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An Interview With Steve August, Founder & CEO Of August & Wonder

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Below is our recent interview with Steve August, Founder & CEO of August & Wonder:

Q: How did you get the idea for The Market?

A: Over the past few years I’ve really felt a sense of fatigue about tech in general. Even though tech performs miracles for us, I feel like a sense of wonder and magic has been lost and I wanted to see if I could re-capture that. The Market first emerged in my sketchbook a little over a year ago and I’ve been working to bring to fruition since.

The Market is actually the culmination of several years of experiments over the past 4 years in creating connected objects whose point was to evoke and poetically connect people things that are meaningful to them instead of being purely functional. There was the enchanted picture of Big Ben that would change to reflect the time of day and weather in London. Then a calm clock with videos that shifted with time of day and weather.

I’ve been inspired by the idea of calm technology first proposed with great prescience by Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown of MIT in 1995, as well as David Rose’s thinking on “Enchanted Objects.” I was also hanging out in the Portland creative coding scene and participating in Art Hack Days.

I wanted to take the type of wonder people experience with installations and make that experience accessible for people to have in their homes and everyday life. With The Market, I feel like I’ve found the formula to make that happen, to fuse art and IoT to create that sense of poetic connection to the world.

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Q: Can you give us insights into your creations?

A: The Market is a kinetic smart sculpture of a bull and a bear on a seesaw that connects to internet and tilts in real time to reflect actual day over day changes in capital markets. It evokes a steampunk sensibility featuring natural woods and old world metals like copper, zinc, and brass, making it feel nostalgic and modern at the same time. Users can set The Market to track any one of eleven global stock indexes or four major cryptocurrencies via an accompanying iOS or Android mobile app – though once set, The Market functions independent of the apps. Ultimately it’s a different take on ambient computing, a fusion of art and IoT to create a new category of decor object.

Q: What makes The Market a perfect gift?

A: The Market Series A is a limited edition with only 300 of this series being produced. There is nothing like it in the world. It is a symbol of success and skill for financial pros, traders, and advisors: a living object that moves with the financial markets in real-time.

Q: What is the difference among The Market Series A Limited Edition and The Market Series A Limited Edition – Cordless?

A: The Market Series A comes in two versions, a plug-in only version that lists for $995 and a cordless battery powered place anywhere (i.e. on the mantel) version for $1150. The internal rechargeable battery can last up to two weeks depending on power saving and update interval settings.

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Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: August & Wonder will introduce new enchanted objects. Some may continue to map to the markets, some may map to weather, wind, tides or other natural or man-made phenomenon. Ultimately, August & Wonder’s ambition is to make the world a little less Minority Report and a little more Harry Potter.

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