August 10, 2020

Making It Up 131: Racial bias in photography tech and good media happenings

On Making It Up 131, Eugene and Charis discuss racial bias in photography technology and terminology. They also talk about some good things happening in new age media: the formation of Defector, a new sports blog and media company started by the people who left Deadspin in 2019.

August 3, 2020

Making It Up 130: AI graphic design and research on the future of luxury

On Making It Up 130, Charis and Eugene talk about artificial intelligence in the realm of graphic design. They also discuss a Highsnobiety and Boston Consulting Group white paper on the future of luxury and the new luxury consumer.


00:01:46 AI graphic design
00:24:47 Future of luxury


July 24, 2020

Making It Up 129: Paid communities and the Simone Biles Vogue photoshoot

On Making It Up 129, Charis and Eugene talk about Toby Shorin’s latest essay, “Come for the Network, Pay for the Tool”, which talks about the emergence of paid communities from the combination of social, content, and commerce. They also discuss the recent Vogue cover of Simone Biles shot by Annie Leibovitz and the criticism that arose regarding the photos.


00:01:10 Paid communities
00:29:51 Vogue cover


July 20, 2020

Making It Up 128: Parenting as gardening and Silicon Valley on tech media

On Making It Up 128, Charis and Eugene discuss the modern approach to parenting and misunderstandings of childhood. They also talk about Silicon Valley’s attitude towards tech media as well as the issue of privacy in digital conversations.


00:02:58 Parenting
00:23:36 Tech Media


July 6, 2020

Making It Up 127: Email services and going back to the office

On Making It Up 127, Eugene and Charis talk about Hey, the new email service created by Basecamp, and the issues of email in general. On the subject of work, they also talk about what going back to the office looks like in terms of necessary health and safety measures and the physicality of workplaces.


00:05:28 Hey and email services
00:26:24 Back to the office


June 22, 2020

Making It Up 126: Brain Dead raises 1mil for charity and the “Virgilization” of Virgil Abloh

On Making It Up 126, Charis and Eugene talk about how Brain Dead and Blood Orange raised a million dollars for charities aiding the Black Lives Matter movement. They also discuss what the “Virgilization” of Virgil Abloh means — how the artification of an individual is intentional in order to de-commercialize that person.


00:03:04 Post-humous work
00:19:00 Unions


June 15, 2020

Making It Up 125: Indie music venues and the passion economy

On Making It Up 125, Charis and Eugene discuss the role of small indie music venues in supporting emerging musicians and the continual growth of the music industry. They also talk about a new model of media star, where media is fragmenting further and the individuals people gravitate towards are increasingly varied. This leads into a conversation about the “passion economy” as defined by Li Jin.


00:04:38 Indie music venues
00:26:46 Passion economy


May 27, 2020

Countdown to UC20: Community Building Partners

Unexpected connections don’t occur spontaneously in a vacuum, but as the result of interactions between diverse elements that includes people and the organizations they create. As we find ourselves two weeks closer to UC2020, we highlight the partners that continue to make this event possible.


Intertrend is an interdisciplinary communication agency based in Long Beach, California and MAEKAN’s partner. For over 20 years, Intertrend has helped to connect brands with select communities including a focus on Asian demographics.

Together with MAEKAN, we’ve hosted the first Unexpected Connections conference, our first dinner gathering “Re-examining Truths” as well as our upcoming UC2020 in early June.

Imprint Culture Lab

Imprint Culture Lab is an incubator and culture lab that aims to connect the cultural dots between segment, market and industry. Over the past 10 years, Imprint has brought together and built a growing network of talented minds and leaders through global culture conferences and interactive workshops.

These conferences have included the Unexpected Connections series of events on cross-platform creativity, which was conceived by Imprint.

Imprint Culture Lab’s diverse membership includes many of our speakers at last year’s Unexpected Connections conference, including graphic designer, curator and writer Kenya Hara who gave a talk on his concept and book Ex-formation, a term describing the focus on how little we know or what we do not know as a jumping point towards curiosity and creativity.

Coming Together

Where Hara’s idea of ex-formation questions our tendency to prematurely declare how many things we’ve heard of versus how well we know them, John C Jay’s “Future of Creativity” encourages us to unlearn what we think we know in order to learn again. As these themes have become increasingly relevant this year, we’re reminded that ideas, however entrenched or widespread, are not permanent and can be quickly changed by new ones.

This year, we’re excited to be bringing a new mix of personalities together to sharing new ideas and new takes on existing ones with Unexpected Connections 2020. This livestreamed fundraiser supports charities that are providing COVID-19-related relief, and will be held on Saturday, June 6.

To learn more about Unexpected Connections 2020, check out the event’s website.

May 25, 2020

Making It Up 124: Quibi and tech post-pandemic

On Making It Up 124, Charis and Eugene talk about the launch, rapid demise, and potential futures of Quibi, the new video streaming service. They also talk about how technology has pounced on pandemic-created opportunities and what the post-pandemic tech appetite and landscape might look like.


00:02:51 Quibi
00:28:46 Home screens


May 21, 2020

Hate Your Voice? The Science of Self-Induced Cringe

It’s no secret that most people don’t like to hear themselves recorded (casually speaking at least), but why is that? Why do we cringe when we hear our voices played back, but don’t have the same reaction to say, looking in the mirror?

The Common Assumption

According to Philip Jaekl writing for The Guardian, the most common reason for why we tend to dislike the sounds of our voice is because, when we talk “we receive both sound transferred to our ears externally by air conduction and sound transferred internally through our bones. This bone conduction of sound delivers rich low frequencies that are not included in air-conducted vocal sound.”

You could liken this to when your neighbors turn up the music too loud (or you do this to your neighbors). You might barely hear the words or most of the track carried through some frequencies, but you most definitely feel other frequencies like the bass coming through the walls and floor. That’s your particular experience of the song, but not what it actually sounds like.

But depending on your recording device, it might not pick up the lower frequencies that make our voice sound “fuller” like those that come from our chest. So what you end up hearing are the higher parts that make you sound a lot different than what you’d expect.

We judge like we think we’ll be judged

That said, it seems there’s more to our revulsion than just the physical aspect. There’s an element of social perception that plays a part. Jaekl refers to psychologists Phil Holzemann and Clyde Rousey, who concluded in the ‘60s that we get disturbed by our voice because of the things we might have implied  even if we didn’t intend to say them:

“The disruption and defensive experience are a response to a sudden confrontation with expressive qualities in the voice which the subject had not intended to express and which, until that moment, [s]he was not aware [s]he had expressed.”

In short, we thought we were signaling certain traits we hoped we embodied, but when we hear ourselves again and all the little nuances we never noticed (you ever zoom in on a super high-def image of yourself?), we’re worried about how we’ll come off to others.

According to McGill Neuroscientist Marc Pell, also quoted in The Guardian article, “we may go through the automatic process of evaluating our own voice in the way we routinely do with other people’s voices […] I think we then compare our own impressions of the voice to how other people must evaluate us socially.”

Words unspoken: paralanguage

To simplify, the things we pick up on and nitpick in our recorded voices are all part of our paralanguage, which is concerned with how not what things are said. These paralingistic features include:

  • Accent
  • Pitch
  • Volume
  • Speech rate
  • Modulation (shaping your voice, such as with a loud whisper)
  • Fluency

If you’ve ever taken issue with your accent, nasality or a speech impediment, they likely are connected to how you worry those features are perceived against what’s considered normal.

Still don’t like the sound of your voice?

You might not always have to hear the sound of your recorded voice all the time (especially unenhanced), but with the increase in online voice chats, there’s a high chance people are going to be hearing your voice through technology that just doesn’t do you justice. What can you do?

  • Reread the above: after all, the version of your voice you don’t like is being distorted by a piece of tech that doesn’t reflect how you truly sound. What’s more is that the resulting discomfort likely is all in your head in that people probably aren’t as critical of your voice as you are (but they’re probably critical of their own).
  • Forgive yourself: your voice is distinct, much like how you physically look. You can certainly take steps to make changes, but the essence is something you should embrace. You can’t change your frame, so why try and change the basic quality of your voice?
  • Thoughtful choices: continuing with the physical vs. vocal analogy, you can make thoughtful choices in clothes that flatter your body type if you wanted to. If you think of the way you speak similar to the way you dress, then you can take more care of that too. Slow down, speak clearly, simplify your words, or experiment with “styling” your voice.


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