Retailers have always understood the power of brand and the importance of distribution. As we enter the fifth consecutive year of growth for US retail as an industry since the most recent economic downturn, we’ve seen how technology has dramatically shaped the way we shop. Mobile commerce surged, beacons can track shoppers in store, social has become a sophisticated and significant revenue channel, and cookie-based digital advertising has helped complete sales which previously would have been forever lost.

At Percolate, we’ve put together a report that features 50 charts on how technology’s impacted retail and e-commerce. Below, we’d like to share some of the highlights of our findings.

1. Mobile commerce is poised for growth. Estimates suggest that by 2018, mobile e-commerce will in the US will total $132B annually and represent more than a quarter of all e-commerce.

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2. China’s online retail spending is staggering. In 2013, China surpassed the US in e-commerce revenues, and it’s only expected to grow further. Mobile already makes up a full 9% of total e-commerce (vs the US’s 6%)

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3. There’s still a lot of room to grow in retail. Still, with only 1 in 20 dollars online, there’s still a lot of room for e-commerce to grow. Physical stores can hard to displace, and the pie is growing for everyone.

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4. Nearly 3/4 of Americans have bought clothing online. Surprisingly, clothing is the number one item that most US consumers have made at least one purchase of while online. Over the counter medication and general food purchases are the least popular, with only 15% having ever bought groceries online.

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5. Consumers are still tremendously conscious. There are a lot of reasons why online shoppers abandon their cart, but nothing hurts worse than unexpected costs. The pressure to reduce prices mean retailers have to find ways to creating a differentiated experience to earn buyer loyalty.

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6. Retail leads every other industry in digital ad spend. The power of digital advertising has been thorough embraced by retail and e-commerce companies, as they lead financial services, automotive, telecom, consumer goods and every other category in digital ad spend.

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7. And digital ad spend is going to keep growing. Based on industry estimates, retail will spend upwards of $17B by 2018.

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9. Retail ad spend is focused on direct response. Both travel and retail spend 70% or more of their digital ad dollars on direct response campaigns, versus brand, which is a favorite of consumer goods.

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10. For all their enthusiasm, retail ads don’t hit the mark well. Based on industry estimates, retail will spend upwards of $17B by 2018.

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7. And digital ad spend is going to keep growing. Based on industry estimates, retail will spend upwards of $17B by 2018.

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11. Social’s conversion rate grew 36% in 2013. While it still trails email and search, social’s conversion rate is growing as consumers get more comfortable thinking of social as a conduit to purchase.

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In April we hosted our first DesignTalk event. Powered by the entertaining rhythm of the PechaKucha 20×20 format our speakers shared stories about their Partners in Crime. The people, tools, techniques and processes which help each day.

A couple of weeks ago, we went back to the Bowery Electric to host DesignTalk Round 2. We were lucky to be joined by friends from Etsy, Betaworks, + POOL, Kollabora and Crush & Lovely. An eclectic line-up of entrepreneurs and designers shared stories around the hurdles and challenges they have overcome in their careers as they’ve built new services, communities, products and spaces.

It sounds pretty good right? Don’t just take my word for it. Check out the pictures and videos below.

Before you get stuck in, I wanted to thank everyone who came out. It was a fun night and the Percolate team enjoyed meeting you. If you’re reading this post and thinking…how do I get myself some of this DesignTalk action? follow along @PercolateDesign for DesignTalk Round 3 announcements in the coming weeks.

Dong-Ping Wong, +POOL

Anne Foley, Percolate

Nora Abousteit, Kollabora

Nathan Heleine, Crush & Lovely

Rachel Nash, Etsy

James Cooper, Betaworks

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What are the characteristics that define the modern CMO? At Percolate, we think a lot about how new technology and the growing access to the Internet is changing the the role of the marketer. Nowhere are these changes more apparent than in the changing role of the modern CMO.

Head of Customer Experience

The modern CMO has a nuanced understanding of their customer across all channels. These channels can reach billions of people across the globe via social networks like Facebook and YouTube, and extend into email, TV, and print as well.

But today, they have to move beyond campaign-based thinking and encompass every interaction and experience. Our Co-Founder Noah Brier calls this out in his definition of a brand:

“A brand is the sum-total of interactions a person has with a company’s products, people, and communications.”

The CMO is now the CXO – the Chief Experience Officer – and is charged with creating unique and memorable experiences with the brand that goes beyond customer service. We are going from a world of marketing campaigns to a world of sustained communication, where each piece of content must be consistent with the brand while also being locally relevant and personal.

Creating a consistent customer experience across all channels while moving at a faster pace is a hallmark of the modern CMO. For example, Harry’s, a disruptive shaving brand with its sights set on established giants like Gillette, acquires and cultivates customer relationships in cycles of weeks or months, rather than years like industry incumbents. Harry’s even purchased a one-hundred year-old blog_photo” target=”_blank”>German razor blade manufacturer as part of their strategy to create an end-to-end customer experience, from the blades themselves, to their New York City barbershop storefront and sleek web design.

Defining the Modern CMO

At Percolate, we make it our business to understand the technology that modern CMOs need in order to transform the enterprise, build better customer relationships, and drive sales. If you want to learn about the most important characteristics, strategies, and skills required for CMOs to edge out the competition, download our whitepaper: “Defining the Modern CMO.”

The post New Whitepaper: Defining the Modern CMO appeared first on The Percolate Blog.



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Across both B2B and B2C, the largest challenge digital marketers face is reaching their audiences with relevant content. Now that content has become the core vehicle for brands to connect with their audiences, it’s imperative marketers seek efficient, cost-effective content workflows to engage their audiences – which have fragmented across mobile and social.

At this 2014 AdAge Digital Conference in New York, Nestle revealed that its teams produce more than 1,500 pieces of marketing content each day for its 800+ Facebook pages.

What type of investment does that entail? We broke down the expected costs with our content partner Visual.ly to give you a full idea of what a Fortune 100 company like Nestle might spend on content marketing.

The data shows there is an enormous need to help marketers and agencies with better technology for managing, governing and scaling content. A need that’s only going to become more pressing over the next few years.

At Percolate, we’re excited to be leading the charge to create more efficient, effective and audience-centric solutions for the world’s best brands.

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Community is something we really cherish here at Percolate. Providing our clients, partners and employees with opportunities to come together and celebrate the amazing times in which we live has been a staple of the company since it was founded.

No one is more important to our communities than our users. But as our platform has grown and evolved, what it means to be a user of Percolate has evolved with it. Community managers, brand strategists, analytics specialists, art directors, senior marketers: our platform touches people at every point of the creative process. That’s why we’ve decided to build a community that includes people from every point along that process.

We’re excited to introduce Session, a new community from Percolate that’s built at the intersection of creativity and technology. Each Session will feature drinks, laughter and talks about the fun and fascinating phenomena that are affecting the lives of marketers. Our first topic? None other than the Graphics Interface Format, better known as the GIF.

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To say the team here at Percolate loves GIFs would be an understatement, and brands are no more immune to the charms of this curiously popular piece of media than we are. That’s why we’ve invited Tyler Menzel, Editorial Director at our partner Giphy, as well as leading GIF artists and editors from major publishers such as Vulture and SBNation to explore why these short, simple animations are so beloved.

Session: Graphics Interchange Format will be held at the Parkside Lounge on Oct. 1 from 7 to 9 p.m.

You can RSVP here, and learn more about our partner Giphy here.

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At the end of last year James put together a list of seven trends to watch in media/marketing. Number one on his list was this:

You won’t create content without promoting it.

The idea of creating content for your “followers” will go away as the potential for the audience you would like to reach with your content becomes realized. With Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all rolling out smart ad products, the promise of being able to reach the exact audience you want to is here. But, as with most things, it won’t come for free. If you want the reach, you’ve got to pay for it. This is always what advertising has been about. Now the potential is just bigger and better.

To that end we’ve spent much of this year building new functionality that makes the process and workflow of creating promoted marketing across social easier than ever before. We’ve done this by including the media buyer/planner as part of the marketing process from the initial planning phases, through the creation, and all the way to distribution and analysis. The challenge in marketing right now is that the media planning and buying process is a step in the broader marketing process, not something that is implemented across the entire lifecycle of a campaign.

While we’ve been hard at work on the workflow side, we’ve been looking around at partners to help us deliver our clients the very best in ad buying, delivery, optimization, and analysis to sit on top of the end-to-end platform we’ve already built. The first company we went to on this road to partner with was SocialCode, widely regarded as the leader in social advertising. We’ve known the folks over there for a while and think very highly of their products, culture, and, of course, our shared customers.

Choosing a Great Partner

After spending a lot of time together over the last six months thinking about how we can craft a shared solution, we’re excited to announce a partnership. SocialCode, if you’re not familiar, is an elite Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer for social advertising, and a recognized industry leader in paid media targeting and attribution. We have a tremendous amount of respect for what SocialCode has done to optimize creative testing, targeting, and bidding to achieve brand objectives — and through our partnership, we’re creating the most comprehensive technology solution for end-to-end social campaign planning, content creation, paid media execution and measurement at scale.

“WPP invested in Percolate because the future of digital is about marketing in real-time to the billions of people now connected by social media. With this new partnership, Percolate is closing the loop to offer the most comprehensive technology on the market. We are more excited than ever for our creative and media  agencies to work with Percolate for the world’s leading marketers.”

- Mark Read, CEO of WPP Digital

What does this mean for our clients?

We’re giving you the ability to quickly plan, collaborate, source, create and launch optimized ad campaigns across Facebook and Twitter through a combination of Percolate’s platform and SocialCode’s AdVisor technology, while layering on predictive analytics to help optimize creative moving forward.

And for SocialCode’s clients, they’ll now have the opportunity to access the Percolate platform for real-time planning, asset sourcing, content creation and brand management, a full suite of mobile apps, and the ability to distribute to channels that include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Sina Weibo, WordPress, and many more.

Rethinking how marketing gets done

Today, around 30% of campaigns underperform due to delays and poor collaboration between creative and media teams. These groups now can work within a shared platform that enables unified metrics, better collaboration, fast feedback on content effectiveness and transparent attribution.

Additionally, by completing the data feedback loop between advertisers and their audiences, Percolate and SocialCode clients will gain creative and audience insights that lead to superior marketing performance.

At Percolate, we’ve always been excited about delivering technology to brands that help them grow their reach, customers, and sales. With the help of partners like SocialCode, we’ve taken another important step to solidify and broaden our system of record for marketing.

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In spring of 2009, I graduated from architecture school. At the time, the post-recession economy was rough and not much was happening for architects. With an interest in entrepreneurship and technology, I took a risk and decided to try working at a tech startup. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with the industry and 5 years later, I’m now a Product Designer at Percolate in NYC.

Since my career pivot, I’ve noticed many interesting parallels between architecture and product design. Although the mediums are different, it’s amazing to see how many of the design principles and processes are the same. To some degree, even the tools can be applied to both design industries.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed applying lessons learned in architecture school to product design. I’ve also loved sharing the lessons with friends and watching them apply those ideas to their design practices.

Throughout the next few weeks, I will be sharing lessons learned in architecture school and how I apply them to product design at Percolate.

Hope you find this mini-series interesting and useful. Let’s get started.

Circulation

One of the greatest lessons I learned in architecture school is the importance of circulation systems in the design of buildings.

Think about some of your favorite buildings. In order to move between floors, you need stairs, elevators and ramps. To move between rooms on floors, you need hallways and corridors. The methods of circulation are key functional elements in all buildings.

When I moved from architecture to product design, I immediately realized the concept of circulation was very much applicable to the design of software applications. To see what I mean, look at the following diagram I created to show how how moving between floors in a building is similar to moving between screens in a mobile app. The purpose of stairs in the building is the same as it is for the tabs in the app. In both cases, it’s the primary method of helping people move between core spaces.

Apps-as-Architecture

Circulation greatly affects our perception of both products and architecture. Think about renting an apartment on the 7th floor of a building. If you entered your building and had to climb 7 flights of stairs to reach your apartment, your legs would be in great shape, but you might feel tired and have a less pleasant experience. If you entered the same apartment building and got to take an elevator to reach your apartment, your perception of the building might be more favorable.

The circulation of buildings not only affects your perception of them, but also your usage and behavior within them. Continuing the apartment example, stairs would likely lead you to go home less frequently than you would if you had an elevator in the building. The presence of an elevator would likely lead you to carry home bigger, heavier items. The lesson learned is that we make a lot of choices based on available circulation systems.

Circulation in Percolate Apps

At Percolate, the design team spends time thinking about circulation systems in our iOS and Android apps. This is more commonly referred to as “navigation”. Our first mobile app, Photographer, includes a full screen list navigation. Users tap the hamburger icon in the top left and are brought to a full screen list where they select a destination. This navigation was chosen to focus the user’s attention on the app’s core functionality, which is taking pictures and viewing pictures in the media library.

Hamburger-Nav_2

This full screen list navigation feels a lot like getting into an elevator, selecting a floor, then getting off of at the desired place. In architecture, the elevator method of circulation is often a good one. However, when there are only a few destination points, you might start to wonder: “Is an elevator really necessary?”

With this question in mind, we decided to explore simpler navigation systems as we designed new apps. Earlier this year, during the development of Ambassador, an employee advocacy app, we sketched and iterated on navigation systems. In doing so, we noticed tabs improved the experience in these ways:

  • Less clicks: Tabs simplify the navigation by reducing the number of taps needed to switch between core screens from 2 taps in the full screen list (hamburger > destination) to a single tap in tabs.
  • More explicit: Tab names and icons are easy to understand and always visible to the user, rather than being hidden inside a full screen list.
  • More browsing: Because tabs make navigation faster and more obvious, users are more likely to jump between different areas of the app. This is an important consideration for apps such as Ambassador where we want users to interact with both brand activity and inbox messages shared from their team, which live on separate tabs.

Sketches

After further consideration, we decided tabs offered a better circulation design for our apps. Since that exploration, we have started developing all of our apps to include a tab navigation. Today, tabs are currently live in the Ambassador, Marketer and Community Manager apps.

Tab-Nav_2

Lessons Learned

As an architect, I learned circulation systems including stairs, hallways and elevators are very important in helping people navigate buildings. Similarly, as a product designer, I’ve learned circulation systems such as list menus and tabs are necessary for helping people navigate products.

Outside of Percolate, we’re happy to see other startups thinking about circulation. Over 10 million guests booked rooms through Airbnb last year, and according to this Wall Street Journal article, their founders were thinking about circulation very early on:

The rest of 2008 was spent adding more robust website features that make Airbnb easy to use. Steve Jobs had famously insisted on a maximum of three user clicks to get a song on the Apple iPod. Airbnb adopted that mantra: three clicks to a booking.

As you’re developing your next product, remember to think about circulation early and often in the design process. The easier it is to navigate your product, the more likely it will be a success.

Thanks for reading! Look for more posts in this series coming soon.

PS: Looking for a design job in NYC? We’re hiring! Say hello. :)

PPS: Looking for something interesting to do tonight? Come see Percolate designer Anne Foley and other great folks speak at DesignTalk Presents: Learning to Hurdle

The post Applying Architecture to Product Design: Lesson 1 – Circulation appeared first on The Percolate Blog.



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In late 2012, Percolate started working with General Electric to implement technologies and systems that would allow their marketing teams to move faster and collaborate more effectively.

With multiple lines of business — aviation, healthcare, energy, among others — and 305,000 employees across 160 countries, GE is one of largest companies in the world. It’s also one of the most innovative, having adopted a “lean startup” approach to their product development  that’s helping them build better products at a faster rate and at lower cost.

Over the last 20 months, Percolate has become an integral part of GE’s global workflow for the thousands of content assets created across its business units and markets. In partnership with Linda Boff, Executive Director of Global Brand Marketing, and other leaders across the company, Percolate has helped GE establish global systems of marketing, reduce content costs, and improve the global quality and consistency of their marketing.

Today we’re excited share these results in a comprehensive 19-page case study which goes into detail about how Percolate serves as the system of record for marketing at GE.

Download it for free: GE + Percolate: Systems of Innovation for Marketing.

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A few highlights from the full report:

Accelerating Quality Content Creation

By creating, scheduling, and publishing content in a single platform, GE has been able to rapidly accelerate the amount of marketing they can produce across their teams.

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The Power of a System of Record

GE’s Global team was trained on Percolate’s Content Planner, a tool which allowed their brand and agency teams to work together and plan events, launches, and marketing content across 10+ channels including print, TV, and social. We’re now onboarding more teams around the world to bring GE onto a single marketing platform.

The new planning system that Percolate developed for our team has been nothing short of transformational. Seeing all our campaigns in a single location and collaborating with our colleagues has never been easier. Planning has helped us produce better content, faster and more efficiently than ever before.”

— Katrina Craigwell, Head of Global Digital Programming at GE

Increasing Efficiencies Through a Unified Media Library

Through Percolate’s Media Library, GE has been able to rapidly tag and index thousands of high-quality images for easy sharing across all their marketing teams. And with Image Editor, teams can quickly customize those images for social. With Media Library’s new video capabilities rolling out, the opportunities keep growing.

images-ge-media

There’s a lot more to the story, and we’d love to share the entire case study with you.

Download it for free: GE and Percolate: Systems of Innovation for Marketing.

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When we set out to host Transition, our first major company event, we knew we wanted to do something different. We owed it to our clients and community to put together something beyond the typical industry conference, with buzzword-filled talks and recycled ideas.

That’s why we invited a wide range of speakers who shared their view from the edge — whether it was mobile internet usage by Chinese consumers, or the development of a gyroscopically stabilized three-wheel car, or driving innovation in marketing at some of the largest enterprises on the planet. We wanted give people the space to step back and explore topics and perspectives that were totally new and push them to look at the world in a different light.

Looking at some of the comments that we received, we feel like we hit that target. Transition was a great start and we can’t wait to raise the bar even higher for next year.

Bringing the Ideas of Transition to Everyone

There’s something special about a live event and the space at the TimesCenter allows for a fairly intimate experience while holding close to four hundred attendees. But the ideas of Transition are worth sharing and to that end, we’re excited to present the full lineup of talks from the day — over five hours of footage on how technology is changing marketing, the enterprise, and the world. We hope you enjoy them and we hope to see you at another Percolate event sometime soon.

Below we’ve embedded a few of our favorites.

Noah Brier on the importance of invention for marketers

Tim Hwang on how the economics of the web affect the development of cities

Danny Kim on single person vehicles and the future of automotive transportation

Beth Comstock on rethinking the marketing function as CMO of GE

The Full Playlist

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Percolate DesignTalk is proud to host our second event for the design & technology community at the Bowery Electric in New York City, on August 28th from 7-10pm. (RSVP here)

Each of our speakers at this DesignTalk has navigated a range of challenges as they’ve built products, services, and spaces. We asked them some questions about their life in design in advance of their Pecha Kucha-style talks next week.

When did you first become interested in design?

James Cooper (Head of Creative, Betaworks): Don’t tell anyone but I’m actually not a designer, I am a writer. But hopefully I do the same job great designers do, which is solve problems creatively. The first designer that really had a fundamental impact on me was Tibor Kalman. He was a thinker first, designer second. Whenever I’m stuck on a brief I open up his book, there is usually something in there that sparks a thought.

Nora Abousteit (Founder, Kollabora): Since I was very little. It started with building and crafting. I used to make a lot at home with my parents, literally everything from building kites​, crocheting, knitting, silk screening (we printed our birthday cards our selves), backgammon boards, to enamel jewelry. Thanks to my art teacher in middle school my eyes got more trained and I took any kind of graphic and product design and art course and extracurricular activity available.

Nathan Heleine (Co-Founder, Crush & Lovely): Music was my first love and my primary focus for 15 years. I first became interested in design as a means to promote my music. And since much of what I played consisted of unusual instrumental music, I thought design might serve as a comforting balm (to convey to others that the music was actually palatable). This approach mostly backfired because I was a pretty crappy designer at the time. Or maybe it was just the music. I’ll never be sure.

Rachel Nash (Product Designer, Etsy): Around my freshman year of high school, I started hanging around a sign shop downtown which was across the street from one of my friend’s houses. It handled a lot of carved, gilded, and painted pieces that would stand in front of historic buildings in our town. I was really fascinated by the craft of that work, and I finally convinced the owner let me apprentice there. I spent my entire summers there painting and typesetting, and by the time I graduated, I couldn’t really imagine myself going to college for anything else.

Tell us about a design challenge from early in your career and how you overcame it.

James: I remember being interviewed at a digital agency and saying that I wanted to one day be a creative director and run a department. The guy interviewing me asked me how I thought that was possible when I wasn’t a designer. I never saw it as black and white as that. I was always optimistic about the power of ideas.

Rachel: Early on in design school, I had a teacher that gave us a 3-week-long project to redesign state websites. At the final critique, he looked over my work, deleted it, and told me to start over. The typography, colors, layout were fine, but there wasn’t any feeling to it. I think that’s simultaneously the most important and most time-consuming part of any design project — making sure your work really resonates with people.

Anne Foley (Product Designer, Percolate): As a student at Virginia Tech, I worked on a project with a group of undergraduate women who were part of an organization called IDEAS (Interior Designs for Education and Sustainability). At the time, they needed some brand identity and marketing materials to support their “Make the Switch” campaign, encouraging students, faculty and residents to make the campus more energy efficient by changing their conventional, incandescent light bulbs to more energy efficient lightbulbs. The challenge was to create a campaign that would get students and faculty interested and aware of the environmental and economical impacts of energy efficient bulbs. We looked to solve this challenge by working with the research that IDEAS had conducted around energy conservation. By surfacing the most interesting facts in our materials, such as “Just one bulb saves 60 pounds of coal per year,” we were able to create an impactful campaign for the organization. This was the first time I can remember working on something that would have an impact on my community.

DesignTalk began as a weekly meeting in which our design team shared inspirational work from a variety of disciplines: Architecture, illustration, product design and so on. What’s a recent piece of work that you found inspirational or striking?

Dong-Ping Wong (Partner, Family Architects): One of the things that comes to mind is this gallery space on an island in Japan – the Teshima Museum (by the architect Ryue Nishizawa). Basically all it is is a really large concrete shell, with a hole cut out of it. What’s amazing about it is that it’s one of those spaces that is purely for atmosphere. It’s not meant to exhibit anything. It has no use in a traditional architectural sense. It’s not climatized, and there’s no enclosure to it, per se. It looks like a big concrete bubble. Our work usually has a use or function or agenda or purpose, so it’s always really nice to look at something that has virtually no purpose except a sublime experience.

Nora: ​About a month ago I visited the architectural biennial in Venice and saw Steve Jobs’ Yacht parked in front of it. That was truly striking.

Nathan: My current focus is filmmaking (though most of my film work sits within some kind of digital experience) and I’m currently obsessed with directors who employ extremely long, uncut takes. Two recent films that come to mind are Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin” and Michael Haneke’s “Amour”.

Anne: Just last night our design team went on an outing to see the Jeff Koons retrospective at the Whitney Museum. His work is definitely striking to say the least. I enjoyed seeing how the art evolved throughout his career. It makes you appreciate his more recent work.

Rachel: I got pretty excited recently about Electric Objects launching. It’s a subtle and beautiful monitor for art, animation, or any Internet-pulled datastream. At Etsy, I have a screensaver that pulls popular search terms from recent history and replays them as if they’re being typed live. It’s an awesome insight into the personality of Etsy’s market. I like the potential for more of that kind of subtle background data streaming through my life.

At Percolate, we’re pretty into coffee. What’s your favorite coffee shop in the city and why?

Dong: We’re on Perry St in the West Village. We love Saturdays, on the corner. Mostly just cause everyone that works there is pretty awesome.

Nora: ​I love Everyman Espresso because they steep the tea for you, for the right amount of time.​ I’m a passionate tea drinker hoping that tea will be the new coffee soon.

Nathan: There’s a small spot near my home in Greenpoint called Homecoming (formerly Spina). It’s a flower shop but they also serve Blue Bottle coffee, without the long lines.

Anne: I always liked Irving Farm in Gramercy. It’s near my neighborhood and is located on the ground floor of a gramarcy brownstone nestled in between Bedford Cheese Shop and Friend of a Farmer Cafe. Good coffee. Nice block.

Rachel: Mmm. I’d have to go with Brooklyn Roasting Company, for the buzzing  atmosphere, the super comfy sofas, and that drink they call the maple shay shay — espresso, maple syrup, and steamed milk. Totally honest, I’m a sucker for maple syrup in anything.

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