I do not highlight political speeches very often on this site. But a few weeks ago, I was impressed by a simple, short concession speech by US presidential candidate Barack Obama as you know. It was a well-written speech delivered in a way that inspired a great many people it seemed at the time. From my sofa here in Osaka that night, a very long way from any office water cooler or diner in the US, I too was unexpectedly impressed and inspired. Because I mentioned that speech a few weeks ago, I have received several emails from around the world over the past few days—including here in Japan where Obama is hugely popular—urging me to watch this interesting piece of creative work by will.i.am, frontman for the Black Eyed Peas. It did not sound like something I'd like; the speech was fine the way it was I thought. Then I finally watched it...and I was moved. This unsolicited song and video was finished in two days they say and it is not perfect. But for me, this is a wonderful and powerful mixing of elements. The fact that it is a bit rough and not too slick or polished actually makes it better, makes it more real. Watch it below.
To me the video is a reminder about the importance of inspiration. Leaders—and you are now, or will someday be, a leader—have a great many roles to play and responsibilities to fulfill. But great leaders inspire, pure and simple. There are many ways to inspire people (your group, your company, your country). Great communication skills are not the only way. Nonetheless, the ability to paint pictures with your words—moving people and inspiring them with your ideas and your vision—can take you far in this world. If you fail to inspire, they will fail to listen. Never underestimate the power you have to inspire.
Watch it here at a higher quality.
Also checkout this new Lawrence Lessig presentation—in typical Lessig Method style—on Barack Obama. (This is good, but given the size of the screen, a sans serif type face at a larger size would be more effective. Looks like this was recorded directly in Keynote.)