As the former host and anchor of Al Gore's Emmy-winning Current TV (now Al Jazeera), Max Lugavere became the unofficial spokesperson of the creative tech and media world. Now, as the emcee for Details' TxT Tech + Tastemakers Summit in New York on September 4, Lugavere will lead conversations about the evolving landscape of digital media and how the field's leading entrepreneurs are capitalizing on trends in the industry. The day's schedule features numerous designers, bloggers, and digital innovators speaking on panels about "Content x Commerce," "Digital Entrepreneurship," and "Monetizing Social Media" (click the link above for the full line up).
We asked Lugavere about online shopping disruptions, the intersection of technology and entertainment, and his own personal style.
DETAILS: First, we want to know how a double major, in psychology and film, lands a gig right out of college as the host of Current TV.
MAX LUGAVERE: I made a film as an undergrad that the powers that be at Current TV caught wind of. It was a crazy documentary-slash-performance piece called Textures of Selfhood that has an I-want-to-change-the-world voice that got them interested in hiring me—without any prior professional on-air experience—to anchor the network. It was the best possible job. I learned so much, worked with amazing storytellers, and became someone who's really passionate about technology and innovation, which led me to my latest project I co-created with Tribeca for their first-ever original series called Acting Disruptive about disruptive ideas in technology and innovation, which I'm also hosting.
DETAILS: You coined the phrase "smartertainment." Can you explain what it means in regards to media, technology, and innovation?
MAX LUGAVERE: I consider myself a storyteller, and I learned early on at Current that nobody wants to watch the "spinach" show. If you're creating content that you want to ultimately inform, you have to do it in a way that's entertaining, tells a compelling story, and appeals to peoples' emotions. So [with] "smartertainment," I want to create content that's smarter than average and that's meant to get a message across, but does so in a way that's engaging.
DETAILS: In addition to your upcoming series, you're also dabbling in the music industry with the concert series Rockdrive—how does that make you a good fit to host the TxT Tech + Tastemakers summit?
MAX LUGAVERE: I'm obsessed with technology and seeing where the future of the entertainment industry is heading, and there's no better way to do that then to bring technology and tastemakers under one roof.
At Current my role was to be a champion of the way technology at the time was empowering storytellers in an unprecedented way, and giving rise to a whole new form of storytelling and journalism. There are a lot of industries right now that are being disrupted by technology and I'm trying to track that and convey a sense of what's going on to a broader audience.
[At TxT] there are going to be a lot of people that aren't necessarily technologists, and I think that getting the panelists to open up about what they're doing in a way that's accessible and approachable and makes the audience feel like they can play a part and use technology to their benefit is [important because] every conversation these days, whether it's about music, television, or menswear is ultimately a conversation about technology.
DETAILS: Are there any new ways you see tech affecting the menswear and e-commerce worlds?
MAX LUGAVERE: It will keep deepening the relationships that brands have with consumers and apply to everything from social media to augmented reality apps that change the way people find items that they like. Right now I think discovery is something that has yet to really be cracked, meaning [that we can help] people find the looks they want and ultimately purchase those looks online. It's also become important to consumers where their goods are sourced from. And when a brand makes a misstep, however small, people find out and demand better. I think that's great.
DETAILS: We know you aren't a menswear or fashion expert, but we have to ask about your wardrobe. How would you describe your personal style?
MAX LUGAVERE: I tend to find something that works for me and just wear it and wear it and wear it. I'm a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy, and I do like my jeans to be well fit. I like European cuts because I feel like they know how to flatter the male physique. I'm not really into the overly baggy look, and I think that when you look good you feel good.
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