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Judges Spotlight December 8, 2022

Tim Nolan – Creative Partner at PRODUCT™

Tim Nolan is a veteran in the creative industry, and is a partner for new creative agency PRODUCT. He is also a longtime Executive Webby Judge, where he has reviewed the industry’s best work for over a decade, and even helped us celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Web. Over the next few months, he’s lending his expertise to help select nominees for the 27th Annual Webby Awards. We caught up with Tim about what he brings to the Academy, and his latest endeavor.

For those who don’t know, tell us a little about your background.

Hello. Tim here. I have been working in the interactive and creative space since 1996. I have seen the Web change and grow in the past decades and continue to be in awe of each new iteration. My career went from purely interactive work and over the years I have expanded into brand marketing, physical / digital experiences, and more traditional advertising work. Most recently I have become a partner in a new shop called PRODUCT here in New York City.

What particular expertise are you bringing to the Academy?

I think it would be the fact that I have seen how the physical and digital worlds have converged in the past decade or two. This has allowed me to become extremely experienced solving the challenge of articulating ideas on behalf of brands across omnichannel expressions. The Internet is a direct reflection of culture. I have always used that thinking in my creative work.

What are you most looking forward to about reviewing this year’s Webby Awards entries?

I feel like the last few years have given rise to some new tools, especially machine learning and AI as a creative partner in the process of making. Potential new categories around Web3 also excite me. We have an agency that has embraced this technology as an editorial format. 

What creative work on the Internet has recently inspired you, and why?

This one is kind of amazing. It is not a traditional piece of creative, like a campaign or anthem film, nor it is a super elegant site. These two things are work I typically judge for The Webby Awards. But instead it is a podcast interview that never happened. In the interview Joe Rogan has a lengthy conversation with the late Steve Jobs. The hook is that it was all generated using AI. 

I found it to be most entertaining and also gave me a glimpse into how this nascent technology has further applications beyond all things visual. Entire films will be released with minimal human interactions soon. Ads will precede these on Youtube. 

What emerging technology or trend do you think will have the greatest impact on the creative industry?

Machine learning already has some very powerful applications, and it is only getting stronger. Earlier this year along with a few creative partners we launched *airgan, the first physical sneaker designed with machine learning. Using generative adversarial networks as a “partner” in the creative process has long been a component in my work. It was extremely satisfying to see it manifested in a physical form. The project was also most recently included in a group show called “The Imitation Game” that examines artificial intelligence over the years from early Turing Tests, to present applications, in Vancouver. 

Obviously, I am also interested in the adjacent technologies like 3D printing, and how technologies like AR/VR become more mainstream and accessible. These two platforms will advance even faster as miniaturization drives consumer product adoption.

 

One of the benefits of entering the Webby Awards is getting to have your work seen by industry experts like Nolan. To give your work the exposure it deserves, make sure to enter the 27th Annual Webby Awards! 
Click here to learn more about our categories and how to enter.
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