Lift13, Innovation Drivers XXX: Heather Kelley [en]

Here are my live notes of the Lift Conference session “Innovation Drivers: XXX”. Keep an eye open for mistakes, inaccuracies, and other flakiness due to live-blogging.
Heather Kelley: Designing the female orgasm

Game designer since 15 years ago. Game challenge in 2006, topic “sex”. What could she come up with for a game on that topic that she could talk about on stage?

Cute little bunny that you can tickle, whisper to, scratch his tail… On the upper screen you would see the bunny fly through the air, up to its “happy place” if you do it enough. (Nintendo DS)

Another challenge. Don’t fall off the top bunk! With Erin Robinson, game called “our first times”. (Wii). Note: these are game designs, weren’t realized.

2010, idea for a real product: OhMiBod.

Vibrator scene in Sex and the City, season 1, episode 9. Until then, great segmentation in the vibrator market: cheap and badly designed, cheesy, loud, low-quality materials, bad controls. Then the feminist sex-positive sex shops showed up. Much nicer environment, good lighting, staff have tried the toys and know what they’re selling, good design, care with materials… On the inside, same technology pretty much: eccentric rotating mass.

24-carat gold-plated vibrator, 12K € with sucky controls (up and down for speed, and the left-right to cycle through patterns that you get lost in — who hasn’t been there?).

Lelo Tiani, design award. Demo. Separate controller with an accelerometer in it. You basically can shake the controller to change the vibration speed.

Another demo. Musical vibe by OhMiBod. iPad required here 😉 Vibrator picking up the music and tuning to it. App as touchscreen controller for the vibrator (you can use that instead of a song). You can use two touch points, save to favorites, etc.

Another one: sonar kind of controller. Don’t have to touch it, just approach it.

All these demos are commercially made and available. Also hacking (the last demo). You can get all the info online and make it at home.


– Arse Elektronika in SF (every year) (plans for the sonar controller) hacker community.

No better reason for more women to get into engineering!

Lift13, Innovation Drivers XXX: Kate Darling [en]

Here are my live notes of the Lift Conference session “Innovation Drivers: XXX”. Keep an eye open for mistakes, inaccuracies, and other flakiness due to live-blogging.
Kate Darling

Was terrified the first time she went to a porn industry conference. Lawyer friend: controlled by the mafia?! Wore her leather jacket to look cool… But the programme of the conf was… Billing 301, Legal 101… fear quickly dissolved into complete and utter boredom.

Porn is a business! No numbers, everyone who claims to have numbers in this industry are full of crap. But even the lowest estimates are in the range of billions of dollars.

1997: 900 adult websites, now millions.

Xvideos: 3x larger than CNN/ESPN
YouPorn: 6x the bandwidth of Hulu

20-30% of all internet traffic is porn.

Fast-paced and flexible industry that we don’t have much research on, though it’s fascinating from the economics perspective. (That’s how Kate ended up studying it.)

Internet has changed a lot, and lot of the content industry and law is struggling with it, because most of law/publishing was designed at the time and for the printing press world.


Piracy. Get a virus from porn. Virus shows more porn. Also, people want immediate access.

2004, the apocalypse: YouTube => PornTubes. Undermining the traditional business model. Copyright laws don’t help, whack-a-mole.

Really to get people to give you settlement money if you threaten to reveal they’ve been downloading gay porn…

Content is a commodity for this industry. Even if they could eradicate piracy for their content, it wouldn’t save their business model. Lots of free porn! Hard to just sell content. OMG the internets killed pr0n!

Some caught one: whee, people sharing our stuff give us free marketing! Started giving away content as a loss leader, even paying for incoming links, and getting people to pay for convenience. Give content to create a brand for yourself. Convenience, services, experience are things people will pay for.

Services in the porn industry: subscription models still work. Convenience of not having to sift through stuff, tailored to your preferences, good quality. Mobile viewing.

An experience can’t be stolen. Interactivity can’t. You can steal the live feed, but not the interactivity. Virtual strip clubs, community building. Kink-based participatory experiences.

Industry in flux, lots of change. Really doesn’t look like a dying industry! Weaker players being weeded out, and strong players surviving.

Take-away? Copyright policy: embrace change rather than fight it. The porn industry has never been able to fight change, no support from policy-makers etc. Adapt or die.