Media Watch #9: Japan

Japan fascinates me. It’s culture and technologies are so unique and strong.
No where else can you experience tradition and innovation harmoniously mixing together the way they do  in Japan.

Here is an overview of its media landscape and the numbers behind the success of mobile marketing.

Ad spend trend in Japan

Media Watch #9- Japan

Marie Sornin

“Pretty soon computers will be fast.”

After my experience with Oculus (which I described in my previous post), this info released at this year’s Oculus connect conference is putting the pieces together and is definitely addressing today’s barriers to tech adoption.

My key take aways are: foveated rendering + wireless + Mixed reality: augmented & social VR

Watch Michael Abrash’s Oculus Connect 3 Keynote Speech and you will get as taste of the future:

To be watched again in 2021

Marie Sornin



Owning an Oculus rift: 6 months of excitement, 5 hours of set up, 2 hours on Ebay


Before I share my experience as an Oculus rift early adopter, I just need to say that I have no doubt that VR will transform the way we consume content.

I absolutely believe that VR is one of the biggest disruption the entertainment industry has ever seen…  even if the following might not sound like I believe in what I just wrote…

  • 6 months of excitement

I have been excited about VR way before I had my first experience with it.
Thanks to @WSL for letting me go on a surf trip to Teahupoo with Taj Burrows.

That’s why I was one of the 1st to pre order my oculus rift back in January 2016.

Since then I have been playing with Google cardboard and tried the Samsung gear VR 4D ride in the NYC Samsung experience store and was anxiously waiting for my Oculus rift order update.

So last week, when my huge Oculus box got delivered I could not wait to unpack it!

  • 5 hours of set up:

Discovering the product was fascinating. It’s a device of its own.

Just like an apple product, it is delightful to unwrap and discover. The material, the device and its components are beautifully designed.

The rift headset comes with a sensor, a remote control, an Xbox command and lots of cables….

Even though I was aware that it only works with a PC running windows 7 ore newer and with a GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better graphic card,… Plugging the cables, setting the sensor directly across the rift and getting error pop up upon error pups on our poor PC was not the best fun.

After upgrading the graphics card and testing every possible USB to cable configuration, we were finally ready to immerse ourselves in this new world and leave the reality of our tiny Manhattan living room scattered with cables, laptops, remotes and packaging everywhere .

Then I wen through this 3 stages…


The Oculus operating system is amazing.
The navigation system takes you into your virtual home, Japanese style with some water feature and a fireplace that you can hear gently crackling in the background… nothing like the cable & PC jungle I was in a second a ago.


The visuals appeared a little blurry, like if I was extremely shortsighted… that was because our PC was giving all its power but still couldn’t keep up with how much the rift was sucking out of it!

And then for someone who more familiar with purchasing mobile apps than video game, $40 for an Oculus app (in this case a game) felt really steep….


After playing with the operation system for a few minutes. My husband’s nagging, who was out of the experience, was too much so I had to let him try it.

So, if you have a crowded household… you might want to think about the dynamics the rift might create…

  • 2 hours on Ebay

With our living room taken over by the mess of VR, we were facing 2 options:
Upgrade our PC or get rid or the Rift.

We decided to put the Rift on Ebay and if it didn’t sell we would gladly upgrade the PC.

2hrs later the Rift was on its way to a state where space is a lot cheaper than NYC and hopefully to a home with a game room and a Oculus rift ready computer.

I loved this experiment and I can’t wait for VR to become a mass product.

It actually has led me to understand Google’s cardboard strategy a lot better.
It is actually with Google cardboard that I have (and will for the next few months/ years) consumed the most VR content, through New York Times, VRse, Discovery… through a library of content relevant to a standard consumer (i.e.: not a gamer).

Google cardboard is making VR accessible to all…. which is a pretty compelling proposition for today’s users and content creators… until the tech becomes accessible to a majority!

Marie Sornin



A collision of thoughts


I just attended the 1st US edition of the Collision conference in New Orleans.
A 3 days marathon of start up pitches and product demos, talks by founder, developers, media execs and investors.

I focused my time mostly on keynote sessions to get a good feel for tech and media tends.

Here is what I captured.

I am not going to write about the strategic value of data, the astronomic rise of video, the audience fragmentation push and pull game, the importance of native content or the need to experiment with bots, etc…

All these topics were definitely highly discussed but I’d rather share fresh new insights that I haven’t heard much about before.

There are 2 of them.

1- VR is better with AR and AI:

VR was at the center of many many, many conversations. Every company, every start up seems to be involved in some way or another.

It is like we are recreating the invention of the moving image but instead of doing it over 100 years, it is happening in 3 to 5 years.

The impact of VR on our lives, our social interactions, our empathy is (will be) huge.

From the New York Times Displaced documentary covering the refugee crisis, to Charity water story telling, to Cirque du Soleil working on integrating VR into their shows, or recording important moments of our lives with the new Samsung VR camera being released next month….

VR is the next big thing. That is pretty obvious.
What was interesting at Collision conference was to hear about what will happen when VR is here, at scale.

 VR will be bigger with AR and AI (and vice versa)

The potential for VR + AR +AI merged together deepen utility and “enterpisification” in the work place, education and general life experiences…

For instance, imagine a VR experience with voice recognition, space tracking, hand movements and personal data all in one.

You are in a VR experience, you turn your hand up, your emails appear, speak to dictate your response, swipe right  and it calls the person you want to communicate with…

As screen definition improves, processing power speeds up, content creation becomes simpler, new human behaviors that we don’t even know could be possible will emerge simply because the VR echo system exists…

This is a good transition to the next insight.

2- Ethics:

If we are going to create robots and attempt to enhance human genetics and physiological functions, we need to solve ethical questions that didn’t need to be asked before.

I started to think about that at SXSW where I saw a few engineers giving presentations that we were closer to philosophy than technology.

Right now we know 2 stages of life “alive” and “not alive. So where do robots fit in and how we define their missions in society?

Andrea Keay, Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics has endless knowledge and opinion about that. Here is one of her previous keynote.

What about the fascinating applications that Halo Neuroscience will have not only on sport performances but learning, education, medicine… how can the device be used without aggravating inequalities?
Is it pushing the limits of the human conditions?

As you can sense, the Collision conference was a great experience.
After 3 days of hyper stimulation, my brain was ready for some relaxing rhythm at NOJazzfest.


Marie Sornin

How to [really] change your habits

This is one of the most powerful presentation I have seen about shaping your life with good healthy habits.

18 min well spent….

Marie Sornin