Spark 151 - June 12 & 15, 2011

On this episode of Spark: Bee Furniture, Fan Subbing, and The Smartphone Wallet. Click below to listen to the whole show, or download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

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Making Our Money Mobile

Image by Google

The recent launch of Google Wallet in the U.S has got us thinking about mobile money again, the idea of using your smartphone to pay for things - no cash, no plastic. This may be a new idea for the western world, but mobile money systems are already operating in other parts of the world where cell phones are the way to pay for goods and services. A couple of months ago we took a look at the already functioning system of M-Pesa in Kenya, and had David Schropfer on the show to talk about the prospect of it ever becoming a reality here. David is the author of The Smartphone Wallet - Understanding the Disruption Ahead, and in light of the latest developments, we decided to call him up again on Skype. (Runs 13:51)

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Inter-species Collaboration

Photo by kokogiak

These days we see all kinds of human-machine collaboration around us. But how about a little inter-species collaboration? That's what Canadian concept designer Vanessa Harden's been thinking about. Vanessa is currently in London, England developing a new design process that fosters a collaboration between honeybees and humans to create bespoke furnishings. Yup, right now in London, bees are working with humans to make furniture. Vanessa, along with project co-designer Kevin Hill and beekeeper Angela Dougall, take Nora on a tour of their project. (Runs 9:21)

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The Art and Commerce of Fan Love


What happens when you bring together the internet, a niche international fan base, and an obscure German soap opera? Quite possibly, the future of television. Hand aufs Herz fan Clare Lawlor and digital strategist Xiaochang Li tell us all about the world of fan subbers - people who painstakingly do their own translations and subtitles on programs they love, and then put them up on the Web on places like YouTube. It sounds harmless and probably good for publicity, right? Well, the broadcasters aren't always so keen. Copyright, dontcha know. But could it make good business sense to allow your fans to do it? (Runs 16:14)

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The Domino Project

Photo by Malkav

Author and entrepreneur Seth Godin is known for harnessing the disruptive power of the internet. Now, he has set his sights on publishing. His latest venture is called The Domino Project, and the model is simple: get rid of the middlemen, and try to create direct connections between authors and readers. That means publishing books without the help of agents, publicists, or even bookstores, and working with tight turnaround times and very little capital. (Runs 9:19)

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