David Bowie and the co-creation of content

In 2015 we created an app called Kombie that lets you combine your selfies with clips from popular culture, live events, moments in time, in short any video available on the internet.

Our name comes from our key themes :

(K)Combine + Selfie = Kombie (pronounced Zombie with a K)

We built the technology to do this (twice unfortunately) and released our baby into the world last year. A few thousand downloads, a clunky interface (still) and a number of wrong turns but we are still alive and kicking!!

When we set out to create Kombie we thought we knew exactly what we were building: the ultimate selfie video tool. But then the community got a hold of it and turned it into a meme generator, an app for live events, a digital greetings card and travel postcard. At the same time some rightsholders cottoned onto us and thought Kombie would be a great way to get eyeballs on their content and maybe even make a few pennies doing so.


I was mourning the loss of David Bowie, a legend of not just music but everything else in between. Trawling through YouTube I found myself watching him explain his vision of the internet way back in 1999 and what he said just blew me away-

“The interplay between the user and the provider will be so in sympatico it’s going to crush our ideas of what mediums are all about”


Sympatico” — getting along and having mutual understanding with another.

I hope that in some small way Kombie has stumbled into the arena of Bowie’s vision.

  • Content creators (providers) upload short form videos to Kombie.
  • Users appropriate the content to co-create with and personalise and in the process elevate their own content while re-imagining the original piece of content.
  • The “interplay” between the two pieces removes the gap between professional and user content and the two become one.
  • Art. Sympatico.

We know Kombie isn’t perfect but we are working hard on getting it right. If we can get even close to what Bowie’s genius predicted maybe we might be onto something.


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