ReFocusing SHiFT

This is the hardest announcement we have made since 2006.

Over the last few months we did our best to bring you an event at the same level as SHiFT’10.

A lot changed since then, and we weren’t able to obtain the necessary sponsorship while at the same time move to a new city. Because of that, we are cancelling SHiFT’2014.

If you are one of the ticket holders, please check your email or get in touch if you haven’t heard from us yet.

The last few months were a learning experience and despite this big set back we still believe in our vision of SHiFT as a hub for content and debate around Social and Human Ideas for Technology, bringing projects and people together.

We are giving up on our main event for now, but we are not giving up our vision. Our next steps will be to look for ways to keep this idea alive.

In the meantime, we are open to your suggestions and questions, either in the comments, twitter or Facebook. If you prefer, you can reach us through the email

Our main event may have been canceled, but we will still be here to talk with you, and to look for new ways to refocus SHiFT.

This being said, from all of us in the SHiFT Team: we would like to thank everyone that gave us their advice, their support and most of all their friendship.

Even if he was right, lets forget about Kant for now


Why is it so hard for us to talk about the future? I’m not talking about the plans for tomorrow or even about next summer holidays. I’m talking about the future, our future, humanity’s future… You don’t agree? Taking apart some exceptions, a group of special friends and some teachers, you should see the faces of most of the people whenever I start talking about wearable technology, virtual handshakes or even, believe it or not, new media arts. “Oh, here he comes again with the science fiction stuff…”. Why do people automatically think about the future as fiction (and I will not get around the science subject)? Just because it didn’t happened yet? Neither next year summer holidays and nobody think about them as a Spielberg movie..

The future should be seen as something that we start building now, everyday, with every action we take because, after all, that is what it is and things like wearable technologies, virtual handshakes and new media arts are already here, taking huge steps further each day, reaching out a glimpse of how it will be the life of tomorrow, that future.

The problem? Lack of communication. The right communication.

Many times, the ones on the outpost of this cultural and technological achievements, just communicate for themselves or, if so, for their pairs. Either caused by some kind of social pedantic attitude or, and I hope so, just by the lack of the right communication skills, the question is that the knowledge around this future conversation is, most of the time, kept almost privately on some so many time obscure and unknown academic magazines and publications that only the ones who write for them know of their existence…

Also, whenever news about a huge advance on, for instance, cybernetic or holographic art comes around on the mass media, it always comes within an aura of a cinematic vision, heiress of Metropolis, Blade Runner, Matrix or even Lady Gaga. If it is true that it helps to catch the attention of the viewer or reader, it is also true that it keeps the subject on the fictional side of life and that is not the best way, in my humble opinion, to disseminate the importance and value of such topic.

In a world like the one we’re living in, where people are, again, starting to ask how art is made, taking it to a place where ars and tékne are once again, baselines of artistic creation, we should start to communicate todays future on a more earth-to-earth way, trying to leave the Genius theory – a classic approach kept on motion, in a simplistic form among others, trough the use of the above mentioned aura – away from it, allowing for the common mortal soul to see it as a reality that, not only is already here, but it is shaping the world where she will live tomorrow.

I’m really anxious to get to SHiFT. Can you see it in my words?

SHiFT Relays


If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook,you may be aware we are hosting a small event this friday, from 17h00 to 21h00 in Düsseldorf on the Platz der Ideen 1.

We called it SHiFT Relays and it is meant to be a small sample of what we want SHiFT 2014 to be. From communicators to artists, from developers to inventors, the speakers that will gather atthe event form a group of visionaries that we are honored to have join us and are sure will bring you quite an insightful evening.

The whole point of this event is to be a connecting point between people, and between people and ideas. Pretty much in the same way that a network relay operates.

With that in mind, the event is as open as possible. We have a limited number of seats and other logistic constraints, but there is no registration fee. If you would like to attend, please fill out the form that you find on the event page and by wednesday evening we will confirm your registration.

Connected : SHiFT

We reached out to Henriette Weber and asked her to write about the connected theme for SHiFT2014. She did a bit more than that and wrote about the theme and about how she feels about SHiFT… 

In Lisbon for SHiFT08

Somethings back in conference-la-la-land. And it’s called Shift. And I love it to pieces.

I remember the first time I met the guys behind shift. it was a sunny day in Copenhagen in 2005 and we where all gathered to participate in a creative conference called reboot 7.

Lately there has been a lot of talk about if it’s worth the now-HUGE sum of money to go to conferences. And you go to the conferences because of the network right ? you do it because your boss thinks that you might get a gazillion clients with you home.

Well you might. And you might not. I solemnly swear that the reboot 7 conference was the beginning of so many ideas inside of me, so many new relations with cool people, so much laughter and so much: connectedness. Lately I have stopped going to huge conferences where I am often invited to as an official blogger – because they make me feel disconnected. As weird as it sounds.
I became disconnected at the moment that conference organisers decided that the speakers was “too important” to hang out with the crowd. At the moment where speakers hung out in the vip rooms instead of in the audience.

I think the digital creative industry that I am a part of, as a writer, strategist, public speaker and business avantgardist, has grown up a lot. It has gotten a lot of money in it now and I sometimes feel that the tech conference industry is this huge disconnected cyborg where nobody talks because

  1. They do not know you.
  2. All the important people are hanging out in a VIP place somewhere, together with other VIPs.

Everytime a conference organizer asks me my advice about what i think they should do, I say: never ever kill the nearness. Never ever kill connected. Have all the conference attendees meet each other face to face, idea to idea and person to person.

I think a conference organizers most prominent job is to spark these relationships, is to make sure that ever attendee comes home with a head full of ideas and a business card holder filled with business cards and 100 new followers and friends on social media. That’s where the value lies. People and ideas. Skills. Not money. If you provide that person to person relationship, without anybody sucking up to each other (startup to investor, conference booth people to attendees, hosts to speakers), I think you can make a gazillion dollars because you’ve made something viable, valuable and viral.

I have been at shift for 2 years. 3rd year I couldn’t go because of an ash-cloud. SHiFT does just this. It connects. It makes you sit down and have dinner and drinks with 6 other people you’ve never met.

It connects because it is a people to people thing. It is humble in the aspect that everybody is equally important, no matter if you’re Kevin Rose, Stowe Boyd, Brian Solis, or a curly haired creative tornado from Denmark called Henriette Weber that nobody knows who is.

That’s the beauty and art of it. And it’s so important. It’s so dead important. Because in a digital world where connectedness is being more and more monetized, especially if you want to use digital for business (hello “ranks-where-you-can-only-reach-so-and-so-many-people-because-we-say-so” and ads in newsfeeds + sponsored content everywhere) connectedness is the most important thing you can do as a conference. the candlelit dinners between a group of geeks and then partying. Hanging out in the same city as a group where everybody is introduced to everybody is important.

I saw the ever-awesome reboot conference as a part of this (and if you’re reading this mr. mygdal please start them up again) I see shift as the one conference that you should go to that has survived the glam, glory and monetization of the digital and the IRL. I see conferences such as aggro pekuliar in Stockholm starting up slowly (where I also spoke, and it was an awesome experience).

I see places where the geeks gather, not to talk about how money buys up skills, not to have the conference organizer interview a 19-year old about him selling his company to facebook for 1 billion dollars, because to me, it’s so incredibly irrelevant. They bought his company for 1 billion dollars because they believe they can make 10 billion out of it – probably. And even though I admire the skills behind such a company getting sold, I have still been a part of such an aquisition and it’s not all fantastic. Most times it sucks.

I see conferences where geeks are allowed to gather with people they don’t know, around small dinner tables with loads of wine, and talk about really big ideas. I see conferences filled with really big ideas, not money and salespitches. And shift is a beating heart in this – bringing people together, whether they like it or not. Because we don’t personally grow in a room filled with 15.000 people where you can’t hear what the other person is saying or pitching to you. We grow in silence and with laughter and through genuine connection.

Welcome to SHiFT. Can’t wait to meet you there.


Henriette Weber

Rock ‘n’ Roll chick and founder @ Toothless Tiger

Henriette is a digital strategist & match maker. Her clients: curious firestarters, believers in the power of creativity over money, idealists who want to get loud and action-women and men who spitfire a project from A-Z. For all those she gets her creativity and skills working to get their companies close to the heart of people.


Keeping with the spirit of SHiFT, we will be hosting a Micro-Event on October 11th in Düsseldorf. It’s called SHiFT Relays and consists on a sneak peek on what SHiFT 2014 is all about. We have a limited number of seats available, so if you would like to attend please register here.

Healthcare on the brink of a digital disruption


Photo by @psit on Flickr


A friend of mine is running back and forth between doctors because of what looks like a hip injury with side effects to her back and leg. The back specialist orders medical exams for her back, sees there’s nothing wrong and sends her to the hip specialist where she starts a process all over again: another set of exams, another doctor, again the same explaining of what happened and the symptoms she’s enduring.

Our body is a stunningly well connected machine. Our healthcare systems and our patient data not so much as JP Rangaswami recently wrote based on his personal experience:

“Tons of information. Not just the things that were measured, but other things as well. Records of what medication I was given and when, what drips I was on and what the drips contained. X-rays and CT-scans. Records of the meals I had had, what I could have and what I couldn’t have. Records of my height and weight and even records of my bowel movements.

Tons of information. In tons of silos.

All brought together by someone writing it all out on paper, in notes that resemble a news feed.”


Most would agree that there’s a lot of progress to be made in healthcare as Tim O’Reilly recently said:

“We have returned to healthcare with our StrataRx Conference because we believe that this is a market in need of disruption, and that there is a unique opportunity to apply data both to make the healthcare system more effective and to improve people’s lives.[emphasis is mine]

But things are already changing.

Initiatives such as Patientslikeme is enabling people-to-people connection between patients facing similar conditions, allowing them to ask and answer questions and to find the right communities for particular, and sometimes rare, conditions.

Doximity, here described as “a LinkedIn for physicians that lets them share patient data in a HIPAA-compliant way” was founded by Jeff Tangney and already connects 30% of US doctors. He states he founded the platform “as a way to attack how doctors share medical data on their patients. Hand-offs between doctors are an eternal source of mistakes that can cost patients their lives.”

MIT Technology Review recently reported on, an online community for patients with Crohn’s disease that describes itself as “A Patient-Powered Research Network that allows any patient to contribute to research for the cure”.

Cancer Research UK is adding crowdfunding-like mechanisms to their more traditional forms of donating and fundraising to drive the research to battle cancer.

Apps also promise to conveniently connect patients, doctors and hospitals, with the promise of empowering healthcare consumers with patient-facing apps, though I’m not sure that social sharing of our unborn child’s heartbeat was exactly what we had in mind. And recently in the US an important step forward was taken when, in a long awaited decision, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally released guidelines on how it plans to regulate health-related apps.

This is certainly an area to keep an eye at as healthcare is gradually affected and transformed by the opportunities of digital connectedness.

The fear of missing out

image from

A couple of days ago when completing my daily internet review I stumbled upon the hashtag FOMO,or quite simply, the Fear of Missing Out.

Apparently this acronym has been gaining more attention, blog entries, articles and even academic researches but I must admit that it’s only now that I’m able to give a name to something I sometimes suffer from.

This is clearly a first world problem since we can pin the cause to an abuse of social media by being constantly connect through our mobile phones or tablets. Don’t get me wrong, harnessing the power of social networks for our best advantage is great, but there’s always a downside. This particular case the amount of visual information that we are exposed to can lead major cases of FOMO.

You must admit that it’s something you have experienced at least once in your daily life. That characteristic sting of jealousy when you see some of your friends in the beach while you are stuck at work or some random dude (that you happen to be connected with for some obscure reason) that just posted a photo of a kick ass music gig that has everything to be borderline awesome.

Coincidently or not, the book I was reading at that time was Gilles Lipovetsky’s La Société de Déception (roughly translated to The Society of Disillusion). Written in a form of interview, Lipovetsky explains how disillusion, an universal human sentiment, has been growing and escalating in today’s society caused by the sense of desire that all the cultural expectations created by our way of life. Even if social networks and the internet are not mentioned we can quickly co-relate all that’s said on the book. Unlike most european philosopher’s Lipovetsky is an advocate of optimism, and what might look like a grimm observation of society, is in fact concluded on a higher note: our disillusion is not necessarily one of paralysis, fear or depression, but merely the cause our cultural demand that can be overcome by our will to participate in events.

When we understand this, the problem of FOMO doesn’t look so bad. If we take the optimistic message queue we can successfully get out of that spite inducing death spiral of news/photo feed. By going out and joining your friends at a party or just sitting at home with someone talking over beers can be enough to get your mind off your smartphone.

In the end it’s our “real-world” connections that make us happy and fulfilled, don’t you agree?

Diana Costa

Diana Costa

The Designer

This girl can make MacGyver look like a 10 year old playing with legos! With a strong training in Design and 3 years experience working with some of the top agencies in Portugal, she fell in love with Usability and User Experience and the influence they have in how we interact with technology and with each other.

She is currently an Interactive Designer at MSTF Partners.

SHiFT is moving to 2014

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 09.04.06

There is no easy way to say this, so we are going to be straightforward about it. We decided to postpone SHiFT to May 23rd and 24th 2014.

This was a decision that wasn’t easy or taken lightly, much was discussed and though about.
We’ve had an amazing response both from our speakers and our call for participation, however we feel that the quality of the event was not ready to be delivered this October. As such, it was decided to postpone rather than deliver an edition of SHiFT that doesn’t par with our and mostly your expectations.

We intend to bring two full days of creativity, technological insight and stimulating exchanges to Düsseldorf and today we are reaffirming this goal. We’re fully engaged to bring you a panel of curated speakers, with challenging, innovative social and human ideas under the Connected topic.

We look forward to see you join us in May 2014.

Please feel free to leave any questions you might have in the comments section, or send us an email to

To believe in new colors, in a Connected World

to believe in new colors - pedro rebelo

To be connected in the days we’re living, is so much more than that. To be connected is to have the possibility of being in permanent communication, the simultaneous existence of multiple transmuters and receivers, the access to a huge number of messages that, even when not specificaly meant for us, can resolve our immediate needs.

This human state, some say, brings a layer of huge complexity to those who dedicate their life to the study of the human being and  humanity itself but, in another way, it opens the door to a new discipline, the Anthropology of Cyberspace.

While being a student of Communication Sciences on Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, it was very odd for me that the notion of Cyberspace was so rare in my degree. The so called Cyberspace is today, the space where most of our communications take place and, in my humble opinion, it should have a stronger part, bigger importance in those advanced studies on communication. Even if Cyberspace is a word in disuse, the concept exists and we associate it to most of the communications we can think about on our day-by-day life. When I found out that there was a class called Anthropology of Cyberspace in the Anthropology degree, I could not let that one escape.

Well, to be honest, I would swap those 6 months on the Anthropology of Cyberspace class for some hours listening to Stowe Boyd but, even knowing that nobody can take away those 6 months from me, the hours listening to Stowe Boyd are also already scheduled, for October, in Dusseldorf.

Now, you have to ask, why the heck would I prefer a few hours of conversation instead of six months of superior education. Well, without a linear and simple answer (as I’m part of the Anthropology subject of study, I’m human, therefore I’m complex) I can try to come out with a reply that in a few words can help explain my reasons: Stowe Boyd believes and makes me believe. The Anthropology of Cyberspace teacher did not.

When I said that I intended to write a paper about the Suicide Girls as a product of this new human state, the idea was received by the teacher with some strangeness and apprehension: “But what will you be talking about? Pornography?”. And even trying to explain that it was about a group of people that, as a community, have were born from the relationship with technology, thus, a good subject on the anthropological point of view and representative of a certain online reality, the closed ideas around the classical studies limits, the field work and the traditional bibliographic research, clouded the teacher’s vision about the possibility and interest of that paper.

I remembered that when I read the reference made by Stowe Boyd to the Jamais Cascio article To Predict The Future Of Technology, Figure Out How People Will Use It Illegally:

“I find that it’s often useful to imagine the unintended, seedy, improper, or illicit uses of new tools and systems. How might Invention X be hacked? How could it facilitate a user having disproportionate power over another person? How will it be used to help the user have sex? How would it enable someone to commit a crime? Thinking along those lines can help to uncover the more subtle connections between a new technology and incumbent systems, spot hidden security flaws, or even reveal markets for a product that the developer had ignored.”

Yes, this new human state requires an open mind, to a different kind of thinking, a open mind always ready to go further, a mind ready to break some rules, a mind able to think against the law, that challenge moral. One day, on one of those connections that we keep at each moment, who knows, even in the physical world, away from the computer (even the one that we bring in our pocket), we will find ourself in a situation that will be just as we thought about and then, we will know how to manage it.

Once again, going back to the Anthropology of Cyberspace teacher, I recall what Stowe Boyd wrote on The Decade Of Publicy:

“It’s as if we are gaining the ability to see into the ultraviolet and infrared ends of the social spectrum when we are online, and in some contexts we are dropping out yellows or reds. To those tied to the visible color spectrum we are habituated to, this new sort of vision will be ‘irreal’. But ultraviolet has always existed: we just couldn’t see it before.”.

In a connected world, of connected humans, to understand them, to understand us, it is not enough that one day we start seeing new colors. It is necessary to believe that there are and always will be new colors to see. Stowe Boyd believes and makes me believe. The Anthropology of Cyberspace teacher… Well, I really think that she should join us in SHiFT this October… Who knows, maybe something would change…

Pedro Rebelo

Pedro has been blogging in Portuguese about communication and the web, as well as about his daily life on since 2001. You can follow him on twitter at @browserd.

His expertise in Social Media, and in-house corporate communication paired with his love for arts and literature make him one of the examples of what SHiFT is about.

Pedro Rebelo

Moments are precious

Photo was kindly provided by Pedro Figueiredo

Photo was kindly provided by Pedro Figueiredo

He sat down on the concrete facing the sun, somewhat cloudy and cut in half by the sea, placing the phone by his side. No more work. This is their time.

She walked out of the house holding a cup of tea and wearing sandals because after all the alarm clock showed the weather would be nice during the morning.

They both work a lot and have full schedules, but this is their time. This is the time when they sit and talk to each other, share their concerns and what makes them happy. This is the time when they shut down the world around them and truly connect.

In a world where work is demanding and where bells and whistles go ding every now and then, they realize the importance of logging off once in a while and enjoying the simple things life has to offer. The sunset and the sunrise, a nice meal and an amazing view, an artist playing on the street. Sure, they do snap a photo every other moment, but only because they feel the need to share it with one another or with a closer friend.

— What are you going to do today?

They talk about work and conference calls with people from the other side of the globe. She talks about how she loved the flowers he had sent the other day. Lilies.

— It’s funny how you always figure out a way to break my routine in the most beautiful way.
— You know it is important to me. And like I always said, when something is important you find a way.

He doesn’t know that she bought a new gadget for him, a picture frame that connects to the web and shows pictures that she sends him.

When they spend more than a few days without “their time” he always goes back to a digital photo album in his phone, pictures he took around the time they met, pictures of her and doodles he kept. There’s a post it note safely stored in a notebook, and he keeps the picture at hand for some unknown reason.

They met when they were working together on an event. Well, not really together. They stood in the same room once and everything else were long exchanges of emails, online conversations, documents worked on online. They found themselves commenting on the same blogs, sharing the same love for music, having the same tenacity for life. It’s strange, but personal values and emotions do travel in a world of Zeros and Ones.

— The other day I found an old document, something you sent me.
— What ?
— A silly story that you wrote to make me feel better, remember?

We are building a digital world that connects more and more with our daily lives. Even digital artifacts like an old document can now hold an immense personal value. And when we can replace our house keys with a mobile phone or a biometric device, we are in fact connecting that house, that home, to our own physical characteristics. Every day we find ways to connect information to more and more aspects of work, citizenship, and relationships.

— I got a message the other day from city hall. My proposal to build a playground in the neighborhood was accepted.
— That’s great!
— There’s even a 3D draft. You have to take a look and tell me what you think.

Technology is also getting easier to use everyday and it is amazing the sort of things that right-brain and left-brain people come up with. We build new instruments, share music across the globe, play it live from 8 different locations and think it is normal. It is not. It is amazing! It is marvelous and it is something with the potential to revolutionize the world in a couple of heartbeats without us ever realizing it.

— The sky looks amazing today. See?

They are standing on opposite sides of the planet, looking at the horizon. When he sees the sunset, she sees the sunrise. He misses her everyday and once in a while finds some crazy idea to make her smile. He sent her flowers the other day, after a few phone calls and a wire transfer, card and everything. The florist was kind enough to print out the message he sent from his tablet as if he had written it himself. This isn’t enough, they still talk every chance they get.

Whenever I think about technology it is never because of the latest gadget and the latest feature, it is always about how it can let me connect to others. The goal of technology should be to improve our quality of life, physical and psychological, as an individual and as a group. It should also allow us to work and collaborate better and with greater ease. I feel the best technology tends to be the one that bridges both the analytical and the creative side, our left and right brain.

They say goodbye and close the call. This was their time and it is precious to them, and it is more than a video call, it was a shared moment, and moments can be invaluable.

Bruno Amaral

The PR Geek

Famous for the quote ‘I am not a Programmer’ he is in charge of the communication plan and social media presence. (Keeps bugging us about semantics and Values, building brands and strategic communication). He is a Social Media Consultant at Fullsix Portugal and teaches every now and then.

Bruno Amaral

Special thank you to Pedro Figueiredo for the use of the photo.