not. But good looks aren't what lasts, or creates real engagement with real people. It's what's inside that counts.
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