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Homemade lasers, “Quicksilver,” mixed commerce, 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 Guardian, LinkedIN, LiveLeak, YouTube and many more. Up first, it’s …

The Best Thing We Saw This Week …

The Marxent staff are a pretty dedicated group of YouTube hunters, foraging through Google’s video service looking for things we have never seen before. Sure, it’s a lot of cat videos and people falling on their heads, but occasionally someone stumbles upon something so cool it blows our collective minds. Marxent Product Manager Vince Kilian had this very experience this week, when he watched the above video in which a user named “styropyro” unveils his homemade 200-watt laser (!) built from recycled parts. By comparison, those laser pointer lights you see on keychains run about .05 watts. Styropyro’s about page may also be one of the best on YouTube:

“Death ray lasers, fire, and simply awesome science! Welcome to the channel of styropyro, where the pyromaniac in you is sure to be satisfied. My channel mainly deals with giant lasers that are built out of scrap/broken electronics. These lasers are incredibly powerful and have the ability to light things on fire!! Don’t believe me? Watch my videos!! I will admit that I am a bit ‘old school’ when it comes to making my YouTube videos. I don’t use fancy editing, take a bazillion cuts for a single scene, or sell out with product placement. My goal is simply to entertain with absolutely insane projects direct from this mad scientist himself! My hope is that some of my younger viewers will see that science can be a lot more fun than what school can present, and maybe give them enough of a spark to use science to change the world someday!!”

So where can you get buy of these fancy lasers? You can’t. Or, as Styropyro puts it: “I can not sell any of my handheld lasers over 5mW due to FDA regulations, so please don’t ask!”

The Best Book We Read This Week …

Quicksilver coverMarketing Creative Director Joe Johnson is currently devouring Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. You may remember Stephenson from his 1990s novels Snow Crash and The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, which nailed many of today’s technological advancements years before they hit the mainstream. Joe calls Quicksilver, “A well-researched and compelling piece of historical alt-fiction,” and, “a piece of literature that reminds us that things are really getting better all the time, despite every generation fearing for an apocalypse that never comes.”

The Best Thing We Wrote This Week …

Macy's Photo by Martin Dürrschnabel

Senior Content Strategist (and guy writing this post) Joe Bardi had a busy week, publishing two pieces on emerging trends in mixed marketing, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and the future of retail. The first, titled “Mixed commerce, Macy’s and the new retail reality,” and focusing on the way major retailers are starting to cut back on space through the use of innovative concepts that combine the best of our current physical retail model with a tech-driven future of VR and AR retail, experiential shopping and more. This new model blends the best of brick and mortar with leading edge digital technologies to create a high speed and ultra efficient sales process.

I also took a deep dive into how companies are using the HTC Vive to reinvent retail shopping, manufacturing, training and more. The Vive has only been available to the public since April, but the VR headset has already seen rapid adoption by businesses and institutions looking to improve the buying experience, increase brand visibility, or just charge headlong into the future — before that future has even arrived.

And last but definitely not least, we added a new entry in our How We Got Here series, this one profiling Megan Gray, Marxent’s gluten-free, wannabe marathon running, Human Resources Manager. (Just don’t call it “HR” — She hates that.) You can check out the rest of the How We Got Here series here.

But Wait, There’s More …

We’ve been spending a lot of time lately looking at different retail concepts that are drawing shoppers around the world. Data Analyst Seth Cooper shared this find — 50 Most Beautiful Concept Stores in the World — which turned up on LinkedIN. The above video shows off 10 Corso Como, a store in Milan, Italy, that came in first on the list and looks beautiful.

Quality Assurance Analyst Saundra Baughman thought this looked fun: On Six Flags’ Virtual Reality Coaster, The Ride Is Just Half The Thrill.

Nick Kizirnis shared this piece on how VR is changing the way real estate is marketed and sold. Nick zeroed in on one character from the story, who is quoted as saying “ … I am an architect that has never designed a building.” As Nick pointed out, “He did, on the other hand, create a virtual reality version of an entire city once to help the builders petition for approval to create it in the real world.” Not too shabby.

It’s important to note that sometimes the people we work with share amazing things with us, too. Sales Director Marcus Athari had one such moment this week, when a client sent him this amazing piece on sound design in VR: Hearing is believing, virtual reality brings a new vision to acoustic design.

Going “Full Tupac”: Holograms are more than science fiction, but the real-life technology isn’t what people think it is …

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