TEDx speaker preview: Mark Ostach and Dr. Kim B. Serota

Mark Ostach founded Skidmore Studio in 1959 in Detroit. What started as an illustration organization now focuses on marketing and branding.

Mark Ostach

Mark Ostach, director of account services at Skidmore Studio, is set to present on Oct. 23 at the TEDx Oakland conference.

Ostach studied neuroscience and psychology at Albion College and graduated with a master’s in information systems from Walsh College. He has worked in Detroit for about 12 years, seeking innovation to help propel the city into the future. 

Skidmore Studio was founded in 1959 in Detroit.  The studio started as an illustration organization but now focuses on marketing and branding for companies directed towards millennials.

Outside of his work at Skidmore Studio, for the past six years Ostach has explored how neuroscience and computer technology intersect, thus creating his research, which he calls Digital Nutrition 101.

According to tedxoaklanduniversity.com, “Digital Nutrition 101 explores a range of social, emotional and cognitive impacts of our technology use (and overuse) and provides solutions to help maximize the benefits of devices and avoid the pitfalls of digital drama and burnout.” 

Simply put, Ostach hopes to accomplish and educate others on the need for digital balance. 

From Digital Nutrition 101 comes the title of Ostach’s TEDx Oakland talk: “Is your phone turning you into an adrenaline junkie?”  He will explain how technology, specifically cell phones, can change users’ biochemistry.

“Our interactions with our phones are literally creating more adrenaline and cortisol, which are stress hormones and transmitters in the body, so that over time, you feel exhausted and always feel like you’re on, with a sense of urgency,” Ostach said.

He went on to explain how people’s phones function as an extension of their identity with an incessant need to multi-task and stay “connected.”

Ostach hopes his talk will inspire audience members to have a “heightened sense of wanting to set their phone down from time to time, and be in relation with more people.” 

For more information on Skidmore Studio or Mark Ostach, visit skidmorestudio.com, or markostach.com

Dr. Kim B. Serota

 Dr. Serota will be also presenting at this year’s TEDx Oakland conference.

Serota is a special instructor in the school of business administration and teaches marketing and consumer behavior and marketing research, and will be instructing a new course called sustainability marketing and management this winter. 

According to tedxoaklanduniversity.com, “Serota was trained as a social science researcher focusing on persuasion and politics.”  He now devotes his time to teaching and researching the idea of deception processes. 

Serota’s TEDx Oakland talk is titled “Why People Lie.”  His experience in marketing research has made him skilled in persuading consumers. A “seller” is expected to tell the consumer what they want to hear. Serota describes this as a “one-sided argument” or a “lie of omission”.

“We associate lying with criminal acts, like cheating or stealing,” Serota said. “My talk will suggest that most lying is far more mundane; that it is a natural consequence of the way we think and talk about things in everyday life.”

Serota hopes to challenge audience members to think of lying beyond this and provide a better understanding of lies and deception.

Serota presented his academic research at the “Decepticon” conference this year, which was held at the University of Cambridge. He also presented at Oakland University’s Winter College.

Dr. Serota’s presentation at Decepticon can be found at sms.cam.ac.uk/media/207741