You all know we’re a little bit Lizzie Bennet Diaries obsessed around here. You know who else is an avid watcher of LBD? Gigi Darcy, William’s younger sister, who recently fronted a series of vlogs for Pemberley Digital‘s “Domino,” an application that can cut the boring tids and upload juicier, more-likely-to-go-viral bits. As the host, Gigi tested not only Domino’s talents, but her own ability to withstand public knowledge of her and her brother’s personal lives.
By all accounts, the test was a success, and a recent Pemberley press release indicates the company is opening “rolling submissions” for partner communities, revealing a plan to launch Domino onto the wider world. Naturally, when we heard from Gigi’s twitter that she was at SXSW, we pounced for a chance to extract a few more details about the company, the app, and the future of the Darcy empire. We grabbed a beer and some barbecue, and shot the sheez on the big cheese.
First things first! What are you doing down at SXSW?
Eating waaaay too much barbeque! Seriously, it feels like there are constantly three things I want to be doing at any given moment. But that’s what makes SXSW such an amazing event.
Anything in Interactive you’re particularly psyched to check out?
I saw the Google Glass demo. What a cool way to share information and communicate. The big buzz word this year was “innovate” which is very exciting for a company like ours.
We all watched the Domino app demo and its revelations. It got pretty personal in there. What made Pemberley use such personal material?
The initial testers in the lab had noticed an odd thing that kept happening. The algorithms were so good at identifying highly charged emotional content–better than anybody expected–that there was an unconscious tendency to want to give them more heightened experiences – a sort of emotional domino effect. That’s why they chose the name. They warned us about this before we did the public demo. I guess we should have listened a little more. But that’s what alpha tests are for, right?
What do you feel you learned from the experience?
That no one reads the terms of service? Seriously, we got a lot of data and feedback from the alpha testing that we’ve already incorporated into the beta version of the app.
Were you surprised at all by the tenor of the reaction? The audience seemed pretty invested in your brother’s personal life by the time the videos went live in the first place.
Yeah. The tenor of his reaction wasn’t all that great either. My brother’s usually a very private person, recent events notwithstanding. Like I said, powerful algorithms.
You were natural on the video blogging platform: was this the first time you’d ever done that?
Yeah, first time. Well, except for popping into some of Lizzie’s videos while she was at PD.
You said on your Twitter that you may be moving: can you tell us anything more about this and whether it has to do with the new Pemberley partner search?
They are definitely related. Sorry, that’s all I can say right now.
What tidbits can you give us about the “next bit of Domino testing”?
We’re looking to do some kind of limited roll-out of the new and improved version of the software.
The press release indicates that Pemberley wants Domino to reveal “the diversity of an entire network of people” and “enrich connections on a larger level.” How does it manage this?
Hopefully we’ll find out soon!
You have mentioned before that you’re thinking of graduate school. Does that mean your time with Pemberley will be paused for now?
Not immediately. I’m still thinking about what I want to do for grad school…and beyond, but I think William will keep me busy at the company for a while longer at least. When your last name is Darcy, you’re given an enormous amount of opportunity. But in return, there’s a lot that is expected of you.
We’ll be watching! Thanks, Gigi!