A New Video Sprint: Introducing “Early Stage”

On October 5, 2012, we will join the 2012 class of Wieden + Kennedy’s Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE) in sharing our companies’ visions with investors, the media and the larger startup community at PIE Demo Day.

In a uniquely self-reflexive moment, Demo Day will also mark the public launch of our new process Video Sprint.

As participants in this year’s PIE class, we’ve had the chance to learn and grow alongside the other PIE companies. Our firsthand experience of the incubator has given us intimate access to the ups and downs of accelerating an early stage startup company. We’ve become embedded in the vibrant ecosystem of investors, entrepreneurs, developers, designers, mentors, advisors and community members which make up the Portland startup scene, and we’re excited to share the story.

At the same time that we’ve become insiders at PIE, we’ve remained aliens in Portland. We’ve fallen in love with this city over the last couple months. The friendly people, tasty food, bike-friendly streets, well-designed signage, and direct access to nature – these have all been a welcome contrast to the day-to-day we’re used to in Berlin. While we’re looking forward to returning home in a couple weeks, we’ll be leaving a little piece of ourselves behind in Portland.

Early Stage

Why is Portland an interesting place to create a startup? How can we understand entrepreneurs and software engineers to be a new creative class? What roles do story and performance play in the creation of an enterprise? Following the true story of a group of aspiring startups in the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE), in the context of Portland’s creative and technology ecosystem, KS12 introduces Early Stage, a Video Sprint in collaboration with PIE which starts a conversation on these topics and invites your participation.

Participate on Quora

We are working with questions from our interview process on Quora. You are invited to join the process by providing answers for these questions. We will be incorporating answers to these and other questions into the Video Sprint. Here are the questions:

Why is Portland an interesting place to create a startup?
How can we understand entrepreneurs and software engineers to be a new creative class?
What roles do story and performance play in the creation of an enterprise?
What can startups learn from an advertising agency about storytelling?
What can startup culture teach us about creativity?
How do crazy ideas grow into real businesses?

Participate on Twitter

You can also participate by sharing your thoughts as the project progresses on Twitter using the hashtag #earlystage and make sure to follow @ks12 and @piepdx as the story continues. We’ll be blogging the project here: www.earlystage.videosprint.net.

The Talking Toy Of The Year

to the makers of GEO bear:

i don’t know what kind of sick sense of humor your company has, but i don’t think terrorizing children is very funny. three weeks ago, i made the mistake of buying your “GEO bear” as a present for my son’s 6th birthday. i wouldn’t usually give your product the time of day, but my tech-savvy teenage daughter convinced me after reading reviews online. the bear seemed to be a great gift out of the box, but after a few days it started insulting my son. i thought this was just a glitch at first, but the insults got worse and worse. i tried to return the bear, but the clerk said it was working fine. it wouldn’t repeat the insults at the store. she told me if i really believed it was broken i should send it back to you guys.


this is the one time i’ll warn you before taking legal action.

Richard Rouftree

Dear Mr. Rouftree,

We regret to inform you that we will neither reimburse you nor will our human resources department be taking any disciplinary actions with our staff.

We suspect you might have overlooked one of GEO’s unique selling points, its customizable location-based vocabulary. GEO’s API enables you to register the bear with personal information and locations. GEO’s wireless 4G service triggers different custom vocabulary depending on where he’s located. This technology gives GEO a layer of realism that earned him the Talking Toy of the Year Award for 2014.

Upon receiving your GEO bear, our technicians found that his custom database had been altered. It seems that someone hacked your bear from the location you defined as “home” during the online registration process.

We have reset your GEO bear to factory default settings and you’ll find we’ve given him a complimentary firmware upgrade.

Please keep in mind this is only a temporary solution. If you encounter these problems again, we’d recommend you speak with that “tech-savvy teenage daughter” of yours.


Agatha Farmerson
Customer Support Manager
GEO Bear

The Talking Toy Of The Year is a design fiction created as part of KS12 Story Labs on near future toys. Design by Patrizia Kommerell. Text by Kris Cantrell and Gabriel Shalom. Produced by KS12.