Where do you start with a couple of geeks come tech gurus come writers (though not necessarily in that order) that make up Mohawk Media?
Their knowledge of how the various components of the connected and digital world fit together, and ability to anticipate how that will play out in the next couple of years is way beyond sticK’s insightfulness.
That’s one reason Helen Baxter’s in demand as both a lecturer and speaker — some of this cascading off her radio broadcast work with Radio New Zealand’s ‘Afternoons with Jim Mora’ and ‘the g33k show’ on Kiwi FM’s ‘Radio Wammo’ show.
Meanwhile, lurking in the software/hardware interface is Chelfyn Baxter — whose latest ‘product’ is a free ‘Inter:play’ — a realtime avatar that mimics a person’s motions and creates audio and visual outputs through their gestures and positions in front of a Kinect camera. (Baxter’s pulled together several pieces of other software, and written a tiny portion of code in a way that no one else apparently has).
Their combination allows Mohawk Media (MM) to straddle today’s ever-evolving storytelling space, as tools such as embedded video, cartooning and other alternative ways of creating a two-way message, proliferate.
As storytellers, MM sees itself as being in the remix culture (using, altering, reusing material in different ways). MM itself is in the write, educate and animate end of town says Helen Baxter.
One example of this is a project carried out for Creative Commons Aotearoa (supported by InternetNZ), an illustrated animation, explaining how Creative Commons licensing works.
‘Our niche is to bring to all through video, what was traditionally boring [think a talking picture] something else that is informative, fun and creative,’ she says.
‘At the same time, given the number of channels that exist, there’s more and more need for content. What we’re seeing happen is a change from where a small number of people use to entertain large numbers, we now have all of us entertaining each other.’
Baxter points out that Cisco predicts that video will increase to 90% of internet traffic by 2013. See some background stats on these predictions here.
‘Videos are becoming the new site map,’ she says. ‘They allow viewers to go on a journey, pointing out highlights that are available. These days, people are expecting this kind of content as well.’
Such a guided pathway also makes website viewers more confident of what they should click on, ‘provides a sense of potential of a website or app of much more value than a static site map,’ she says.
‘Once people have a idea of the scale of a site, it provides a sense of its potential. You’re selling the context, what to expect, and that makes learning much easier.’
Mohawk itself devotes about 20% of the company’s time to non-revenue and/or passion projects. The free sharing of knowledge and knowhow, as well as new tools they’ve developed such as Inter:play drives much of its day to day operation.
‘We occupy a middle zone in what we do for our clients,’ Baxter says.
‘We’re about a culture of flexibility and fun, and where the experience of creating something is just as interesting as the final product. The types of jobs I enjoy are with people I like, everyday, with time left over to play.’
Part of MM’s philosophy, reflecting the changing landscape of business and its relationship to individuals, is that it is part of the ‘experience economy’.
In this sense, it is more about ‘doing stuff than buying stuff.’
While many companies may make out they understand how to operate in this constantly shifting world, Mohawk Media’s considerable track record and knowledge in these areas, and its ability to tell a story, singles them out as walkers of the talk, or talkers of the walk.
They really can do both.