Riding on the hyped wave of New York City’s current tech scene, over 100 enthused New Yorkers filled a small room on a rainy Thursday afternoon to attend TEDxSiliconAlley. Due to technical difficulties and a few introductory catachreses, the event groaned with slow start.
The pace didn’t pick up until the founder and CEO of GoldRun, Vivian Rosenthal, a young, shaggy haired brunette dressed in black leather took the stage to speak about merging the real world with the virtual world in her short talk titled “Augmenting Our Reality.” She looked like a heroine out of a Charles Stross novel and she spoke like one too.
“Digital seduction is something we all suffer from- Facebook, Google, the list goes on and on…We have become the technology. Science fiction has become science…Futurists believe that in the near term we will reach the technological Singularity when technological advancements become instantaneous…Now, creativity becomes tantamount to technology,” she said.
Her company, GoldRun is well known for its recent “invisible pop up store” campaign with Airwalk shoes. In November, Airwalk used GoldRun‘s augmented reality app to launch invisible pop-up stores which sold a limited edition of the Jim shoe in New York and LA. To access the invisible store, customers had to use the app to locate virtual Jim shoes at dedicated locations and take a photo of the shoe to gain a pass code to the Airwark e-commerce site. Airwalk reported that since then its e-commerce site has witnessed the most traffic in the company’s history.
According to Rosenthal, the virtual goods market, led by companies like Zygna, will hit $2.1 billion in revenue in 2011. “But people are forgetting about the real world,” she said. But Rosenthal is not forgetting. Her company continues to layer augmented reality onto the real world working with major brands and millions of users, positioning GoldRun to become one of this era’s killer marketing tools and the largest real estate owner of virtual space. Virtual real estate, you ask? You bet. It’s the wild, wild west out there. And there aren’t any laws to govern the land grab- yet.
GoldRun’s upcoming campaign “Voterize” will allow people under the age of 18 to “visually vote” by letting them create a photo with the candidate of their choice, which will be added to a map of all the photos laid out by location. To solidify my girl crush and to end her TED Talk, Rosenthal read aloud a poem she had written to the audience titled, “Do you really want to live forever?” It was good. I couldn’t copy it all down, but you can watch it here.