More from my coverage at ad:tech New York:
One of Tuesday's many sessions opened with a speckled attendance, as the previous day's energy and excitement took its toll. With just two scheduled panelists, the "Breakthrough Technology: Designing The Future" session played to the after-lunch crowd. Dave Evans from Digital Voodoo gave an anecdotal introduction. Evans explained that this session was about getting lost and finding your way back. Not quite making the nebulous connection between the anecdote and session title, the attendees seemed did their best to understand.
Taking the stage next was Barbara Fittipaldi from the Center for New Futures. With many philosophical statements and aural overlays of the adjacent room's speaker, some of the crowd began to phase out while others continued to listen. Fittipaldi positioned a breakthrough as something that seems difficult, if not impossible, to reach. One of the attendees asked if the session defined a breakthrough as just another word for a goal. Fittipaldi explained that a major part of a "breakthrough" was making the possible, doable, while not being predictible.
Fittipaldi then asked the crowd to couple up and share "breakthroughs" they wanted to accomplish in their work. I chatted with the attendee next to me about his thoughts coming into this session. We both shared an awkward glance and agreed that we both were actually quite content with our work and that there wasn't much we didn't think we couldn't accomplish. He shared with me he was under the impression the session was supposed to be about emerging technologies rather than self help techniques. I agreed and we both scratched our heads wondering exactly how this was supposed to help online marketers. Despite that, the session did drive home the point learning from one's mistakes can help one achieve their goals. While the title was a little misleading, some of the audience did appear to benefit from being able to share their frustrations with close strangers.