My Tech Top 10: Tiffany Shlain, Founder of the Webby Awards

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It was an internet lifetime ago when Apartment Therapy was nominated in the "Best Lifestyle Website"  category for a Webby Award, but we can still remember the thrill  and honor of being recognized. We continue to follow nominations in all categories each year (17 years of awards!), and so we're thrilled today to take a peek behind the curtain and spotlight Tiffany Shlain, the founder of the Webby Awards with her My Tech Top 10...


Tiffany is also the co-founder of The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, author of the TEDBook Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks, and director of the Sundance award-winning film “Connected". She was kind enough to share her ten favorite tech tools, a cinephile's mix of hi-tech devices and DIY tools:

1. Film Clapper: This old school film clapper was the first thing I bought when I was hired for my first filmmaking job straight out of college. All those layers of tape you see on there — those are like battle wounds from 20 years of adventures in filmmaking. There is no better sound than, after long periods of setup and lighting, that solid crisp “clap.” (And “Action!” Those are two favorite sounds.)

2. Vintage film rewinder: 
I had just met the love of my life, artist and robotics professor Ken Goldberg. I was in that delicious vertigo feeling of meeting “the one” and was driving towards his house in Potrero Hill in SF.  On the street corner there was a garage sale. I spotted this and pulled over—I love vintage film machinery. When I got up close, the labels on the front said “Goldberg Brothers,” a film company from Denver in the twenties.  Now if that wasn’t a sign, I do not know what is. We’ve been married 16 years. It hangs proudly in our library.

3. Ballerina Automaton: 
Ken and I love anything where technology makes something look like magic. This 3 foot automaton ballerina was made in Belgium in 1911.  We found her at a gallery in Venice LA. When you flip the switches, she dances elegantly.

4. My iPhone 5: 
The fact that these are even called phones in any way, shape, or form is ridiculous. This is the conduit between my brain and the global brain of the Internet.

5. Dual Time Zone Clock: 
My film studio often works with collaborators in NYC. As if I need to do more math when I’m already multitasking.

6. Hammer: 
Nothing more satisfying than nailing things into place.

7. Our CUBE 3D printer: 
We are obsessed with our 3D printer. We have printed everything from rings to robots, and are now working on an art installation that involves clouds. This sexy piece of technology has brought the future to our garage.

8. Vine app: 
This is my new favorite filmmaking tool. I am all about creative constraints. When I founded The Webby Awards in 1997, we initiated a 5 word acceptance speech rule. Constraints always lead to more creativity. This is a 6 second video app Twitter just released. It’s really a visual tweet that allows you to quickly create a 6 second looped film. Basically stop motion cinema for the digital age. I was asked to make a “vine” inspired by one of the Oscar nominees. Here is my vine.

9. The Pocket App: 
There are tons of articles I come across through Twitter that look very, very interesting but I don’t have the time to read on the fly. This app allows me either on my web browser or on my phone note to “read it later.” Then when I happen to be stuck somewhere needing to feed my hungry mind, it’s all in one place. Like my fantasy newspaper.

10. The Glue Gun: 
Our daughter glues together cardboard cities that fill her room. We make art. It fixes the rubber strip on my favorite sneakers. What can’t a glue gun do?

Thanks, Tiffany!

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(Images: Tiffany Shlain)

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