Sarina Simon: Influences and Influencers |
Insights from digital media insiders about the past, present, and future of digital media. Learn from their experiences and share your ideas, too.
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Influences and Influencers Insights from Digital Media Insiders

Shelley has spent her 25-year career leading the growth and development of consumer-based entertainment and technology businesses. Shelley began her media career at the Walt Disney Company where she ran the children’s music group and started Disney’s interactive group. Later she worked in a number of startups including US Animation, Mommy & Me, Kidthing and Revizzit. Shelley is one of those rare individuals who came to media very much from the business side (accounting) but embraced and succeeded on the creative side, too.  In this interview, she candidly describes lessons she has learned in her career—including both successes and disappointments….


30 Apr 2014, Posted by Sarina Simon in Expert Interviews

Meet award-winning children’s writer and content designer, Rachael Sophia Tobener.  Rachael has worked with a wide range of companies, including Disney, LeapFrog, Crayola, Discovery Kids and Fingerprint Play. Though she has only been in the business for 15 years, she has written 10 full-length video scripts, designed more than 30 mobile apps, produced more than 50 toys, and authored more than 75 interactive books for kids.  Besides being prolific, Rachael is just plain good at what she does.  I sat with Rachael (in the virtual-seating sense) and asked her about her career.  Her answers are candid and reveal a person…

When I first I started doing business in Peru, I enrolled in a Lima-based language school called El Sol.  I dutifully attended private classes every afternoon for several weeks and was taught by a wonderful young woman who was able to make the lessons interesting for me.  No rote curriculum for her—we talked about the latest government scandals (sometimes racy, but always head-shaking), recipes for divine Peruvian specialties, and my business interests (the internet and digital media, of course).  Almost from day one, I learned vocabulary that I could use both at work and with my new Peruvian friends.  I…

Too Many Apps?

25 Feb 2014, Posted by Sarina Simon in Mobile App Development

95% of Downloaded Apps are Abandoned By Users!   At first it seemed that iTunes was offering  developers something they had longed for–unlimited shelf space.  Would be publishers could now publish their products without having to beg, borrow, or steal distribution.  And, on top of that, developing apps was relatively inexpensive compared to developing CD-ROMS, virtual worlds, or massive online games.  Next came Android, and cross platform frameworks, and so it began, the rush to publish apps. As of 2013, Google Play/Android had an estimated 800,00 apps.  Apple iTunes, 775,000 apps, and Windows 125,000 apps.  And it is estimated that…

Expert Insights: Erik Amerikaner, Master Teacher This year California school districts will be using computer-based internet delivered standardized exams. On the surface, this makes a lot of sense, and as an edtech advocate, it seems like an idea whose time has more than come. The ability to aggregate, parse and analyze data to learn more about students and teachers to improve learning sounds like a win. However, as a former educator, I know that’s just part of the story. Implementing successful change in schools is not a simple yes-no proposition.   I asked Erik Amerikaner , a National Board for Teacher…

Just when I was beginning to feel that mobile apps have truly changed the way kids learn and play, a former colleague who hasn’t worked in the learning space for years gave me pause to reflect. We were catching up when she mentioned she’d been contacted to write a script for a fun learning app for a major developer.  She added that she was not up to date with technology and didn’t know if she could do it. I sent her a list of popular apps and told her to take a look.  To my surprise, she called me in…