Updated: Feb 21, 2022
I knew almost instantly I was looking at the future when Tomestic CEO Poet De'Medici first told me about Tomestic and its potential to revolutionize print. ‘Disruption’ is almost too slight a word for the potential of this technology.
When he suggested I join as ‘Chief Experience Officer’ (CXO) I thought it was a crazy idea. After all, what do I know about ‘user experience?’ I am a poet, a craftsman, a writer, a teacher, a lecturer, a researcher. What I am not is a tech worker of any kind, much less an executive.
However, Poet said to me: “If Steve Jobs and Marshall McLuhan had had a business relationship, McLuhan would have been Apple’s CXO.”
I’ve come to agree with that, and here’s why:
CXO is an untraditional role, and it becomes even less traditional as I explore it. Do I care about how users interact with technology, how they feel about that experience? Yes, and it’s certainly my job to ensure that experience is as frictionless and positive as possible. Luckily, it’s difficult to go wrong there: when you see people use the app to make books ‘come alive’ they cannot suppress their delight. The simplicity of the interface makes it easy to go from curiosity to amazement.
What I care more about, coming from my McLuhan studies background, is what happens to the user while they’re busy engaging with technology. How are they changed personally and socially? That is the ‘user experience’ which is at least equally my concern as CXO. We are seeing the result of the gold rush of innovation where the primary concern is economic return.
We all feel it. We can do better. We can put users first, and not at the expense of financial return.
Tomestic is committed to not only reinvigorate and revolutionize the past and present and future world of print by combining Extended Reality experiences with the printed word, in a Gutenberg-level innovation; but equally committed to have that experience be highly enjoyable and rewarding, and also of net benefit to the user personally and socially.
We are keenly aware that ‘the medium is the message,’ and the message here is to do better by users. One of the key things I’ve learned from studying my grandfather Marshall McLuhan’s work closely for over a decade now is that, in his words, “there is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate the situation.” (McLuhan and Fiore. ‘The Medium is the Massage,’ 1967).
I am committed to bringing all my resources to bear in ensuring that we get it right the first time.
As Tomestic is poised to receive the funding we need to begin to bring the first stages to market, it seemed like the right time to make public a role I’ve been working in the background for almost a year now.
It’s a thrill to be part of something as exciting as this in the early days when my input can have a real impact, and an honour to be part of the incredible team bringing it forward.
Stay tuned, and prepare to be Tomesticated.