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Apple’s AR plans, VR Field Trip to Mars, Mingus Ah Um and much more …

What We're Reading

Welcome to another edition of What We’re Reading, Marxent’s weekly series featuring staff members highlighting the best articles, videos, music and more they saw over the prior 7 days. This week, those finds included stories from The Verge, Vice, Ad Week, YouTube and many more. Up first, it’s …

The Best Thing We Read This Week:

How would you like to go to Mars in old converted school bus? Sounds like a plan to Marxent AR/VR Project Manager Kelsey Riviello, who shared The Creators Project, which is promising exactly that experience through the magic of Virtual Reality. “The Mars Experience bus, the first-ever vehicle VR system, transports passengers from Earth to the barren Martian desert,” the story explains. “Combining elements of artistic design and engineering, the team at Generation Beyond converted an everyday yellow school bus into a giant VR console that took a classroom of kids on an actual field trip — a long drive around DC included — to another world.” Super cool or the coolest thing ever? We leave it to you to decide …

The Best Thing We Listened To This Week:

Nick Kizirnis, Marxent ‘s lead of product management & UX strategy, recently checked out that ridiculous Miles Davis movie (“although Don Cheadle was really good,” he says), and it reminded him of his favorite jazz album. “No, it’s not Davis’ Kind of Blue (which is awesome), it’s bassist/composer Charles Mingus mini-epic Mingus Ah Um. From the uplifting ‘Better Git it in Your Soul’ to the mournful, melancholy ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat,’ (my favorite track, and one of my favorite songs ever) this classic album from 1959 is a great way to get introduced to jazz.”

Meanwhile, Marxent’s St. Petersburg office went on a tangent about mash-ups, with Marketing Creative Director Joe Johnson digging up this merger of British classic rockers Queen and hip-hop chart topper 50 Cent known as Q Unit.

The Best Book We Read This Week …

Creativity Inc.Software Architect Brandon Forrester recently finished two good books (“Who reads those anymore?” he asked with a wink.) The first is Creativity Inc, by Ed Catmull. “To be honest, I asked Marxent CTO Barry Besecker if he had read this, because about half of the book focuses on the importance that culture plays in the health of a company. Creativity Inc’s exploration of Pixar’s culture seemed like Beck and Barry had been pulling straight from Pixar’s playbook.” Brandon says. “There’s discussion of the challenges faced in maintaining culture thru the growth and eventual acquisition of Pixar. Ed Catmull is also a pioneer in the computer graphics industry. Our entire business wouldn’t exist were it not for his work. It’s interesting to read on the many of the early challenges he faced. Finally, he was a good friend with Steve Jobs and offers his perspective on what it was like to work with him.”

Brandon’s second book is called Leadership and Self-Deception, called, put out by The Arbinger Institute. “This was a good book on self awareness, and examining the true motives behind our behaviors and interactions with others,” he explains. “It’s a little difficult to summarize, but what I got out of it was by focusing on a mindset of service and selflessness to grow and uplift others in order to achieve ‘the greater goal’ — that is context dependent, it could be growing your business, marriage, friendship, etc.” Brandon also calls the book, “good chewing gum for the brain.”

Nick Kizirnis recommends, Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams, by James Kalbach. “Customers who have inconsistent or conflicting experiences with products get frustrated, and it’s worse when the team working on the problem can’t get beyond their business requirements to see what’s really happening,” He says. “James’ book shows how use customer journeys and other experience diagramming tools to make valuable observations and realize incredible customer insights. I worked with James a few years ago as he was developing how to present his ideas. I think he’s done a great job with his book.” Dayton staffers can check the book out at Nick’s desk.

But Wait, There’s More …

Ryan Roche, who does AR and App Development, highlighted the above video, a look at the visual effects in Game of Thrones Season 6. “Watch about 40 seconds in,” Ryan says. “I’m not entirely sure what is going on here. It seems that this actor is placed within the scene via an Oculus and able to act out their character’s movements. Looks like they are then using something to capture the actor’s movements and tying it up to the 3D model to then be composed into the final scene.” VR is coming …

Ryan also shared a new piece from the Verge on Apple’s hush-hush plans for Augmented Reality. “We’ve been hearing about Apple’s investments in the AR/VR space and this all in well confirms that. I’m looking forward to what they include in future releases of iOS,” he says.

Could VR be a killer app for marketers and retailers? Sales Director Jeff Morrow spotted Ad Week weighing in on the topic, with it’s piece “New Study Says People Are More Likely to Buy From Brands That Use Virtual Reality.”

New account executive Rich Manno (welcome aboard, Rich!) thought this Magic Leap article/video was definitely worth sharing. “I’m sure our team members are already aware of Magic Leap, and this demo is interesting for us because it’s much more focused on a retail/e-commerce use case, as opposed to the entertainment focused demos that ML has released in the past.

Stephanie Fresonke, VP of Client Partnerships, took a little trip to ZuckerWorld with Bloomberg Businessweek’s exhaustive look at Facebook’s ambitious plans for our Virtual Reality future.

And Finally …

Marxent Sales Associate Nick Pfeiffer let out a mighty roar over the new trailer for Kong: Skull Island, which debuted at ComicCon last weekend. Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman … and King Kong? Need he say more?

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