In the days preceding Valentine’s Day in 1995, The Daily Texan ran a coupon in the paper that gave students the opportunity to buy a 1-inch, heart-bordered advertisement. For $9.20, the buyer had 20 words to express any Valentine’s Day message to a loved one. The “Express Your Love Texan Valentines” filled two pages of the newspaper with promises of unwavering faithfulness, inside jokes and nauseous pet names.
Ben Barker, co-founder of London-based PAN Studio, is bringing “talking lamps” to Austin. But for Barker and his co-founder Sam Hill, the biggest challenge wasn’t giving a lamppost the ability to talk via text message — it was figuring out what it would say.