Over at PhotoshopTechniques.com, we’ve tossed similar ideas around behind the scenes, but for many reasons never went anywhere with it. The whole idea of remixing Photoshop live is really taking off, and I’d really like to see the same concepts applied to things like coding and scripting, as well as audio and video mixing.
First, for the record, at PsT, we talked about doing this kind of thing in a chat room environment, so the invitees would be able to log in and watch a couple of folks go at this not in competition, but as a party kind of thing. We also thought about it as a live thing to do at events that were not geared only towards showing off or competing, but again as an attraction during design events. For online stuff, though, there wasn’t really the technology out there do pull it off until recently. Now, with Adobe Connect, it would be possible to host semi-private online events. I’ve been looking for ways to monetize presentation-tier applications like Connect for a while, and it seems that if a company is using a Connect Pro account, they should start looking at increased return on investment (ROI). Marketing an exclusive event like this could be a key way to get one’s name out there.
Other areas I see potentially taking off here are also growing in cult status, and cults mean dollars. Just as Guitar Hero is drawing obscene amounts of pulp interest, current hot-shot geeks could benefit from hosted competitions for coding. In fact, there are a handful of competitions where small teams are given a task (usually a design brief for a site or application) and a very limited amount of time to complete it. The genius of these kinds of competitions is that it keeps the real world in the design ethic. By that, I mean people at large get an opportunity to see what actually goes into the process, while other designers or coders get to see how they can solve problems more efficiently in a brainstorming scenario. This covers not only graphic designers, but coders and other technology-based ‘artists’ as well.
For the individuals in competition, it means they have to rely not only on a rather large bag of tricks (gained by real-world experience), but they have to draw on that resource in creative ways with very little time to deliberate. For groups, that means small teams have to be under the leadership of a very strong creative director who communicates clearly and succinctly, and knows the ability of the talent available. Both of these have strong analogs in the business world, and are immediately useful.
Imagine an integrated competition where ‘agencies’ are pulled together from a talent pool and given a design brief. I see something like this going down… A brief is worked up for some particular charity that will be kicking off or getting a make-over. Creative directors are given a 1/2 day with the brief in advance, and a team of talent (perhaps the next 1/2 day is the creative directors negotiating for players like in a fantasy sports league). Once the teams are formed, each team gets the next day to take the concept to completion – marketing, design, code development, and deployment. That would include photographers and videographers, design/retouching gurus, editors and code warriors of various flavors, all working in tandem toward a unified vision. This might be too complex to show ‘live’ in a studio, but if the teams were brought together in a central location, each one with studio space (say, a convention center) could check in every so often and broadcast updates via RSS/Twitter, and maybe have an embedded reporter gathering a development story that would be edited down for 3-minute consumption bites.
Talk about the epitome of agile structure!
In less complex scenarios, each of these elements could be broken out into directed or free-form demonstrations. We already have all kinds of things like this on television, from houses to personal improvement. Now, I absolutely hate ‘reality’ tv that follows the pathetic shells of celebrities or freaks of society being, well, freaks of society. But put for a good cause (like a charity) or showing real talent at its peak, that’s something I can get behind.