Asymconf: The Introduction

The first of a series of padcasts capturing the Asymconf event is ready. This presentation includes a discussion on the formation of Amsterdam and the innovations that both made, and were made by, The Dutch.

It is the story of the Netherlands as seen through a disruptive lens.

The introductory remarks are captured with audio and video mixed with data and content as presented live.

The Story of Amsterdam is free.

View it using the latest version of Perspective on your iPad.

  • julesig

    Having just visited Amsterdam and being a big fan of this site, I would love to watch this. Alas, I do not have an iPad. Any chance of a web version?

  • db

    I have Perspective, but the presentation Story of Amsterdam is not appearing under Featured Stories. Also, the plus sign and Create Your Own Stories perform the same function. The two objects are side by side, was that intentional?

    • Farshad Nayeri

      @db You need to
      1) Upgrade your Perspective to 1.1 at .
      2) To open the story, follow this link: . You are right to expect it in Featured Stories as well. We had to hold it back from Featured Stories due to some upgrade logistics to version 1.1.

      Sorry for the confusion this has caused, but we wanted to get the Amsterdam Story out as soon as we could.

    • Farshad Nayeri

      Create Your Own disappears one you purchase the Authoring Kit. We felt just [+] was too easy to miss or misinterpret.

      • Behroze

        Can you please address the first point? Story of Amsterdam is not appearing under Featured Stories.

      • behroze

        Please ignore my comment below. I didn’t notice your reply to @db. My apologies.

  • Horace you’re going to force me to buy an iPad, aren’t you? This is too intriguing to miss.

  • Tatil_S

    Is there any other way of viewing this content for those without iPads?

    • Farshad Nayeri

      Not this moment. Question: do you have an iPhone or iPod touch?

      • Tatil_S

        It is awfully presumptuous of you to assume that I would own at least one of the three iOS products, just because I follow Asymco. 🙂 Damn it, you are right though, yes, I own an iPhone. 🙂

      • DJ

        I do not. Please let is know when this will be available for other platforms.

      • TWAndrews

        Yes, but not at hand, and while I’m interested in the content, I’m not so interested that I’m going to go to the bother of fetching it, and downloading an app to see it.

  • The audio and video component seems to be missing from the presentation. There are overlaid black rectangles though.

    • Farshad Nayeri

      @twitter-1796301:disqus sorry for your trouble, not sure what happened in your case. If you don’t mind, please try the Feedback tab on the main screen then send the same description and hit Send? It will send us an email with details about your settings, we can pick up from there.

  • Moritz

    I had to download it twice because the first download somehow messed up. I deleted the presentation and just downloaded again and then it worked well. I am actually very intrigued by this and think it’s a great way to share presentations. How difficult was it to make the presentation? Did you actually author the whole thing on an iPad? And before I forget, interesting presentation, but as a historian I thought you could have expanded a bit more on the details.

    • Farshad Nayeri

      @d958e22e17a171d3019629b5386c2b48:disqus Glad you liked the presentation intriguing.

      If you can send us information about why/how your first download didn’t work to I appreciate it. I want to make sure we triage it if possible.
      The short answer to “did you author on iPad” is yes. The long answer is in the world of remix you have to be more specific as to what you mean by “create”.
      If you have details to add, send to us (post references here) and we can augment the story even further…after we are done with the other four cases…
      The ultimate goal is to allow you to remix your own contributions into the story, just like you are doing to the blog.

      Feel free to follow up directly with us if you need, or @pixxa on twitter.

      • Moritz

        To answer your first question: I am not entirely sure. The slides were there but the video only played the first ten seconds. I had clicked download and then put the iPad to the side. Did the download interrupt once the iPad powered down the screen? Possible, but could have been a different moment too.

        In regards to create, I assumed that the slides are layouted on iPad. The video must be edited before entered, but theoretically you could do that on iPad but of course not with Perspective. The bit which I was primarily curious about though, is the synching of the presentation slides with the video, as I can watch it now.

        I am not a Dutch history specialist, but there are a couple of questions which came to mind.
        – Horace said that the pump schemes led to the creation of financial markets, but the first stock he showed was from the Dutch colonial project. Obviously there are some steps in between which he skipped.
        – Why the Dutch colonial project at least in the beginning contribute to the Dutch economy, the Spanish colonial project in South America however did not really (when we look at that early period) and is that related to these financial markets?
        – I think a story which would have fit in there nicely if the presentation were longer is the story about the tulip mania, where the Dutch didn’t only come up with future trading, but also as first had to suffer the consequences of a bubble economy. And in a way it connects the other strands as this quote from Wikipedia shows: “Amsterdam merchants were at the center of the lucrative East Indies trade, where a single voyage could yield profits of 400%. The new merchant class displayed and validated its success, primarily by erecting grand estates surrounded by flower gardens, and the plant that had pride of place was the sensational tulip.”

        Anyway I perfectly understand that this was just a quick (and smart at that) intro to the conference. Therefore obviously it has to leave out some details.

        And also: Thanks for your quick reply.

      • Farshad Nayeri

        Regarding your initial problem: Were you hearing the sound? If yes, then the video downloaded. I don’t expect it to be related to download of the media, at least, we can’t think of why this would happen. Truthfully we are taxing the iPad quite a lot especially during transitions with high resolution video going on at the same time, and bending it to new places it hasn’t gone before. Now, this is not to blame the underlying layers, nor to say that we can’t fix these sort of issues. For the upcoming big cases we may reduce the video to postage stamp size to reduce this tension.

        The majority sync/remix was done in the iPad. I say majority, because in a few places we had to go under the covers. We try to push the limits with each story, and once we have the right “language” to express the interactions then we think about how to expose the new capability to the end user. I agree that a reasonable remix UI can be done on the iPad.

        Re: Tulip Mania, and follow up to Story of Amsterdam. Sounds *great*. Why not create a story about it? We will be happy to publish it and even feature it? The current 1.1 version on AppStore can be configured (with proper registrations) to allow per-scene voiceovers. If you get the basics in place (you can do this just by using My First Story) drop us an email to and we can walk you through the rest.

      • Moritz

        No I don’t think there was any sound anymore either. I am pretty sure it must have been the download, but it could have been a hic-up in my Wireless causing it. There are quite a number of machines accessing simultaneously.

        >Why not create a story about it?
        For one simple reason: I am currently in the last weeks of my PhD thesis 🙂 But your product looks amazing and I will use it for something in the future –not sure yet what that is going to be, we’ll see.

        Your support seems stellar too! Really impressive.
        I wish you guys all the best of luck with the software and am looking forward to see what will be possible in the future.

      • Farshad Nayeri

        @Moritz, Thanks for your kind words. Re: video, have to think about the issue you are having more, since it is hard to reproduce. We struggle to find the right balance between generality of expression, efficiency of transfer, and entertainment value. We could have done an audio only track, or even a postage-stamp the whole way but we figured it is worth pushing the edge a bit.

  • Peter Millard

    Very interesting intro – I’d like to see the whole conference. I also struggled to get the download – surprised there isn’t some kind of ‘story store’ at pixxa, aside from the ‘featured stories’; also a bit surprised that this isn’t a ‘featured story’ as well! For anyone else struggling, if you visit this page on your iPad and click on the graphic above, you get the option to ‘Open in Perspective App’.

    • Farshad Nayeri

      Dear @88f438cd8ba4809589d212af301799f5:disqus
      Thank you for the post and the info.
      We will be following with the rest of the Asymconf cases.
      You are correct to assume it should have been a Featured Story on Perspective; this would have been normal, expected behavior. However, we are amidst upgrading our servers to 1.1 but we didn’t want to delay releasing Asymconf stories. Rest assured, the story will appear in the Featured list as soon as we upgrade in the next couple of days.

  • rich

    I would be curious to find out if the free Padcast has a higher number of downloads than the previous $.99 ones.

    • Farshad Nayeri

      Interesting question but such a comparison doesn’t make a lot of sense (since different contexts, times, target audience, information, can substantially affect the numbers.) The question also presumes that the two paid padcasts had similar number of downloads. Even the two paid p/reviews had different contexts.

      Such is life in sociological experiments.

      I would venture that downloads may correlate more closely to how many links there are to the story (just as pages on the Web) and less about the price (assuming a reasonable price for the content.)

  • Andrew

    This app looks amazing !

  • Excellent presentation, and this padcast makes it even better.

    Stepping back and trying to see things from the disruptive lens Horace taught me to use, I see this as a disruption on education itself. Apple presents iBooks and its author as a way to make content interactive and more interesting. Khan Academy is not interactive, but is easily accessible and offers a larger platform to support it. But this is on a whole new level.

    It’s not as good on some dimensions. Perspective is not that easy to use, it lacks in performance and the process of creating padcasts on the iPad still feels like a bit like fish out of the water. But if the developers can keep the improvement curve steep, these will go away soon. Right now, though, I long for a Mac app that could help me create these padcasts more quickly.

    The platform is, however, absolutely amazing when hired to present stuff live AND to share great content. Case in point: this presentation.

    Congratulations to Horace for envisioning this and creating something he obviously loves: a disruption. I hope this gets the attention it deserves and changes the way people go to PowerPoint whenever they want to present something.

    The implementation team also has to be congratulated for executing this brilliant app.