I still remember my good friend and creative partner, Bruce Fougere (now Director of Innovation for Draft,) come to my desk in 2009 with eyes gleaming. He had noticed that, night after night, he had been watching TV with his laptop open and was searching for more information based to what was being broadcast. His question was simple: “How can we tap into this behavior?”
We started noodling and soon discovered that the disconnect between passive TV and active surfing was something we could overcome. By simply leveraging the CC feed as a data stream, and pulling out relevant key words, we could automatically generate web-based content on a laptop in real time based to the broadcast.
A myriad of data points could automatically be generated. IMDB profiles could be generated on a laptop based to what actors are on TV. Stats would show up based to athletes mentioned on air. We even found a way to embed unique codes to generate t-commerce like never seen before. This was all before the iPad had even been introduced.
Then we got to work.
No project has ever stretched my skill set quite like Metashow. We worked within the walls of Martin (and IPG) to secure funding of a prototype, brought in an entire team of engineers from VCU, took the product on the road to acquire partners and venture capital, filed a patent and even worked to set up a separate LLC so we could jump out of our day jobs and pursue Metashow full time.
Unfortunately we couldn’t act quickly enough. The yolk of IPG kept us moving at a snail’s pace and prevented us from using VC funding when we had it in our hands. Competitors caught up, and by the time Zeebox launched in November 2011 our project was at an end.
But, as a silver lining, the educational curve I got on this assignment is something I will take with me to the next job.