Archive for the ‘conferences’ Category

Engage! Expo Conference Prezzie

September 27, 2010 1 comment

Hello, hello. Long time no talk. Yes, I realize this, and I send my apologies.

Last week (Sept 22nd), I spoke at the Engage! Expo conference in Santa Clara on User Engagement – aka, the art of engaging users (specifically online gamers 13 and younger, although you could argue for a General rating).  It wasn’t one of my most stellar performances, I drown a bit in having FAR too much to say… but I successfully rambled a few decent points & tales, and hopefully shared some new understandings as well.

I am always grateful to the Engage! Expo team (Tonda you’re amazing), and it was great meeting some new people.

Now, prepare yourself for some Heavy. Duty. Slide. Action.  I Powerpointed it up HARD CORE (my speech teacher would be throwing ninja stars at me if he knew).  Luckily, many people have contacted me asking for my Powerpoint slides… so, I am providing a video of them here.

Questions, comments, problems, scenarios, rambles, quips, complaints, queries, and soliloquies should be directed to the comment section of this post.  I’ll do my best to get back to you.

Things I’m kickin’ myself for leaving out: Monetization and the “velvet rope”, How to use live staff well,  the Parental Unit, and The fine art of event planning and support.  Thank god there’s always future conferences – I can do a “Part Two” slide set 😉


Makin’ the rounds

June 18, 2009 2 comments

Planet Cazmo’s Virtual Concert Series, which started in November 2008, has been a boon to the virtual world for tweens and young teens: It has captivated audiences, secured a significant amount of press for the world, and driven user stats and growth.

Today the music-focused site adds another notch on its belt by securing former American Idol heart throb David Archuleta for an upcoming concert.

The virtual concert, June 19 and 20, will help promote Archuleta’s new iTunes gift pack and his upcoming US tour with Demi Lovato.

Virtual Worlds News: OMG! David Archuleta Plays Planet Cazmo

First of all:

I owe my blog (and whomever reads it – crickets…crickets…) a huge apology.  Yes, I’ve been a twitaholic of sorts (well, maybe not so much in the last two weeks unless you like seeing updates of me @ airports).

The truth is – I have recently taken a new position at Gazillion Entertainment in San Mateo/San Fran.  Gazillion has been a fantastic fit so far – and a truly remarkable company.  I’m not going to go too much into my position here, being an industry blogger + allowing lots of transparency with job specifics & titles have (not surprisingly) bitten me in the arse a couple times.  Of course, if you happen to located around a cookie or a latte and I (again, not-surprisingly) happen to suddenly appear in search of said-cookie or said-latte, then yes – I will no doubt gush and yammer about my position at Gazillion.  Long story short, folks, I am bloggin’ on this here blog for the sack of industry bloggin’, ye kin?  If not, no worries, as always – just bear with me.

So, the last few weeks have me traveling QUITE a bit.  LA to SAN FRAN (as I’ve not completely relocated as of yet), LA to other cities to visit G’s VW/MMO game studios (weeeee!), LA to Disney World (16th Annual Kid Power Conference), and LA to DC (FOSI – re: COPPA 2.0 & discussion about the Megan Meier Bill).

I feel like a gypsy & I’m starting to befriend various TSA folks.  The TSA in Orlando is currently babysitting my brand new California driver’s license. Le sigh.

So, after all that – twitter has been my easy-going, no-hassle, info source & airport-bored friend.  Limits my ramblings CONSIDERABLE, and that tends to be where I shine, but I still get the info share happenin’, and ultimately, that’s what it’s about.  I actually now have multiple accounts & multiple apps on my iphone (the only account you darlings need know is @izzyneis 🙂 )

But, as I scan my RSS feeds today, I see I’m not alone in makin’ the rounds.  Mr. David Archuleta, amongst other tween super-powers, has been traveling the virtual universe.  I believe it was just a month or two ago when the young crooner was on – where others have also graced the beartastic stage, like “Ryan” from High School Musical, etc.  Buildabearville has CONSTANT celeb support for their bear-devoted audience… and MAN, have you BEEN to that world lately?  They’ve expanded quite a bit.  Still heavily branded with store products, but hey – gotta pay the bills, right?

Finding ways to work house-hold brands of popularity into your virtual world can indeed be fun!  KIDS LOVE CELEBRITY – not just individuals, but CELEBRITY… one famous concept that has inpact on the peer system around them.  If they feel like they reach a finger out and touch that celebrity?  .000015 seconds of associated celebrity.  The 25 degrees of Kevin Bacon.  Being able to connect at all, in any weird context, can bring youth closer to that power which they desire.  It’s a little spike of happiness.

Chat rooms have been doing this for as long as chat rooms have been chat rooms.  Heck – people travel miles around to go to malls to see their favorite stars.  I once saw Cameron Mathison (from All My Children – which I have been watching since I was 2 while my mom folded laundry and i slurped on macaroni and cheese) – and, aside from his famousness, Ryan Lavery is hot (sorry, soap-geek-moment).  I digress – anyway, so, Cam (as I like to call him) was at the Decatur Mall in DECATUR, ILLINOIS (otherwise known as that nasty mole in the armpit of the midwest…).  THERE WAS A LINE AROUND THE MALL just to see this semi-celeb of housewife fame.  I nearly passed out as I passed him (he was sitting at a table with handlers at the Sears entrance).

The point is – just cause the character is virtual doesn’t mean kids won’t find enticement & happiness in a celeb gracing their favorite virtual destination.  BUT REMEMBER: OWN IN.  LIke – don’t 1/2 arse a celeb’s appearance, otherwise you’ll lose faith from your users who are keen.  Make it feel as real as you can. You want those users to walk away feeling like they had their moment – their finger touching fame.

Kids have stars in their eyes. They do (heck, I do).  Do them, me, yourself a favor – don’t be the one that dims that star.  Help shine it and keep it bright and in tact.  For as much as some people want to poo-poo Disney… I was a 30 year old girl at Disney World (post-conference), hanging out BY MY SELF, and i shed a tear or two when they played Disney songs about dreams coming true while fireworks (which I don’t like, btw) were shooting like stars over Cinderella’s castle.  For whatever happens in business, or behind the big red curtain of marketing & advertising & money makers – Disney does a damn fine job in polishing stars-in-eyes.  It’s all about the experience, isn’t it?  The full, round, sensory-a-blazin’ experience.  That’s what makes a company that lasts decades on end.

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Kids Online Unconference 2

April 7, 2009 Leave a comment

First of many plugs about the Kids Online Unconference that is happening the day before the Ypulse Youth Mashup. The whole thing is 5/31/09-6/2/09, but come to what you can.

We need to start getting a headcount, so if you could let myself or any of the other coordinators know if you are planning on attending, that would be great!

To sign up for the listserv we have set up, go to this link and click the “Subscribe” link.


Kids Online unconference – May 31 « Joi Podgorny

I had a BLAST at this event.  If you feel you want to participate in a proactive way in the youth online media circuit, this group is the way to go – professionals banding together to info share & keep everything on track. 😀

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VW Folks: You Should Go To This Too

October 14, 2008 Leave a comment

If you haven’t signed up for the Kids Online unconference, you should as soon as you can.  We are trying to get a good idea of head count.

It’s extremely affordable (especially as conferences go) and should give us a whole day to talk about all the topics we usually only get a session or two to discuss.  Plus it’s an unconference, so everyone can participate and anyone can suggest a topic.

Let me know if you have any questions.  There are still a couple sponsorship opportunities available too. 

Sign up now for the Kids Online unconference « Joi Podgorny

Here’s the thing… we all have particular opinions about our chosen market, and there are MANY new strategies & innovative ideas coming down the line that you MAY OR MAY NOT be overly thrilled about (or perhaps too thrilled for)…

These community UNconferences are perfect for getting a “feel” of what others in our market are thinking, hoping, aiming to accomplish for the youth demographic. 

I know MANY of you fine folks have these wonderful goals/objectives for your audience & the content of your virtual world, this is your time to step forward and talk to fellow VW folks and let your self be known!!  Or, if you are unhappy with the current trend of youth virtual worlds, don’t sit back and let others say THEIR piece – you go for it too!  EMPOWERMENT OF EMPOWERMENTS, FOLKS!

We all know how much I love to ramble, and this VERY NICELY PRICED virtual world UNconference for the tater tots will be a grand, grand, grand time for let your voice ring too.

So… BRING IT, PEEPS.  Let’s get this show boat on the row boat! 

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UNCONFERENCE! Kids Online: Balancing Safety and Fun

September 16, 2008 Leave a comment

About Kids Online
Our goal is to leave the day with greater clarity around some core best practices and have next steps as an industry to help kids being safer online.

Objective and Process
This is a day to dive in and work collaboratively on these kinds issues around kids online:

  • Who and what are we trying to protect digital kids from?
  • Are there standards and norms in practice that we can leverage to formalize best practices for industry?
  • Kids fake their ages to gain access to online content, do we as an industry care? If so, then…?
  • How do we create best practices that are flexible based on age range, content and willingness for parental involvement by industry or the child?
  • How can we create cyber-spaces that balance interesting and fun with safety?
  • What is the role of government in either defining or supporting best practices?
  • Any other ideas, issues, concepts that you think are important in this area.

We will take notes throughout the day from all sessions. This book of proceedings will be with all attendees talking about what we learned, synthesizing and next actions.

About the Unconference Format

The format we use means the agenda is created the day it happens. It is about getting things done and figuring out the tough problems. There is no committee deciding who does or does not get to ‘present’. Instead, Open Space is about breaking up into groups, working through issues, figuring out best practices and building consensus.


  • The community we hope to gather includes:
  • Online Community/Virtual World Managers
  • Policy officers and Security Officers at large companies
  • Consultants in the kids online space
  • Identity technologists
  • State Attorney Generals
  • Legislative Staffers
  • Parents and Kids
  • Academics in the field
  • Bloggers

Speaking Opportunities

Anyone is welcome to create a session on a topic they find relevant to data sharing. The agenda for these sessions will be created on the first day of each event.

About the Event Organizers

Denise Tayloe and Joi Podgornyare the experts in Kids Online calling this event and Kaliya Hamlin an expert in digital identity and unconference facilitator have partnered to put this event together.

Kaliya Hamlin is an experienced unconference facilitator and organizer who has facilitated numerous unconferences, including the Internet Identity Workshop (IIW) and She’s Geeky . Since 2005, the (un)conference format has been used at the Internet Identity Workshop, a bi-annual event focusing on emerging open standards in user-centric identity. Since then, Kaliya Hamlin has received con-siderable praise for helping IIW achieve real results.

Denise Tayloe co–founded Privo to help helps consumers manage their digital identities and to create a software solution that would help companies effectively interact with children while in compliance with the federal law. Denise has be-come a recognized leader and authority in permission and identity management, has been an invited speaker on the subject at conferences related to marketing as well as at Trans Atlantic dialogues regarding children’s privacy issues across the globe and has been published in the official newsletter of the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Ms. Tayloe has also conducted private workshops to help companies understand the intricacies of COPPA and how to maintain customer relationships within legal boundaries. Ms. Tayloe has more than 14 years experience in business development, sales, finance and the development of companies innovating and providing business and technology related services.

Joi Podgorny leads the integration of interactive/online strategies into Ludorum’s television, publishing and toy properties. Before Ludorum, she has spent the past decade helping build, manage, and scale online communities for kids while developing and implementing the systems and infrastructure needed to make these communities viable. Joi has worked as a consultant championing and implementing COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) compliance and monitored networks, as well as developing and implementing strategies in the realms of digital production, integrated marketing, and youth interactive research.


Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 08:30 AM – 5 PM (PST)

(Hopefully have some dinner groups afterwards to continue the conversations, as well.)


Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, CA 94043


Early Bird by Sep 30, 2008 $95.00
Regular by Oct 31, 2008 $125.00
Kids (10-25) by Nov 12, 2008 $50.00

Sponsorships are available. Please contact any of the event coordinators if you are interested.

New (un)conference – Kids Online: Balancing Safety and Fun « Joi Podgorny

OOOO! HEADS UP ALL.  This is very, very nicely priced, btw.  AWESOME.  I’m in.

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Guest Posting on the Mighty Ypulse

September 10, 2008 Leave a comment

Well, nearly a week has passed since 2008’s Virtual Worlds Expo in sunny Los Angeles. Two days of Virtual World insanity? Sweetness. As a fan girl of youth entertainment and virtual worlds, the Expo (or the “X’po” as I started calling it) was a good chance to visit with some noobs and regulars in the VW biz.

We’ve heard it over and over for the last few months – there are 150+ virtual worlds in existence or in creation-phase. Sure, kids are multi-taskers, and will play a handful of virtual worlds. But how do you ensure that yours is the virtual world that children, tweens, teens, etc., subscribe to?

I walked away from this conference with one happy realization – people in the industry are starting to get it! But what is “it”? Strategy! Thought! Depth! Meaning! Virtual Worlds are not defined solely by the gaming experience and socialization, but by the entire experience – from the minute a free user pops on the site, to the last second a paying member cancels their subscription (pray that day never comes).

Ypulse Guest Post: Virtual Worlds Expo Recap | Ypulse

Many thanks to Anastasia for allowing me to guest post on her rockstar blog.  It’s kinda funny – the post originally clocked in at 4+ pages of notes & rambles.  Sadly, you know how my rambles go – and I had to do a lot of editing/chopping/pasting, etc. 

If you’re interested for my “best parts o’ the X’po” check out ypulse.  I think all-in-all the Expo was great for meeting & greeting, and it was awesome to hear from a handful of the people offering up new VW content & content.  Downsides: the amount of times the Dinokids invaded my brain (they were a sponsor, and so held lots commercial time on the big screens… props to Dinokids, but man, they were everywhere-everywhere), and maybe it’s just me, but I’d like to see/hear from people/topics not always on the conference circuit, ya know?  Maybe I’m just spoiled because I’m on the front lines all the time, and elbow deep in RSS feeds of awesomeness.   That’s not really a X’po issue, but more of a conference-over-all issue. 

For the big dog that it is – I still say, Disney single handedly got me PSYCHED about our industry.  Something I didn’t mention in Anastasia’s post was the game-pattern of UGC clothing.  Instead of click & drago, or color swap creations, little girls can create fairy clothing- but they have to work at it (mini-games & palate/pattern choosing).  It seemed a bit more interactive than other places.  I totally dug it. 

Again, many thanks to Anastasia (and her patience for putting up with a slow-writing Izzy).  w00t w00t.

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Awesome VW Community Partnerships

September 9, 2008 2 comments

Crisp Thinking and the Metaverse Mod Squad announced a strategic partnership today to train the Mod Squad’s moderators on Crisp’s NetModerator automatic moderation tool, launched earlier this summer. The Metaverse Mod Squad, an avatar staffing provider for moderation and events, drew over $200,000 in angel investments this summer as well. The partnership will allow the two to mutually market their two products.

Virtual Worlds News: Crisp Thinking Partners with Metaverse Mod Squad

Sorry, sorry for not posting in NEARLY A WHOLE WEEK?  Ugh.  Part of the fun of going to conferences is avoiding the a-typical day-to-day.  Unforch, for yours truly, that means playing catch-up straight through the weekend and onward.

The other part of fun in regards to conferences??? MEETING WEB-FRIENDS!  Or web-acquaintances, etc.  I finally got to touch base with the kind folks at Metaverse Mod Squad (props to you, Amy & Mike) & Crisp Thinking (w00t, Campbell)!!  And kind they are.  So to have friends to partner together?  Why, it’s like a party of awesomeness.  Word on the street is that Crisp Thinking has also paired up with eModeration (also, awesome people that I used to work with!):

Ground-breaking technology and online moderation techniques are being combined to make virtual communities and MMOGs (Massive Multi-player Online Games) safer for children.  eModeration, the user-generated content moderation company, has partnered with online child protection technology company, Crisp Thinking, to offer ‘NetModerator’, Crisp’s new technology, which is the most comprehensive anti-grooming and anti-bullying system available.

NetModerator works by analysing online chat between users of a virtual community, or MMOG, as it happens.  Its software searches for phrases, words, or patterns of behaviour that might indicate inappropriate behaviour online, assessing and ranking risk.   eModeration’s team of moderators are alerted to any issues, so they can take appropriate action.

It is already possible to use technology to monitor and block obviously inappropriate behaviour – such as sexually explicit language, giving out personal details and bullying – but this is the first time that technology has been used to alert moderators to patterns of behaviour and relationships over a period of time that, taken on a case by case basis, might seem innocent.

Congrats, everyone!!!

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VW Expo post-show fun

August 6, 2008 5 comments

So, Wednesday, Sept 3th, after the conference, I (and a lively variety of cohorts in the kids VW biz) will be merrily making the way to a pub (TBD, stay tuned) near the conference center.

If you’re interested in joining in on the chill, relaxed meet & pint – do let me know (via the comments). It would be really great to see a lot of fellow-VW-ers join in for a drinky-poo and fun chat. I’ll let you know more as the conference gets closer (via the email you place in the comments – so do comment if you are interested).

Rambling, storytelling, and joking are all encouraged. We work in an AWESOME medium, and it’s is only enhanced by the fact that everyone in this medium = rock star. So let’s hang, peeps! 😉

Virtual World Expo: Who is in?

July 31, 2008 7 comments

Virtual Worlds Kids, part of the Virtual Worlds Expo, is designed for the owners of kids brands and provides attendees with the insight necessary to launch, operate and maintain a virtual world for kids and teens in this highly competitive landscape. The track focuses primarily on entertainment worlds, but also addresses the growing popularity of worlds for education. Kids are dominating the worlds landscape with more than 60 youth-oriented worlds currently available and over 40 more coming in short order. 

Kids Virtual Worlds at Virtual Worlds Expo – September 3-4, 2008 – Los Angeles Convention Center

Hey all!  Just a quick note (way way way in advance) that I’m going to the Virtual World Expo here in Sunny Los Angeles next month.  Who else is going?  It might be cool to meet some of you peeps out there!  And by “might” I mean “would totally” 😉

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Nickelodeon Luvs Social Gaming

July 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Williams then offered up data from a big Nickelodeon research study into casual gamers, which revealed that “nearly half of all internet users are playing games regularly or even every day”.

He elaborated: “Moms, dads, teens are all playing casual games in droves. This shows there are huge untapped markets in this space.”

Nickelodeon has identified key audience segments, he explained, These include ‘Time Fillers’, who account for 17 per cent of the audience and play online games just for fun; the ‘Gaming Enthusiasts’, who are 19 per cent of the market and are challenge-loving players; ‘Guilty pleasurists’, another 17 per cent chunk who play games to blow off steam; and ‘Average Joes’, the 19 per cent of the audience who see games as a form of social currency – but don’t tell people about it.

Said Williams: “It’s vital to take abroad and inclusive view of who is playing casual games and give the audience a wide variety of choices in how they play. Targeting multiple demos and games-related services are the best ways to succeed in this rapidly changing environment.”

Social Gaming

Social functions in games “has become a must have part of games – and it’s accelerating across all media, not just games,” said Williams, saying that adding social elements to games is key for all web-based casual games companies. “Players want their casual experiences to be social experiences.”

Pointing to today’s announcement of big venture capitalist spending on casual games firm Zynga, he said it was clear investors like it too. “VCs have been spending like it’s 1999 in the social games space and casual games developers are turning themselves inside out to become social gaming companies or causal MMO firms – and all with good reasons.”

We expect the gold rush to continue over the next few years,” he said. “Casual games are becoming more about ‘us’ than ‘me’ for key segments.”

He added: “But social gaming is not the same thing as social networking. Consumers of all ages tell us they really don’t want another social network they have enough trouble keeping up with the one they already have.

Nickelodeon’s take on this is to push forward ‘create and share’ games that encourage user created content, like Pencilracer – and Williams said the firm will be launching more create and share games launch later in the fall as the company had seen its usage hours soar by 30 per cent after adding a mix of social features that highlighted the achievements of his sites members.

Nickelodeon predicts ‘New Wave’ for online casual titles | Casual games | News by

Sweet insight from Nickelodeon & their luv of gaming.  UGC & Social Gaming?  Not new concepts at all – I’ve been playing social Turbo 21 for AGES (well, at least since ’98), and UGC was the BIGGEST buzz word of 05/06. 

The trick here is – what next level of UGC & Social Gaming is he referring to?  Ooo the excitement of future offerings.  There’s a lot of opportunity and a lot of exploration that can be done to improve, change, and flip the whole industry on it’s side.

Just when we all thought cell phones were going to turn into gadgets about the size of a press-on nail, Apple busts out with the iPhone, which ultimately changed how we view & used cellular phones. 

That’s the beauty of the web + tech world.  It’s all gadgets & sci fi, techy-techy smarty-pants & imaginations! 

Let’s just hope that WHATEVER they do (“they” being anyone who presents such fun to the mass market) keep in mind safety & usability for youth.  Or at least some sort of usability/safety education to help arm the masses with their own filters & systems.

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