Collision 2020 is the biggest that it’s ever been: more than 32,000 registrants including more than 1,000 startups and 634 speakers. Grit Daily News was on the scene, along with 1,143 other journalists to get the latest updates on tech. All forms of it, in fact, including new modes of media and sexTech. Next week, we’ll be publishing interviews with some of the biggest speakers. For now, here are some of the biggest highlights from Day 2 of #CollisionFromHome.
Brian Collins, founder and chief creative officer of Collins, opened his presentation citing the legend of Beowulf and the prowess of this brave varrior. As a masterful storyteller, he wove his thesis of human centricity into the hubris of Beowulf who, as a proud but aging king, believed he could battle the savage beast on his own. Of course, we all know the ending: Beowful is bitten and dies from the dragon’s poisonous venom.
Collins stated, “Failure itself is not a metric that indicates future success. In order to create new things we have to abandon old ways. Words matter. Killing dragons is no longer enough. Our me-centric focus has evolved into the thinking that we as individuals can do better yet we’ve devolved to the point where we let someone else do it for us. We’re in danger of squandering what we have and it’s unclear if we’ll see the boundaries between the greater good or if we’ll default to our own selfishness.”
He was energized by the “new precious momentum” and enormous change unfolding in society today as a result of recent events and underscored the importance of environmental sustainability. “This is the year that we think differently. But we need to brave enough to DO differently. If our vision is limited by incrementalism and an MVP (Minimally Viable Product) and if we change our perspective and broaden our thinking, then we have a chance. So we need to widen the circles beyond the user. Go far beyond sustainability and think about regeneration and renewal. Restoration will require new systems; we only have a few years until all the fish in the ocean turn into plastic. Designers are beyond essential to advance this transition because we look for connections and see how systems nest within systems.”
Collins eschewed society’s need for speed, improvements in tech in particular, noting that the value that business placed on increased spee “will not save us in the next chapter that we write. We must all realize that we are connected and the good of us all depends on the other.” He continued developing his thesis highlighting the inextricable link between humanity and nature, and how, as a part of nature, we need to make subtle shifts in how we think. “There will always be another dragon. Our past doesn’t need to be our prologue.”
50 shades of tech
Fact: everyone deserves pleasure and sexual well being. That’s how the sexTech panel presentation kicked off with Lora Haddock DiCarlo, founder of Lora DiCarlo, an innovative adult products company employing some of the most robotics on the planet to enable “mind-blowing orgasms.” DiCarlo (excuse me while I fan girl for a moment) isn’t afraid to bend the rules or shake convention. She’s an unabashed badass that can make seasoned journalists blush.
DiCarlo is pioneering the next wave of adult products based on deep science around the study of errogenous zones. The industry is ripe for innovation with vibrators dating back to the 1880s athough they took nearly 50 years to become popular. “It’s time for a change,” says DiCarlo, “We’re using microbiotics and biomimicry of human motion in moldable form-factors that are cutomized to fit human anatomy. We’re data-driven.”
One would think that gender was the focus of their design but DiCarlo disagreed, “We focus on the experience, not the gender. I’m a bisexual female so we need to take gender off the table. Yes, we make products designed for female anatomy right now but we’ll making them for male anatomy, too.”
Sex, space and a global pandemic
The sexTech panel discussion was moderated by Martina Fuchs, correspondent for China Global Television (CGTN) who also asked a series of questions related to the COVID effects on sex. Asked about the data collected, DiCarlo responded, “We’ve been doing tons of surveys during the pandemic regarding sexual exploration. Women’s relationships with themselves are suffering the most. Women are masturbating less because we feel less sexy right now and less aroused. Yet sex is a critical part of self-care. Orgasms can boost our immunity and enhance our mood. We’re preoccupied with orgasm but we shouldn’t make that the only goal, we need to enjoy the journey.”
Fuchs asked Marianne Brandon, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist at Wellminds Wellbodies, how the pandemic was affecting sex. “Women are reporting more stress, more isolation, less sexual desire and less sex. People carry shame around their sexual experiences and longings but need space to indulge their fantasies. We’re so thought-focused and stuck in our own heads. Sex therapy can help us embody what we want. Intensely satisfying sex involves feeling vulnerable and letting go of control.”
Everyone wants to know how to have the best sex of our lives. The answer according to Brandon, “Neuroscience helps us understand why we find things sexually ineresting. Partner connection is a huge aspect of [sexual] satisfaction. Animalistic behaviors and primal feelings like being overpowered by lust are major factors. The experience of surrender taps our primal brain, that element of dominance and surrender is evident in the sexual experiences of all mammals. Domination releases cortisol and other hormones which heightens the experience.”
And, since outer space seems to be on the mind of many of the speakers at Collision, Brandon summed up her answers with, “Let’s think about sex in space! Folks up there are going to be disconnected from loved ones, burdened by truncated relationships. SexTech is going to offer more than pleasure – it will be essential for the astronauts to remain connected to humanity.”
Paris Hilton launches her 27th perfume
That’s right – her 27th. She launched her first perfume 17 years ago, essentially pioneering the industry of celebrity fragrance. The debut of her eponymous scent served as the basis of what would grow into a $3 billion empire. In a stilted press conference where questions from the press generally went unanswered, Paris Hilton described herself as “an undercover nerd. I’m Aquarius so I’m naturally creative.”
Lamenting the burden of being an heiress and wanting to flex her business chops in the same way that her grandfather did, she spoke about her work ethic and how it was sharply honed in their household. She was molded to be successful. As a child, she loved animals and wanted to become a veterinarian but the business bug bit her first because she wanted to find a way to “bring light and happiness to people.” When asked for her advice to encourage other entrepreneurs, she replied, “Figure out your passion and what you love to do, what your talents are and focus all that energy because things only happen in the business world with hard work passion and dedication. And you really need to build your brand on social for whatever you want to show the world.”
Hilton was then asked questions about her favorite show and her response was, “’A Simple Life,’ of course! I watch it all the time.” When asked about the book she’s currently reading, there was an awkward and extended pause until she replied with, “I order books all the time. I’m really enjoying ‘How to be a Mogul.’” An unexpected and delightful answer was prompted by the question, “What’s the one thing that you haven’t done?” This time, she didn’t even blink, “The one thing I havent done is go to outer space and leave the planet for a bit.” It’s a good thing that Elon Musk and his SpaceX team have fashion-forward spacesuits because it sounds like they have a passenger ready to leave our orbit.
Many of the speakers referenced outer space throughout the day. Perhaps that’s no coincidence. It may be that we’re all day-dreaming of leaving our homes and going somewhere far, far away.