Last week I delivered a brand new presentation at the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo, right here in New York City, entitled The Seduction of the Innocent: Merchandising in Interactive Product Design.

(I’m presenting it again this Friday at the Euro IA Summit in Amsterdam, hopefully with a few enhancements.)

The topic itself went through an interesting evolution. I started out thinking that my talk would simply be about the idea of merchandising as a user experience design challenge.

But over time, the word “seduction” in the title started to seduce me. I began to see opportunities to tie the two concepts together, to link persuasive user experiences to the timeless arts of seduction. Once this idea took hold of me, so much of the talk kind of magically fell right into place.

Anyway, if you saw me speak last week I’d love to hear your thoughts on how the talk went and how you think I might improve it. In general, the feedback I’ve gotten so far has been pretty good, but I’ve also gotten some really helpful advice on what to change. If you liked it, I’d love for you to toss some stars my way over at my Web 2.0 Expo crowdvine session page (where so far I have 14 votes, averaging 3.64 out of 5 stars).

Welcome to New York City

I was also on the Advisory Board for the New York Expo. An explicit part of our mission was to bring a distinctive New York flavor to the topics, speakers, sessions, and attendees. I hadn’t realized before how rare it is to actually have a web or design conference in New York City. So many conferences in my field are held elsewhere, presumably due to the high cost of holding events in New York.

Attending a conference in your home city has its advantages (no airfare or hotel), but the unfortunate part is that everyone you work with knows you’re still in town and easily accessible. Because of this, I ended up working during much of the conference. I didn’t get to attend very many of the other sessions, including quite a few that I really wanted to see. Also, I wasn’t able to connect with dozens of out-of-town friends and colleagues visiting for the Expo.


One session, however, that I knew I could not miss was Jeff Jarvis‘s interview with John Byrne and Stephen Adler from BusinessWeek, discussing BW’s various forays into social media. The biggest of these is BusinessWeek’s recently launched Business Exchange, a new social media product developed by BW — which, I am proud to say, had a little user experience design help from our team at Behavior.

The BX, as it’s called, is a whole new way to look at business news and information. Structured as a collection of topics (covering just about everything important to business professionals), it gives users access to information not just from BusinessWeek’s deep editorial expertise, but also from their peers’ suggestions and contributions from across the web.

Anyway, it was a thrill to see our pixels unveiled in such a grand and public way.