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Introducing Scrap the Manual, a Labs.Monks Podcast

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Angelica Ortiz
Creative Technologist

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Technology is an exciting field, but it has its challenges too. For the everyday marketer, creator, or developer, it can often be confusing or tough to keep up with—not to mention filled with buzzwords aplenty that leave people wondering, “So, what now?” That’s why Rushali Paratey and I decided to launch Scrap the Manual: a podcast where we prompt “aha” moments through discussions of technology, creativity, experimentation (and sometimes a dash of affable confusion) to explore how each comes together to address business and cultural challenges.

Rushali and I are both Creative Technologists on the Labs.Monks team, which gives us the opportunity to explore and play with some of the latest digital innovations. A lot of our work is focused on not just exploring emerging technology’s potential, but also making it more accessible and understandable for audiences at all skill levels. As much as we are developers, we’re creatives and creators, too. Because of that, our podcast aims to “scrap the manual” by challenging pre-existing notions of what creativity and technology looks like and can be. You can listen to our first two episodes here.

Since we want to scrap the manual in all senses of the term, our goal is to keep  things informal and fun, because we already have enough seriousness in our lives considering the past two years have taken the world on a ride. Scrap the Manual is the podcast you listen to when you’re up for learning something new but also want some levity in your day. We’ll still be asking the tough questions—no doubt—but we’ll make sure that it’s still easy to listen to and feels like you’re right there in the room with us.

And with that, let me introduce our first two episodes with you to give you a taste of what’s to come—maybe with a dash of FOMO to encourage you to give them a listen. 

Diving Head-First into Industry Challenges

Our first episode follows our “Challenge the Hosts” format, where Rushali and I call on our customized randomizer, a tool that pairs an industry with a challenge, live. Once we have an industry and challenge, we brainstorm solutions on the fly about what we could do to improve it. No pre-scripted material for this one; it’s a 100% off-the-cuff discussion. If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall observing an R&D team in the heart of a brainstorm, this is the closest you’ll get besides working with us.

During this episode, the randomizer landed on a combo that couldn’t be more relevant as we tackle yet another stage of lockdowns worldwide: COVID-19 (challenge) and art (industry). In this discussion, we explore how the pandemic influenced art throughout the last couple of years, and how it will move forward, too. This was the perfect opportunity for us both to align our shared passion for creativity and technology as the world of fine arts—including museums, art galleries and experiential activations—quickly pivoted and adapted to emerging technology that until now has been waiting for its moment. From exploring NFTs to some of our favorite hybrid installations throughout the past year, we cover a lot of ground in our first episode.

Monk Thoughts The ecosystems that we were living within were not working for us. The way that things are right now, we have to re-evaluate our way of life and art comes right in the middle of the questioning, the rethinking and prospect of redesigning new solutions and perspectives.
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Rushali Paratey headshot
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Giving an Inside Look into the Lab

Our second episode takes a different approach, expanding on our recent Labs Report about the metaverse. As we roll out new reports, expect more episodes that dive deeper into some of the concepts explored within. The idea isn’t to repeat ourselves; these episodes instead serve as a companion to the reports by digging in a little deeper.

For the metaverse report, Rushali and I open up on the process (and some comical missteps) in creating a prototype in Roblox that demonstrates the metaverse concept of interoperability. To illustrate what the metaverse could look like if embedded into our daily lives, we built a series of spaces: an admin area to manage one’s personal details and assets; a social environment where you can engage with others or see what they’re up to; and a shopping world where you can try on and buy both physical and virtual goods.

Since we as a team always want to push technology to its limits, we always run into surprising challenges during our prototyping process. Episode two gives listeners an inside look into some of the quirks of the Roblox platform as well as its developer culture—and because Roblox is viewed as a pioneer in the metaverse landscape, our process may give you some insight into what to consider when building your own metaverse experiences.

So, where did we run into some trouble? It turns out we got trolled by young developers more than once… but you’ll have to listen to the episode to find out how. (On that note, you’ll also hear about Rushali’s deep-seated fear of teens—sorry Gen Z, we still love you).

What’s Next?

That’s all for now, but you can look forward to more episodes every other month. In addition to the two formats already mentioned, look forward to our third format: “How do we do this?” where our audience (that means you!) submits ideas to Rushali and I and we put our brains together to figure out how we can make it real. If you already have an idea in mind that you’re just aching to make possible, feel free to email us.

Rushali and I had a lot of fun sitting down to talk about all things creative tech, and we’re just getting started. Remember: this is a podcast for anyone interested in tech—whether you’re a passionate tech evangelist, a creative looking to learn more, or someone who simply wants a behind-the-scenes look into what the Labs.Monks are doing and thinking about. I hope you enjoy our first couple episodes and let us know what you think. Stay tuned for more!

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